Category Archives: Military

The Pentagon Wants More Control Over the News. What Could Go Wrong? by Matt Taibbi

The biggest whoppers, the most egregious “fake news.” comes from governments, so when the powerful Pentagon takes an interest in combatting “fake news,” it’s a sure thing that the Defense Department isn’t after the truth. From Matt Taibbi at rollingstone.com:

If there’s a worse idea than the Pentagon becoming Editor-in-Chief of America, I can’t remember it. But we’re getting there:

From Bloomberg over Labor Day weekend:

Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks,” as the top Republican in Congress blocks efforts to protect the integrity of elections.

One of the Pentagon’s most secretive agencies, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is developing “custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips.”

Once upon a time, when progressives still reflexively distrusted the military, DARPA was a liberal punchline, known for helping invent the Internet but also for developing lunatic privacy-invading projects like LifeLog, a program to “gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees, or does.”

DARPA now is developing a semantic analysis program called “SemaFor” and an image analysis program called “MediFor,” ostensibly designed to prevent the use of fake images or text. The idea would be to develop these technologies to help private Internet providers sift through content.

It’s the latest in a string of stories about new methods of control over information flow that should, but for some reason do not, horrify every working journalist.

From the Senate dragging Internet providers to the Hill to demand strategies against the sowing of “discord,” to tales of hundreds of Facebook sites zapped for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” following advice by government-connected groups like the Atlantic Council, it’s been clear the future of the information landscape is going to involve elaborate new forms of algorithmic regulation.

Stories about the need for such technologies are always couched as responses to the “fake news” problem. Unfortunately, “fake news” is a poorly-defined, amorphous concept that the public has been trained to fear without really understanding.

Continue reading→

 

Advertisements

HARPA: America’s New Social credit Plan Partners Big Tech and Govt to Further Gun Control Efforts, by Dagny Taggart

As many in the alternative media, including SLL, have warned, with its social credit system, the Chinese government is blazing a trail for the US government. From Dagny Taggart at theorganicprepper.com:

The Trump Administration is considering a very disturbing proposal that would use Big Tech companies including Google, Amazon, and Apple to collect data on users who exhibit characteristics of mental illness that could lead to “violent behavior”.

Supporters see the plan as a way Trump could “move the ball forward” on gun control.

Naturally, a new federal agency will be created to implement this program. The push to create this new agency – called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency or HARPA – began two years ago, reports The Washington Post:

The concept was advanced by the Suzanne Wright Foundation and first discussed by officials on the Domestic Policy Council and senior White House staffers in June 2017. But the idea has gained momentum in the wake of the latest mass shootings that killed 31 people in one weekend in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

The Suzanne Wright Foundation re-approached the administration last week and proposed that HARPA include a “Safe Home” — “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes” — project. Officials discussed the proposal at the White House last week, said two people familiar with the discussions. These people and others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the conversations. (source)

Continue reading

America Loses Asia-Pacific as Full Spectrum Dominance Continues to Fail, by Matthew Ehret

“Full Spectrum Dominance” is essentially the US playing global cop. It’s not working out too well. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:

Always working a little harder than most to stay a step below reality, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper made especially candid remarks this week that America’s INF pullout was timed for a targeting of forces against China.

Speaking to Fox on August 21st, Esper said: “We want to make sure that we, as we need to, have the capability to deter Chinese bad behavior… China is the number one priority for this department. It’s outlined in the national defense strategy, why we think it’s a long term strategic competitor and one that is pursuing a maximization campaign, if you will, throughout the indo-Pacific theater, whether its politically, economically or militarily…”

Echoing a little Dr. Strangelove, Esper stated that there is “a coming shift” from “low intensity conflict that lasts 18 years to high intensity conflicts against competitors such as Russia and China.”

While American military exercises in the Pacific have played out on China’s doorstep at an accelerating rate since the Pivot to Asia was announced in 2011 with the most recent US-Australia Talisman Sabre bi-annual exercise and US-South Korea Ulchi Freedom war games this month, China has not remained idle.

In response to America’s vast array of military infrastructure built up on China’s border, China has responded by the unveiling of cutting edge anti-ballistic missile technologies, including hypersonic weaponry to counteract the American threat. A large part of China’s defensive response includes the Russian S400 anti-missile system which is also being adopted by India, Turkey, Syria and the United Arab Emirates as a unified system which renders the American THAAD and ABM systems impotent and obsolete. Although unconfirmed, American generals have freaked out that China is building a joint China-Cambodia naval base in Preah Sihanouk Province that gives China easy access to coastal waters on the Gulf of Thailand and ready access to the South China Sea.

Continue reading

Is the U.S. Government the Enemy of the People? America’s Lost Liberties, Post-9/11, by John W. Whitehead

The answer to the title question is self-evident. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

These are the times that try men’s souls.” ― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

Take heed, America.

Our losses are mounting with every passing day.

What began with the post-9/11 passage of the USA Patriot Act  has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The citizenry’s unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security has resulted in a society where the nation is being locked down into a militarized, mechanized, hypersensitive, legalistic, self-righteous, goose-stepping antithesis of every principle upon which this nation was founded.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, police violence and the like—all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—our constitutional freedoms have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

The rights embodied in the Constitution, if not already eviscerated, are on life support.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s war on the American people, a war that has grown more pronounced since 9/11.

