Category Archives: Surveillance

Nigeria, Oh, Nigeria, Cry for me, Nigeria!

So, good friend, Madu, who I met decades ago, at UT-El Paso. He was coming through buildings where part-time English faculty had offices. That big smile, that large voice, and an open hand. He was working the used/discount book gig: going to colleges to get books from faculty and bookstores that might have been extra copies from the respective publishers called review copies.

So, part-time faculty like myself, in the 1980s, would order tons of these reviewer’s copies of grammar, lit, and survey collections. Then fellows like Madu might come by with hard cold cash to buy them up.

The old days when students could find alternative prices (lower) than what college bookstores would charge. Madu has that service.

We talked, and his Nigerian love, his Nigerian spirit, the fact he was in Houston, with a wife and three children, all of that, made the chats open and real. I had just had a baby girl, so we talked about her.

Then politics, Africa, my own activism around Central America, the US-Mexico border, the environment, twin plants, militarization of campuses and the border, and my own work trying to unionize part-time exploited faculty.

Global politics. Nigeria, Africa, Diasporas, evil US-backed dictators, colonialism, post-colonialism, the trauma, the long-term biopiracy of Africa, the theft of resources, and alas, imagine, 30 years later, almost, and African countries are in the grips of AFRICOM, the US vassals, the exploiters, the mining, ag, and oil thieves. Until, 2022, many are becoming failed states, famines, the entire world of data mining, Zuckerberg encircling the continent with his Metaverse, and on and on. The story of United Fruit Company, Coca Cola, Monsanto, Big Pharma, Hearts and Minds USA special forces, and proxy wars and Nationa ENdowmenr for Democracy/CIA fomenting hell.

Oh, this devil USA:

Phoenix Express 2021, the AFRICOM-sponsored military exercise involving 13 countries in the Mediterranean Sea region, concluded last week. While its stated aim was to combat “irregular migration” and trafficking, the U.S. record in the region indicates more nefarious interests. “AFRICOM military’s exercise: The art of creating new pretexts for propagating U.S. interests” (source)

Go to MR Online, and then put in AFRICOM. Or, AFRICOM and Nigeria, or pick your country. Mark my words: Everything, I say EVERYTHING, tied to the USA and UK and EU when involving African nations now, well, pure evil:

This is recent, as in Oct. 2021:

Please join us for the launch of the international month of action by attending a webinar on October 1st, titled “AFRICOM at 13: Building the Popular Movement for Demilitarization and Anti-Imperialism in Africa.” Speakers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, and the African diaspora will discuss AFRICOM and what we can do to expel imperialist forces from the continent. Following the webinar, events will take place throughout October organized by various organizations on the African continent, in the U.S., and around the world to demand an end to the U.S. and western invasion and occupation of Africa.

BAP makes the following demands in the U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign:

  • The complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Africa,
  • The demilitarization of the African continent,
  • The closure of U.S. bases throughout the world, and
  • That the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) oppose U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and conduct hearings on AFRICOM’s impact on the African continent, with the full participation of members of U.S. and African civil society.

Written by Tunde Osazua, a member of the Black Alliance for Peace’s Africa Team and the coordinator of the U.S. Out of Africa Network.

So, I was on Madu’s radio show, and he has run for Senate in Nigeria, and he wants to run for president. However, as he clearly states: “You have to have millions of dollars and militias to buy the votes.”

This is his organization:

Here’s a statement from Madu:

Not rising up by Nigerians from within Nigeria and around the world beyond ethnic, regional, religious and partisan political boundaries to save Nigeria from the hands of her mostly visionless, ignorant, insensitive, inhumane, squandermanic and most painfully, corrupt and morally bankrupt drivers of government at all levels whose actions have significantly weakened her sovereignty and territorial integrity, and made her peoples so poor and vulnerable , is a sin against God and a grave infraction against humanity for which history and unborn generations of Nigerians will judge us all harshly if we fail today to act unconditionally to save the country from an imminent collapse.

….Smart Madu Ajaja

This is a serious and long-term project, the decolonizing of the world, including all those countries’ economies, the land, the people, the cultures and the individuals:

This Special Issue aims to explore the complex and contested relationship between trauma studies and postcolonial criticism, focusing on the ongoing project to create a decolonized trauma theory that attends to and accounts for the suffering of minority groups and non-Western cultures, broadly defined as cultures beyond Western Europe and North America. The issue builds on the insights of, inter alia, Stef Craps’s book, Postcolonial Witnessing, and responds to his challenge to interrogate and move beyond a Eurocentric trauma paradigm. Authors were invited to submit papers on the theorization and representation of any aspect of postcolonial, non-Western and/or minority cultural trauma with a focus predominately, but not exclusively, on literature. (SourceDecolonizing Trauma Studies: Trauma and Postcolonialism … 200+ pages!)

I talked with Madu on his radio show, and below, the show. I do cover a lot of philosophical territory, and alas, this is about Madu and his love of his country and how quickly the country of his birth has spiraled into a country of selling people as slaves, kidnapping people for organs, murder, rape, theft.

So under the cover of counterterrorism, AFRICOM is beefing up Nigeria’s military to ensure the free flow of oil to the West, and using the country as a proxy against China’s influence on the continent. And that is the issue, too, that Madu is not happy with his country being exploited by anyone, including China. I explained to him that the USA has the military bases, the guns, and China has the contracts, the builders. In fact, Madu is spiritually exasperated at how his own countrymen turn against their own countrymen, and how there is a overlay of trauma and laziness and desperation and inflicted PTSD, including the post-colonial trauma referenced above.

USA is like a storm of ticks, locusts, mosquitos, viruses, as the syphilitic notions of Neocon and Neoliberal anti-diplomacy hits country after country like disease. A plague.

The greatest threat looming over our planet, the hegemonistic pretentions of the American Empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger, and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads.

–Hugo Chavez

The United States Military is arguably the largest force of ecological devastation the world has ever known.

–Xoài Pham

Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, and fulfill it or betray it.

–Frantz Fanon (source)

William Blum wrote about the illegality of the USA’s direct and indirect bombing and invasions.

