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Atlantic Council Pens Anonymously Authored Expose Calling for Regime Change in China

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/02/2021 - 5:24am in

Influential D.C. think tank the Atlantic Council has printed a 26,000-word report laying out its strategy for combating China. Published anonymously, the report states that “the single most important challenge facing the United States” in the twenty-first century is China’s growth to rival their own power.

To do so, the report states that the U.S. must use “the power of its military,” the dollar’s role as the global reserve currency, and American control over technology and communication to suffocate the nation of 1.4 billion people. It advises President Biden to draw a number of “red lines” past which the U.S. would directly intervene (presumably militarily). These include Chinese attempts to expand into the South China Sea, an attack on the disputed Senkaku Islands, or moves against Taiwan’s independence. A North Korean strike on any of its neighbors would also necessitate an American response against China, the report insists, because “China must fully own responsibility for the behavior of its North Korean ally.” Any backing down from this stance, the council states, would result in national “humiliation” for the United States.

Perhaps most notably, however, the report also envisages what a successful American China policy would look like by 2050: “the United States and its major allies continue to dominate the regional and global balance of power across all the major indices of power;” and that head of state Xi Jinping “has been replaced by a more moderate party leadership; and that the Chinese people themselves have come to question and challenge the Communist Party’s century-long proposition that China’s ancient civilization is forever destined to an authoritarian future.” In other words, that China has been broken and that some sort of regime change has occurred.

 

Repping the national security state

The Atlantic Council is a NATO-offshoot organization funded by the U.S. and other allied governments, including the Gulf dictatorships. Among its largest corporate sponsors include weapons manufacturers like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing. Its board of directors is full of high statespeople like Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice as well as senior military figures such as retired generals Wesley Clark, David Petraeus, H.R. McMaster, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Lt. General Brent Scowcroft and Admiral James Stavridis. At least seven former CIA directors are also on the board. Thus, the council could be said to represent the consensus opinion of the national security state.

The organization has been responsible for much of the most hawkish, bellicose rhetoric surrounding Russia and China for some time. For instance, it has put out a number of studies that claim that virtually every European political party outside the establishment beltway — from Labour and UKIP in the U.K. to Syriza and Golden Dawn in Greece and PODEMOS and Vox in Spain — are secretly controlled by Russia, functioning as the “Kremlin’s Trojan Horses.”

 

“The Longer Telegram”

The council’s new anonymous report, named “the Longer Telegram,” is a direct reference to American diplomat George Kennan’s 1946 “Long Telegram.” Kennan’s report, sent from Moscow, argued that the U.S. should completely abandon its wartime alliance with the Soviet Union and immediately pursue a strategy of hostile “containment,” and is considered one of the founding documents of the Cold War. By consciously associating itself with Kennan, the Atlantic Council is implicitly heralding the arrival of a new global conflict with China.

Kennan is appreciated among historians for being one of the most straightforward talkers in the national security establishment. In 1948 he outlined what the U.S. position and interests were:

We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population…. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity…We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction…We should cease to talk about vague and… unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

 

Biden takes the helm

Throughout 2020, President Biden’s team quietly stated that their entire industrial and foreign policy would revolve around “compet[ing] with China,” with their top priorities being “dealing with authoritarian governments, defending democracy and tackling corruption, as well as understanding how these challenges intersect with new technologies, such as 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology.” The Trump administration had already begun a global campaign to damage Chinese giants like Huawei and TikTok. From his team’s statements, it appears likely that Biden will carry on its anti-Beijing stance.

However, many top officials in Washington see the prospect of a hot war with China as a distant one. “Most of the U.S.-China competition is not going to be fighting World War Three…It’s going to be kicking each other under the table,” one source told the Financial Times in May. Others argue for a worldwide culture war against Beijing, including the Pentagon commissioning “Taiwanese Tom Clancy” novels, intended to demonize China and demoralize its citizens, bombarding its people with stories of the deaths of their (only) children.

Whatever Washington decides to do, it appears that the groundwork has already been laid at home. Just three years ago, Americans had a neutral view of China (and nine years ago it was strongly favorable). Today, the same polls show that 73% of Americans dislike China, with only 22% holding a positive opinion of the country. Thus, it is far from clear that there will be much public pushback at all to a coming second Cold War.

Feature photo | Chinese military personnel march during the parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Ng Han Guan | AP

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

The post Atlantic Council Pens Anonymously Authored Expose Calling for Regime Change in China appeared first on MintPress News.

Break Up the Tech Monopoly

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/02/2021 - 11:00pm in

Tags 

Politics, News

Photo Credit: Koshiro K/Shutterstock Australian leaders want Google to pay news outlets for articles the tech giant serves up to...

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Everything About The Biden Administration Is Fake

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 02/02/2021 - 3:50pm in

A new exclusive from The Daily Beast titled “White House Reporters: Biden Team Wanted Our Questions in Advance” reports that the White House press corps is being pressured to provide briefing questions ahead of time in a way that makes even mainstream media journalists uncomfortable.

