Paris – another day at the office for the Death Cult

One of the truly shocking, but no longer surprising, results of Friday’s attack on Paris, is the huge difference in media and political response when the victims are innocent western citizens; in contrast to the apparently much less important, though no doubt equally innocent, victims being more regularly slaughtered in the “developing world” (almost exclusively African and Arab)

Paris experienced its first attack of the year on January 7th. You almost certainly don’t need me to remind you of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo leaving 12 people dead and the further 4 Jewish hostages killed in the Kosher supermarket as part of the same attack. But, be honest, do you remember what other, vastly more horrendous attack had begun just a couple of days earlier and was still in progress on the same day? It resulted in over 2000 dead. Embarrassed not to remember something on the scale of 9-11? If I remind you it was Nigeria, does that ring any bells?

The Guardian addressed this “differential reporting” issue in their report on that massacre

Friday’s attack on Paris was one of the worst this year. Over 100 victims is quite rare for a terrorist attack. How many others on that scale have we witnessed this year? Most comfortable western citizens haven’t a clue. The answer, in case you’re one of those, is 9 – including the horrendous lead example in the previous link. Friday’s attack is the 10th. How many of the others do we remember, with anything like the clarity of the Charlie Hebdo attack? Here’s a quick listing of the other 8:

142 killed in the coordinated suicide bomb attack on Mosques in Sana’a, Yemen (March 20)

147 were killed in the Garissa University College attack in Kenya (April 2)

146 Kurdish civilians killed in Kobani  (June 25-26)

146 more Nigerian civilians killed by Boko Haram in the same State as their earlier Baga massacre (July 2)

130 Iraqi shoppers were killed in the marketplace at Khan Bani Saad (July 17)

145 more Borno victims killed by Boko Haram (September 20)

102 Turkish protestors (mainly) were killed at a Rally 21 days before the recent Turkish Election. (October 10)

224 died in the bombing of Russian Metrojet flight KGL9268 over Sinai (October 31)

With the exception of that last attack on the Russian plane, which did receive a pretty thorough airing in the western media, I doubt if many of us will hold more than a vague awareness that these attacks are happening on a fairly regular basis.

So, with all those in mind, I’d be honoured if you’d join me in signing the online petition being organised by RootsAction. Its focus is on keeping these tragedies linked together in recognition that, one way or another, a large part of the human race is being threatened by the Death Cult calling itself Islamic State and its sundry sympathisers. It is also explicitly trying to insist that Paris and similar atrocities are not exploited as yet another excuse for comfortably profitable wars.

MIFT cannot kill or maim anywhere near as many as they would like to, but they don’t need to. A few dozen here, a hundred there, and they can cow entire populations into submissively accepting Police States who pretend they can offer protection when what they are truly after is control. Once most States have adopted that model, we’ll all live in a world where the Islamist Authoritarians begin to look not too different from our own Authoritarians. At which point I’d probably find it very difficult to write a blog entry like this.

 

David Anderson takes a Step In the Right Direction

With David Anderson’s report, we finally look like we may be moving in the right direction.

However, his solution to over-reach is aiming at the wrong target. Prior authorisation by his proposed new judicial body is really no more than a band-aid on the amputated limb.

The 2800 authorisations issued last year are enough to illustrate the limitation of “control by authorisation”

There is no way that serious consideration of the facts and arguments underpinning any relevant surveillance request can possibly be conducted, at that rate, by the small organisation implied by a Judicial Commission. In fact, as David Davies argued on Radio 4, it’s not credible that the Home Secretary, Theresa May, even with the resources of the Home Office, can give genuinely appropriate levels of attention to such requests at the rate of 7 a day. Especially on top of her day job.

Frankly, however, we shouldn’t really care who signs off the authorisation for any given task. All they need to authorise is that the new rules I’m about to propose are being followed to the letter. That, in short means that a new digital case file has been opened and that everything related to the case will be stored in that file and made available, on demand to the independent oversight body and/or political authorities.

What matters far more – and is absolutely vital to ensuring true democratic control of the State’s surveillance apparatus – is the complete and routine data-capture (to an immutable audit trail) of the entire surveillance decision-making process and subsequent implementation of those decisions. In other words, nobody should be watched more closely and comprehensively than the watchers themselves. Think helmet cams, body cams, discreet microphones, Smartphone and GPS location tracking, Google glass and a host of similar technologies. Think ubiquitous CCTV and Webcam coverage in all secure areas and offices.

