Re-Run season on the History Channel

The Elites who wound up holding all the cards after WW II had yet another card up their collective sleeve at the time. And since they were Elite, and since the card was up their sleeve, the rest of us never even suspected it was there, or being played as standard operating procedure , not just for winning every hand , but for ensuring the the players would never get caught cheating.

The card was called Espionage , and the hand was dealt to the selected friends and allies of Franklin D Roosevelt , Winston Churchill, and the little known ( quite deliberately little known) Canadian named William Stephenson who ( with his American counterpart , William Donovan) built and ran the secret intelligence apparatus that ultimately defeated Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo in WW II. During the war it was called BSC (British Security Coordination) , and by the end had grown into a network that controlled virtually every significant financial , industrial , media , communications , military , scientific and political activity throughout the victorious nation’s societies. If BSC didn’t have a handle on it , it was too small to matter.

It’s membership comprised the penultimate “insiders” of the winning Empires , and a whole bunch of patriotic small timers as well . Some knew a little , some knew a lot , and all of them knew any number of friends who could guarantee the success of any enterprise they liked , and mysterious problems and downfall of any that they did not like. It worked extremely well , and even passed itself off as a democracy . . . which it most certainly was NOT .

That apparatus has had a few new names and stock-splits, and it’s management has of course seen quite a few oh-so-discreet and ultra top secret changings of the guard in the past 75 years , but the core organism is the self same creature that Roosevelt and Churchill birthed back in 1939.

This network’s capacity to win by cheating and favor , rather than competition and merit , has both hollowed it out of real talent ( it rents talent now)) , and has corrupted its soul beyond redemption , but it can still easily defeat the few miniscule challengers left standing after three quarters of a century of mercilessly crushing all newcomers who don’t join the club.

That beast is now dying of it’s own Byzantine complexity of inbred incompetence that survives moment to moment on the unearned “Take” from a worldwide financial Ponzi scheme. That economy measures it’s future in years, not decades , as one country after another goes up in clouds of tear gas , water cannons and the smoke of burning barricades.

I count 9 domino-nations fallen in the past 3 years , with three more (larger ones) tipped way past the point of no return right now . Doubtless there will be a few more surprises like Brazil in the coming months.

There’s nothing much to do about it now but watch and wait for the right moment to move in and start rebuilding a decent civilization , with a few new lessons learned under our belts, hopefully.

Move too soon and the dying ( but still powerful) old apparatus will take you out.

Move too late and there won’t be much left to rebuild .

As always , timing is everything so just watch very very closely , and don’t get your knickers in a twist. It’s just history re-runs .

Oh , and one last reminder. NEVER trust spies. It’s their JOB to deceive , and you’ll never beat the good ones at their own game.

When Mad Dogs Fight . . . hunkering down in the War On Privacy

The only two voices to be heard in the room right now seem to be the slavering howls of two mad dogs having it out to see which one gets to eat us.

I’m tired of being cast as helpless prey simply because I detest murder .

Any other “moderates” out there who feel like that ?

On the one hand we have that legion of frothing “Chicken Hawks” calling for Edward Snowden’s blood simply because the man aired their dirty laundry in public .  I mean ,  really  now ,  did Snowden tell  “the enemy”  ANYTHING they didn’t already know in far more detail than he gave them ?  The only people shocked or amazed were sleepy Americans who had not yet realized just how far this “1984” thing had really got to.

And on the other hand we have a bunch of truly psychopathic Jihadis who believe that the way to win over the hearts and minds of the World Community ( and thereby reclaim a long lost . . . and mythical . . . sovereignty )  is with suicide bombs and decapitation of children.

Somewhere between those ultra extremes is a middle way ,  and if we don’t find it soon I fear that one or the other of those rabid animals are going to prevail .

And when that happens the only meat left in the room is going to be us.

Edward Snowden’s bid for freedom ( his AND ours )

Please excuse the sloppy writing ,  but I haven’t got time to make it all short ,  snappy and clever.