“While it’s a relief to see briefings return, particularly with a commitment to factual information, the press can’t really do its job in the briefing room if the White House is picking and choosing the questions they want,” one White House correspondent told The Daily Beast. “That’s not really a free press at all.”

“It pissed off enough reporters for people to flag it for the [White House Correspondents Association] for them to deal with it,” another source reportedly said.

While Obama’s deputy press secretary Eric Schultz calls the move “textbook communications work” designed to ensure that Biden’s press secretary has answers ready instead of having to “repeatedly punt questions”, clearly the reporters on the job feel differently.

“The requests prompted concerns among the White House press corps, whose members, like many reporters, are sensitive to the perception that they are coordinating with political communications staffers,” writes the Beast.

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Having questions in advance would indeed be a good way to help insulate press secretary Jen Psaki (for whom liberals are already developing an unwholesome celebrity crush) from hard questions. This would avoid sticky situations like when Psaki deflected inquiries about treasury secretary Janet Yellen’s conflict of interest with the Citadel controversy by babbling about Yellen being the first woman in her position and claiming that receiving $800,000 in speaking fees from that company is no reason for her to recuse herself.

So this is just one more item on the steadily growing pile of fake things about this administration. Everything about it is phony. This is the Astroturf Administration.

Biden and his cohorts point-blank lied about sending out $2000 checks.

Deportations are continuing unimpeded despite all the campaign pledges to the contrary.

The kids in cages that made Rachel Maddow cry on air during the Trump administration are still in their cages and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

The pro-environment candidate has authorized dozens of new oil drilling permits within days of taking office.

Re-entering the Iran nuclear deal seems as far off as ever, with the administration continuing Trump’s “maximum pressure campaign” even as Tehran says the US ending its cruel sanctions is a precondition to resuming the deal.

Biden still hasn’t taken any solid steps to end the horrific war on Yemen, or even to end US facilitation of the slaughter as he promised on the campaign trail (he could have taken major steps toward doing this the day he took office and chose not to).

While this president hides from the press due to his rapidly deteriorating ability to answer questions in complete sentences, the mass media churn out think pieces about how taking himself out of the spotlight is actually a brilliant political move.

As Our Hidden History recently put it, “We got sold a sack of political oregano.”

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And that’s all the US empire ever is, really: a murderous, tyrannical planetary oppressor covered up by varying degrees of dishonesty. During the Trump administration the depravity was a little more honest about itself, now during the Biden administration it’s a little more dishonest. The only major change is the thickness with which the makeup is slathered over the skull.

Everything about life in our current world order is dominated by phoniness. Our culture is manufactured by Hollywood. Our dominating political structure is manufactured by think tanks. Our perceptions of what’s going on in the world are manufactured in Langley and Arlington. The whole thing is so fake and stupid. We’ve got to figure out a way to snap out of these artificial boxes they are placing over our minds and these perceptual filters they are placing over our eyes, and birth something real and authentic into our world.

_______________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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“At First I Thought it Was a Joke”: Academic Media Censorship Conference Censored by YouTube

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 02/02/2021 - 2:14am in

An academic critical media literacy conference warning of the dangers of media censorship has, ironically, been censored by YouTube. The Critical Media Literacy Conference of the Americas 2020 took place without incident online over two days in October and featured a number of esteemed speakers and panels discussing issues concerning modern media studies.

Weeks later, however, the entire video record of the conference — estimated at around 24 hours of material — disappeared from YouTube. Organizer Nolan Higdon of California State University East Bay, began receiving worried messages from other academics, some of which were shared with MintPress, who had been using the material in their classrooms, noting that it had all mysteriously disappeared.

“At first I thought it was a joke,” said Mickey Huff of Diablo Valley College, California. “My initial reaction was ‘that’s absurd;’ there must have been a mistake or an accident or it must have got swept under somehow. There is no violation, there was no reasoning, there was no warning, there was not an explanation, there was no nothing. The entire channel was just gone,” he told MintPress. Huff is also the director of Project Censored, an organization that sponsored the event.

Higdon suspected that it was the content critical of big tech monopolies like Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter that was the reason why the channel was deleted. “Each video was a different panel and every panel had different people from the other ones, so it is not like there was one theme or person or copyrighted content in all of our videos; this seems to be an attack on the conference, not on a singular video,” he said.

 

“This wasn’t a keg party with Parler users”

The organizers were careful to avoid copyright infringement, with the large majority of their videos in lecture format, essentially a recorded Zoom call. Speakers included some of the best-known names in media studies, with the event sponsored by institutions like Stanford University and UCLA. “This wasn’t a keg party with Parler users: it was an academic conference,” Huff said.

These are pioneering figures in critical media literacy scholarship. It’s mind numbing that all of this was just disappeared from YouTube. The irony is writ large…This is part of a potentially algorithmic way of getting rid of more radical positions that criticize establishment media systems, including journalism.”

Higdon too, suspected YouTube’s action was politicized: “This is the same year we saw big tech trying to influence Prop 22 here in California, so I am not too surprised that they would be aggressive with folks like us who are critical of media corporations.”

Organizers say they attempted to contact YouTube but did not receive a reply.