Here, a bit of an update:

The Death Toll of U.S. Imperialism Since World War 2

A critical disclaimer: Figures relating to the death toll of U.S. Imperialism are often grossly underestimated due to the U.S. government’s lack of transparency and often purposeful coverup and miscounts of death tolls. In some cases, this can lead to ranges of figures that include millions of human lives–as in the figure for Indonesia below with estimates of 500,000 to 3 million people. We have tried to provide the upward ranges in these cases since we suspect the upward ranges to be more accurate if not still significantly underestimated. These figures were obtained from multiple sources including but not limited to indigenous scholar Ward Churchill’s Pacifism as Pathology as well as Countercurrents’ article Deaths in Other Nations Since WWII Due to U.S. Interventions (please note that use of Countercurrents’ statistics isn’t an endorsement of the site’s politics).

  • Afghanistan: at least 176,000 people
  • Bosnia: 20,000 to 30,000 people
  • Bosnia and Krajina: 250,000 people
  • Cambodia: 2-3 million people
  • Chad: 40,000 people and as many as 200,000 tortured
  • Chile: 10,000 people (the U.S. sponsored Pinochet coup in Chile)
  • Colombia: 60,000 people
  • Congo: 10 million people (Belgian imperialism supported by U.S. corporations and the U.S. sponsored assassination of Patrice Lumumba)
  • Croatia: 15,000 people
  • Cuba: 1,800 people
  • Dominican Republic: at least 3,000 people
  • East Timor: 200,000 people
  • El Salvador: More than 75,000 people (U.S. support of the Salvadoran oligarchy and death squads)
  • Greece: More than 50,000 people
  • Grenada: 277 people
  • Guatemala: 140,000 to 200,000 people killed or forcefully disappeared (U.S. support of the Guatemalan junta)
  • Haiti: 100,000 people
  • Honduras: hundreds of people (CIA supported Battalion kidnapped, tortured and killed at least 316 people)
  • Indonesia: Estimates of 500,000 to 3 million people
  • Iran: 262,000 people
  • Iraq: 2.4 million people in Iraq war, 576, 000 Iraqi children by U.S. sanctions, and over 100,000 people in Gulf War
  • Japan: 2.6-3.1 million people
  • Korea: 5 million people
  • Kosovo: 500 to 5,000
  • Laos: 50,000 people
  • Libya: at least 2500 people
  • Nicaragua: at least 30,000 people (U.S. backed Contras’ destabilization of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua)
  • Operation Condor: at least 10,000 people (By governments of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. U.S. govt/CIA coordinated training on torture, technical support, and supplied military aid to the Juntas)
  • Pakistan: at least 1.5 million people
  • Palestine: estimated more than 200,000 people killed by military but this does not include death from blockade/siege/settler violence
  • Panama: between 500 and 4000 people
  • Philippines: over 100,000 people executed or disappeared
  • Puerto Rico: 4,645-8,000 people
  • Somalia: at least 2,000 people
  • Sudan: 2 million people
  • Syria: at least 350,000 people
  • Vietnam: 3 million people
  • Yemen: over 377,000 people
  • Yugoslavia: 107,000 people (Source: The Mapping Project is a multi-generational collective of activists and organizers in the Boston area who are deeply engaged in Palestine solidarity / BDS work. For over a year, we’ve been tracing Greater Boston’s networks of support for the colonization of Palestine–and how these networks participate in other forms of oppression, from policing to U.S. imperialism to medical apartheid and privatization.)

Madu and most activist Nigerians know these facts. Big global facts. The vices the United States of America has put the world in. The dirty Empire. The global cop. And, so, Nigerians in the USA number around two million, with a few hundred thousand. Now, of course, off camera, I repeated to Madu that most Americans, oh, 90 percent of the 355 million currently residing (most illegally) here do not care about Black, Africans, Chinese, and again one American is worth a million Nigerians. It is a juggling act, being part of the Diapora, and Madu is a nurse, and he like I said ran for Senate, and lost, and he has been inspired by some youth, but again, youth are being colonized by the ticks of data. Read below the YouTube window.

So, Alison McDowell at Wrench in the Gears, and then Silicon Icarus and others are talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the next colonialization of Africa. Coltan and gold may be like gold to the Wall Streeters and Transnationalists, and water and food and good land maybe like platinum to the same group of thieves, but data is worth its gigbytes/terrabytes in emeralds. “French Imperialism vs. Crypto Colonialism: The Central African Republic Experiment” & “Blockchain Technology & Coercive Surveillance of the Global South” both by Sebs Solomon

So, Madu, and great honorable youth in Nigeria who want to have a free, open, clean, sustainable, cultural-centric, food security, self-imposing, country of healthy bodies, minds and ecosystems, I am sorry to report the devils wear skinny jeans, and many come to the USA from India with work permits to work and live in Seattle/Redmond to work for Microsoft/Google/Facebook and all the other devils helping put these systems in place:

At the same time, SingularityNET partnered with UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education (IBE) to establish a new curriculum for children and teens, with an emphasis on emerging technology to prepare the youth for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to UNICEF:

There will never be enough money allocated in the budget, qualified teachers, or places in schools for the population we have; therefore, emerging technologies like Virtual Reality allow us to leapfrog these problems and offer the hope of more affordable, scalable and better quality education.

It is striking to read that UNICEF doesn’t believe there will ever be enough money to help all of the children in the world receive a traditional, classroom, education; therefore, it’s better to invest and scale Virtual Reality education — a rather pessimistic take from the “children’s fund” arm of the UN. UNICEF Innovation Fund, has virtual reality education programs in ChileIndiaNigeria, and Ghana. In Ghana, they noted there are “challenges to accessing the necessary teaching and learning resources for students to receive quality education; which is compounded by the lack of necessary and up-to-date education materials, huge class sizes and the lack of necessary infrastructural facilities.” (source)

How many more battlefields shall honorable people like Madu enter into with no money, no militias and the kings of capital weilding more powerful digital bombs than hydrogen bombs?

For a rabbit hole or warren, go to: Silicon Icarus and see Alison McDowell’s work on the following: Alison McDowell. Or over at her blog: Wrench in the Gears. She’s expending lifetime hours looking into this evil web of Davos, WEF, the billionaires’ club, the taking over of humanity through transhumanism, blockchain, Singularity, and all the other topics the mainstream and leftstream media and blogs just won’t tackle.

  • Blockchain
  • Gamification
  • Genomics
  • Impact Finance
  • Smart Cities
  • Biosecurity State

This is what the Fourth Industrialization devils want for all children on earth (minus their kids and their sychophants’ kids). Soylent Green be damned!

