“Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianis

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Fidel

[url=http://www.countercurrents.org/us-perkins111104.htm]Confessions of an economic hit man[/url] John Perkins

quote:

[b]Basically what we were trained to do and what our job is to do is to build up the American empire.[/b] To bring -- to create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we’ve been very successful. We’ve built the largest empire in the history of the world. It's been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It's only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort. This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built [b]primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men.[/b] I was very much a part of that.

The vicious empire has managed to do exactly what it accused the Soviets(the evil empire) of trying to do wrt world domination. Corporate cannibalism has spread to and infected just about every part of the world today. The only problem is if the other 85 percent of humanity adopts our way of life, we'll strip world resources bare in nothing flat and choke on the pollution. They lied to us constantly throughout the cold war for the sake of pushing a monstrous political and economic ideology on the whole world. Consumption economies based on consumerism will be mankind's [i]"road to serfdom"[/i], and scientists are telling us it's a one-way ride at some point.

Michael Hardner

K1951,

quote:

Do you mean the original colony that was founded by the English version of the Taliban. Look up Cromwell if you don't understand the reference.

No...

quote:

Or maybe the merchants revolt that was fueled at its outset by paying for mobs to burn down the Loyalist press?

Yes ! That's the one.

quote:

I am not a monarchist but I do hold a deep and abiding distrust of the country whose history includes ethnically cleansing my ancestors, invading my country and various sabre rattlings like 54 40 or Fight.

Ah well.... I did say "most people"...

If you had to choose - was the American Revolution a good thing or bad thing ?

Michael Hardner

quote:


Consumption economies based on consumerism will be mankind's "road to serfdom", and scientists are telling us it's a one-way ride at some point.

Wait... no...

What I want to ask is: What is a non-consumption economy ?

[ 22 May 2008: Message edited by: Michael Hardner ]

Cueball Cueball's picture

It is one that is not predicated on creating a social environment which is about keeping up with the jonesers.

Michael Hardner

So eating is "keeping up with the Joneses" ?

I guess it is, in a way... [img]confused.gif" border="0[/img]

Criminey... sometimes it seems we just so want to be against something...

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]

What is the opposite of a "consumption economy" ?[/b]


Services. GATS negotiators have been all over this definition as they tell signatory countries what constitutes unfair public subsidies and public monopolies of health care, education, daycare etc. These three services alone are worth well over $6 trillion dollars in public spending worldwide. The writing is on the wall for widget capitalism, and big business wants to marketize and deregulate our health care in Canada. U.S. and Australian companies are waiting offshore to big boxize child daycare in Canada.

And what are the implications for big business funding universities and research? American consumer advocate Ralph Nader says mulitinationals and military contractors have no business in our universities. Ralph says military industrial contractors have outsourced weapons research to UCAL's Lawrence Livermore labs. Will it result in the most deadly biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction ever conceived? Universities were originally intended to be incubators of independent thought and places where young people go for several years in order to learn how to learn. Scientists themselves are saying that they cannot do objective science after having signed non-disclosures and handing over intellectual property rights to corporate officials motivated by profit.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Its a specific definition used comonly in political discourse to described commodities as fetishized items used to establish social status, not as practical needs. The status is what is being sold. It is not necessarily that you buy a car, but that the kind of car you buy is important. Also it is the sale and consumption of products, purely for the sake of driving the economy.

I hope you are simply being deliberately obtuse as opposed to asking a serious question. Next time you are in doubt about something like this, try google. I use the word in question, and then type "definition".

In this case, I arrived at this web page: [url=http://www.answers.com/topic/consumerism?cat=biz-fin]Answers.com.[/url]

Hope that helps. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 22 May 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Michael Hardner

quote:


I hope you are simply being deliberately obtuse as opposed to asking a serious question. Next time you are in doubt about something like this, try google. I use the word in question, and then type "definition".

In this case, I arrived at this web page: Answers.com.


You seem to be chastising me for asking what a 'consumption economy' is. I don't see what is wrong with asking that. Go ahead and google 'consumption economy' and you'll see that no one clear answer comes back.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Chastizing you? Not at all I am just trying to equip you with the basic semantic tools to help you understand the discussion.

Fidel

After a walk through Walmart or Giant Tiger, you'll realize what consumption is. It hit me a few years ago when I was shopping in a U.S.ian Great American Mall just what consumption is. I realized there is stuff you can buy in some American superstores that you just don't see in Canadian stores as big as they are here now. I'm guessing that we must be approaching U.S.ian per person consumption rates though. I've got to exchange my oinkermobile for something more fuel efficient as a start myself.

Michael Hardner

Yes, Fidel, I understand what consumption is, but I had never heard of a consumption based economy until now. It still sounds stupid to me.

I have never been in a Wal-Mart but it seems to me that they follow some kind of Soviet model, dispensing staples in bulk for use by common folk.