I’m aghast at how the enormous number of  “dots” being plastered all over the Internet are not being connected into a coherent picture ,  not just of what is happening ,  but the dirty details of how,  why and by whom.

Now what’s already obvious to everyone is that the so-called “Police State” is far more advanced than we had hoped it might be so soon .  And it should be equally obvious that the present state of affairs is not the result of “rogue” agencies , inadvertent “mission creep” ,  or the “unintended consequences” of policies written for some other purpose by well intended but over zealous public servants.

And  no ,  I am not speaking of some vast and vague conspiracy of nefarious  acronymed “agencies” shrouded in mystery.

I am speaking of a historical document written by  and for  the governments of the United States and United Kingdom themselves .  Not only was it carefully vetted by them before publication ,  and given the official stamp of approval of both governments ,  but it was written at their behest in the first place .  Remarkably , even the reason for publication at that particular moment in history is explicitly described in the book . ( it was to quell some very serious media and legislative inquiries into several major espionage screw ups  back in the late 1960’s and early 70’s ,  the exposure of which presented a significant threat to the continuance of legitimate secret intelligence operations  . . .  if there even is such a thing . )

It is a book titled ,  “A Man Called Intrepid” (1976) ,  by William Stevenson ,  and you can go buy a copy of it from any reasonably well stocked book store .  It’s about as controversial as a telephone directory .

Read it and weep.

Or don’t read it .  In which case you might soon be crying yourself to sleep every night .

I will try to present ,   in the shortest possible synopsis ,  enough of what it reveals that you are persuaded  . . .  just this one time . . .  to invest a couple of dozen hours of time and effort that may well save democracy itself for the next several generations .  If you think it’s already too late for yourself , then think of your children and theirs’ , and the world which they have no choice but to live in.

In the run up to World War II  US President Franklin D Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill foresaw that Adolph Hitler’s ( Nazi ) brand of fierce and aggressive fascism ,  posed an existential threat to humanity .  They believed that the only way to stop him was war   on a scale the world had never seen .

But the world had not yet recovered from the ravages of WW I ,  and very few people agreed with Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s views on stopping Hitler at all cost .

Therefore ,  Roosevelt ,  Churchill and a small but extremely powerful and influential circle of people throughout the democracies took matters into their own hands and formed a secret intelligence operation that was at first quite illegal in many respects ( and would certainly extremely embarrassing politically ) .  It’s expressed aim was to drag the free world ,  kicking and screaming if necessary ,  into the war that those two leaders saw as the only means of preventing a dark age on Earth under the collective heels of Hitler (Nazi Germany) ,  Mussolini  (fascist Italy)  and Tojo (Imperial Japan) .

This collaboration grew ,  was successful ,  and gradually gained some degree of official ( albeit secret )  legitimacy ,  under the direction of a man code-named  (you guessed it )  “Intrepid” ,  who was answerable solely and only  to Churchill and Roosevelt personally .

It worked .  Hitler was defeated ,  as were his Italian and Japanese partners in psychopathic tyranny  (known then as the “Axis” powers ) ,  and the world became safe for Democracy .  Or at least that’s what the book would have us believe .

It wasn’t ,  of course ,  because democracy had perished in the process .  The methods  ( and even some of the individual players )  and institutions created to defeat the “Axis” powers could not be put back into the bottle . . .  regardless of what the book’s authors would persuade us to believe.

The book ,  for example ,  claims that the apparatus built under “Intrepid”  was dismantled after the war .  It wasn’t .  It continued ,  grew exponentially ,  and pervades our lives today .  The world they built is the one we live in .

Read the book .  Draw your own conclusions .  Save your own lives .

Manifesto . . . ( just in case )

If there were a checklist in the handbook I’m sure that writing a Manifesto would be right up there near the top.  There’s no telling the time or place of one’s departure  (or of whose choosing ,  for that matter  )  and none of us want to leave  “Intestate”  ( i.e.  without some last rant and testament )  so here goes .