 

The post Nigeria, Oh, Nigeria, Cry for me, Nigeria! first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Billion Dollar Deal that Made Google and Amazon Partners in the Israeli Occupation of Palestine

“We are anonymous because we fear retaliation.” This text was part of a letter signed by 500 Google employees last October, in which they decried their company’s direct support for the Israeli government and military.

In their letter, the signatories protested a $1.2 billion contract between Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Israeli government which provides cloud services for the Israeli military and government that “allows for further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land”.

This is called Project Nimbus. The project was announced in 2018 and went into effect in May 2021, in the first week of the Israeli war on besieged Gaza, which killed over 250 Palestinians and wounded many more.

The Google employees were not only disturbed by the fact that, by entering into this agreement with Israel, their company became directly involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but were equally outraged by the “disturbing pattern of militarization” that saw similar contracts between Google – Amazon, Microsoft and other tech giants – with the US military, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other policing agencies.

In an article published in The Nation newspaper in June, three respected US academics have revealed the financial component of Amazon’s decision to get involved in such an immoral business, arguing that such military-linked contracts have “become a major source of profit for Amazon.” It is estimated, according to the article, that AWS alone was responsible for 63 percent of Amazon’s profits in 2020.

The maxim ‘people before profit’ cannot be any more appropriate than in the Palestinian context, and neither Google nor Amazon can claim ignorance. The Israeli occupation of Palestine has been in place for decades, and numerous United Nations resolutions have condemned Israel for its occupation, colonial expansion and violence against Palestinians. If all of that was not enough to wane the enthusiasm of Google and Amazon to engage in projects that specifically aimed at protecting Israel’s ‘national security’ – read: continued occupation of Palestine – a damning report by Israel’s largest human rights group, B’tselem should have served as that wake up call.

B’tselem declared Israel an apartheid state in January 2021. The international rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) followed suit in April, also denouncing the Israeli apartheid state. That was only a few weeks before Project Nimbus was declared. It was as if Google and Amazon were purposely declaring their support of apartheid. The fact that the project was signed during the Israeli war on Gaza speaks volumes about the two tech giants’ complete disregards of international law, human rights and the very freedom of the Palestinian people.

It gets worse. On March 15, hundreds of Google workers signed a petition protesting the firing of one of their colleagues, Ariel Koren, who was active in generating the October letter in protest of Project Nimbus. Koren was the product marketing manager at Google for Education, and has worked for the company for six years. However, she was the kind of employee who was not welcomed by the likes of Google, as the company is now directly involved with various military and security projects.

“For me, as a Jewish employee of Google, I feel a deep sense of intense moral responsibility,” she said in a statement last October. “When you work in a company, you have the right to be accountable and responsible for the way that your labor is actually being used,” she added.

Google quickly retaliated to that seemingly outrageous statement. The following month, her manager “presented her with an ultimatum: move to Brazil or lose her position.” Eventually, she was driven out of the company.

Koren was not the first Google – or Amazon – employee to be fired for standing up for a good cause, nor would, sadly, be the last. In this age of militarism, surveillance, unwarranted facial recognition and censorship, speaking one’s mind and daring to fight for human rights and other basic freedoms is no longer an option.

Amazon’s warehouses can be as bad, or even worse, than a typical sweatshop. Last March, and after a brief denial, Amazon apologized for forcing its workers to pee in water bottles – and worse – so that their managers may fulfill their required quotas. The apology followed direct evidence provided by the investigative journalism website, The Intercept. However, the company which stands accused of numerous violations of worker rights – including its engagement in ‘union busting’ – is not expected to reverse course any time soon, especially when so much profits are at stake.

But profits generated from market monopoly, mistreatment of workers or other misconducts are different from profits generated from contributing directly to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Though human rights violations should be shunned everywhere, regardless of their contexts, Israel’s war on the Palestinian people, now with the direct help of such companies, remains one of the gravest injustices that continues to scar the consciousness of humankind. No amount of Google justification or Amazon rationalization can change the fact that they are facilitating Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

To be more precise, according to The Nation, the Google-Amazon cloud service will help Israel expand its illegal Jewish settlements by “supporting data for the Israel Land Authority (ILA), the government agency that manages and allocates state land.” These settlements, which are repeatedly condemned by the international community, are built on Palestinian land and are directly linked to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

According to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, Project Nimbus is the “most lucrative tender issued by Israel in recent years.” The Project, which has ignited a “secretive war” involving top Israeli army generals – all vying for a share in the profit – has also whetted the appetite of many other international tech companies, all wanting to be part of Israel’s technology drive, with the ultimate aim of keeping Palestinians entrapped, occupied and oppressed.

This is precisely why the Palestinian boycott movement is absolutely critical as it targets these international companies, which are migrating to Israel in search for profits. Israel, on the contrary, should be boycotted, not enabled, sanctioned and not rewarded. While profit generation is understandably the main goal of companies like Google and Amazon, this goal can be achieved without necessarily requiring the subjugation of a whole people, who are currently the victims of the world’s last remaining apartheid regime.

The post The Billion Dollar Deal that Made Google and Amazon Partners in the Israeli Occupation of Palestine first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Fear Not to Be

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the theologian Paul Tillich’s famous book, The Courage to Be.  Widely read in the days when an educated public read books, it is long forgotten.  In it, Tillich surveys the history of anxiety and fear and their relation to courage, religious faith, and the meaning of life.  His closing sentence – “The courage to be is rooted in the God who appears when God has disappeared in the anxiety of doubt” – became acclaimed as an astute description of the existential need to find a foundation for faith and courage when their foundations were shaking.

His writing profoundly influenced many, even when they didn’t wholly agree with him.  This included Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who, commenting on Tillich’s death in 1965, said, “His Christian existentialism gave us a system of meaning and purpose for our lives in an age when war and doubt seriously threatened all that we had come to hold dear.”

I mention The Courage to Be not to engage in a recondite theological and philosophical analysis, which is the last thing we now need, but to contrast his call for spiritual courage with what we have been experiencing pouring forth from the mass corporate media for years  There is a drumbeat of fear-mongering so intense and constant that it is almost comical if it weren’t so effective in reducing people to quaking, frightened children.