I don't think that you can say people necessarily consume more because of these stores. In fact, there may be less packaging used when you buy in bulk.

Cueball Cueball's picture

What's a "soviet model"? Isn't all production centrally organized, somehow?

Michael Hardner

quote:


What's a "soviet model"? Isn't all production centrally organized, somehow?

There was an image of the Soviet store in the past as dealing with things in huge quantities...

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]I have never been in a Wal-Mart but it seems to me that they follow some kind of Soviet model, dispensing staples in bulk for use by common folk.[/b]

The Soviet economy operated on the basis of central planning. As a result of WWI, a civil war, and WWII, there was a shortage of manpower in Russia, something like 8:1 ratio of women to men. Their economies were governed by constraints of manpower and availability of raw materials. Our capitalist economies are said to be ruled by consumer-driven supply and demand to a larger degree. I don't think it's true of all economic sectors though and there is much waste in our system which is just never mentioned by history revisionists and propagandists alike.

Our telecommunications sector in North America essentially has followed the Soviet model. Electronic components used in everything from multimillion dollar telephone switches and routing equipment are often bartered back and forth between companies. The piece of equipment one company produces in all likelihood will be made of hardware and software produced by maybe a handful of preferred equipment manufacturers and silicon chip producers who essentially have enjoyed longterm business relations with one another. It's said that there is very little competition for specialized components because of this arrangement. Accounting in this sector is said to be a nightmare. Canada's own military industrial complex makes high tech components for U.S. weapons makers and the Pentagon, and none of it is figured into our export GDP apprarently.

U.S. military spending amounts to something well over half of annual U.S. budgetary expenditures, and you might be surprised to know just how much of North America's high technology economy originates from publicly-funded research and development. U.S. Defence Department would not pass a federal audit at this time. And it's strange because military spending in the U.S. has been partly responsible to a large degree for contributing to technological achievements and productivity gains in the private sector.

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]

There was an image of the Soviet store in the past as dealing with things in huge quantities...[/b]


Don't worry about it. It was not a serious question. I was being deliberately obtuse.

jeff house

quote:


The Soviet economy operated on the basis of central planning. As a result of WWI, a civil war, and WWII, there was a shortage of manpower in Russia, something like 8:1 ratio of women to men.

OMG! Here you list the reasons there were relatively few men in the USSR under Stalin, and yet fail to mention the Gulag!

Well, surely that's an oversight, and not just airbrushing Stalin again.

For the record, though, here's what U. of T. Professor Michael Marrus, an expert on the Jewish Holocaust, wrote recently about the Gulag:

quote:

Death rates reached a high during WW II. More than 350,000 perished in 1942, one in four prisoners, and nearly 268,000, or one in five, in 1943. "In all, well over two million people died in the camps and colonies of the Gulag during the war years, not taking into account those who died in exile and other forms of imprisonment." The total number of prisoner deaths, if I understand Applebaum correctly, is impossible to compute: Official statistics cite 2.75 million, but the true figure is certainly greater. Depending on how and who one counts, and including the executed and non-Soviets, the dead may number 10 million, 12 million or even 20 million. No one knows for sure.

[url=http://www.arlindo-correia.com/gulag1.html]http://www.arlindo-correia.co...

Since you cite figures from World War One (in which perhaps 3 million Russian died)
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties]see stats here[/url], surely the Gulag numbers ought to be figured in!

Michael Hardner

quote:


U.S. military spending amounts to something well over half of annual U.S. budgetary expenditures, and you might be surprised to know just how much of North America's high technology economy originates from publicly-funded research and development. U.S. Defence Department would not pass a federal audit at this time. And it's strange because military spending in the U.S. has been partly responsible to a large degree for contributing to technological achievements and productivity gains in the private sector.

The US has done such a terrible job of managing their country over the past 25 years or so. They spend so much money on the wrong things and their political process focuses on trivial and unimportant issues.

They spend more on healthcare than Canada does, I think, and don't even offer universal coverage. They're spending billions on a war that was intended to keep oil prices low, and we all know how that went.

I would call that mismanaged democracy.

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


The total number of prisoner deaths, if I understand Applebaum correctly, is impossible to compute: Official statistics cite 2.75 million, but the true figure is certainly greater.

According to this account, the total number of deaths could possibly be as high as 300 million, since of course they are "impossible to compute."

But of course these statistics are obviously reidiculous, since of course, all told, including the deaths from the second world war, the great purge, the civil war and WW1 combined would then mean that the total population would have decreased from 1900 to 1945, which it did not. Go find yourself a statistician, instead of an ideologist.

Yet of course, you seem perfectly content to support the wildly innaccurate statistics for Kosavar's killed by Serb in the 1990's, even though forensic scientists have been digging up Kosovo for a decade now, and have not found a single "mass grave."