MintPress spoke to representatives from Google, YouTube’s parent company, who strenuously denied that they would ever remove content from their platforms purely because it was critical of the company, noting that there is a wealth of videos on the website that challenge or attack them.After looking into the matter, Google said they could find only one video and reinstated it (although the video does not appear on the conference’s channel). As for the hours of other footage, that remains an enigma to them, with no record of its existence. Thus, it appears that there will be no closure or a definitive answer to this mystery.

 

Algorithms take aim

Media literacy, big tech power, and censorship are hot topics right now. In the wake of the dramatic storming of the Capitol Building earlier this month, a host of companies, including Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, took actions against Donald Trump, limiting his and his supporters’ ability to communicate online. Perhaps most notably, however, Google, Apple, and Amazon Web Services launched a coordinated assault on “free speech app” Parler, a service popular with the far-right for its lax laws on racism. Together, the three effectively took the service offline around the world.

More recently, the Wall Street Bets subreddit, responsible for intentionally sinking a multi-billion dollar hedge fund, has endured retaliation, its communications channels cut by messaging app Discord, amid calls to immediately criminalize their behavior.

While the pros and cons of such decisions can, and have been, debated, the bigger question of should privately-owned companies be allowed to have the power to regulate who can and cannot speak online, has largely been downplayed.

“On the one hand I understand they have the right to deplatform people,” Huff told MintPress. “On a broader level though, I don’t think they should have achieved this kind of power over our communication systems in the first place, and these should be publicly run platforms regulated the same way our government regulates and enforces the First Amendment.”

Higdon was equally worried about the power amassed by the tech giants. “By empowering these tech companies to decide what is and is not appropriate, they are going to look out for their vested interests, and people who are critical of their business model and practices are going to be targets,” he said, predicting that,

These lefties right now who are advocating for censorship…the outcome of this is going to be on them.”

If history is any judge, he will be proven correct. In the wake of the 2016 election and the allegations that Russian disinformation swung the result in Trump’s favor, social media companies changed their algorithms to help halt the spread of fake news. The main result, however, was a throttling of traffic to high-quality alternative news sites and the promotion of corporate media like CNN and Fox News. Overnight, Consortium News’ Google traffic fell by 47%, Common Dreams’ by 37%, Democracy Now! By 36% and The Intercept by 19%. MintPress suffered similar, unrecoverable losses.

Likewise, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally approved the deliberate choking of alternative media, admitting that his company deranked Mother Jones because of its left-wing persuasion (despite Facebook’s assurances that it was doing no such thing). Other, more radical outlets have suffered even greater reductions in traffic.

 

Anti-social media

Whatever decisions big tech companies make reverberate throughout society. 35, 24, and 17% of Americans get their news from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, respectively, with similar numbers worldwide. This enormous user base makes them by far the greatest and most influential news platforms on the planet, with the ability to highlight stories, bury others, and even swing elections. Huff was extremely worried about the power of these new media monopolies.

“We can’t get away from the fact that Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, the whole corporate Alphabet soup of this big tech dystopia have gobbled up the public sphere. This is where people can go to congregate and share their information and it is also where invisible forces decide which voices get heard and which do not. Let’s also not forget that all of this tech was initially funded with taxpayer money.”

Worse still, although we now live in an online world, the public is hopelessly ill-equipped to navigate its waters, displaying a shocking lack of awareness and understanding of how they can be manipulated.

A 2016 study from Stanford University found that two-thirds of college-aged “digital natives” — people who grew up using the Internet — mistook native advertising for a genuine news story, even with the words “sponsored content” displayed prominently. “Overall, young people’s ability to reason about the information on the Internet can be summed up in one word: bleak,” the study concluded, leading to calls for more critical media literacy education in schools. “Since we are not teaching people how to use these technologies, or how these technologies use them, they are more susceptible to propaganda and to disinformation. And ironically our conference was designed to combat exactly that problem,” Huff added.

Perhaps most worrying of all is the increasingly close connections between Silicon Valley and the National Security State. “What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century…technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first,” wrote Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. Late last year, the CIA signed a partnership deal worth tens of billions of dollars with Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM, and Amazon Web Services. Meanwhile, Facebook has partnered with the NATO cutout organization the Atlantic Council to help them curate the world’s news feeds. Reddit has also hired Atlantic Council official Jessica Ashooh as its director of policy.

The Atlantic Council’s board of directors includes eight former CIA chiefs, multiple U.S. Army Generals, and high statespeople like Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice, meaning that any decisions big tech companies make are only one step removed from the U.S. government. “This is actually [state] censorship by proxy,” Higdon warned.

“These companies, we know thanks to Edward Snowden and others, have contracts with the Federal government. There is a revolving door between particularly the Democratic Party and big tech, and there are also various loans and government protections given to this industry. So this is not some independent set of entities making this decision.”

“If 1984’s protagonist Winston Smith were a real character today he’d be a fact checker at Facebook or a content curator at YouTube, relegating to the dustbins of history whatever programmers are told to or whatever keywords our conference triggered,” Huff added.

Big tech has repeatedly acted at the behest of the U.S. government to silence its international opponents, suspending the accounts of foreign leaders like Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro or Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei or deranking foreign media outlets like RT and TeleSUR.