These are the experts in surveillance. They know exactly how to ensure that everything they say and do, in the line of duty, is captured to that immutable audit trail. They know how to keep their own data safe and secure and available only to those who have legal authority to access it. (If they don’t, they have no business keeping ours) It would probably be cost neutral or slightly beneficial.

Most importantly it will facilitate precisely the democratic oversight which is needed to ensure that everything the authorities do is on the record (or is automatically a criminal offence) and available for review by whatever oversight body we determine is necessary to earn the Trust of the British People.

That body must have untrammelled authority to inspect ANY relevant data at ANY time from the moment of authorisation forward. Indeed, it must even have authority to conduct spot inspections of anything relevant to their oversight with the sole and reasonable limitation that they can watch but not impede an ongoing operation. They must also be allocated resources which permit independent and trusted expert evaluation of what they find.

The technology will allow them to rewind any operation and see for themselves what evidence justified the operation and whether the implementation of the operation was entirely necessary and proportionate. Note, I don’t even insist that it was “legal”.

What matters is that We The People would agree that it was justified. Not that a “here today gone tomorrow” politician – with a potentially hidden agenda – asserts that it was justified and demands that we trust them.

The oversight body would be empowered to disclose whatever they thought necessary to the British Public. We need to be completely confident that if they say the operation was clean and justified, but that the details need to remain secret, we would probably have agreed with them if we were in possession of all the facts.

By the same token, where they clearly uncover illicit behaviour, we must be equally confident that they are able to disclose everything we ought to know, however embarrassing for the State, that disclosure may be.

Personally I don’t trust unelected Authoritarians, even relatively tame ones like most Judges, to wield that disclosure against the elected Authoritarians and I would much prefer that Oversight body to take the form of a Standing Jury with a few dozen members selected randomly from a national pool of civic-minded volunteers.

I don’t think we should object if the Security services wanted to Vet those volunteers and weed out any that might be a threat to the necessary discipline and security that such a Jury would have to work under. But the Jury itself would be the final arbiter on any such exclusions from Jury Service.

Such an arrangement would render the process truly democratic.

We should, perhaps, have no objection to a tribunal of experienced judges being available to advise and guide the Jury on all points of law and precedent, but the Jury itself should be sovereign and make the final judgements.

With all that in place, you can perhaps see why we needn’t care so much about who authorises the actual operations.

Provided we can see, after the event, who was asked, why they were asked, why they agreed, what the consequences were and how it was handled, frankly I don’t give a give a damn what it is they actually authorise – up to and including the assassination of a fellow citizen – or even an attack on a wedding party in Pakistan. There are potential legitimate reasons for any of these activities.

But where the consequences are that extreme, nothing less than a Jury of our peers, taking an entirely uninhibited look, on our behalf, at what went on and why, will satisfy any rationally sceptical citizen that the decisions were reasonable and rationally based on reviewable evidence; or that the implementation of those decisions was carried out in the least destructive and damaging way possible in the circumstances.

To be blunt; how many of the USA Police brutality incidents we have been bombarded with for the past few decades would have survived that level of scrutiny? Or, to put it another way, how much of that brutality would we have eliminated, how many lives would we have saved, had they been under that level of scrutiny?

Yes, the American Police are a far easier target for our opprobrium than the British Security Services.
We’d rather like to keep it that way!

Why We Fight (Eugene Jarecki)

depressing to find that this has just 5 “likes” on Stumbleupon and has only been viewed 80,125 times on youtube despite having been available, free, for over a year. This degree of apathy explains how they continue to get away with it. They are immune because “We The People” are indifferent. Sad, sad, sad…

Congratulations! You’re This Week’s Lucky Winner…

Assassination Politics recruits new high level supporter

this delightfully sinister US Government page doesn’t actually state that they will assassinate any of the high-profile targets named there, but it’s bleedin’ obvious that, should any “tips” they receive lead to locations in the middle of Pakistani, Yemeni or other middle eastern hinterlands conveniently far enough away from journalistic surveillance, they’ll be saying farewell to a few more drones.

I doubt they appreciate the irony of how much their technique resembles Jim Bell’s infamous proposal for controlling the world’s authoritarians and other bullies. The major difference is that the money isn’t put up anonymously by a peeved public but blatantly offered by a State that thinks it can make its own laws whenever appropriate.

