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Category Archives: Technology

Trump Ordered Secret Cyber Attacks On Iran As An “Alternative” To War Thursday Night, by Tyler Durden

A cyber attack is war, it is not war’s “alternative.” From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

It’s been revealed that President Trump did order an attack on Iran – but not a military assault – instead, the US initiated a major cyber attack against an Iranian intelligence outfit the Pentagon believes was part of last week’s limpet mine incident involving two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

According to Yahoo Newswhich first broke the story – which was later confirmed Saturday evening by CNN and The Washington Post – the “retaliatory digital strike” was launched on Thursday evening just as the world was bracing itself for possible US airstrikes on Iran:

On Thursday evening, U.S. Cyber Command launched a retaliatory digital strike against an Iranian spy group that supported last week’s limpet mine attacks on commercial ships, according to two former intelligence officials.

The report relies on unnamed defense sources, which further added more details in a CNN follow-up, including that the group is tied to Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and that the spy group had used unique software to track tankers that had been targeted in last week’s June 13 incident.

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Brick-and-Mortar Meltdown Gets Costly for Big Retailers, and Results May Vary, by Wolf Richter

Online sales are both making and breaking the retail trade. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Ecommerce and the globalization of retail crush distribution channels, wholesalers, local retailers, large retailers, prices, and margins. 

Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy, Home Depot, Nordstrom, etc. — they all spend vast sums of money building out their ecommerce sites and their fulfillment infrastructure. And the big lump-sum figures are starting to show up in their regulatory filings.

Other major retailers didn’t take the threat of ecommerce seriously, and didn’t have the funds to take it seriously, as they were squeezed by the private-equity firms that owned them, and just put up a website, hoping for the best: Many of them have gone bankrupt. This includes notably, Toys R Us, Sears and Kmart, Bon-Ton Stores, Borders Books, Claire Stores, Sports Authority, Limited Stores, and Payless Shoe Source.

Now the brick-and-mortar survivors are scrambling furiously to get on top of this existential threat that many had blown off for years as irrelevant to their business, thinking that this whole ecommerce thing was overblown, and that ecommerce is only a small part of retail, that it was too small to worry about, etc. etc.

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China: The Perfect High-Tech Totalitarian State, by Judith Bergman

You can be sure all sorts of US politicians and bureaucrats are going to school on the Chinese. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • In China, censorship, now largely automated, has reached “unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.” — Cate Cadell, Reuters, May 26, 2019.
  • As in other Communist regimes, such as that of the former Soviet Union, the Communist ideology does not tolerate any competing narratives. “Religion is a source of authority, and an object of fidelity, that is greater than the state… This characteristic of religion has always been anathema to history’s totalitarian despots…” — Thomas F. Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute, in testimony before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, November 28, 2018.
  • In 2018, China had an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras, with plans for 626 million surveillance cameras by 2020. China’s aim is apparently an “Integrated Joint Operations Platform” which will integrate and coordinate data from surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology, citizen ID card numbers, biometric data, license plate numbers and information about vehicle ownership, health, family planning, banking, and legal records, “unusual activity”, and any other relevant data that can be gathered about citizens, such as religious practice, travels abroad, and so on, according to reports of local officials and police.
  • At the moment, China is in the process of fulfilling what Stalin, Hitler and Mao could only dream about: The flawless totalitarian state, powered by digital technology, where the individual has nowhere to flee from the all-seeing eye of the Communist state.

The 30th anniversary on June 4 of the Chinese regime’s 1989 massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square served to highlight the extreme censorship in China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and President Xi Jinping.

The Tiananmen anniversary is referred to euphemistically in mainland China, as ‘the June Fourth Incident’. The regime there evidently fears that any talk, let alone public commemoration, of that historical event will stir up anti-regime unrest, which could endanger the Chinese Communist Party’s absolute power.

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The Rise of Facial Recognition Should Scare Us All, by Derrick Brose

Soon they’ll outlaw masks, so that nothing hinders their facial recognition technology. From Derrick Brose at themindunleashed.com:

It seems the sleeping masses are finally waking to the privacy dangers posed by the rise of facial recognition technology.

(TMU) — In the last ten years, our world has been completely transformed thanks to the exponential growth of digital technology. Technological advances with computer processors and the internet have quickly advanced our world into one that resembles some of the most well known sci-fi films and novels. Not a single day passes without a report on an emerging technology or new feature in an already existing product. The last ten years alone have seen rapid growth in information technology, encryption, the medical industry and 3D printing technology, just to name a few.