Item #1 .  It’s both unwise and a waste of time and material to blow up bad guys  ( if you could even know with any certainty who they all were ).  Yes , I know  ( as do we all )  that the temptation is great ,  especially right after reading each morning’s news feed .  [ Side note : isn’t that just a great  word to describe news ,  as  ” feed ” ? ]   But , getting back to my point ,  don’t foreget that the time , effort , and expense of clearing away evil-doers would have to be proportionately large , and I don’t think  there’s enough lethal material in the world  ( barring the  long range nuclear stuff  that they won’t let me play with for some reason )  to make a significant dent in the world’s supply of completely pathological assholes .  Talk about a renewable resource !

[ Side Note ,  The Second :   given the impractical size and complete futility of such a project ,  it amazes me how many would-be saviors of mankind keep trying  so hard .  Oh , well . “Hope springs eternal ,”  etc.  ]

So , if physical removal is off the table ,  what other ways might there be to set things straight around here ?

My favorites are tolerance and minding one’s own business ,  but have to acknowledge that both of those are way too radical even for a Manifesto , so let’s just scratch ’em and get back to more reasonably attainable possibilities.

Here’s one :  Understanding .

That’s a tall first step , I know ,  but since steps of any height can be reduced to much smaller steps  ( as small as one can comfortably handle ,  if need be  ) I’m going to stick with it.

Done !  That sure feels better.  Manifesto completed . It’s always good to get a big item checked off the list .

And remember ,   despite the fact that understanding is a pretty tough assignment it is very flexible time and circumstances wise .  You can do it alone or in groups ; while drinking beer with friends or all alone at night by the fire  ( or air conditioner , as the case may be .)  You can do part of it now ,  put it aside until later  and then pick it back up again right where you left off .  Understanding things requires very few specialized tools ( although books and mentors sure come in handy if you got ’em )  and in a pinch you can do it bare naked in the wilderness with nothing except your brain ,  completely solo .

Understanding .

Good , well rounded manifesto ,  even if I do say so myself ,  and so far as I know it’s only got one down-side :  the Quiz at the end can be a real bitch .

Michael Hastings . . . was it murder ?

I am fairly sure that Michael Hastings himself would have preferred the story to be about what he was investigating rather than about him . . . but . . .

. . . is a pack of hyenas pulling down a wounded lion best described as conspiracy, or just a bunch of hungry hyenas with a common interest ?  Micahel Hastings died under at least three sets of suspicious circumstances ( well covered elsewhere .)  That alone warrants meticulously thorough investigation. Anything less would just be considered a fourth suspicious circumstance.

But that is not the core issue ,  even so.

If in the end it turns out to be just a tragic automobile accident then remember that direct violence isn’t the only way to commit an assassination.  There is ,  for example, targeted persecution.  Just ask Aaron Swartz.  Sorry ,  a little late for that ,  isn’t it?

The fundamental issue is the multi-phasic war on Journalists ,  and through it a war on the very act of truth-telling itself.

The war on Journalists will end when there are no more pathologically guilty liars protected in high office . . .  or there are no more journalists like Michael Hastings.

Ode to a SPY COP

This little Limerick actually belongs over on the “Best Tweets” page because Twitter is where I first posted it.  On second thought , though , it was just too cute to put in a bucket of hundreds of Tweets where it’s lovely cadences might seldom be appreciated.  Incidentally , General Keith Alexander is the current Director of the National Security Agency … which I suppose makes him the ranking “Spy Cop” of the present day .  Hopefully that’s a temporary condition.

