The Daily Sheeple
by John W. Whitehead
“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control.”—William Binney, NSA whistleblower
We now have a fourth branch of government.
As I document in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC.
You might know this branch of government as Surveillance, but I prefer “technotyranny,” a term coined by investigative journalist James Bamford to refer to an age of technological tyranny made possible by government secrets, government lies, government spies and their corporate ties.
Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing. Privacy, as we have known it, is dead.
The police state is about to pass off the baton to the surveillance state.
Having already transformed local police into extensions of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation’s soldier cops into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone Stingray devices and so much more.
This is about to be the new face of policing in America.
The National Security Agency (NSA) has been a perfect red herring, distracting us from the government’s broader, technology-driven campaign to render us helpless in the face of its prying eyes. In fact, long before the NSA became the agency we loved to hate, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration were carrying out their own secret mass surveillance on an unsuspecting populace.
Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power. And of course that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine.
The raging debate over the fate of the NSA’s blatantly unconstitutional, illegal and ongoing domestic surveillance programs is just so much noise, what Shakespeare referred to as “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
It means nothing: the legislation, the revelations, the task forces, and the filibusters.
The government is not giving up, nor is it giving in. It has stopped listening to us. It has long since ceased to take orders from “we the people.”
If you haven’t figured it out yet, none of it—the military drills, the surveillance, the militarized police, the strip searches, the random pat downs, the stop-and-frisks, even the police-worn body cameras—is about fighting terrorism. It’s about controlling the populace.
Despite the fact that its data snooping has been shown to be ineffective at detecting, let alone stopping, any actual terror attacks, the NSA continues to operate largely in secret, carrying out warrantless mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails, text messages and the like, beyond the scrutiny of most of Congress and the taxpayers who are forced to fund its multi-billion dollar secret black ops budget.
Legislation such as the USA Patriot Act serves only to legitimize the actions of a secret agency run by a shadow government. Even the proposed and ultimately defeated USA Freedom Act, which purported to restrict the reach of the NSA’s phone surveillance program—at least on paper—by requiring the agency to secure a warrant before surveillance could be carried out on American citizens and prohibiting the agency from storing any data collected on Americans, amounted to little more than a paper tiger: threatening in appearance, but lacking any real bite.
The question of how to deal with the NSA—an agency that operates outside of the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution—is a divisive issue that polarizes even those who have opposed the NSA’s warrantless surveillance from the get-go, forcing all of us—cynics, idealists, politicians and realists alike—to grapple with a deeply unsatisfactory and dubious political “solution” to a problem that operates beyond the reach of voters and politicians: how do you trust a government that lies, cheats, steals, sidesteps the law, and then absolves itself of wrongdoing to actually obey the law?
Since its official start in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman issued a secret executive order establishing the NSA as the hub of the government’s foreign intelligence activities, the agency—nicknamed “No Such Agency”—has operated covertly, unaccountable to Congress all the while using taxpayer dollars to fund its secret operations. It was only when the agency ballooned to 90,000 employees in 1969, making it the largest intelligence agency in the world with a significant footprint outside Washington, DC, that it became more difficult to deny its existence.
In the aftermath of Watergate in 1975, the Senate held meetings under the Church Committee in order to determine exactly what sorts of illicit activities the American intelligence apparatus was engaged in under the direction of President Nixon, and how future violations of the law could be stopped. It was the first time the NSA was exposed to public scrutiny since its creation.
The investigation revealed a sophisticated operation whose surveillance programs paid little heed to such things as the Constitution. For instance, under Project SHAMROCK, the NSA spied on telegrams to and from the U.S., as well as the correspondence of American citizens. Moreover, as the Saturday Evening Post reports, “Under Project MINARET, the NSA monitored the communications of civil rights leaders and opponents of the Vietnam War, including targets such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohammed Ali, Jane Fonda, and two active U.S. Senators. The NSA had launched this program in 1967 to monitor suspected terrorists and drug traffickers, but successive presidents used it to track all manner of political dissidents.”
Senator Frank Church (D-Ida.), who served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence that investigated the NSA, understood only too well the dangers inherent in allowing the government to overstep its authority in the name of national security. Church recognized that such surveillance powers “at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”
Noting that the NSA could enable a dictator “to impose total tyranny” upon an utterly defenseless American public, Church declared that he did not “want to see this country ever go across the bridge” of constitutional protection, congressional oversight and popular demand for privacy. He avowed that “we,” implicating both Congress and its constituency in this duty, “must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
The result was the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and the creation of the FISA Court, which was supposed to oversee and correct how intelligence information is collected and collated. The law requires that the NSA get clearance from the FISA Court, a secret surveillance court, before it can carry out surveillance on American citizens. Fast forward to the present day, and the so-called solution to the problem of government entities engaging in unjustified and illegal surveillance—the FISA Court—has unwittingly become the enabler of such activities, rubberstamping almost every warrant request submitted to it.