It is in this light that the deletion of the Critical Media Literacy Conference of the Americas can be seen; not as a deliberate decision by an angry Google employee intent on revenge, but as the result of a powerful and Byzantine algorithm designed by Silicon Valley executives who are intimately intertwined with both the government and the corporate world. There is little oversight of their power or recourse to their decisions, given their enormous influence over public life today.

Huff was particularly sardonic about the whole affair:

There are layers of irony here that are certainly not lost on us. But I don’t know if the public at large is realizing the attack that is happening against the very people that are the intellectual bulwark against such institutional censorship. I’m not trying to make us out to be martyrs here, but my point is that I think it has a particular irony when the very public intellectuals who try to educate the public about how these systems work are silenced,” he said.

Feature photo | Graphic by Antonio Cabrera for MintPress News | Based on art created for Project Censored

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

The post “At First I Thought it Was a Joke”: Academic Media Censorship Conference Censored by YouTube appeared first on MintPress News.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Is Crazy And So Is The Rest Of Congress: Notes From The Edge Of The…

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 31/01/2021 - 2:38pm in

Tags 

Politics, News

Marjorie Taylor Greene Is Crazy And So Is The Rest Of Congress: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

I really hope Americans get rid of that dangerous right wing lunatic in congress, by which I mean all of the people in congress.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is not more crazy than all the DC politicians who agree the US should maintain planetary hegemony using bombs, regime change ops, starvation sanctions and nuclear threats. She’s just a less popular genre of crazy.

There is an ideological struggle to determine whether the Republican Party will be the kind of bat shit crazy that believes in QAnon and Jewish Space Lasers or just the kind of bat shit crazy that believes in carpet bombing Iran and destroying the ecosystem for money.

Stop normalizing status quo politics.

Stop normalizing ecocide.

Stop normalizing imperialism.

Stop normalizing mass murder.

Stop normalizing nuclear standoffs.

Stop normalizing starvation sanctions.

Stop normalizing exploitation.

Stop normalizing oppression.

Stop normalizing the mainstream so-called “centrists” who promote these extremist evils.

If people could really grasp how horrific our status quo is, wingnut freaks like Marjorie Taylor Greene wouldn’t stand out against the background, because everyone who helps bolster this murderous and depraved status quo is also a wingnut freak. And there would be just as urgent a push to cast out all the other freaks as there is to cast out her.

The ruling class keeps Americans as poor as possible so they can’t use their money to do naughty things like fund leftist political campaigns or sabotage hedge funds.

People are like two clicks away from burning Wall Street to the ground and setting up guillotines and mainstream analysts are still wringing their hands about how gamer trolls might be compromising the integrity of the market somewhat.

The Democratic Party has a big tent coalition ranging all the way from billionaires, to the lackeys of billionaires, to people who owe favors to billionaires, to people who have been propagandized by billionaires. The whole entire spectrum.

There is absolutely no way the Democratic Party makes the drastic changes we will need to avoid climate collapse or nuclear war. In policy it only promotes slow incremental change, and in practice it promotes no change whatsoever. You’re throwing money and energy into armageddon.

People who think we can be saved by a counter-revolutionary party which never does anything but bolster the status quo have no understanding of how bad things are and how rapidly they are deteriorating.

The way liberals are falling in love with Jen Psaki is very Trumpian and ugly. Don’t celebrity crush on your government’s PR person, it’s gross.

I could understand people being all gaga over Obama for a bit; first Black president, it’s historic and exciting. But the way libs are stanning an old white asshole president and adoring Psaki is just undignified worship of DC royalty.

My current pet conspiracy theory is that both the “Putin Puppet” allegations against Trump and the “Beijing Biden” allegations have their roots in the US intelligence community. Trump greatly ramped up tensions with Russia under that cover; Biden will do the same with China.

Idiot rightists who keep bleating “Beijing Biden” while he ramps up aggressions on China are the new idiot liberals who kept bleating “Putin Puppet” while he ramped up aggression on Russia.

Amid the vast ocean of knowable and unknowable things, a grown adult has scarcely any more knowledge than a newborn. It’s easy to fall into the stale sense of having it all figured out, but in the relative grand scheme of things we’re just babies in a world we do not understand.

I know I’d be taken more seriously by the cool kids if I didn’t post spiritual stuff and kept my more out-there perspectives to myself, but to me that would be manipulative and dishonest. I prefer to just be up front about who I am and where I’m coming from, and you can make up your own mind about me from there.

______________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Lessons From Wall Street: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/01/2021 - 1:58pm in

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. That’s all you’re seeing in efforts to manage information via censorship, algorithm changes, “fact” checking, Russian propaganda panic, etc. Humans are story-driven animals, so if you control the stories you control the humans.

Lessons from this whole Wall Street/Reddit ordeal:

  • The stock market is a scam.
  • There is no “free market” and there never will be.
  • Wall Street predators are the most despised people on earth.
  • The public can do more to fight back than it had previously assumed.
  • There’s surely a lot more we can do to fight back that we haven’t thought of yet.