[ 23 May 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]I would call that mismanaged democracy.[/b]

Their's is the most militarized empire in world history. People like Kissinger and Brzezinski have stated that they used mostly passive aggresion to have their way around the world, but the truth is something else as former CIA officials have admitted to employing various dirty tricks and perpetrating terrorism on nations in several continents in recent history.

But the U.S., too, is said to have made extensive use of Soviet-style [i]soft budget constraints[/i] in what has been a mixed market economy in America since the 1930's. This mode of stimulating the economy, along with strong public investments in the social service sectors, were what drove U.S. prosperity and economic expansion throughout the cold war and even today despite decades of cutbacks since Reagan. The trouble for American economy began with deregulation of the financial system. FDR's firewall regulations on banking, credit and insurance industries were removed, and now there is a great divide between productive labour economy and that of an expanding money and what British economist JM Keynes first described as "casino economy" since about 1986 or so. Throughout the cold war expansion years, bank interest rates were lower than the rate of North American economic expansion. Today the reverse is true with Canada's money supply approximately 95% privatized since 1991, a watershed year for forcing highly propagandized political and economic ideology on the masses. Trillions of speculative dollars float around the world by stocks and derivatives trades. Meanwhile there are nearly seven billion people in the world, and most of them live in grinding poverty. We need long term investments in green infrastructure and in people not short-term speculation for the sake of "dynamism" in capitalist markets, or however they tend to explain it to us.

contrarianna

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]
They're spending billions on a war that was intended to keep oil prices low...

[/b]


Intended to keep prices low? Who informed you of that, or is it an independent assessment?

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by jeff house:
[b]Since you cite figures from World War One (in which perhaps 3 million Russian died)
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties]see stats here[/url], surely the Gulag numbers ought to be figured in![/b]

What to do, Jeff? What if you knew the same fascist country that attacked Russia, and twice inside of a ten-year span, was using slave labour to accelerate the building of a corporate-sponsored war machine? The Nazis and their friends in the corporate world worked millions of human beings to death, Jeff. At least they tried to feed and pay the Russians. Many Jews said being shipped to Stalin's gulags saved their lives as a result.

quote:

[url=http://www.religioustolerance.org/fin_nazi.htm][b]On 1998-MAR-4, Elsa Iwanowa[/b][/url] filed a federal class action suit against the Ford Motor Company and Ford Werke A.G. She was allegedly employed as a slave laborer in a Ford manufacturing plant in Cologne, Germany, during World War II. She seeks "reasonable payment for the work performed and the disgorgement of unfair profits." 4 Records show that slave labor accounted for as many as half the workers at the Cologne plant. Slave workers at the Ford plant allegedly lived in "wooden huts, without running water, heat or storage. Locked in the huts at night, the workers, mostly adolescent children, slept in three-tiered wooden bunks without bedding. Food consisted of two paltry meals a day. Workers who became ill were sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. Failure to meet production quotas led to beatings from Ford security officers or other plant workers." 5

Ford Motor Company (USA) owned from 55 to 90% of the shares of its subsidiary Ford Werke A.G. during 1933 to 1945. "Edsel Ford and Robert Sorenson, high-ranking officials of Ford Motor Company, served as directors of Ford Werke A.G. throughout the Nazi Third Reich." 4 The lawsuit alleges that the company made immense profits providing the German army with tracked vehicles and other trucks. This was because it worked at peak capacity for many years, and did not have to pay wages to many of its workers. Unlike most American facilities in Germany, Ford was not taken over by the German government during the war. Ford and Hitler seems to have had a friendly relationship. "On Henry Ford's 75th birthday in 1938, Hitler awarded Ford the 'Great Cross of the German Order of the Eagle' for Henry Ford's publication of the notorious anti-Semitic pamphlet, 'The International Jew, a Worldwide Problem' [Berlin, 1921]."


sieg HEIL! sieg HEIL!!! sieg HEIL!!! [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

Michael Hardner

quote:


Intended to keep prices low? Who informed you of that, or is it an independent assessment?

I'm basing that on a comment made by George W Bush Sr. after Gulf War I. He stated that if that war hadn't happened "we'd be paying xxx for oil now"...

This rationale seems to me to make more sense than either the WMD, "war for Democracy in the Middle East" that were officially offered, or than the various conspiracy theories that are offered on the other side.

[ 26 May 2008: Message edited by: Michael Hardner ]

contrarianna

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:
[b]

I'm basing that on a comment made by George W Bush Sr. after Gulf War I. He stated that if that war hadn't happened "we'd be paying xxx for oil now"...