Primarily about Covid and the need to obey the authorities and submit to being jabbed with mRNA Covid “Vaccines” – the idolatrous religion of bio-security – this  religion of fear goes much further and much deeper.  Scenarios of fear have been rehearsed and produced for decades by the intelligence/IT/media giants on a multitude of issues, large and small.  They are rooted in a spiritually nihilistic political propaganda campaign that is exponentially increasing fear, anxiety, and despondency on a vast scale, which is its intent.  Fearful people are easily cowered and controlled.  The elites know that regular people throughout the world are fed up with being subjected to violence and abuse in multiple forms, and if courage triumphs over their fears, they might join in worldwide solidarity and revolt, as they have been doing in various places recently. To prevent this, the authorities must use terror tactics to divide and conquer them. If people dare to rise up and even question the propaganda, they have been and will be called terrorists for doing so.  Dissent is now equated with terrorism and thus it must be censored.

All this fear-mongering draws on people’s normal fears of “not to be,” meaning dead. It is, of course, understandable not wanting to be dead, but living in constant fear is a living death.  Tillich, who suffered deep trauma as a chaplain in the trenches of WW I and was later dismissed from his teaching position in Germany when Hitler came to power, wrote that courage is rooted in the spiritual acceptance that underlying our individual lives is the power of Being, by which he meant God, and that fear and anxiety about our fates can be confronted only through the courage to accept in faith this foundational reality.

I think it is self-evident to anyone who glances at the mainstream media that fear is their staple.  In just the last week or so, I have seen The New York Times, an official organ of propaganda if there ever were one but known historically as the Grey Lady for understatement, tell its readers in a hyperventilating style that anxiety about climate change has spawned a growing field of therapeutic treatment for sufferers, how deer in your back yard are infected with Omicron, how the Russians are coming, etc.  This is the typical fear promoting propaganda that headlines all the media sites every day and has been doing so for years.  Any casual observer can list them on a daily basis, from major to minor matters to fear.

Yet despite this constant, blatant propaganda, governments flip the truth and warn that anyone who questions this are conspiracy theorists intent on causing trouble and therefore must be watched and refuted. Just the other day the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a “Summary of Terrorism Threat to the U.S. Homeland,” saying:

The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors.

After twenty years of such obvious propaganda, you would think these people would be embarrassed, but they obviously are not and intend to propagate this bullshit for years to come.  They and their media accomplices have taken their lingo lessons straight from Nineteen Eighty-Four.

On the bio-security religious front alone, Kit Knightly of Off-Guardian has recently reported that the authorities have warned us that there is a vast underdiagnosis of heart disease that may stealthily be coming to get us (not from “vaccines,” of course) and that HIV testing and vaccines look to be the next big push, for there is now the claim that a new variant of HIV is spreading in Europe.  President Biden declared in December 2021 that his administration was aiming to “end the HIV/Aids epidemic by 2030.”  While Covid restrictions may be easing, the mRNA “vaccine push” is not, and their promoters will only find different germs to defeat with “vaccines” and tests to ease the fears of the propagandized public, so many of whom have been turned into hypochondriacs.

The promulgation of the fear of germs and disease and foreign and domestic “threat actors” is permanent.  For anyone naively thinking that there will be an easing of this elite war of lies, I would suggest they rethink that assumption.  The state of siege that is the Covid crisis will be followed by many more, and this germ warfare includes a vast array of foreign variants, led by Russia and China.  We are in a permanent crisis and emergency engineered by the ruling classes to maintain their control.

This elite war against regular people has no end in sight.  The elites know that people get worn down over time and lose hope; thus, they plan for the long haul and keep hammering away.  Paul Tillich’s book is important because of its stress on the need for courage in the face of the fear-mongering.  Without a spiritual foundation to sustain one for the long haul, depression will lead to despair or surrender.  History should teach us this. The evil ones often win, at least in the short run, and each of us doesn’t have a long run.  Our time is brief.

The great dissenters and rebels of the past, even when not overtly religious, kept faith with their comrades and causes because they felt a deep, unbreakable, invincible connection.  It is called different names or none at all.  Maybe faith is the best word.  Faith in what?  Some call it God, as I do. Words can’t explain it; I feel it. Others say nothing and just carry on, sustained by the invisible. Some call it faith in human solidarity.  The names don’t matter.  It is not about naming but experiencing. The poet D.H. Lawrence said wisely that we are transmitters of life, “and when we fail to transmit life, life fails to flow through us.”  And he added in his inimitable style: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  But it is a much more fearful thing to fall out of them.”  It is not easy, but fear helps us fall out.

There were those who called Tillich an atheist because his philosophical explanation sounded too abstruse, which is true.  But he made a fundamental point about how as human beings we participate in Being, which is the ground of our existence.  We are part of something that is far larger than our puny selves –  beings in the sea of Being.  Who can deny that?  His call to courage hit a resonant cord with believers, agnostics, and atheists alike.  Not a poet but a German trained immigrant scholar who emigrated to the U.S.A., his language was steeped in heavy philosophical verbiage, yet it found a wide audience in its analysis of fear, anxiety, and especially courage because it was about fundamental truths.  Courage is fundamental, as is faith.

The Spanish poet Antonio Machado put it less philosophically and more elegantly:

I talk always to the man who walks along with me;
– men who talk to themselves hope to talk to God
Someday –
My soliloquies amount to discussions with this friend,
Who taught me the secret of loving human beings.
….
And when the day arrives for the last leaving of all,
And the ship that never returns to port is ready to go,
You’ll find me on board, light, with few belongings,
Almost naked like the children of the sea.

We are children of the sea and courage keeps us afloat.

Humor also helps, for we are funny creatures.

It is not often that one escapes an unintended assassination attempt.  I am glad to say that I have.

This is an example of the power of fear. Where I live, the winter has been quite cold and there was a recent ice storm with thick ice everywhere on top of snow.  My wife was fearful of falling and so had bought hiking poles for herself and me as Christmas gifts.  I said I didn’t want them and wouldn’t use them; that I wasn’t afraid, that I had faith in my ability to sustain myself.  So I didn’t use them, which angered her.  One day when the ice in the driveway and on the car was inches thick, she cajoled me into using the sticks to reach the car.  She set them for me with their clips at the proper height, since they are adjustable.  We toddled down the pathway to the car, setting one pole out ahead of the other in turn.  I exaggerated my need for them, bending far over as if I were in great need of the crutches.  Approaching the driveway, I extended my right hand pole out in front and it collapsed because the clips weren’t set tight and I went flying face forward onto the ice.  She looked at me in fear, not sure if I was dead or hurt or if her fear had made her into an accidental assassin.  She needn’t worry.  It was funny.