You can’t expose how rigged the system really is without pushing against its power structures according to its own rules. When the entire system pushes back and boots you out in front of everyone, more people are made more aware that it is rigged. This can only be a good thing.

Every single hedge fund plutocrat has at some point in their lives thought the words “I can’t believe I’m getting away with this!”

This is another one of those awkward “we need to shut down the rabble without looking like a totalitarian oligarchy” standoffs.

Myth: The rich compete with each other and ordinary people benefit from it.

Reality: The rich collaborate with each other against ordinary people.

Example:

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It will always tend to be more profitable to do bad things than good things: ecocide over preservation, exploitation over equality, war over peace. Humanity remains on a doomed trajectory for as long as its systems maintain profit-seeking as the driving force behind its behavior.

The only argument capitalism really has for this is that people can do their good deeds separately from their profit chasing: philanthropy etc. But at best this just means a tiny percentage of human behavior is going toward good things while everything else goes to bad things.

If human behavior is driven by profit chasing and it’s more profitable to do bad things than good things, and if the entire system is pointed at doing bad things with only a few charitable good things done in our free time, we will necessarily remain on a doomed trajectory.

Biden’s Iran policy is just Trump’s Iran policy with “TRUMP’S FAULT” scribbled over it in crayon.

Democrats: We propose a shitty, awful thing that will kill people and benefit billionaires.

Republicans: Make it 60% worse and you’ve got a deal.

Democrats and Republicans: We have produced a bipartisan measure! That’s the power of pragmatism, compromise, and working together.

First they came for the conspiracy theorists, but I did not speak out, for I was not a conspiracy theorist.

Then they came for the socialists, but I did not speak out, for I was not a socialist.

They never came for me, for I am a shitlib and they’re fine with me.

Have the heart to prioritize the good of the collective and the balls to take your stand as an individual.

Too many people are expecting Biden’s warmongering to manifest as blatant Bush-style ground invasions. If you keep looking in that direction you’ll probably miss his actual warmongering, which will more likely manifest as proxy wars, cold war escalations, coups, sanctions, etc.

Your favorite commentator will eventually say something you strongly disagree with. The more you put them on a pedestal, the more that’s going to hurt. Regard them as an equal, whose views you can take when they’re useful and leave when they’re not, and this won’t happen.

It is not strange or suspicious when someone chooses to focus their criticisms on the most powerful and destructive government on earth, it is strange and suspicious that more people don’t.

Whenever there’s a new US president and people criticize his actions, someone from the other side always points out that it was actually started by the previous president. And then, somehow, the conversation never becomes about why all US presidents advance the same evil agendas regardless of their political party or campaign platform.

The political/media class generally fixates on the differences between presidents, but you can learn a whole lot more about what’s really going on by looking at their similarities.

Once the collective began awakening to the fact that a free and democratic society is preferable to a totalitarian one, it became inevitable that there would soon emerge totalitarian societies disguised as free and democratic societies.

Ideologically I am first and foremost a truth and transparency advocate. I hold it self-evident that if people could really see what’s happening in their world uninhibited by government secrecy, propaganda and censorship, they’d naturally force a much healthier system into being.

I have other ideological preferences (I’m way down in the left-libertarian corner of the political compass), but I also have enough humility to know that maybe my way wouldn’t be best for everyone, and we must all be allowed to see the truth and let everyone make up their mind.

This to me is the least authoritarian position possible: let everyone see the truth uninhibited by the narrative manipulations and opacity of powerful, then let the collective decide on the best path from there. It would definitely end up much healthier than our current system.

Really it’s just a matter of letting awareness expand, which is always the driver behind any positive change people make. It should be allowed to expand inwardly too: legalize psychedelics. Bring consciousness to unjust societal dynamics. Encourage healing and inner exploration.

Be your own revolution. You have all the media access you need to help wake the world up with the power of your own inspired action. Reject cliques, factions and sectarianism, and have the courage to stand on your own two feet attacking the machine with your own unique abilities.

Just blast off. Don’t wait for your comrades. Don’t try to pull them along with you before they are ready. Just blast forward into your own revolution, burning brightly and scorching the machine with your light. Shine brightly enough and the others will follow when they’re ready.

One of the most frustrating things is seeing where we need to move and not being able to get the collective to come with you. You’re like “It’s there, let’s move!” and they just want to bicker and ego spar. Just blast off into health yourself. The others will come when it’s time.

Narrative and reality are becoming further and further apart on a mass scale, and it’s gonna snap at some point. And it just so happens that a lucid perception of the difference between narrative and reality is the thing that spiritual awakening is. This can happen at mass scale.

We are living in unprecedented times. In unprecedented times, unprecedented things can happen. It is entirely possible that we end up winning this thing and creating a healthy world together. There is no real argument to the contrary.

___________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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It’s Still Early, but Signs Point To an Israel-First Biden Presidency

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/01/2021 - 8:13am in

Now that the Democratic party is in power in America and controls both the executive and legislative branches of government, they would do well to listen to what young people have to say about the Democratic agenda regarding Israel and Palestine. During a panel discussion that I hosted before the elections that can be found on the “Miko Peled Podcast” or at Mikopeled.com, a panel of young American voters from different backgrounds and different ethnicities discussed what they thought about the Democratic platform regarding this vitally important issue.