This rationale seems to me to make more sense than either the WMD, "war for Democracy in the Middle East" that were officially offered, or than the various conspiracy theories that are offered on the other side.
[ 26 May 2008: Message edited by: Michael Hardner ][/b]


There is a difference between the desire of the US and its oil corporations to control Middle East oil, and a desire to make gas less expensive for the consumer.
The two aren't in anyway the same thing and it would take more gullibility than the average "conspiracy theorist" to think so.
You would do better to look at oil company profits this last year than the consumer crying at the pump.

Michael Hardner

quote:


There is a difference between the desire of the US and its oil corporations to control Middle East oil, and a desire to make gas less expensive for the consumer.

The two aren't in anyway the same thing and it would take more gullibility than the average "conspiracy theorist" to think so.
You would do better to look at oil company profits this last year than the consumer crying at the pump.


"Control oil" to what end ? The US economy is much more than just the oil industry, and everything does better when oil prices are under control.

Reagan's presidency was marked by lower oil prices, for example.

I might be gullible, but please engage me, and explain why they would want oil prices to be high right now.

contrarianna

quote:


Originally posted by Michael Hardner:

[b]
"Control oil" to what end ? The US economy is much more than just the oil industry, and everything does better when oil prices are under control.

Reagan's presidency was marked by lower oil prices, for example.
I might be gullible, but please engage me, and explain why they would want oil prices to be high right now.[/b]


My original comment was not that everyone wanted oil prices higher, just that "keeping oil prices low" was not a cause for the war.

I'm not sure who you mean by "they" in your last sentence but if you are referring to the oil industry as I did, then they have only tangential concern for the US economy in general--and certainly not above their corporate bottom lines (which are doing extremely well, thank you). Oil stocks regularly move inversely to US markets, and the oil industry has its own rapidly growing global markets (though that will not protect them too much in a major crash).

If you are including in "they" the US government, then the picture is more complicated. For one thing, as well as the usual battalion of oil lobbyists, this particular government is unusually weighted with oil-connected individuals, so there is already some conflict of interest between oil the wellbeing of general economy (as per the previous paragraph).
Another reason for the US occupation is one of long term hegemony: securing and expanding the empire (which necessitates control of energy reserves). This is laid out not by some "conspiracy theorists" but by the government itself in it's various iterations and final official adoption of it's Strategic Planning Guidance. An good review of this document is provided in the Harper's Oct. 2002 article:

"Dick Cheney's song of America:
Drafting a plan for global dominance
By David Armstrong

An essay exploring the real origins of the Iraq War, written before the war started."

[url=http://www.harpers.org/archive/2002/10/0079354]Harpers[/url]

Fidel

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9406]Surveilling the lives of others[/url]

quote:

As ACLU Washington Legislative director Caroline Fredrickson said in her denunciation of the proposed "compromise,"

"This bill allows for mass and untargeted surveillance of Americans' communications. The court review is mere window-dressing -- all the court would look at is the procedures for the year-long dragnet and not at the who, what and why of the spying. Even this superficial court review has a gaping loophole -- 'exigent' circumstances can short cut even this perfunctory oversight since any delay in the onset of spying meets the test and by definition going to the court would cause at least a minimal pause. Worse yet, if the court denies an order for any reason, the government is allowed to continue surveillance throughout the appeals process, thereby rendering the role of the judiciary meaningless. In the end, there is no one to answer to; a court review without power is no court review at all."

"The Hoyer/Bush surveillance deal was clearly written with the telephone companies and internet providers at the table and for their benefit. They wanted immunity, and this bill gives it to them." ("ACLU Condemns FISA Deal, Declares Surveillance Bill Unconstitutional," American Civil Liberties Union, Press Release, June 19, 2008)


You sneeze while speaking over your cell phone with your girlfriend, and you hear "gesundheit" twice! "God Bless America, apple pie, whiiiiite picket fences. And hang those ..." - a Cambridge spy in America

George Victor

Would hate to see this thread disappear with Canada Day, given the importance of contributions like that of N.Beltov , May 21, on morale (see Bad Money thread).

Development of the need to encompass the aspirations of today's "working class" in goals for society's future could perhaps be rounded out in discussion of this scribbler's old hobbyhorse, the "command economy".

Or not. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Perhaps, George, we can all use the occasion of Canada's political birthday to imagine the sort of Canada we'd like to see, free of current defensive struggles to defend what we have, and let others call us dreamers. Such spiritually uplifting exercises are useful because they recharge our social and political batteries.

Fidel

[url=http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/07/online-activist.html]Netroots against domestic surveillance of the lives of others[/url]

quote:

Online activists from the right and the left announced an unprecedented campaign Tuesday to hold Democratic lawmakers accountable for caving in to the Bush administration on domestic spying.
A group of high-profile progressive bloggers and libertarian Republicans are rolling out a new political action committee called Accountability Now to channel widespread anger over pending legislation that would legalize much of the president's warrantless electronic surveillance of Americans, and grant retroactive legal immunity to telephone companies that cooperated with the spying when it was still illegal.