Unfortunately, as technology is a tool, there are equally frightening developments taking place in the first two decades of the 21st century. Specifically, the ability for governments and private actors to monitor and spy on the activity of the average person has nearly become accepted as the norm. In fact, it has become commonplace to hear Americans respond to warnings of Orwellian futures with the timeless trope, “If you’re not doing anything wrong, there’s nothing to hide!” This is what makes it all the more surprising to see a surplus of recent reports examining the dangers and implications of a world where facial recognition technology is commonplace.

Here’s a small sample of the current headlines related to facial recognition:

Even the Washington Post published a warning titled “Don’t smile for surveillance: Why airport face scans are a privacy trap.”

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The Downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17: Mahathir Opens a “Ukraine Political Pandora’s Box”, by F. William Engdahl

Although it was a Malaysian airliner that was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, the Malaysian government has never been part of the official investigation. Now Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has rejected the official conclusions. From F. William Engdahl at lewrockwell.com:

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sent shock waves in a public speech where he dismissed a Dutch “official” report blaming Russia for the downing of Malaysia Air Flight 17 in July, 2014, weeks after a CIA-led coup toppled the elected President of Ukraine. Despite the downplaying in western mainstream media of the Malaysian leader’s comments, it is creating a major new potential embarrassment for ex-Vice President Joe Biden and his Ukraine collaborators such as Igor Kolomoisky, in their flimsy effort to blame Russia for their own misdeeds.

During a dialogue with the Japanese Foreign Correspondent Club May 30, Mahathir challenged the Dutch government to provide evidence for their claim that the civilian Malaysian FH17 jet that crashed in Ukraine was shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile fired from a Russian regiment based in Kursk. The Malaysian Prime Minister told the Japanese media,

“They are accusing Russia, but where is the evidence? We know the missile that brought down the plane is a Russian type missile, but it could also be made in Ukraine.”

The blunt-spoken Mahathir added,

“You need strong evidence to show it was fired by the Russians; it could be by the rebels in Ukraine, it could be Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile.”

He went on to demand that the Malaysian government be allowed to inspect the black box of the crashed plane, stating the obvious, that the plane belongs to Malaysia, with Malaysian pilot and there were Malaysians passengers:

“We may not have the expertise but we can buy the expertise. For some reasons, Malaysia was not allowed to check the black box to see what happened.”

He went on to state,

“We don’t know why we are excluded from the examination but from the very beginning, we see too much politics in it, and the idea was not to find out how this happened, but seems to be concentrated on trying to pin it to the Russians.“

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Why Truth Matters by Butler Shaffer

Knowing the truth is a key element of man’s survival. From Butler Shaffer at lewrockwell.com:

Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we
train our character to be passive in its presence and
thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves
and those we love.

– Julian Assange

We are social beings who require relationships with others of our species not only to live well, but to survive. As Franz Oppenheimer reminded us, there are only two systems available to provide for our material needs: the economic and the political means. The “economic” means consists of persons voluntarily exchanging their respective claims of ownership on terms they negotiate for themselves; while the “political” means involve the forceful taking of property by the state, without the consent of the owner. The “property principle” is involved in each system, with the “economic” means respecting the inviolability of an owner’s claim, while the “political” means disrespects it. The distinction between these two systems is often expressed as the difference between “individualism” and “collectivism.” The state is often called upon to impose its realpolitik powers upon individuals who are inconveniences to  the established order.

“Truth” is essential to the economic means in order that the parties have precision in the property interests being exchanged, as well as other terms of the contract. Because political activity is grounded in lies, exaggerations, deceptions, and corrupt practices, truth is largely an irrelevant factor. To the politically driven in a thoroughly politicized world, a lie is as good as the truth as long as people believe it!

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Regulating The Public Space, by the Zman

Alternatives to the tech social media oligopoly are springing up. From the Zman at theburningplatform.com:

There are few things good about aging, but one of those benefits is you start seeing how history often repeats itself. There is nothing new under the sun, but when you are young most everything is new to you. When you get old, you have experienced enough to begin noticing the repeats of things you saw in your youth. For example, those old enough to remember the early the days of the internet, probably recognize what’s happening with the tech giants trying to regulate the public space.

By early days, I’m not talking about the iPhone 4 days. I’m talking about the Windows 3.1 days, when the internet was for weirdos, who knew how modems worked and liked tricking the phone company for free long distance. It was when hobbyists assembled their own computers It was when NewEgg was called Egghead and operated in shopping centers. That was before the phrase “social media” existed, but there was still plenty of social media and plenty of people on it, just smarter people.

Usenet and bulletin board systems served the same role as Twitter and Facebook, without the cute names and billionaires trying to control the platforms. Like the big social media platforms, they started with the same general idea. They would be open forums for people to debate and argue. The internet was going to be free from the censorship of the old media and free from government control. The same things people say about bitcoin today were said about the internet in the olden thymes.

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