 

Young Voices

These young voters are fully aware that as they join the workforce and pay taxes, close to 4 billion dollars of their hard earned tax dollars go to Israel each and every year. These young voters talked about the fact that the Democratic party stands behind Israel 110%, that their track record going back to the Obama-Biden era is troubling, to say the least, and that Obama-Biden gave Israel the largest foreign aid package in the history of foreign aid packages.

One of the panelists brought up the fact that Kamala Harris had declared unconditional support for Israel regardless of what Israel did, completely ignoring Israel’s human rights violations. This panelist also said that this demonstrates that Harris is spineless because she bows to the Israeli lobby. Another speaker said that the Democratic party had aided and abetted war crimes committed by Israel and that the Democratic party’s policies, or rather the lack of a clear policy attitude towards the Palestinian issue, is inexcusable.

 

Female activists speak up

Other voices that the Biden Administration might want to listen to are female activists who work and live and what is called 1948 Palestine, in other words, among Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship. Another panel that I hosted, and can also be found on the “Miko Peled Podcast” and on Mikopeled.com, was with female Palestinian activists who reside and work in Palestine itself. Their comments regarding Israel’s treatment of Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship were as follows, “we are second-class citizens by law.” Referring to the Israeli nation-state law which elevated the status of Israeli Jews and their rights in occupied Palestine.

“Our language has been reduced from being one of the official languages of this country to just another language that is spoken,” again referring to the nation-state law which downgraded the status of the Arabic language. Then they added a statement that was perhaps the most painful of them all, that “Palestinian citizens are seen and are treated as a demographic threat.” One has to wonder what it means about a country that considers its own citizens who happen to be of a different religion and a different background to be a demographic threat, in the twenty-first century.

“We Face discrimination in all aspects of life,” said one of the activists, and she continued, “when it comes to budgets, when it comes to resources given to the Palestinian municipalities, and on top of that, the poorest of the poor within Israel are Palestinians.” “In fact,” she continued, “65% of the Palestinians citizens of Israel live below the poverty line.”

There are historic towns, particularly in the Naqab region, towns that preceded the establishment of the state of Israel and which the state of Israel refuses to recognize. These towns are known as “unrecognized towns” and within these towns, over 100,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel reside. “The unrecognized towns have no access to  water, electricity, education facilities, roads, or medical facilities.”

Israel has enacted policies in the Naqab region whereby only Jewish settlers are permitted to engage in agriculture. In fact, Israel provides incentives for Israeli Jews to settle in the region and engage in agriculture work. The Palestinian Bedouin community,  on the other hand, which is traditionally an agricultural community, is forbidden from engaging in agriculture and land cultivation. Traditionally this community raised livestock and knows how to use the resources of this mostly desert region in order to cultivate crops. However, Israel has mandated that they must remain in their townships and poverty-stricken cities and that they are not permitted to engage in agriculture, except as cheap labor for Israeli Jewish settlers. We should remember that the Palestinian Bedouin community of the Naqab are also citizens of the state of Israel.

 

Does Biden know?

The problem is that the voices of activists at the grassroots level rarely reach the halls of power. Will Secretary of State Anthony Blinken ever hear what Palestinians are saying? Will people in the Biden administration ever pay attention to the voices of young Americans who are involved in activism and care about human rights issues? What will it take for people to realize that support for Zionism is just as bad, or perhaps even worse, than support for the Proud Boys?

Secretary of State Blinken says he believes that Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel and that the U.S. embassy should remain there. Does he realize, however, that right-wing religious zealots who are today in positions of power and are likely to gain more power in the upcoming elections plan to destroy more and more of historic Palestinian Jerusalem in order to accommodate their obsession with their own mythology?

One has to wonder what Secretary of State Blinken will say, and indeed what President Biden will say when they realize that they allowed radical right-wing religious Zionist zealots to destroy the glorious Arab, Muslim and Christian history of Jerusalem? Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel gave an enormous boost to the most radical and violent elements within the state of Israel and the destruction of these two iconic monuments is part of their agenda.

As the leader of the radical right, Naftali Bennett gets closer and closer to the prime minister’s chair in Tel Aviv, the radical right-wing religious zealots get closer and closer to destroying the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque, two monuments that have crowned Jerusalem for over 1,000 years. One has to wonder how long it will take before any American politician realizes Zionism is toxic and that it has been poisoning Palestine with racism, violence, and hatred for close to 100 years.

Even as American politicians choose to deny that Israel is a racist state and choose to reject the Palestinian call to impose boycotts, to divest, and to place sanctions on the state of Israel, the egregious violations of international law and human rights abuses continue. Furthermore, the state of Israel enacts deeper and more severe anti-Palestinian policies throughout the entire country. Right-wing groups terrorize the countryside, the military and the police engage in the destruction of homes, destruction of communities, and the abuse of Palestinians everywhere.