"Blue dog Democrats"?

Fidel

[url=http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=expanded-wiretap-law][img]http://img...

[b]Crazy George II Signs Expanded Wiretap Power into Law[/b]

quote:

President Bush signed a bill into law Thursday that broadens the government's surveillance power. . . The package includes a controversial clause that grants immunity to telecommunications companies that participate in National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks . . . The new provisions allow the U.S. Justice Department and National Security Agency (NSA) to recruit telephone companies to bug their customers' phone conversations, and prohibit lawsuits against the telecoms for privacy rights violations. The measure also protects the companies against suits for past wiretaps. That means lawsuits will likely be dropped against AT&T and Verizon that charged they had violated privacy rights by tapping their customers phone lines at the request of the NSA

Spying on the lives of others with impunity.

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Fidel

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10156]Multibillion "Homeland Security" Market: Telecoms Assist in NSA Spy Operations[/url]

quote:

And since Sprint, AT&T or Verizon don't actually own their own cellular towers, TowerCo, the company that does, "learns some information on every mobile phone that communicates with one of its towers." But it gets worse, much worse. According to Soghoian, this is the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

There are companies that provide "backhaul" connections between towers and the carriers, providers of sophisticated billing services, outsourced customer-service centers, as well as Interexchange Carriers, which help to route calls from one phone company to another. All of these companies play a role in the wireless industry, have access to significant amounts of sensitive customer information, which of course, can be obtained (politely, or with a court order) by the government.

As we know, perverse laws such as the USA Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act, not to mention FBI National Security Letters come with ready-made gag orders attached that forbid companies--or anyone else so served--from disclosing any information to the public or those whom the state is spying upon. Gidari told CNET,


[url=http://news.cnet.com/8301-13739_3-10030134-46.html]Exclusive: Widespread cell phone location snooping by NSA?[/url]

The lives of others for sure. The East German Stasi were only playing around compared to today's techno-fascistas.

George Victor

Ronal Wright's What Is America: A Short History of the New World Order is just out. It gallops across 500 years from Columbus - 226 pages of history and 125 pages of notes.

Seems to me a separae look at Wright, but taking off from this thread, is warranted, coming down to the election. Gotta' try to make sense of it, place it in historical context, somehow. Deer Hunting helped.

George Victor

June 29, 2008 - 6:21am #79 (permalink)

Would hate to see this thread disappear with Canada Day, given the importance of contributions like that of N.Beltov , May 21, on morale (see Bad Money thread).

Development of the need to encompass the aspirations of today's "working class" in goals for society's future could perhaps be rounded out in discussion of this scribbler's old hobbyhorse, the "command economy".

Or not

George Victor

I cannot find a way to add a couple of lines to the above post, so here goes another entry.

This author has been revived in a very interesting political posting on his speculations about the U.S.political future in the face of economic meltdown.

Do our thoughts from last spring (the earlier postings) still make sense?

Fidel

[url=The">http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12279][... Spy Factory: The New Thought Police The NSA Wants to Know How and WHAT You Think[/url]

Quote:

The National Security Agency (NSA) is developing a tool that George Orwell's Thought Police might have found useful: an artificial intelligence system designed to gain insight into what people are thinking.

With the entire Internet and thousands of databases for a brain, the device will be able to respond almost instantaneously to complex questions posed by intelligence analysts. As more and more data is collected—through phone calls, credit card receipts, social networks like Facebook and MySpace, GPS tracks, cell phone geolocation, Internet searches, Amazon book purchases, even E-Z Pass toll records—it may one day be possible to know not just where people are and what they are doing, but what and how they think.

The system is so potentially intrusive that at least one researcher has quit, citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability.

Getting Aquaint

Known as Aquaint, which stands for "Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence," the project was run for many years by John Prange, an NSA scientist at the Advanced Research and Development Activity. Headquartered in Room 12A69 in the NSA's Research and Engineering Building at 1 National Business Park, ARDA was set up by the agency to serve as a sort of intelligence community DARPA, the place where former Reagan national security advisor John Poindexter's infamous Total Information Awareness project was born. [Editor's note: TIA was a short-lived project founded in 2002 to apply information technology to counter terrorist and other threats to national security.] Later named the Disruptive Technology Office, ARDA has now morphed into the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).

Not satisfied with spying on the lives of others, now US shadow feds want to surveil the minds of others

Fidel

[url=http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13695]Democracy Going Dark[/url] The FBI's Multi-Billion "High-Tech Surveillance" Program

Quote:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's budget request for Fiscal Year 2010 reveals that America's political police intend to greatly expand their high-tech surveillance capabilities.

According to ABC News, the FBI is seeking additional funds for the development of "a new 'Advanced Electronic Surveillance' program which is being funded at $233.9 million for 2010. The program has 133 employees, 15 of whom are agents."