We all fall eventually, but in the meantime, worrying about it is self-defeating.  It is a reaction to fear.  Worrying is a form of preying on oneself (etymology: to seize by the throat with one’s teeth and kill), and it can be induced – and is – by the campaigns of fear that we are being subjected to.

The courage to be was Tillich’s way of saying that we are upheld by far more than we know.  Call it Being, Tao, the Great Spirit, or God.  Courage is contagious and will carry us on.  It is what we need to resist the fear-mongers who are at our throats.

The post The Fear Not to Be first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Dystopia Disguised as Democracy: All the Ways in Which Freedom Is an Illusion

The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.

— Frank Zappa, Interview with Jim Ladd, “Zappa On Air,” April 1977.

We are no longer free.

We are living in a world carefully crafted to resemble a representative democracy, but it’s an illusion.

We think we have the freedom to elect our leaders, but we’re only allowed to participate in the reassurance ritual of voting. There can be no true electoral choice or real representation when we’re limited in our options to one of two candidates culled from two parties that both march in lockstep with the Deep State and answer to an oligarchic elite.

We think we have freedom of speech, but we’re only as free to speak as the government and its corporate partners allow.

We think we have the right to freely exercise our religious beliefs, but those rights are quickly overruled if and when they conflict with the government’s priorities, whether it’s COVID-19 mandates or societal values about gender equality, sex and marriage.

We think we have the freedom to go where we want and move about freely, but at every turn, we’re hemmed in by laws, fines and penalties that regulate and restrict our autonomy, and surveillance cameras that monitor our movements. Punitive programs strip citizens of their passports and right to travel over unpaid taxes.

We think we have property interests in our homes and our bodies, but there can be no such freedom when the government can seize your property, raid your home, and dictate what you do with your bodies.

We think we have the freedom to defend ourselves against outside threats, but there is no right to self-defense against militarized police who are authorized to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, and granted immunity from accountability with the general blessing of the courts. Certainly, there can be no right to gun ownership in the face of red flag gun laws which allow the police to remove guns from people merely suspected of being threats.

We think we have the right to an assumption of innocence until we are proven guilty, but that burden of proof has been turned on its head by a surveillance state that renders us all suspects and over-criminalization which renders us all lawbreakers. Police-run facial recognition software that mistakenly labels law-abiding citizens as criminals. A social credit system (similar to China’s) that rewards behavior deemed “acceptable” and punishes behavior the government and its corporate allies find offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

We think we have the right to due process, but that assurance of justice has been stripped of its power by a judicial system hardwired to act as judge, jury and jailer, leaving us with little recourse for appeal. A perfect example of this rush to judgment can be found in the proliferation of profit-driven speed and red light cameras that do little for safety while padding the pockets of government agencies.

We have been saddled with a government that pays lip service to the nation’s freedom principles while working overtime to shred the Constitution.

By gradually whittling away at our freedoms—free speech, assembly, due process, privacy, etc.—the government has, in effect, liberated itself from its contractual agreement to respect the constitutional rights of the citizenry while resetting the calendar back to a time when we had no Bill of Rights to protect us from the long arm of the government.

Aided and abetted by the legislatures, the courts and Corporate America, the government has been busily rewriting the contract (a.k.a. the Constitution) that establishes the citizenry as the masters and agents of the government as the servants.

We are now only as good as we are useful, and our usefulness is calculated on an economic scale by how much we are worth—in terms of profit and resale value—to our “owners.”

Under the new terms of this revised, one-sided agreement, the government and its many operatives have all the privileges and rights and “we the people” have none.

Only in our case, sold on the idea that safety, security and material comforts are preferable to freedom, we’ve allowed the government to pave over the Constitution in order to erect a concentration camp.

The problem with these devil’s bargains, however, is that there is always a catch, always a price to pay for whatever it is we valued so highly as to barter away our most precious possessions.

We’ve bartered away our right to self-governance, self-defense, privacy, autonomy and that most important right of all: the right to tell the government to “leave me the hell alone.” In exchange for the promise of safe streets, safe schools, blight-free neighborhoods, lower taxes, lower crime rates, and readily accessible technology, health care, water, food and power, we’ve opened the door to militarized police, government surveillance, asset forfeiture, school zero tolerance policies, license plate readers, red light cameras, SWAT team raids, health care mandates, over-criminalization and government corruption.

In the end, such bargains always turn sour.

We asked our lawmakers to be tough on crime, and we’ve been saddled with an abundance of laws that criminalize almost every aspect of our lives. So far, we’re up to 4500 criminal laws and 300,000 criminal regulations that result in average Americans unknowingly engaging in criminal acts at least three times a day. For instance, the family of an 11-year-old girl was issued a $535 fine for violating the Federal Migratory Bird Act after the young girl rescued a baby woodpecker from predatory cats.

We wanted criminals taken off the streets, and we didn’t want to have to pay for their incarceration. What we’ve gotten is a nation that boasts the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 2.3 million people locked up, many of them doing time for relatively minor, nonviolent crimes, and a private prison industry fueling the drive for more inmates, who are forced to provide corporations with cheap labor.

We wanted law enforcement agencies to have the necessary resources to fight the nation’s wars on terror, crime and drugs. What we got instead were militarized police decked out with M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers, battle tanks and hollow point bullets—gear designed for the battlefield, more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year (many for routine police tasks, resulting in losses of life and property), and profit-driven schemes that add to the government’s largesse such as asset forfeiture, where police seize property from “suspected criminals.”

We fell for the government’s promise of safer roads, only to find ourselves caught in a tangle of profit-driven red-light cameras, which ticket unsuspecting drivers in the so-called name of road safety while ostensibly fattening the coffers of local and state governments. Despite widespread public opposition, corruption and systemic malfunctions, these cameras are particularly popular with municipalities, which look to them as an easy means of extra cash. Building on the profit-incentive schemes, the cameras’ manufacturers are also pushing speed cameras and school bus cameras, both of which result in hefty fines for violators who speed or try to go around school buses.

We’re being subjected to the oldest con game in the books, the magician’s sleight of hand that keeps you focused on the shell game in front of you while your wallet is being picked clean by ruffians in your midst.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious protocol employed by government agents, “we the people” are being reminded that we possess no rights except for that which the government grants on an as-needed basis.