The 9/11 attacks served as a watershed moment in our nation’s history, ushering in an era in which immoral and/or illegal government activities such as surveillance, torture, strip searches, SWAT team raids are sanctioned as part of the quest to keep us “safe.”
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans’ phone calls and emails. That wireless wiretap program was reportedly ended in 2007 after the New York Times reported on it, to mass indignation.
Nothing changed under Barack Obama. In fact, the violations worsened, with the NSA authorized to secretly collect internet and telephone data on millions of Americans, as well as on foreign governments.
It was only after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 that the American people fully understood the extent to which they had been betrayed once again.
What this brief history of the NSA makes clear is that you cannot reform the NSA.
As long as the government is allowed to make a mockery of the law—be it the Constitution, the FISA Act or any other law intended to limit its reach and curtail its activities—and is permitted to operate behind closed doors, relaying on secret courts, secret budgets and secret interpretations of the laws of the land, there will be no reform.
Presidents, politicians, and court rulings have come and gone over the course of the NSA’s 60-year history, but none of them have done much to put an end to the NSA’s “technotyranny.”
The beast has outgrown its chains. It will not be restrained.
The growing tension seen and felt throughout the country is a tension between those who wield power on behalf of the government—the president, Congress, the courts, the military, the militarized police, the technocrats, the faceless unelected bureaucrats who blindly obey and carry out government directives, no matter how immoral or unjust, and the corporations—and those among the populace who are finally waking up to the mounting injustices, seething corruption and endless tyrannies that are transforming our country into a technocrized police state.
At every turn, we have been handicapped in our quest for transparency, accountability and a representative democracy by an establishment culture of secrecy: secret agencies, secret experiments, secret military bases, secret surveillance, secret budgets, and secret court rulings, all of which exist beyond our reach, operate outside our knowledge, and do not answer to “we the people.”
What we have failed to truly comprehend is that the NSA is merely one small part of a shadowy permanent government comprised of unelected bureaucrats who march in lockstep with profit-driven corporations that actually runs Washington, DC, and works to keep us under surveillance and, thus, under control. For example, Google openly works with the NSA, Amazon has built a massive $600 million intelligence database for the CIA, and the telecommunications industry is making a fat profit by spying on us for the government.
In other words, Corporate America is making a hefty profit by aiding and abetting the government in its domestic surveillance efforts. Conveniently, as the Intercept recently revealed, many of the NSA’s loudest defenders have financial ties to NSA contractors.
Thus, if this secret regime not only exists but thrives, it is because we have allowed it through our ignorance, apathy and naïve trust in politicians who take their orders from Corporate America rather than the Constitution.
If this shadow government persists, it is because we have yet to get outraged enough to push back against its power grabs and put an end to its high-handed tactics.
And if this unelected bureaucracy succeeds in trampling underfoot our last vestiges of privacy and freedom, it will be because we let ourselves be fooled into believing that politics matters, that voting makes a difference, that politicians actually represent the citizenry, that the courts care about justice, and that everything that is being done is in our best interests.
Indeed, as political scientist Michael J. Glennon warns, you can vote all you want, but the people you elect aren’t actually the ones calling the shots. “The American people are deluded … that the institutions that provide the public face actually set American national security policy,” stated Glennon. “They believe that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change. But … policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.”
In other words, it doesn’t matter who occupies the White House: the secret government with its secret agencies, secret budgets and secret programs won’t change. It will simply continue to operate in secret until some whistleblower comes along to momentarily pull back the curtain and we dutifully—and fleetingly—play the part of the outraged public, demanding accountability and rattling our cages, all the while bringing about little real reform.
Thus, the lesson of the NSA and its vast network of domestic spy partners is simply this: once you allow the government to start breaking the law, no matter how seemingly justifiable the reason, you relinquish the contract between you and the government which establishes that the government works for and obeys you, the citizen—the employer—the master.
Once the government starts operating outside the law, answerable to no one but itself, there’s no way to rein it back in, short of revolution. And by revolution, I mean doing away with the entire structure, because the corruption and lawlessness have become that pervasive.