Known as "Going Dark," the program is designed to beef up the Bureau's already formidable electronic surveillance, intelligence collection and evidence gathering capabilities "as well as those of the greater Intelligence Community," ABC reports. An FBI spokesperson told the network:

"The term 'Going Dark' does not refer to a specific capability, but is a program name for the part of the FBI, Operational Technology Division's (OTD) lawful interception program which is shared with other law enforcement agencies."

"The term applies to the research and development of new tools, technical support and training initiatives." (Jason Ryan, "DOJ Budget Details High-Tech Crime Fighting Tools," ABC News, May 9, 2009)

 

The former East German Stasi werent this spooky

Fidel

[url=http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14020]NSA spooks continue to monitor millions of American emails and telephone calls[/url]

 

Quote:

Several current and former agents within the National Security Agency (NSA), speaking on condition of anonymity, have told the New York Times that the spy agency likely monitors millions of e-mail communications and telephone calls made by Americans. The new revelations follow the disclosure in April that the NSA's monitoring of domestic e-mail traffic broke the law in 2008 and 2009.

 

Last year, Congress passed legislation providing the NSA greater latitude to spy on the communications of Americans, so long as it resulted inadvertently from the agency's efforts to spy on foreigners or those it "reasonably believed" to be outside US borders. This authorized the NSA to intercept tens of millions of e-mail and phone communications that pass through American telecommunication "gateways." The measure was attached to a congressional law granting immunity to telecommunications companies that turned over private phone records to federal authorities.

 

Among those voting for the bill was then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. In all, 293 members of the House and 69 senators voted to pass the bill.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

jeff house wrote:
It doesn't surprise me that you are privy to the dreams of the Stasi! I think there is a true fit there, birds of a feather and all that.
....

But the apologists for the police state live on.

What a vile and completely unwarranted attack on another babbler!

Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/10/fbi-data-mining-programs-resurrect-tot... Data-Mining Programs Resurrect "Total Information Awareness"[/url] [excerpts]

Quote:
From the wholesale use of informants and provocateurs to stifle political dissent, to Wi-Fi hacking and viral computer spyware to follow our every move, the FBI has turned massive data-mining of personal information into a growth industry. In the process they are building the surveillance state long been dreamed of by American securocrats.

A chilling new report by investigative journalist Ryan Singel provides startling details of how the FBI's National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) is quietly morphing into the Total Information Awareness (TIA) system of convicted Iran-Contra felon, Admiral John M. Poindexter....

...personal details on customers have been provided to the Bureau by the Wyndham Worldwide hotel chain "which includes Ramada Inn, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson and Hawthorn Suites." Additional records were obtained from the Avis rental car company and Sears department stores.

Singel reports that the Bureau is planning a massive expansion of NSAC, one that would enlarge the scope, and mission, of the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF) and the file-crunching, privacy-killing Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW).

"Among the items on its wish list," Singel writes, "is the database of the Airlines Reporting Corporation - a company that runs a backend system for travel agencies and airlines." If federal snoops should obtain ARC's data-sets, the FBI would have unlimited access to "billions of American's itineraries, as well as the information they give to travel agencies, such as date of birth, credit card numbers, names of friends and family, e-mail addresses, meal preferences and health information."

The publication reports that the system "is both a meta-search engine - querying many data sources at once - and a tool that performs pattern and link analysis." Internal FBI documents reveal that despite growing criticism of the alleged "science" of data-mining, including a stinging 2008 report by the prestigious National Research Council, for all intents and purposes the Bureau will transform NSAC into a low-key version of Adm. Poindexter's Information Awareness Office....

As Antifascist Calling revealed earlier this year, one private security outfit, the now-defunct Highway Watch which worked closely with the FBI, used "social network theory" and "link analysis," and cited the group's legal political organizing, including "increased membership via the internet" and "public appearances at various locations across the US," as a significant factor that rendered the group a "legitimate" target for heightened surveillance and COINTELPRO-style disruption.

Singel also disclosed that NSAC shared data "with the Pentagon's controversial Counter-Intelligence Field Activity office, a secretive domestic-spying unit which collected data on peace groups, including the Quakers, until it was shut down in 2008."

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I haven't read Wolin's book, but I assume Chalmers Johnson has, and that he was not misrepresenting Wolin when he wrote:

Quote:
To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: “inverted totalitarianism,” a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on “private media” than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison—751 per 100,000 people—of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has “emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation’s political traditions.”

So it appears Wolin is not as shy as you are about comparing the USA today with Nazism, Stalinism, and Fascism. In fact, he uses the same word, totalitarianism, to describe them all. The adjective "inverted", as Johnson explains it, does not signify a kinder, gentler form of totalitarianism in the USA, but rather one that was created by stealth, and not requiring coercion and a police state to enforce - but one he says that is "every bit as totalistic as the classical version."