Even though it is still early, it already seems that when it comes to policy regarding the Middle East and Iran, the Biden Administration, just like the Trump Administration before it, will be taking orders from the Israeli government.

Feature photo | Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not seen, give joint statements in the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem, March 9, 2016. Debbie Hill | Pool via AP

Miko Peled is an author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. He is the author of “The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post It’s Still Early, but Signs Point To an Israel-First Biden Presidency appeared first on MintPress News.

Cellebrite: Israel’s Good Cyber Cop is Big Tech’s Backdoor to Breaching Your Privacy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/01/2021 - 3:35am in

Privacy and security have long-been one of the top selling points for iOS devices in the interminable marketing fracas between Apple and its competitors, with fancy additions to their suite of protection features like fingerprint scanning and facial recognition. Android devices, by contrast, always seemed to lag behind in the personal encryption space, but have caught up fairly recently in the consumer’s mind, at least.

The cat, as they say, is out of the bag thanks to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who decided to test the mobile security systems of two of the biggest mobile device makers, Apple and Google. Their findings reveal that the layers of security protecting our data are only skin deep and that much of the encryption structures built into these devices remain unused. “I’ve come out of the project thinking almost nothing is protected,” Matthew Green, the professor who oversaw the study told Wired.

Using the companies’ own data and records spanning over a decade, the team of cryptographers found a plethora of security loopholes that can and are being exploited “by hackers and law enforcement alike.” The latter’s access to our mobile devices is of particular concern, given “the privacy risks involved in unchecked seizure and search.” Significantly, it is not your local police precinct that necessarily has the right tools to extract any readable data from your cell phone or laptop (though that is changing), but rather, these unique abilities are reserved for private cybersecurity companies who offer their services to police and other government entities.

One such firm, Israeli cyber forensics firm Cellebrite, boasts about their ability to “unlock and extract data from all iOS and high-end Android devices,” a service they have been selling to governments around the world and which they have more recently integrated into a product called Universal Forensic Extraction Device or UFED, which has been purchased by multiple law enforcement agencies across the globe, including the Hong Kong Police, which used Cellebrite’s hacking technology to “crack protestors’ smartphones” during the anti-extradition riots of 2019 and the NYPD, which enrolled in Cellebrite’s “UFED Premium program” that same year and gives ‘New York’s finest’ the capability to extract ostensibly private citizens’ data from the department’s own computers and laptops.

 

Cellebrite’s Celebrity

Acquired by a relatively obscure Japanese video game developer, Sun Corporation (Sunsoft) in 2007, Cellebrite started to seep into the public eye as a result of the San Bernardino mass shooting of 2015 when Syed Rizwan Farook along with his wife and son opened fire inside the San Bernardino County seat during a public health event, leaving 14 dead.

Farook and his accomplices were among the first to be described by U.S. law enforcement as “homegrown violent extremists” who had been influenced by foreign terrorist groups and radicalized on the Internet, presaging the current trend in American political discourse in the wake of the Capitol riots and the justification for the creation of domestic terrorist laws and mass deplatforming actions by big tech.

Cellebrite Spyware

Cellebrite’s interface is shown during extraction of an iPhone. Source | Privacy International

The incident also spawned a highly-publicized dispute between the FBI and Apple over law enforcement agencies’ right to compel device manufacturers to unlock cell phones’ data encryption features in order to assist in criminal investigations. The controversy between the FBI and the Silicon Valley behemoth escalated as Apple successfully resisted the attempts to break its promises of privacy to its customers in court. In the meantime, Cellebrite came along and offered to bypass Apple’s vaunted encryption for the FBI, which they did easily, according to Cellebrite CEO, Yossi Carmil.

By 2019, Cellebrite was said to control half of the global digital forensics market, according to the Ynet article, in which Carmil brags that the company counts with “specialized iOS and Android capabilities that no one else has anywhere in the world.”

 

Fair Comparisons

Despite the apparent conflict Cellebrite has with Apple and other mobile device manufacturers, Carmil asserts that the iPhone-maker is “quite satisfied with the use of Cellebrite’s technology”, perhaps because the arrangement allows the world’s most profitable tech company to maintain the pretense of a robust privacy offering to its global customer base.

Cellebrite has drawn comparisons to another Israeli cyber hacking firm called NSO Group, which is known to deploy spyware and other surveillance tools on behalf of highly-suspect government entities and independent state actors. Pegasus spyware, one of NSO’s most notorious contributions to the dark world of cyberwarfare, has been found to be behind cyber attack operations in 45 countries, according to a study by Citizen Lab.

Cellebrite Spyware

A Cellebrite brochure boasts of the devices data extraction capabilities

Among the scandals traced back to Pegasus spyware was its use in the targeting of dozens of Mexican journalists, lawyers, and advocates investigating the country’s drug cartels and the mass disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in 2014 – a case that implicates none other than the recently repatriated General Salvador Cienfuegos. NSO’s spyware has been linked to the assassination of at least one award-winning Mexican journalist who had founded a newspaper dedicated to investigating the nation’s drug cartels.