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, where this article first appeared. He is the author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State and The Change Manifesto.
by ALIYA STERNSTEIN
Smartphone technology built by Lockheed Martin promises to verify a user’s identity based on the swiftness and shape of the individual’s finger strokes on a touch screen
The National Security Agency has tested the use of smartphone-swipe recognition technology, according to the tool’s manufacturer.
The mobile device feature, created by Lockheed Martin, verifies a user’s identity based on the swiftness and shape of the individual’s finger strokes on a touch screen. The technology is but one incarnation of handwriting-motion recognition, sometimes called “dynamic signature” biometrics, which has roots in the Air Force.
“Nobody else has the same strokes,” said John Mears, senior fellow for Lockheed IT and Security Solutions. “People can forge your handwriting in two dimensions, but they couldn’t forge it in three or four dimensions. Three is the pressure you put in, in addition to the two dimensions on the paper. The fourth dimension is time. The most advanced handwriting-type authentication tracks you in four dimensions.”
The biometric factors measured by Lockheed’s technology, dubbed “Mandrake,” are speed, acceleration and the curve of an individual’s strokes.
“We’ve done work with the NSA with that for secure gesture authentication as a technique for using smartphones,” Mears said. “They are actually able to use it.”
NextGov has contacted NSA for comment.
Lockheed officials said they do not know how or if the agency has operationally deployed the Mandrake smartphone doodling-recognition tool. The company also is the architect of the FBI’s recently completed $1 billion facial, fingerprint, palm print, retina scan and tattoo image biometric ID system. That project, called the Next Generation Identification system, could tie in voice and “gait matching” (how a person walks) in the future, the bureau has said.
Mandrake potentially might be useful for emergency responders who often do not have the time or capability to access an incident command website, Mears said.
“If you are going 100 miles down the road, you are not going to enter a complex 12-character password to authenticate yourself,” he said. “We have some customers who deal with radioactive material and they can’t touch things” that small with gloves on — “How do they authenticate?”
In 1978, the Air Force and contractor MITRE published some early test results on handwriting-motion ID verification. The use case back then involved gaining entry to restricted facilities, not locked-down smartphone apps.
As part of a project to develop external physical security systems for the Pentagon, the Air Force acquired an “automatic handwriting verification system,” according to a research abstract. The technique required two forms of identification.
“An individual desiring access into a controlled area arrives at the entry control point” and types in a four-digit ID number “through a keyboard,” the paper states. Then, the system prompts the user to further prove identity through handwriting. It matches the individual’s scribbling in real time against a pre-enrolled “pressure versus time history of a signature,” the study states.
Experiments were performed in a laboratory and in a weapons storage area at Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire. Interestingly, the error rate was higher for females than for males. But in general, it was determined the results should not be affected by “the sex or the handedness” of the person. At that time, the technology was too embryonic to operate under real world conditions, the research said.
Today, in retail, handwriting-gesture recognition is sometimes used to enhance customer service, by allowing sales staff to authorize sensitive transactions wherever convenient.
For example, in 2012, Asian life insurance company AIA started using a Kofax-brand app on tablet computers that captures the image, speed and acceleration of a person’s strokes with a stylus.
Broadly speaking, however, gesture recognition has not found its sweet spot in the ID management sector.
A 10-year biometrics market forecast released earlier this month by research firm Tractica found that the technology was not lucrative in any of the 194 countries analyzed.
“Research on signature dynamics … has been ongoing for nearly 50 years, but still there is no viable use case, and it was never mentioned during any of the interviews conducted for this report,” the study concluded.
New Eastern Outlook
by Vladimir Platov
On February 16 researchers at Moscow-based security group Kaspersky Lab announced the discovery of an ultimate virus that has virtually affected all spheres of military and civilian computing in more than 40 countries around the world. They’ve managed to discover a piece of malware that must have been installed on vhard disks while they were still being manufactured, and due to its complexity and a certain number of features that it shares with Stuxnet, it’s safe to assume that it was created by US secret services.
On February 18 The Guardian confirmed that for the last 7 years Government Communications Headquarters had been sharing personal intelligence data en masse with America’s national security agencies, regardless of the fact that it had intercepted millions of foreign citizens conversations. The ruling of a UK court clearly suggests that these actions were illegal on top of being carried out in violation of the the European convention on human rights.
On 19 February it was announced that National Security Agency (NSA) along with its British partner in crime – the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has manged to steal encryption keys from Gemalto – the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM-cards. This allowed the above named intelligence agencies to tap any phone and intercept data from any mobile device that was using a SIM-card produced by Gemalto. This conspiracy was unveiled by The Intercept, that added that Gemalto was created nine years ago when a French company Axalto merged with Gemplus International that was operating in Luxembourg. Today Gemalto has more that 85 offices across the globe along with a total of 40 factories, that are working in close cooperation with the leading telecommunication corporations, including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, along with many others. Representatives of the three above listed companies refused to comment on this scandal.