I still maintain that it is an exaggeration to say the US totalitarian state "does not require the use of coercion, police power, and a messianic ideology" because in fact the opposite is true. Only idiots would fail to see that.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/10/battening-down-the-hatches-secret-stat... State Monitors Protest, Represses Dissent[/url]

Tom Burghardt wrote:

As social networking becomes a dominant feature of daily life, the secret state is increasingly surveilling electronic media for what it euphemistically calls "actionable intelligence."

Take the case of Elliot Madison. The 41-year-old anarchist was arrested in Pittsburgh September 24 at the height of G20 protests.

Madison, a social worker and volunteer with The People's Law Collective in New York City, was busted by a combined task force led by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and Pittsburgh's "finest." The activist was charged with "hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility and possession of instruments of crime," according to The New York Times.

Did the cops uncover a secret anarchist weapons' cache? Were Madison and codefendant, Michael Wallschlaeger, a producer with the radio talk show "This Week in Radical History" for the A-Infos Radio Project, about to detonate a "weapon of mass destruction" during last month's capitalist conclave that witnessed the obscene spectacle of our masters avidly conspiring to impoverish billions of the planet's inhabitants?

Hardly! In fact, Madison and Wallschlaeger's "crime" was to set up a communications center in a hotel room that alerted demonstrators to movements by the police, who after all, had viciously attacked protesters - and anyone else nearby - with heavy batons, tear gas and a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), a so-called "non-lethal" weapon.

Kitted-out with police scanners, computers and cell phones, the intrepid activists used a Twitter account to assist protesters eager to elude a thrashing by some 5,000 heavily armed camo-clad cops who had sealed-off downtown Pittsburgh to keep the area safe-from the First Amendment.

Fidel

[url=http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.com/]Obama regime endorses shadow gov spying on the lives of others[/url]

 

Quote:
This latest move by the administration follows a pattern replicated countless times by Obama since assuming the presidency in January: denounce the lawless behavior of his Oval Office predecessor while continuing, even expanding, the reach of unaccountable security agencies that subvert constitutional guarantees barring "unreasonable searches and seizures." EFF senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston wrote:

 

In a Court filing late Friday night, the Obama Administration attempted to dress up in new clothes its embrace of one of the worst Bush Administration positions--that courts cannot be allowed to review the National Security Agency's massive, well-documented program of warrantless surveillance. In doing so it demonstrated that it will not willingly set limits on its own power and reinforced the need for Congress to step in and reform the so-called 'state secrets' privilege. (Kevin Bankston, "As Congress Considers State Secrets Reform, Obama Admin Tries to Shut Down Yet Another Warrantless Wiretapping Lawsuit," Electronic Frontier Foundation, November 2, 2009)

Fidel

 

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17307]Spying on Americans: A Multibillion Bonanza for the Telecoms[/url] America's endless & highly profitable, "War on Terror."

Quote:
Court Tosses NSA Spy Suits, Sides with White House Over Illegal Surveillance

In late January, the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General released a report that provided startling new details on illegal operations by the FBI's Communications Analysis Unit (CAU) and America's grifting telecoms.

For years, AT&T, Verizon, MCI and others fed the Bureau phone records of journalists and citizens under the guise of America's endless, and highly profitable, "War on Terror."

Between 2002 and 2007, the FBI illegally collected more than 4,000 U.S. telephone records, citing bogus terrorism threats or simply by persuading telephone companies to hand over the records. Why? Because the FBI could and the telecoms were more than willing to help out a "friend"--and reap profits accrued by shredding the Constitution in the process.

So egregious had these practices become that "based on nothing more than e-mail messages or scribbled requests on Post-it notes, the phone employees turned over customer calling records" to the FBI, The New York Times reported...

While corporate media frame these stories as if they were practices of the far-distant Bushist past, former telephone technician and AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein, who leaked documents on the existence of secret NSA-controlled spy rooms embedded in AT&T switching offices across the country, believes otherwise.

Klein told Wired journalist David Kravets January 29, that the President's Surveillance Program (PSP) and internal AT&T documents suggest that the program "was just the tip of an eavesdropping iceberg."

According to Klein, these programs are not "targeted" against suspected terrorists but rather "show an untargeted, massive vacuum cleaner sweeping up millions of peoples' communications every second automatically."

Democracy is the merger of state and corporate power. - the new liberal-fascist corporatocracy

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

They have built themselves a very big haystack to look for terrorists in.  The more data in the system the more useless it becomes before the fact.  It is very good for going backwards from to prevent dissent from people who think they live in a democracy.