Indeed, since the towers fell on 9/11, the U.S. government has posed a greater threat to our freedoms than any terrorist, extremist or foreign entity ever could.

While nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government and its agents have easily killed at least ten times that number of civilians in the U.S. and abroad since 9/11 through its police shootings, SWAT team raids, drone strikes and profit-driven efforts to police the globe, sell weapons to foreign nations (which too often fall into the hands of terrorists), and foment civil unrest in order to keep the military industrial complex gainfully employed.

The American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, denied due process, and killed.

Continue reading

Profiles in Absurdity: Remembering the ‘Terror’ Wars, by Danny Sjursen

Some war on terror reminiscences from a man who fought in it. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

It has taken me years to tell these stories. The emotional and moral wounds of the Afghan War have just felt too recent, too raw. After all, I could hardly write a thing down about my Iraq War experience for nearly ten years, when, by accident, I churned out a book on the subject. Now, as the American war in Afghanistan – hopefully – winds to something approaching a close, it’s finally time to impart some tales of the madness. In this new, recurring, semi-regular series, the reader won’t find many worn out sagas of heroism, brotherhood, and love of country. Not that this author doesn’t have such stories, of course. But one can find those sorts of tales in countless books and numerous trite, platitudinal Hollywood yarns.

With that in mind, I propose to tell a number of very different sorts of stories – profiles, so to speak, in absurdity. That’s what war is, at root, an exercise in absurdity, and America’s hopeless post-9/11 wars are stranger than most. My own 18-year long quest to find some meaning in all the combat, to protect my troops from danger, push back against the madness, and dissent from within the army proved Kafkaesque in the extreme. Consider what follows just a survey of that hopeless journey…

The man was remarkable at one specific thing: pleasing his bosses and single-minded self-promotion. Sure he lacked anything resembling empathy, saw his troops as little more than tools for personal advancement, and his overall personality disturbingly matched the clinical definition of sociopathy. Details, details…

Still, you (almost) had to admire his drive, devotion, and dedication to the cause of promotion, of rising through the military ranks. Had he managed to channel that astonishing energy, obsession even, to the pursuit of some good, the world might markedly have improved. Which is, actually, a dirty little secret about the military, especially ground combat units; that it tends to attract (and mold) a disturbing number of proud owners of such personality disorders. The army then positively reinforces such toxic behavior by promoting these sorts of individuals – who excel at mind-melding (brown-nosing, that is) with superiors – at disproportionate rates. Such is life. Only there are real consequences, real soldiers, (to say nothing of local civilians) who suffer under their commanders’ tyranny.

Continue reading

Hollywood reboots Russophobia for the New Cold War, by Max Parry

Washington and Hollywood have been in bed together for a long time. From Max  Parry at off-guardian.org:

​It is an age-old question as to the extent art reflects the world we live in. Bertolt Brecht allegedly said to the contrary that art was “not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”

The Marxist German playwright devised theatrical methods designed to distance the audience from the staged drama while drawing self-reflexive attention to the contrived nature of the spectacle itself.

The idea was that by estranging the spectator and encouraging critical examination, they would come to view society’s manmade injustices as similarly unnatural and be given agency to transform them in the real world. One of the implications of Brecht’s notion was that art in its more conventional forms often functions as a tool of mass persuasion for those in power to reinforce those inequities.

Marx and Engels themselves professed to have learned more about the contradictions of French society from the novels of Honoré de Balzac, which upheld the monarchy and the Church, than any historians or philosophers of their day. At its very worst, artistic mediums can be used by governments to manipulate a nation’s attitude towards other countries in order to justify war.

Brecht’s life and work coincided with the development of the film industry. However, most productions influenced by his ‘epic theatre’ were art-house and foreign films while commercial, mass-market Hollywood movies placed greater emphasis on appealing to the emotions over intellect.

However, there were some exceptions such as Charlie Chaplin who not coincidentally was persecuted for his politics by the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) during the Red Scare.

In the Cold War, Tinseltown played an important role in the cultural battlefield against the USSR and anti-Soviet paranoia was an ever-present theme in American cinema for decades, from the McCarthy era until the Berlin Wall fell.

Continue reading

Falling From Grace, by Jeff Thomas

How empires fail, from Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Years ago, Doug Casey mentioned in a correspondence to me, “Empires fall from grace with alarming speed.”

Every now and then, you receive a comment that, although it may have been stated casually, has a lasting effect, as it offers uncommon insight. For me, this was one of those and it’s one that I’ve kept handy at my desk since that time, as a reminder.

I’m from a British family, one that left the UK just as the British Empire was about to begin its decline. They expatriated to the “New World” to seek promise for the future.

As I’ve spent most of my life centred in a British colony – the Cayman Islands – I’ve had the opportunity to observe many British contract professionals who left the UK seeking advancement, which they almost invariably find in Cayman. Curiously, though, most returned to the UK after a contract or two, in the belief that the UK would bounce back from its decline, and they wanted to be on board when Britain “came back.”

This, of course, never happened. The US replaced the UK as the world’s foremost empire, and although the UK has had its ups and downs over the ensuing decades, it hasn’t returned to its former glory.

And it never will.

Continue reading