And they certainly won’t appreciate or even comprehend why they’re both wrong for exactly the same reasons. And both right.

Assassination is certainly a more humane way to fight war than carpet or chemical bombing. And if the Islamist’s 9-11 attack had merely put bullets through the brains of the leading neo-cons and money-men who had already decided they needed a war, the “terrorists” would have won a lot more respect and a lot less hostility from a grateful world.

I wonder if they’ll pay out on a drone strike…

Israel Lobbyist in US: We Need a False Flag to Start War with Iran (youtube)

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We’ve seen extraditions to the US for less than this. So how is this legal? Thanks to ScrabbleEddie for sending me to this blogger who provides a bit of background…

Jewish Anti-Zionists “thank” Hitler for the Holocaust

This Anti Zionist Graffiti reads: “Zionists Wanted The Holocaust”


The graffiti is stretching things a bit too far (I don’t believe the Zionists WANTED the holocaust. They merely had the intelligence to exploit it), but these anti-zionists are making no more than the point I argued in Chapter 5 in 2003 while discussing the possible purposes of the mythical divine entity invoked by religious believers who consider their god or gods to be a valid hypothesis to explain the existence of the Universe.

And any theists inclined to argue that their god/s couldn’t possibly have an inhumane purpose might care to answer the questions as to why, in that case, he takes so little interest in our affairs to the extent of allowing such huge and widespread pain and suffering. Indifference to our fate either individually or collectively is no better, subjectively, than active hostility – particularly if he genuinely was capable of preventing it. And its not that we can’t see the long term perspective that a deity might take. We can even perceive the benefits of the holocaust, for example. The death of 6 million Jews has almost certainly ensured their survival! (This, incidentally, from one whose family lost 46 members in the death camps and ghettoes) Organised anti-semitism on any widespread scale is now virtually extinct. You may continue to have neo nazis for a while, but they are unlikely to have any serious impact. The long term result, therefore, of that insane butchery is more genuine security than the Jews have known in a thousand years and the rebirth of their geographical nation. Of course, they may be about to throw that all away if they cannot break the cycle of abuse and step back from being the grotesque abusers they have become, but thats for the future to determine.
(emphasis added)

No doubt if I’d sprayed the relevant paragraph over a war memorial myself, it would have received more attention…

Social Psychosis

Did I miss something? The headline “Why people believe undocumented immigrants cause more crime” suggests the author has found an answer to the question: “why DO people believe (etc)” but according to this Physorg summary, all it seems she’s doing is pointing out the evidence which challenges the belief; then reiterating the question “why the belief?”… Odd.

At the very least I’d have expected to see some mention of the most likely source of such ill-informed belief: viz the disinformation provided, constantly and at high volume, by the tabloid “journalists” in print, visual and digital media.

In any case, the more interesting question, given that the culprits have access to the same evidence, is why, nevertheless, they choose to promote the disinfo, even though they can see their lies being dissected and revealed in public as easily as this story illustrates.

This behaviour is not, of course, limited to their treatment of the facts regarding levels of American crime committed by illegal aliens. They’re pretty similar with regard to their treatment of Climate Change, the War on Drugs, the causes of the Financial Meltdown in 2008, the prospects for the Global Economy and many, if not most, crucially important areas of human discourse.

A clue to their motivation comes in this paper, pithily entitled:A culture of mania: a psychoanalytic
view of the incubation of the 2008 credit crisis
(pdf) in which the author “suggest(s) that a manic culture is one typified by denial, omnipotence, triumphalism and over-activity”; exactly what we see from the Authoritarians the world over in relation to those key issues. Their inflated conviction regarding their own infallibility is one of the most dangerous features of the modern world.

I’m also inclined to welcome this as reasonable academic support for my own amateur efforts to define “Social Psychosis” which I first did back in 2005 in my attempt answer the question as to whether, when Authoritarians lie about the evidence for WMD, or War Crimes or Evolution or whatever, they are Lying, Stupid or Blind.

I made the point that:

Psychologically, people who form firm beliefs – in the absence of the validated evidence we’ve discussed – are, essentially both irrational and gullible… If they continue to hold such beliefs when the relevant hypotheses have been falsified, then, I would argue, they are showing the early signs of psychosis. When groups of like-minded people share the challenged beliefs, it becomes a social psychosis in which members turn to each other for mutual validation of their shared and increasingly distorted world view.