By the way, one can easily trace the German Deutsche Telekom among the customers of Gemalto group of companies. Hence it is highly unlikely that anyone would have any doubt on the involvement of US intelligence in the tapping of Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, that was uncovered back in the mid 2014. What is particularly peculiar in this situation is the decision of The Federal Attorney General of Germany to stop investigating the Chancellor tapping case as it was reported by Focus Online on the pretext of “zero possible outcome of the investigation.” Well, the claims of the same Focus Online that “Merkel now has a new cell phone that cannot be tapped.” looks ridiculous enough, since this brand “new phone” uses the same-old Gemalto SIM-card. So the NSA can spy on Madam Chancellor as long as they see fit, while the general attorney sees nothing wrong about it. Well, perhaps, Germany has finally agreed to stand in line with the citizens of other countries and their political and business elites, eager to play the role of laboratory rats in the US intelligence surveillance game.
One would be surprised to learn that Gemalto is producing up to 2 billion SIM-cards per year, along with chips for bank cards and identity cards. According to many information security experts, US intelligence agencies, due to the encryption keys they’ve stolen are able to retrieve any information from mobile devices, bank cards, e-passports.
The Wall Street Journal reported the “successes” of US intelligence agencies in retrieving information from millions of US citizens’ cell phones back in 2014. Most of the US citizens are under constant control of the security forces, due to the surveillance systems that were mounted on light aircraft and drones, that was developed by Boeing, which allows to collect private data from dozens of thousands of mobile phones. In addition to the ability to establish whereabouts of a person, that can be tracked with the accuracy to within three meters, his phone can be remotely block, while all of information stored on it can be easily stolen.
On February 20, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State Jen Psaki in her typical manner complained about how difficult it is for the US to confronts thousands of hostile attacks in cyberspace. However, she has never mentioned the above listed facts and Washington’s paranoiac desire to dominate cyberspace.
Vladimir Platov, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”
The Burning Platform
by Jim Q
In Part One of this article I attempted to illuminate the concept of generational theory as articulated by Strauss and Howe in The Fourth Turning. In Part Two I provided proof this Crisis is far from over, with ever increasing debt, civic decay and global disorder propelling the world towards war.
Seeds of Crisis & War
“The seasons of time offer no guarantees. For modern societies, no less than for all forms of life, transformative change is discontinuous. For what seems an eternity, history goes nowhere – and then it suddenly flings us forward across some vast chaos that defies any mortal effort to plan our way there. The Fourth Turning will try our souls – and the saecular rhythm tells us that much will depend on how we face up to that trial. The saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending, but it does tell us how and when our choices will make a difference.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning
When you accept the fact history is cyclical and continuous linear progress is not what transpires in the real world, you free yourself from the mental debilitation of normalcy bias and cognitive dissonance. Things do get worse. There are dark periods of history and they recur on a regular cycle. And we are in the midst of one of those dark periods. This Crisis will not be resolved without much pain, sacrifice, bloodshed, and ultimately war. Catastrophe is a strong possibility. The core elements of this Crisis – debt, civic decay, global disorder – are coalescing into a perfect storm which will rage for the next ten to fifteen years. The rhythms of history only provide a guidepost of timing, while the specific events and outcomes are unknowable in advance. The regeneracy of society into a cohesive, unified community, supporting the government in a collective effort to solve society’s most fundamental problems seems to have been delayed. Or has it?
Maybe the answer can be found in the resolution of the last Fourth Turning. The seeds of the next crisis are always planted during the climax of the previous crisis, when the new social order is established. The American Revolution Crisis created a new nation, but left unresolved the issue of slavery. This seed grew to become the catalyst for the Civil War Crisis. The resolution of the Civil War Crisis greatly enhanced the power of the central government, while reducing the influence of the States. The rise of central authority led to the creation of the Federal Reserve, the implementation of income taxes to fund a vastly larger Federal government and the belief among the political class that America should intervene militarily in the affairs of other countries. The Great Depression was created by the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve; the New Deal programs were a further expansion of Federal government; FDR outlawed the ownership of gold; and America’s subsequent involvement in World War II created a military and economic superpower.