Indeed, there are chilling parallels between the authoritarian prison that is life in the American police state and The Prisoner, a dystopian television series that first broadcast in Great Britain more than 50 years ago.

The series centers around a British secret agent (played by Patrick McGoohan) who finds himself imprisoned, monitored by militarized drones, and interrogated in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly idyllic retirement community known only as The Village. While luxurious and resort-like, the Village is a virtual prison disguised as a seaside paradise: its inhabitants have no true freedom, they cannot leave the Village, they are under constant surveillance, their movements are tracked by surveillance drones, and they are stripped of their individuality and identified only by numbers.

Much like the American Police State, The Prisoner’s Village gives the illusion of freedom while functioning all the while like a prison: controlled, watchful, inflexible, punitive, deadly and inescapable.

Described as “an allegory of the individual, aiming to find peace and freedom in a dystopia masquerading as a utopia,” The Prisoner is a chilling lesson about how difficult it is to gain one’s freedom in a society in which prison walls are disguised within the trappings of technological and scientific progress, national security and so-called democracy.

Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the freedom of the individual, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of mankind to meekly accept his lot in life as a prisoner in a prison of his own making.

The Prisoner is an operations manual for how you condition a populace to life as prisoners in a police state: by brainwashing them into believing they are free so that they will march in lockstep with the state and be incapable of recognizing the prison walls that surround them.

We can no longer maintain the illusion of freedom.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, “we the people” have become “we the prisoners.”

 

The post Dystopia Disguised as Democracy: All the Ways in Which Freedom Is an Illusion first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Ditching the Smartphone

After talking and writing about it, I finally ditched my smartphone and switched to a flip phone, with the aim of being rid of a cell phone altogether.

It’s only been a few days, but the psychological and spiritual effect has been uplifting. I had come to view the stupid smartphone as one of the principal portals into our individual and collective imprisonment. Vaccine passports, digital ID’s, constant surveillance and control, all rely on us remaining chained to a gadget less than two decades old.

So chucking it felt not only necessary but cleansing, a Detox from addiction and dependency, a small step away from the increasingly repressive biosecurity state, which is confident that the masses will never get rid of this particular digital technology because, don’t you know, we simply can’t live without it.

I totally get the difficulties, though. For millions of people, the smartphone is a vital component to one’s job or education. I’m one of the fortunate ones where this doesn’t apply, and only for the grace have I been able to opt out relatively easy. I only got a cell phone five years ago; and a smartphone two years ago, mainly because of family members who virtually lived on text. I was also traveling a lot, and apps like Google Maps were a God-send.

But mainly I hated the thing, hated the feeling that I was growing used to it, embracing it even, eyes and ears magnetized to the screen. When the COVID nightmare came along, with its dystopian plans for an AI and QR future, my smartphone mutated into what it perhaps always was: a shackle. An instrument from which the powers-that-be were sneering at me, another fly trapped in their web.

I knew there existed plenty of warriors working on wresting control of digital technology from the ruling elite, and I fully support those efforts. Personally, however, I hungered for another route. I wanted off the express train, or to at least move towards that goal. Last year, I wrote an article about why I’m often a Luddite wannabe, and one of the questions I posed then was: Is it time to ditch the smartphone? At the time, I had purchased an unlocked Acatel flip phone on Ebay for less than $100, but never got around to doing the switch.

A week ago, I made the leap. It was surprisingly straight-forward. Here’s how it went down:

Since I’m a Verizon customer, I went to the dealership where I first set up a cell account a few years ago. Luckily, the workers there weren’t mask crazy, so I kept mine under my nose. It turned out I couldn’t just transfer my phone number because I was changing devices. Fine, I said. My current account still had a few days left, so I would just text the few people I used the phone for and let them know.

The young clerk at the counter was very nice and supportive. At one point, he told me that a lot of people were changing to flip phones because they were “easier to use.” Privately, I wondered if some of these people were as wary of the COVID bullshit and surveillance as I was.

I smiled and said, “Slow and simple is a better life style.” He nodded and agreed. I paid the activation fee, tested my new toy, and all was well.

“Have a happy holiday,” he said as we shook hands.

“You too,” I said.

Outside I pumped my fist in the air, as if I had scored a game-winning touchdown. I realized, of course, that this wasn’t some earth-shattering event. Yet it felt good to have moved in the right direction, a small step back to the slow and simple, which, paradoxically, could very well speed up resistance to the COVID agenda.

The post Ditching the Smartphone first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Madness, Mayhem, and Tyranny

Tyranny does not flourish because perpetuators are helpless and ignorant of their actions. It flourishes because they actively identify with those who promote vicious acts as virtuous.

— An academic study into pathocracy

Disgruntled mobs. Martial law. A populace under house arrest. A techno-corporate state wielding its power to immobilize huge swaths of the country. A Constitution in tatters.

Between the riots, lockdowns, political theater, and COVID-19 mandates, 2021 was one for the history books.

In our ongoing pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, here were some of the stumbling blocks that kept us fettered:

Riots, martial law, and the Deep State’s coup. A simmering pot of political tensions boiled over on January 6, 2021, when protesters stormed the Capitol because the jailer of their choice didn’t get chosen to knock heads for another four years. It took no time at all for the nation’s capital to be placed under a military lockdown, online speech forums restricted, and individuals with subversive or controversial viewpoints ferreted out, investigated, shamed and/or shunned. The subsequent military occupation of the nation’s capital by 25,000 troops as part of the so-called “peaceful” transfer of power from one administration to the next was little more than martial law disguised as national security. The January 6 attempt to storm the Capitol by so-called insurrectionists created the perfect crisis for the Deep State—a.k.a. the Police State a.k.a. the Military Industrial Complex a.k.a. the Techno-Corporate State a.k.a. the Surveillance State—to swoop in and take control.

The imperial president. All of the imperial powers amassed by Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush—to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to suspend laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which he might disagree, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach of the law, to act as a dictator and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any real accountability—were inherited by Joe Biden, the nation’s 46th president.

The Surveillance State. On any given day, the average American going about his daily business was monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears. In such a surveillance ecosystem, we’re all suspects and databits to be tracked, catalogued and targeted. Consider that it took days, if not hours or minutes, for the FBI to begin the process of identifying, tracking and rounding up those suspected of being part of the Capitol riots. Imagine how quickly government agents could target and round up any segment of society they wanted to based on the digital trails and digital footprints we leave behind.