What Mark Stein is helpfully doing is putting some serious meat on the bones of that conjecture.

Iran to crack down on web censor-beating software

This is the front line in the battle between We The People and the Authoritarians. Don’t make the mistake of smirking that you’re not involved. The Iranian authoritarians are merely trying out the techniques which will be used increasingly against those of us to like to think we live in more “liberal” countries.

Check back in ten years time, after it’s clear whether they’ve succeeded or not. See how this comment reads then. If they did succeed, I suspect your first problem will be finding this comment or others like it.

The American Authoritarians are the key. If they decide to go down this road, we’re about to enter the new “dark age”. If they resist, we’ll still have the rest of the World to deal with but at least we’ll have a firm homebase to start from.

The signs are not good. The sheer extent of their illicit untrusted surveillance on their own citizens (not to mention those of us who aren’t) makes the Stasi look both primitive and restrained. With a budget in excess of most National Budgets, the American panopticon is well beyond the control of the politicians and has essentially become a law unto itself.

This is about as dangerous as the State can ever get. We are now at the mercy of the motivation of the current generation of spooks. If they’re the “good guys” they no doubt consider themselves to be, then we might be relatively lightly controlled. But I guarantee the Stasi thought of themselves as being the good guys too…

1,600 Palestinians on hunger strike and the world sleeps on…

1600 Prisoners of War are now nearly 10 weeks into the world’s biggest ever hunger strike and I’m betting this the first you’ve heard of it. While you’re contemplating the question of why that might be, spare a thought for those about to start dying.

The biggest unresolved crime still extant in the world today is the theft of Palestine by the Zionist state of Israel, my genetic kin, I am ashamed to admit. So how do you confront a regional nuclear superpower which has committed itself to violent resolution of its territorial problems? The only “weapon” they have left is their own deaths.

They won’t change anything. Their deaths will be entirely futile. But as a result, the Third World War will continue to escalate…

The link between Muscle and Authority

No surprise here for students of Authoritarianism (which includes the philosophical position that “Might Is Right”) but note the highlighted sentence in this passage:

Multiple studies conducted from the US, East India, Bolivia and the Central African Republic show that physically strong men have a greater sense of entitlement, a shorter fuse on anger, and are more likely to turn aggressive when angry. The effects are quite substantial, often two to four times larger than the known effect of testosterone on aggression.

What this tells us is that Bullying (the basis of most Authoritarian politics, not just “right-wing”) cannot be blamed on hormones. It is clearly more influenced by culture and THAT we can do something about…

What IS missing from all reports of this research I’ve seen to date (the online source of the actual paper is behind a pay wall) is any reference to the inverse relationship between Authoritarianism (including, of course, the physical aggression the paper has studied) and intellect. Which is a shame because most bullies and authoritarians quite like the idea of being painted as physically strong (as evidenced by headlines we’re already seeing like “Now I know Why Labour Supporters are nancies“) but are less keen on trumpeting their intellectual inferiority…

The mobile phone as self-inflicted surveillance • The Register

I’ve been shouting warnings from my insignificant little rooftop about this kind of development for 9 years now
(new readers, start here)

I repeat:
…if we don’t impose our own rules on how the system works, we’ll be stuck with what Government/s want which – as the period since 9-11 has now conclusively demonstrated – is primarily a mechanism for increasingly authoritarian bureaucratic social control.

I’m beginning to wonder how much longer I’ll even be allowed to say that, out loud, in public…

Home – This Is Not A Film

amazingly courageous film maker smuggled the film he is not allowed to make out of his police state. Frankly I don’t know if you will help or hurt him by supporting his efforts. The more popular he becomes outside in the real world, the more the Iranian authoritarians may be inclined to victimize him…

Home – This Is Not A Film.

18 U.S. veterans commit suicide daily; largely due to psychiatric drugs

the sad thought that occurs on reading this report of the suicide rate among US Veterans, and it’s link to the overprescribing of psychiatric drugs, is whether it is related to the horrendous story we had just 3 days ago, where a US Staff Sergeant went postal and killed 16 Afghan civilians in their own homes.

Iraq militia stone youths to death for emo style | Reuters

Just as well we liberated them from an awful dictatorship eh? Good job “coalition”…

Iraq militia stone youths to death for emo style | Reuters.