After sixty-two years of ever increasing debt; ever increasing taxes to support an ever growing governmental bureaucracy; ever expanding laws, regulations, and rules; currency debasement by the Federal Reserve; complete abandonment of the gold standard; and never ending wars of choice around the world, the next Crisis grew and blossomed from the seeds planted during the previous Crisis. The New Deal social programs, along with the extension of the welfare state by LBJ and subsequent administrations, have swelled to unprecedented unsustainable levels with unfunded liabilities exceeding $200 trillion. The promises cannot be fulfilled. The $18 trillion national debt increases by $2.3 billion per day; $96 million per hour; $1.6 million per minute; $27,000 per second. Does that sound sustainable? The legacy media sycophants cheer when consumer debt outstanding surges past $3.3 trillion, as their warped worldview applauds spending versus saving, consuming versus investing, and living for today rather than striving for a sustainable future.
The American people have lost their ability to think, reason, question, do math, control their urges, defer gratification, or realize when they are being lied to by the people they elected to public office. A culture of ignorance, celebration of the absurd, salutation of stupidity, honoring of the inane, being mesmerized by electronic gadgets, and satiating their egocentric shallow impulses on social media, is a sure recipe for societal collapse. Victory in World War II and becoming a modern day empire created the dynamic Eisenhower warned about. An immense military industrial complex has created enemies around the globe in order to keep the profits flowing in this welfare/warfare empire of debt. War is a racket for the rich. The peasants who buy into the incessant patriotic propaganda and volunteer are nothing but cannon fodder for the .1%. Keeping the masses fearful of phantom enemies and portraying foreign leaders as evil, is essential for the oligarchs to retain their wealth, power and control. Truth, facts, and long-term consequences are of no interest to the sociopaths running the show and pulling the levers. The dissent into darkness has been gradual and unnoticed by a purposefully distracted populace.
“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” ― Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
What I’ve begun to realize about Fourth Turnings is how slow and methodical they are in reality. They will play out over twenty years at a pace dictated by events and the actions of the major players. I had been looking for a regeneracy event that would unify the country behind one leader. It is not to be. Since Fourth Turnings are driven by mood changes amongst the generational cohorts, the changes are subtle, incremental and not visible as identifiable events. Looking back in history, the election of FDR and the rollout of his New Deal policies began the regeneracy of the nation, but did not create unity or solve the economic problems of the country. There was an actual plot by prominent businessmen to conduct a coup and overthrow the government. A large contingent of the population did not support the New Deal or our entry into World War II.
The first battle of Bull Run and the subsequent mobilization of a half million more men by Lincoln marked the beginning of the regeneracy during the Civil War Crisis. It certainly did not unify the nation or even the North. It just marked the point where there would be no turning back or compromise. There were draft riots in New York City in 1863 and Lincoln thought he would lose the 1864 election. The Declaration of Independence and mobilization of an army in 1776 marked the regeneracy during the Revolutionary Crisis period, but did not unify the colonies or colonists into a cohesive unit. The Revolution was piloted by a minority of freedom minded colonists, while the majority remained neutral or obedient to the Crown.
I now believe the focus of this Fourth Turning will be the conflict between the government and its supporters, and those who oppose the welfare/warfare surveillance state controlled by Wall Street vested interests. The overbearing, militarized, captured Federal government has treated citizens like suspects since 2001. Those in the highest echelons of wealth and power have captured the three branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial) and are ruthlessly ransacking the remaining wealth of the nation. Their unquenchable desire for more wealth and power has never been more blatantly obvious than in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse created by their derivative orgy of debt which blew up in their faces.
All the “solutions” implemented since 2008 (TARP, ZIRP, QE1, QE2, QE3, $800 billion stimulus plan, government takeover of student loans, subprime auto loan bonanza, waging wars of choice, doubling of food stamp households, and the Wall Street foreclosure/buy/rent scheme) have been designed to benefit the vested interests in this corporate fascist authoritarian regime. The average person has been left nearly destitute, unemployed or underemployed, bereft of savings, stuck with declining real household income, and left with political candidates hand-picked and bought off by the men running the show behind the curtain. The mood of the country has darkened significantly since 2008 and will darken further when the bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate, created by the “solutions”, pop simultaneous in the near future.
The wave of dismay, disillusionment and blinding rage that will sweep across the land will mark the next phase of this Fourth Turning. The mistrust and cynicism toward government and politicians has already reached historic highs. Congressional approval levels reached 56% in 2001 and have been in a downward spiral since, with a plunge to single digits since the 2008 Crisis began. The number of people classifying themselves as independents reached an all-time high of 47% in 2014, up from 27% in 2006. An awakening minority now realize Democrats and Republicans are nothing but brands appealing to liberals or conservatives, but representing the ruling Party and beholden to Wall Street, the military industrial complex, mega-corporations, and not the American people.