Digital tyranny. In response to the events of Jan. 6, the tech giants meted out their own version of social justice by way of digital tyranny and corporate censorship. Suddenly, individuals, including those who had no ties to the Capitol riots, began to experience lock outs, suspensions and even deletions of their social media accounts. It signaled a turning point in the battle for control over digital speech, one that leaves “we the people” on the losing end of the bargain.

A new war on terror. “Domestic terrorism,” used interchangeably with “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist,” to describe anyone who might fall somewhere on a very broad spectrum of viewpoints that could be considered “dangerous,” became the new poster child for expanding the government’s powers at the expense of civil liberties. As part of his inaugural address, President Biden pledged to wage war on so-called political extremism, ushering in what investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald described as “a wave of new domestic police powers and rhetoric in the name of fighting ‘terrorism’ that are carbon copies of many of the worst excesses of the first War on Terror that began nearly twenty years ago.” The ramifications are so far-reaching as to render almost every American an extremist in word, deed, thought or by association.

Government violence. The death penalty may have been abolished in Virginia in 2021, but government-sanctioned murder and mayhem continued unabated, with the U.S. government acting as judge, jury and executioner over a populace that had already been pre-judged and found guilty, stripped of their rights, and left to suffer at the hands of government agents trained to respond with the utmost degree of violence. Police particularly posed a risk to anyone undergoing a mental health crisis or with special needs whose disabilities may not be immediately apparent.

Culture wars. Political correctness gave way to a more insidious form of group think and mob rule which, coupled with government and corporate censors and a cancel culture determined not to offend “certain” viewpoints, was all too willing to eradicate views that do not conform. Critical race theory also moved to the forefront of the culture wars.

Home invasions. Government agents routinely violated the Fourth Amendment at will under the pretext of public health and safety. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the many ways the government and its corporate partners-in-crime used surveillance technology to invade homes: with wiretaps, thermal imaging, surveillance cameras, and other monitoring devices. However, in a rare move, the Supreme Court put its foot down in two cases—Caniglia v. Strom and Lange v. California—to prevent police from carrying out warrantless home invasions in order to seize lawfully-owned guns under the pretext of their so-called “community caretaking” duties and from entering homes without warrants under the guise of being in “hot pursuit” of someone they suspect may have committed a crime.

Bodily integrity. Caught in the crosshairs of a showdown between the rights of the individual and the so-called “emergency” state, concerns about COVID-19 mandates and bodily integrity remained part of a much larger debate over the ongoing power struggle between the citizenry and the government over our property “interest” in our bodies. This debate over bodily integrity covered broad territory, ranging from abortion and forced vaccinations to biometric surveillance and basic healthcare. Forced vaccinations, forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases: these were just a few ways in which Americans continued to be reminded that we have no control over what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials.

COVID-19. What started out as an apparent effort to prevent a novel coronavirus from sickening the nation (and the world) became yet another means by which world governments (including our own) expanded their powers, abused their authority, and further oppressed their constituents. Now that the government has gotten a taste for flexing its police state powers by way of a bevy of lockdowns, mandates, restrictions, contact tracing programs, heightened surveillance, censorship, overcriminalization, etc., it remains to be seen how the rights of the individual will hold up in the face of long-term COVID-19 authoritarianism.

Financial tyranny. The national debt (the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back) exceeded $29 trillion and is growing. That translates to almost $230,000 per taxpayer. The amount this country owes is now greater than its gross domestic product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). That debt is also growing exponentially: it is expected to be twice the size of the U.S. economy by 2051. Meanwhile, the government continued to spend taxpayer money it didn’t have on programs it couldn’t afford; businesses shuttered for lack of customers, resources and employees; and consumers continued to encounter global supply chain shortages (and skyrocketing prices) on everything from computer chips and cars to construction materials.

Global Deep State. Owing in large part to the U.S. government’s deep-seated and, in many cases, top-secret alliances with foreign nations and global corporations, it became increasingly obvious that we had entered into a new world order—a global world order—made up of international government agencies and corporations. We’ve been inching closer to this global world order for the past several decades, but COVID-19, which saw governmental and corporate interests become even more closely intertwined, shifted this transformation into high gear. Fascism became a global menace.

20 years of crises. Every crisis—manufactured or otherwise—since the nation’s early beginnings has become a make-work opportunity for the government to expand its reach and its power at taxpayer expense while limiting our freedoms at every turn: The Great Depression. The World Wars. The 9/11 terror attacks. The COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the government’s (mis)management of various states of emergency in the past 20 years from 9/11 to COVID-19 has spawned a massive security-industrial complex the likes of which have never been seen before.

The state of our nation. There may have been a new guy in charge this year, but for the most part, nothing changed. The nation remained politically polarized, controlled by forces beyond the purview of the average American, and rapidly moving the nation away from its freedom foundation. Over the past year, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans found themselves repeatedly subjected to egregious civil liberties violations, invasive surveillance, martial law, lockdowns, political correctness, erosions of free speech, strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, government spying, the criminalization of lawful activities, warmongering, etc.

In other words, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.

The post Madness, Mayhem, and Tyranny first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Canada’s NSA

This year marks the 75th anniversary of a little known but influential arm of Canada’s foreign policy apparatus. An entity called the Communications Security Establishment was established to spy internationally in 1946, operating secretly in its first four decades.

With an annual budget of $780 million and 3000 employees, the CSE has a variety of high-tech gadgets, including surveillance planes. In 2011 CSE moved into a new $1.2 billion home. The seven-building, 110,000 square metre complex is connected to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS) headquarters in Ottawa.

Unlike CSIS, CSE is largely foreign focused. It seeks to “protect the computer networks and information of greatest importance to Canada” from international attack. CSE also gathers international signals intelligence (SIGINT), which it defines as “intelligence acquired through the collection of electromagnetic signals.” Historically, CSE largely intercepted electronic communications between embassies in Ottawa and other nations’ capitals. Today, CSE monitors phone calls, radio, microwave and satellite, as well as emails, chat rooms and other Internet exchanges. It engages in various forms of data hacking, sifting through millions of videos and online documents daily. Or, as Vice reporter Patrick McGuire put it, CSE “listens in on phone calls and emails to secretly learn about things the Canadian government wants to secretly learn about.”

