Category Archives: Surveillance

Huawei Hypocrisy, by Craig Murray

People do not realize the information, including the content of phone calls and emails, that governments have about them, even high government officials who should know better. From Craig Murray at craigmurray.org.uk

Theresa May almost certainly sacked Gavin Williamson not just on the basis of a telephone billing record showing he had a phone call with a Telegraph journalist, but on the basis of a recording of the conversation itself. It astonishes me that still, after Snowden and his PRISM revelations, after Wikileaks Vault 7 releases, and after numerous other sources including my own humble contribution, people still manage to avoid the cognitive dissonance that goes with really understanding how much we are surveilled and listened to. Even Cabinet Ministers manage to pretend to themselves it is not happening.

The budget of the NSA, which does nothing else but communications intercept, is US $14.2 billion this year. Think about that enormous sum, devoted to just communications surveillance, and what it can achieve. The budget of the UK equivalent, GCHQ, is £1.2 billion, of which about 10% is paid by the NSA. Domestic surveillance in the UK has been vastly expanded and many taboos broken. But the bedrock of the system with regard to domestic intercepts is still that legal restrictions are dodged, as the USA’s NSA spies on UK citizens while the UK’s GCHQ spies on US citizens, and then the information is swapped. It was thus probably the NSA that harvested Williamson’s phone call, passing the details on. Given official US opposition to the UK employing Huawei technology, Williamson’s call would have been a “legitimate” NSA target.

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China’s Big Brother Social Control Goes to Australia, by Joshua Philipp

Governments won’t come right out and say so, but there isn’t a government in the world who doesn’t want China’s social control programs. From Joshua Philipp at theepochtimes.com:

Australia is preparing to debut its version of the Chinese regime’s high-tech system for monitoring and controlling its citizens. The launch, to take place in the northern city of Darwin, will include systems to monitor people’s activity via their cell phones.

The new system is based on monitoring programs in Shenzhen, China, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is testing its Social Credit System. Officials on the Darwin council traveled to Shenzhen, according to NT News, to “have a chance to see exactly how their Smart Technology works prior to being fully rolled out.”

In Darwin, they’ve already constructed “poles, fitted with speakers, cameras and Wi-Fi,” according to NT News, to monitor people, their movements around the city, the websites they visit, and what apps they use. The monitoring will be done mainly by artificial intelligence, but will alert authorities based on set triggers.

Just as in China, the surveillance system is being branded as a “smart city” program, and while Australian officials claim its operations are benign, they’ve announced it functions to monitor cell phone activity and “virtual fences” that will trigger alerts if people cross them.

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D Is for a Dictatorship Disguised as a Democracy, by John W. Whitehead

Here are the ABCs of tyranny, from John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.” — Professor Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Discourse in the Age of Show Business

What characterizes American government today is not so much dysfunctional politics as it is ruthlessly contrived governance carried out behind the entertaining, distracting and disingenuous curtain of political theater. And what political theater it is, diabolically Shakespearean at times, full of sound and fury, yet in the end, signifying nothing.

Played out on the national stage and eagerly broadcast to a captive audience by media sponsors, this farcical exercise in political theater can, at times, seem riveting, life-changing and suspenseful, even for those who know better.

Week after week, the script changes (Donald Trump’s Tweets, Congress’ hearings on Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, the military’s endless war drums, the ever-widening field of candidates for the 2020 presidential race, etc.) with each new script following on the heels of the last, never any let-up, never any relief from the constant melodrama.

The players come and go, the protagonists and antagonists trade places, and the audience members are quick to forget past mistakes and move on to the next spectacle.

All the while, a different kind of drama is unfolding in the dark backstage, hidden from view by the heavy curtain, the elaborate stage sets, colored lights and parading actors.

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Unconstitutional Searches of Electronic Devices at American Airports Have Quadrupled, by Dagny Taggart

The government, particularly the TSA and border authorities, continue their wars on the First and Fourth Amendments. From Dagny Taggart at theorganicprepper.com:

“Go to any airport in this country and you’ll see how well our government is dealing with the terrible danger you’re in. TSA staffers are wanding 90-year-old ladies in wheelchairs, and burrowing through their suitcases. Toddlers are on the no-fly list. Lipsticks are confiscated. And it’s all done with the highest seriousness.