As trust in the political, economic and financial systems implodes, the existing social order will crumble and be swept away in a torrent of chaos and upheaval. Severe misery will settle on our land and tear the fabric of our society. Internal strife will be compounded by external threats, with citizens fighting each other and nations going to war on a large scale. It has happened before and it will happen again. The realization this Crisis would be driven by the conflict between government and the people occurred to me in 2013 when Edward Snowden revealed the depth and depravity of a government which believes it to not be bound by the constraints of the Constitution, laws, regulations, or human decency.
The political class, along with the government apparatchiks, protected by their propaganda mouthpieces in the media, used the 9/11 attack as the basis to implement command, control and surveillance measures which make Orwell’s Big Brother seem like amateur hour. The hyperbolic level of propaganda in support of the vested interests is actually a sign of weakness, as their grip on the masses is weakening rapidly. Chris Hedges explains Washington as it functions today:
“Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers — and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are mostly courtiers. Our pundits and experts, at least those with prominent public platforms, are courtiers. We are captivated by the hollow stagecraft of political theater as we are ruthlessly stripped of power. It is smoke and mirrors, tricks and con games, and the purpose behind it is deception.
The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism.
They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia. The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses.
It plays an essential role in the dissemination of official propaganda. But to effectively disseminate state propaganda the press must maintain the fiction of independence and integrity. It must hide its true intentions.”
It isn’t hard to connect the dots if you choose to open your eyes and not be blinded by normalcy bias or the nationalist propaganda spewed by the mass media. Snowden’s revelations of an NSA global surveillance network spying on U.S. and foreign citizens and approved by the highest levels of government should have caused outrage and mass protests. Instead, the media propaganda arm portrayed Snowden as a traitor and spy. Snowden revealed that the NSA was harvesting millions of email and instant messaging contact lists, searching email content, tracking and mapping the location of cell phones, undermining attempts at encryption via Bullrun, and the agency was using cookies to “piggyback” on the same tools used by internet advertisers to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.
The NSA was shown to be “secretly” tapping into Yahoo and Google data centers to collect information from hundreds of millions of account holders worldwide by tapping undersea cables using the MUSCULAR surveillance program. The NSA’s top-secret “black budget,” obtained from Snowden by The Washington Post, exposed the “successes and failures” of the 16 spy agencies comprising the U.S. intelligence community, and revealed that the NSA was paying U.S. tech companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, and AT&T for “clandestine access” to their communications networks. Every electronic communication of every American is being collected by the government to be used at their discretion. It will be used against you when the time is right.
What kind of government clandestinely spies on its citizens; militarizes local police forces; conducts military training operations in major cities; wires its streets and highways with surveillance cameras; disperses peaceful protestors with water cannons, tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets; and treats the U.S. Constitution like toilet paper? An authoritarian regime treats its people like this. Authoritarian regimes treat everyone like a potential enemy. They trust no one. Those in power care only for themselves and their lackeys.
The extreme wealth inequality created by dishonest means is leading towards strife and a systematic breakdown. Our entire system is built on lies, monetary machinations, propaganda and strict obedience to a vast array of laws, regulations and mandates. The ruling elite are desperate to keep their despotic bacchanal empire of debt from disintegrating in a catastrophic apocalypse of derivative time bombs, bank failures, corporate bankruptcies, and denial of their guilt. They recognize the consequences they face when the music stops. When people realize their money system is a fraud they’ll lose faith in all the institutions that make up a civilized society. Trust in politicians, corporate leaders, bankers, institutions, the media, parents, neighbors, and ourselves will evaporate in an instant. The anger and pursuit of those responsible will result in governmental collapse and domestic anarchy. The guilty and innocent alike will die.
Those in power are preparing for war – against you. Executive orders already in place, when executed, give the executive branch the ability to lockdown the country the same way they locked down Boston while bumbling about trying to capture two teenage kitchen utensil bombers. There are two things the ruling class fear the most – the internet and the approximately 300 million guns owned by citizens in 50 million households. The State, through the FCC, wants to “regulate” the internet to “protect” people from being told something other than what the State wants them to hear.
That First Amendment, with its free speech and freedom of assembly, is dreadfully inconvenient for the oligarchs. Truth and dissent will not be tolerated. Every mass shooting incident, caused by the shooters being pumped full of anti-psychotic prescription drugs, is used as an excuse to disarm the public. The Second Amendment right to bear arms makes it more difficult for government thugs to ignore the Fourth Amendment when they kick your door down during an illegal search and seizure operation. An armed populace is our only defense against the tyranny of a draconian government bent on retaining its stranglehold on the country.