Fidel

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18490]Big Brother and the Hidden Hand of the "Free Market"
"Managing" Data and Dissent in America[/url]

[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v697/rabblerabble/Capture-36.gif[/IMG]

 

Quote:
Repression: A Game the Whole Corporate "Family" Can Play

With their fingers into everything from missile design and satellite surveillance technology to domestic spying or that latest craze consuming Washington, "cybersecurity," Lockheed Martin is, as they say, a "player."

On the domestic spy game front, Lockheed Martin were one of the contractors who supplied intelligence analysts for the Counterintelligence Field Activity office (CIFA), the secretive Rumsfeld-era initiative that spied on antiwar activists and other Pentagon policy critics.

CIFA was tasked with tracking "logical combinations of keywords and personalities" used to estimate current or future threats. When CIFA was shuttered after public outcry, its functions were taken over by the Defense Intelligence Agency, where Lockheed Martin runs a bidding consortium.

But as with CIFA, the DIA's Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center, relies heavily on the unproven "science" of data-mining and its offshoot, link analysis.

Data-mining by corporate and secret state agencies such as the FBI seek to uncover "hidden patterns" and "subtle relationships" within disparate data-sets in order to "infer rules that allow for the prediction of future results," according to a 2004 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

Sentinel will undoubtedly deploy data-mining techniques insofar as they are applicable to "managing" alleged foreign "terrorism plots," but also domestic dissidents identified as national security "risks."...

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15941]Burghardt[/url] wrote: "Democrat or Republican, "liberal" or "conservative:" what matters most for all factions in Washington is the defense and preservation of the elites."

Fidel

[url=http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.com/]Obama Demands Access to Internet Records, in Secret, and Without Court Review[/url]

Antifascist Calling

Quote:
The Obama administration is seeking authority from Congress that would compel internet service providers (ISPs) to turn over records of an individual's internet activity for use in secretive FBI probes.

In another instance where Americans are urged to trust their political minders, The Washington Post reported last month that "the administration wants to add just four words--'electronic communication transactional records'--to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval."

Fidel

[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v697/rabblerabble/21136.jpg[/IMG]

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21136]The Orwellian Concept of Pre-Crime: Five Surprising Facts About Spying In America[/url]

 

Fidel

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22212]The "Hi Tech" Corporate Police State: "Reengineering" the Internet ... for Persistent Surveillance[/url] Ghost in the Machine: Secret State Teams Up with Ad Pimps to Throttle Privacy

Tom Burghardt wrote:
The secret world of "cyber situational awareness" is a spymaster's wet dream, made all the more alluring by the advent of ultra high speed computing and the near infinite storage capacity afforded by massive server farms and the ubiquitous "cloud."

Within that dusky haze, obscured by claims of national security or proprietary business information, take your pick, would you bet your life that the wizards of misdirection and deception care a whit that you really are more than a disembodied data point?

Lost in the debate surrounding privacy invasion and data mining however, is the key role that internet service providers (ISPs) play as intermediaries and gatekeepers. From their perch, ISPs peer deeply into and collect and analyze the online communications of tens of millions of users simultaneously, in real-time.

Concerted efforts to eliminate online anonymity, in managed democracies and authoritarian regimes alike, are greatly enhanced by the deployment of deep packet inspection (DPI) sensors and software on virtually all networks.

As Canadian privacy watchdogs [url=http://www.deeppacketinspection.ca/]DeepPacketInspection.ca[/url] tell us, DPI offer ISPs "unparalleled levels of intelligence into subscribers' online activities."


 

Fidel

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22558]... Fascist State: America Has Gone Away[/url]

 

Paul Craig Roberts wrote:
Anyone who doesn't believe that the US is an incipient fascist state needs only to consult the latest assault on civil liberty by Fox News (sic). Instead of informing citizens, Fox News (sic) informs on citizens. Jason Ditz reports (antiwar.com Dec. 28) that Fox News (sic) "no longer content to simply shill for a growing police state," turned in a grandmother to the Department of Homeland Security for making "anti-American comments."

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22529]Big Brother USA: Monitoring America[/url]

Quote:
 democracies - Britain and Israel, to name two - are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.

This localized intelligence apparatus is part of a larger Top Secret America created since the attacks. In July, The Washington Post described an alternative geography of the United States, one that has grown so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it.

Today's story, along with related material on The Post's Web site, examines how Top Secret America plays out at the local level. It describes a web of 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 935 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

How "managed" is American "democracy"?

It can take a dozen years for the truth to come out about a "Big Lie":

Quote:
But here's the thing: While low spending may sound good in the abstract, what it amounts to in practice is low spending on children, who account directly or indirectly for a large part of government outlays at the state and local level.

And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.

But wait - how can graduation rates be so low when Texas had that education miracle back when former President Bush was governor? Well, a couple of years into his presidency the truth about that miracle came out: Texas school administrators achieved low reported dropout rates the old-fashioned way - they, ahem, got the numbers wrong.

 

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