It’s a show of protection and it stirs the fear pot, giving us over and over an image of being in grave personal peril, needing Big Brother to make sure we’re safe.” – Ann Medlock, Home of the Brave

The federal government wants us to believe that its growing disregard for our First and Fourth Amendment rights is in the interest of national security.

Thankfully, there are organizations that are attempting to bring attention to the ever-expanding police state – and are even willing to fight them in court.

America is turning into a Constitution-free zone.

Since 2015, U.S. government searches of travelers’ cellphones and laptops at airports and border crossings have nearly quadrupled.

You might be tempted to believe that these searches are done for good reasons.

You’d be mistaken.

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China’s Social Credit System – It’s Coming to the United States, by Marin Katusa

Everything is in place for the US government to copy China’s Social Credit Score system. From Marin Katusa at internationalman.com:

In 2015, a 16-year-old student from Jiangsu, China, tried to board a train.

She couldn’t even purchase a ticket.

The student, Zhong Pei, tried enrolling in classes at her university. But she was not allowed to do that either.

Zhong had committed a serious crime: She was guilty of being related to someone else.

Her father had killed two people and died in a car accident. So the Chinese government blacklisted her as “dishonest.”

It took her four months before she was able to overturn the decision and go to her university.

China’s Social Credit System – America’s New Nightmare?

What Zhong experienced was the result of testing for China’s new “Social Credit System.”

The SCS aims to be a unified program that provides a “social credit score” for every one of China’s 1.3 billion citizens.

But the Chinese government needed help develop the algorithms that determine social credit scores. So it enlisted eight companies for pilot programs, including its two largest, trusted social media companies: Tencent and Alibaba. They both came up with their own solutions: Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial rolled out its own “Sesame Credit” system. And Tencent had a nationwide system that was trialed for less than a day before it was taken down with pressure from the People’s Bank of China.

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Doug Casey on the Future of Privacy

In a word, the future of privacy looks bleak. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

The world has become totally digitized over the last couple of decades. Thanks to the Internet of Things [IoT], there are sensors everywhere. They’re not just on every street and in every store. They’re in your television, your car, your refrigerator, and God knows where else.

If you buy a new appliance today, it’s extremely hard not to end up with something that will monitor you. Of course, the argument’s made: “Well, if you don’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” I suppose that’s true. Here’s a tip: you definitely shouldn’t commit a murder within purview of one of these devices.

But as Harvey Silverglate pointed out in his book, Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, you don’t know what crime you may or may not be committing. Your only hope is that the government is too busy or too incompetent to focus on you.

It’s probably true that the average person only committed three crimes a day when Silverglate wrote the book in 2009. But so many laws have passed since then that the average person probably commits more like five or six crimes a day now.

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Doug Casey on What Happens After the Next 9/11

We’re one big crisis or tragedy away from a full-on police state. From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:

Is a police state in the U.S. possible? Absolutely.

That’s because people are essentially the same the world over, regardless of their culture, religion, race, or what-have-you. A certain percentage of them are sociopaths.

There is a standard distribution of sociopaths across time and space. It’s a function of Pareto’s Law, better known as the 80-20 rule. 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Another 20% are responsible for 80% of the crime. 20% of the population always winds up with 80% of the wealth. And so forth, through all areas of human endeavor. This observation can be represented by a bell-shaped curve – a “standard distribution” – with a small minority at each extreme, but the large majority in the middle. The people who will take us to a police state are sociopaths – criminal personalities who don’t respect the liberty or property of others. And sociopaths gravitate towards government, and eventually come to control it.

My view is that 80% of human beings are basically decent, get along, go along types. 20% are what you might call potential trouble sources, that can go either way. But then you take 20% of that 20% and you’re dealing with the sociopaths.

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