After the 2008 financial collapse the guilty were not punished, prosecuted nor reproached for their criminally destructive schemes to loot the American people and the world. Instead they were bailed out, allowed to retain their wealth and power, and rewarded for their misdeeds with further riches provided by their politician puppets in Washington D.C. Evil won. The masses were frightened into keeping silent and believing bankers, politicians, and government bureaucrats had saved their world of bread (debt based consumption) and circuses (iGadgets & HDTVs). Ultimately, this Fourth Turning Crisis will come down to a battle between good and evil. It would be easy if the evil people revealed themselves and the good people could destroy them, but evil and good exist within all human beings.
As witnessed in previous Fourth Turnings, the majority will sit idly by paralyzed by fear or apathy. Most people wait to be led. But, as Samuel Adams profoundly noted:
“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
The Federal and State government directly employs over 20 million Americans and millions more indirectly through their largess to arms dealers and other crony capitalist corporate entities. Over 145 million Americans receive a check of some sort from the Federal government every month, with over 100 million enrolled in a government welfare program. It is unlikely that many of these people will rise up against the government, unless their checks stop flowing (a distinct possibility). Every instance of governmental overreach, corruption, malfeasance, un-Constitutional act or ineptitude tips the scale further towards more people waking up and resisting. I believe the good in most people’s hearts outweighs the evil. Once a tipping point is reached and enough people defy the government, an avalanche of consequences will sweep away the existing social order. Justice for unborn generations will be sought. Keeping silent only allows the evil to grow ever more formidable and entrenched.
“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
In Part Four of this article I will focus on the drumbeats of war getting louder on a daily basis. Fourth Turnings always climax with war on a grand scale. There will be no escape.
by STEVE WATSON & DAVID KNIGHT
In a recent speech, former head of the NSA and the CIA Michael Hayden suggested that following the 9/11 attacks, he reinterpreted the US Constitution and “started to do different things,” without the authorization of Congress or the President.
Speaking at Washington and Lee University last week Hayden effectively said that he was able to rewrite the Constitution based on his own “mature judgment” of what is right and wrong.
He specifically noted that, in his own mind at least, Fourth Amendment protections are now open to interpretation.
The Atlantic has the story, noting:
In a speech at Washington and Lee University, Michael Hayden, a former head of both the CIA and NSA, opined on signals intelligence under the Constitution, arguing that what the 4th Amendment forbids changed after September 11, 2001. He noted that “unreasonable search and seizure,” is prohibited under the Constitution, but cast it as a living document, with “reasonableness” determined by “the totality of circumstances in which we find ourselves in history.”
He explained that as the NSA’s leader, tactics he found unreasonable on September 10, 2001 struck him as reasonable the next day, after roughly 3,000 were killed. “I actually started to do different things,” he said. “And I didn’t need to ask ‘mother, may I’ from the Congress or the president or anyone else. It was within my charter, but in terms of the mature judgment about what’s reasonable and what’s not reasonable, the death of 3,000 countrymen kind of took me in a direction over here, perfectly within my authority, but a different place than the one in which I was located before the attacks took place. So if we’re going to draw this line I think we have to understand that it’s kind of a movable feast here.”
Perhaps terrorists should take note. If you keep attacking the US, the people in charge, like Hayden, will keep systematically breaking down what were previously considered unalienable freedoms until they are completely gone – thus you, the terrorists, win.
Within the same twisted speech, Hayden also casually noted that since 9/11 the NSA has not only been spying on and monitoring bad guys, but also anyone it considers to be “interesting”.
“I am not a law enforcement officer. I don’t suspect anybody.” Hayden said, adding “I am simply going out there to retrieve information that helps keep my countrymen free and safe. This is not about guilt. In fact, let me be really clear. NSA doesn’t just listen to bad people. NSA listens to interesting people. People who are communicating information.”
So much for the age old justification of ‘if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear’.
General Hayden. of course, has a track record of trashing the Constitution – it’s what brought him to the NSA gig in the first place.
He was the man who seriously argued, a decade ago, that there was no mention of “probable cause” in the Fourth Amendment, insisting that only ‘reasonable search and seizure’ was required in violating the privacy of Americans.
Hayden also contends that government secrecy is akin to an individual’s private privacy, and so the American public should not be privy to the actions of the NSA.
Hayden has also dubbed Edward Snowden worse than any American “traitor” ever, including Benedict Arnold, for blowing the whistle on government spying, and described Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story, as a “co-conspirator”. Hayden intimated that he would like to see both added to a government ‘kill list’.