Carmil dismisses the similarities between NSO and Cellebrite, assuring us that he “sleeps well at night,” confident in the fact that his company is “on the good side.” Despite his resentment over what he considers an unfair association, Carmil “appreciates [the] know-how” of his industry colleagues at NSO, which he admits to knowing. He is unapologetic, however, about the true nature of his business and is proud to work with agencies like the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to capture people who end up in their detention facilities, where some are subjected to hysterectomies and other invasive surgical procedures against their will.

“The world is not innocent,” Carmil decrees. “When I need to take data from immigrants to keep my country safe, I feel I am on the right side of the law,” he continues. It is unclear what country, specifically, Carmil is referring to as Cellebrite operates in 150 countries around the world and has just finished signing a $3 million contract with an undisclosed government agency in Abu Dhabi in a deal brokered by former Mossad agent, David Meidan.

Meidan headed a special department for the Israeli spy agency in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) called Tevel, which functioned as an unofficial “foreign ministry,” tasked with managing “the secret ties between the Jewish state and the Arab and Muslim world” and which, naturally, dealt directly with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and deputy commander of the UAE armed forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, who is one of the best customers of NSO’s Pegasus spyware.

Feature photo | A man looks at his cellphone as he walks on the street in downtown Madrid. Francisco Seco. | AP

Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.

The post Cellebrite: Israel’s Good Cyber Cop is Big Tech’s Backdoor to Breaching Your Privacy appeared first on MintPress News.

Europeans get it: Basic Income strengthens resilience

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 8:29pm in

Advocates for basic income have long argued that it is much more than just a poverty relief measure. It is a matter of common justice that would enhance freedom and provide basic security for all. A new survey across six major European countries shows that people understand its potential to improve their lives. Not only […]

Biden Takes Two Small Steps Toward Ending Yemen War. Keep Up The Pressure!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/01/2021 - 2:12pm in

Tags 

Yemen, War, Politics, News

The Biden administration has taken two small steps toward ending the horrific US-backed mass atrocities in Yemen, with temporary holds placed on both a murderous sanctions measure and on arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE pending review. Both items being reviewed are unconscionable decisions made by the previous administration.

“The Biden administration has imposed a temporary freeze on U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as it reviews billions of dollars in weapons transactions approved by former President Donald Trump,” The Wall Street Journal reported today, adding that “U.S. officials said it isn’t unusual for a new administration to review arms sales approved by a predecessor, and that despite the pause, many of the transactions are likely to ultimately go forward.”

This follows an earlier announcement of a one-month pause on the Trump administration’s designation of Yemen’s Houthis (Ansar Allah) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, an unforgivably brutal measure which would cut off badly needed aid to an already starving populace and potentially kill millions. Like the arms sale hiatus, this measure could easily still move forward, and its temporary nature has provided insufficient assurance to companies that are backing away from trade with Yemen for fear of future US sanctions.

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So it isn’t much; a brief pause on an arms sale which appears to be standard procedure between administrations, and a brief pause on a sanctions measure that is still effectively starving people anyway.

But it’s also not nothing.

“Wow. I’ve been organizing to end US arms sales to the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition in Yemen since their disastrous intervention began and we’ve never been this close to potentially permanently banning these sales,” tweeted activist Kate Kizer in response to the latest news. “Let’s pocket this victory and keep organizing!”

Wins are few and far between for those who support peace and justice in this world, but it does look like we might-maybe-possibly be approaching a tipping point in the general consensus on Yemen in America. Which is encouraging, because it’s one of the easiest ways the US government could make the world a lot less horrible very quickly. The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison explains:

Yemen is the most urgent and dire case, but it is also the one where changes in U.S. policy can have the most immediate positive effect for the civilian population. Biden should reverse the Houthi designation, resume the funding for aid that had been suspended last year, and end all U.S. backing for the coalition. There are already some promising signs that the administration intends to do all of these.

The main reason why Yemen has to take precedence over the other crises is that it is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and it threatens to become even more appalling in the coming weeks and months. It is in danger of becoming a full-blown famine that could claim millions of lives, and the people of Yemen have been put in this terrible position in large part by the actions of our government and the governments in the Saudi coalition. We are responsible for much of the harm that has been done to Yemen since 2015, and the Biden administration has a special obligation to end the disastrous policy that began under Obama. At the very least, the U.S. must stop driving Yemen deeper into famine, and ideally our government should be working to pull the country back out of the abyss into which our policies have pushed it. Reversing the Houthi designation is the most pressing action that Biden needs to take, but he also has to put a stop to U.S. involvement in the war as soon as possible.

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So we’ve got a fighting chance at this, but we also can’t rely on the DC swamp monsters to make the moral and ethical call every step of the way. We’ve got to keep making noise about this the whole way through, because the Biden administration reversing its decision on either the arms deals or the Yemen sanctions will translate directly into a mountain of human corpses.

Your voice matters. Speaking out makes a difference. Keep pointing at Yemen and forcefully demanding the US government end this terrible atrocity it helped start. Call your senator, call your representative, email the White House, use social media, do whatever you can to skillfully get the word out and make sure it’s being listened to by those in power.

We really do have a chance to make the earth a better place here.

_______________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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