With no further ado or apology, here is my latest contribution to the lyrical heritage of our Brave New World Order :

A Spy Cop named K. Alexander

Thought that e-Mails were ALL worth a gander

Imagine his dread

When each missive he read

Just belittled his “thing” with great candor

Creeps

No, not that kind of creep. The other kind .  I don’t mean the leering jerk sort of creep.  I’m talking about the one where incremental changes (often too small to notice when taken one at a time )  eventually  add up to a complete reversal of direction .  Like how laws to assure speedy trials  ( habeas corpus laws )  eventually morphed into ‘policies-stronger-than-law’  which made indefinite secret detention without charges standard operating procedure … first on the muddy shoreline of our legal system and now in the main stream .
The phenomenon is so common that it even has a name .  It’s called “Mission Creep”,  and is probably best expressed in the joke ,  ” When you’re up to your ass in alligators it’s hard to remember that the original mission was to drain the swamp .”
That kind of creep is usually caused by stress and the immediate need to act swiftly ,  without adequate forethought ,  to keep something even worse from happening.
But there is another kind of mission creep ,  and it’s far far worse .  It’s the kind caused by deliberate PURPOSE .  It’s way more common than the first kind because it’s not accidental and therefore doesn’t naturally reverse when the stress comes off .  Instead it “ratchets up ” ,  because it  is being driven by specific people with specific interests . Those individuals  and the groups they represent  will attack any effort to stand back and take stock of consequences or attempt to return conditions to their originally calm state .  I’m tempted to call these purpose driven psychopaths “ratcheteers ,”  if that’s not too cute .  But by any name they are the worst parasites of democracy . They use democracy to end it ,  by turning law into license and liberty into a private playground for insiders only .
Take the Patriot Act as the perfect example of professional Ratcheteers in action.   They are fast ,   brother ,   Blitzkrieg fast ,  a lesson well learned from their Patron Saint ,  that German guy ,  whatshisname.
Within days their Patriot Act shifted a traumatized nation from its  “Drain The Swamp ” co-operative effort into the exclusive  “Alligator Extinction, Incorporated ”  club ,  under whose heel we live today .
The bundle of draconian new powers for cops and spies was ,  and is ,  so horribly contrary to traditional American values that it could only have been railroaded into law under the most severely stressful calamity .  The Twin Towers fortuitously provided the stress ,  but don’t blame it all on 9/11 .  The Patriot Act  ( even the  label  is a travesty )  had been packaged and ready to go for decades before that tragedy .
So,  how did we change from what we were into what we have become ?  We were ,  not so awfully long ago ,  a peace loving nation dedicated by belief and law to  principles expressed in a Declaration of Independence ,  Constitution & Bill of Rights .  We have become  a nation locked in perpetual wars across the globe ,  pouring two thirds of our treasure into the annihilation of vaguely defined so-called “Terrorists ,”  no matter at the cost of every single principle enshrined in those three documents.
“Mission Creep”  hardly seems adequate to describe such a profound degradation.
So how does it happen?
Some sociopaths with truly criminal intent  ( i.e. , psychopaths )  want free rein to do harm for personal gain but can’t presently get away with just walking up in broad daylight and doing it .  They are stymied by rules  ( called Law )  which expressly prohibit such overtly malicious behavior .  So our psychopaths need a re-write ,  a change in the rules ,  and set about doing precisely that ,  but in stages .  The carefully planned goal is to have defensibly legal cover to perpetrate whatever profitable mayhem they have in mind .  Some forms of mayhem other than certain aspects of hot war , however ,  are virtually impossible to sanitize .  So you can bet that legally sanctioned secrecy will be a big part of the new rules.  That and lying .  Lying is always highly effective ,  and BIG lies even more so .  Legally sanctioned lying ,  about secrecy ,  is just about perfect .  Expect to find gobs of that in the new users manual , too.
Of course there will always be leaks .  Leaks are the new Press Release .  And a few whistle blowers .  Whistle blowers are the new Terrorist .  But the Patriot Act authorizes all sorts of ways to deal with them .  Careful application of its large bag of tools ,  along with a  little extrajudicial kidnapping ,  drone strike ,  secret detention or “harsh interrogation techniques ,”  makes short work of that kind of nuisance.
And the best part ?  ( From a psychopaths point of view )  it’s all perfectly legal.
See anything like that around here recently ?
Yeah , me too , and it gives me the creeps.