“D” Weapons Use Appliances to Spy on Homes, Internet as Cyber Battleground: “World War III is a Guerrilla Information War”
by Mac Slavo
Though it has remained officially unsaid, the powers that be have all-but-officially designated the American people as their enemy in a foggy battleground that has become global, nebulous, highly technological and extremely paranoid.
Homeland Security and FBI protocol have set the stage for profiling Americans as potential threats, while the rising police state have often cracked down with a heavy hand and perhaps a SWAT raid. The War on Terror, global jihad, cyber attacks and a new Cold War have all contributed the necessary pretexts for an atmosphere of control and preemptive suspicion that seemingly justifies total surveillance of the population.
USCYBERCOM, activated by the federal government in 2009 and operated by the director of the NSA, adds a whole new dimension to that, by bringing home – to computer screens and devices everywhere – the cyberwar.
And since that time, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange became the first civilian designated, according to declassified information, as a military-designated “enemy of the state.” Many SWAT raids, FBI and police visits have now resulted from alleged threatening or offensive Internet activity. Likewise, StuxNet became the first major cyber attack against Iran, a (perceived) military threat. More recently, we’ve seen major cyber warfare exchanges with North Korea, resulting in an Internet blackout there following the SONY hacking scandal and diplomatic standoff over a Hollywood film.
As Daniel Taylor, of Old Thinker News, points out, the militarization and weaponization of the digital space has been a long time coming, and it might mutate into a conflict wide enough to involve you and your online activities. His article, “NSA Cyber War Will Use Internet of Things as Weapons Platform; Your Home is the Battlefield” argues:
As time goes on it will be readily apparent to the masses that the monumental surveillance architecture that will catalog and track the population is nothing more than an attempt at full spectrum domination.
New Snowden documents recently revealed that the NSA is getting ready for future digital wars as the agency postures itself in an aggressive manner towards the world. “The Five Eyes Alliance“, a cooperation between United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, is working hard to develop these weapons of Cyber Warfare.
So called “D” weapons, as reported by Der Spiegel, will paralyze computer networks and infrastructure that they monitor. Water supplies, factories, airports, as well as the flow of money are all potential targets.
Simultaneously, while handing out tech goodies to consumers, the American people have also become their dupes, their sheep and their eyes. Through the digitalization of the planet, cyberspace has brought home a front that is equal parts transformative, enticing and eerily grim.
The Edward Snowden leaks constituted notice to the world that all things digital are subject to surveillance – a total and complete surveillance that includes the participation of the population who, through carrying various “smart” devices that capture data, images and audio for meta-analysis – are feeding the powers that be with vast catalogs of spy information – including valuable proprietary consumer data. Taylor notes:
The NSA’s Cyber Weapons program will undoubtedly exploit these devices, which include household appliances, and, frighteningly, medical devices that can be hacked. Pacemakers can be remotely stopped, and insulin pumps can be made to deliver a lethal dose of insulin. With the advent of implantable devices that communicate via Wifi, the potential for manipulation and hacking is growing exponentially.
If the developers of these internet connected devices don’t willingly work with the NSA to place back-doors in the technology, the agency is hard at work trying to find and exploit them.
Through the emerging Internet of Things (IoT), household appliances, smart meters, street lights and more will create a total digital picture of life, capturing real time data per appliance that creates a total information grid. Taylor writes:
The Der Spiegel report does not mention the wider issue of the expanding network of everyday objects and appliances that are connected to the internet. According to CIA chief David Patraeus the Internet of Things will have a monumental impact on “clandestine tradecraft.” Richard Adhikari writes for Tech News World that the Internet of Things is “…ripe for exploitation by the NSA”
Consumer appliances are now becoming activated and “smart.” RFID chips and wireless internet connections enable devices like televisions, refrigerators, printers, and computers to communicate with each other and generally make life easier for us. This comes at a price, however. Your privacy is eliminated.
This digital surveillance age does not make spying on persons of interest merely possible or probable in any theoretical sense. Instead, it is a living matrix that defaults to spying. It is set up to flag aberrant and eccentric behavior and patterns, and will prompt a due response – whether you have done anything wrong or not.
The scheduled blurring of legitimate military targets and average civilian members of the population will present a different type of war, with weaponized information and data. Putting it all in perspective, Taylor cites a media pioneer from a time before the digital age had dawned:
“World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” – Marshall McLuhan, Culture is Our Business, 1970
Such a war will likely be the ultimate battle between the individual and the state. Unless stopped or slowed, it will accomplish, systematically, what no Cold War secret agency working on the ground and in the shadows could ever hope to gain.