After WWII the government established the Communications Branch of the National Research Council, which was renamed Communications Security Establishment three decades later. In Cautious Beginnings: Canadian Foreign Intelligence, 1939-51 Kurt Jensen explains: “the Gouzenko story [a Soviet diplomat who defected in September 1945, alleging widespread Russian spying in Canada] is almost entirely absent from the debate on Canadian postwar foreign intelligence. While the Soviet Union figured prominently in Canadian foreign intelligence interests, it was not an exclusive focus. The available evidence suggests that Canada had broad foreign intelligence interests that reflected current Canadian foreign policy interests.”

Since its creation CSE has been part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing framework though Ottawa didn’t admit its Five Eyes relationship until 1995. The main contributors to the Washington-led Five Eyes are the US’s NSA, Australian Signals Directorate, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau, British Government Communications Headquarters and CSE. A series of post-WWII accords, beginning with the 1946 UKUSA intelligence agreement, created the “AUS/CAN/NZ/UK/US EYES ONLY” arrangement.

CSE established SIGINT posts on the east and west coasts as well as in the north. According to a table produced by blogger Jerry Proc, there have been more than 50 Canadian SIGINT stations opened during the past century.

Canadian diplomatic posts have long housed SIGINT equipment. According to a NSA document released by whistleblower Edward Snowden, CSE operated clandestine surveillance activities in “approximately 20 high-priority countries.” In his 1994 book former CSE agent Mike Frost describes CSE listening posts at a number of embassies or consular posts while two papers in the early 2000s cite Beijing, Abidjan, New Delhi, Bucharest, Rabat, Kingston (Jamaica), Mexico City, Rome, San Jose (Costa Rica), Warsaw and Tokyo as diplomatic posts where CSE (probably) collected information.

Since the start of the 1960s CSE has listened to Cuban leaders’ conversations from an interception post inside the embassy in Havana. (Ottawa maintained diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba after its 1959 revolution, reports Three Nights in Havana, partly because “the United States secretly urged [Prime Minister] Diefenbaker to maintain normal relations because it was thought that Canada would be well positioned to gather intelligence on the island.”) Canada also spied on Cuba from a diplomatic post outside that country. In the early 1980s CSE wanted to establish a communications post in Jamaica, notes Frost, to intercept “communications from Fidel Castro’s Cuba, which would please NSA to no end.”

CSE also gathered intelligence on Palestinians for Israel. Frost notes, “[former Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman] Yasser Arafat’s name, for instance, was on every [CSE] key word list. NSA was happy about that.” According to files released by Snowden, CSE spied on Israel’s enemies and shared the intelligence with that country’s SIGINT National Unit. “Palestinians” was a “specific intelligence topic” of an NSA-GCHQ-CSE project shared with their Israeli counterpart.

In the late 1980s the Soviets jammed US and British listening operations in Moscow. In response, they asked CSE to take up the slack. “From summer 1987 to summer 1989”, notes Frost, “it was Canada that was providing the most powerful Western nations with the intelligence that had been so crucial to them and, in fact, to the whole Western Alliance.”

Economic espionage is a significant and growing component of CSE’s focus. In 1995 the agency began hiring more individuals with economics, commerce and international business qualifications “to build up its own analytical capacity in economic intelligence.” As part of the Snowden revelations, it came to light that CSE spied on Brazil’s Department of Mines and Energy.

In 1985 the government asked CSE to gather intelligence that could help a Canadian firm bidding for a major pipeline contract in India. A few years earlier the CSE overheard the US ambassador in Ottawa detailing his country’s negotiating position on a US$5 billion wheat sale to China, which helped Canada win the contract. CSE is also thought to have secured information useful to negotiating the mid-1990s North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization.

CSE has contributed intelligence to Canada and its allies’ wars. The agency’s sophisticated equipment and analytical and linguistic resources contributed significantly to the 2001-14 occupation of Afghanistan. The agency’s website says it played a “vital role” in the central Asian country and CSE head John Adams boasted that they were responsible for more than half the “actionable intelligence” Canadian soldiers used in Afghanistan. That included monitoring Taliban forces and leaders as well as allied Afghan government officials. Information CSE provided protected Canadian troops from attack and helped special forces assassinate Afghans.

As the Internet came onto the scene CSE was instructed to conduct Computer Network Exploitation. It went from intercepting communications (“data in motion”) to seeking information on foreign computer systems (“data at rest”). According to CSE expert Bill Robinson, “it became a hunter as well as a gatherer.” CSE could hack into computer systems, implant malware and copy information.

In 2017 CSE was further empowered to carry out offensive operations against foreign actors. The Communications Security Establishment Act authorized CSE “to degrade, disrupt, influence, respond to or interfere with the capabilities, intentions or activities” of international targets. In effect the intelligence agency could seek to take a government offline, shutter a power plant, knock a drone out of the sky or interfere in court proceedings and elections in countries Ottawa doesn’t deem “democratic”. There is no requirement that the target threaten Canadian security.

The legislation forbids offensive cyber activities that could cause injury or death or “obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice or democracy.” But, these limitations don’t apply if CSE conducts cyber-attacks on behalf of a Canadian military operation or receives approval of the foreign minister. Additionally, there is no independent oversight of CSE’s new offensive capabilities and CSE is allowed to do “anything that is reasonably necessary to maintain the covert nature of the activity.”

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Communications Security Establishment, it’s time to place this clandestine organization under far greater scrutiny.

• On December 15 the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute will be hosting a webinar on “Canada and the Five Eyes”.

The post Canada’s NSA first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Pathologized Totalitarianism 101

Triumph of the Will (1935)

So, GloboCap has crossed the Rubicon. The final phase of its transformation of society into a pathologized-totalitarian dystopia, where mandatory genetic-therapy injections and digital compliance papers are commonplace, is now officially underway.

On November 19, 2021, the government of New Normal Austria decreed that, as of February, experimental mRNA injections will be mandatory for the entire population. This decree comes in the midst of Austria’s official persecution of “the Unvaccinated,” i.e., political dissidents and other persons of conscience who refuse to convert to the new official ideology and submit to a series of mRNA injections, purportedly to combat a virus that causes mild-to-moderate flu-like symptoms (or no symptoms of any kind at all) in about 95% of the infected and the overall infection fatality rate of which is approximately 0.1% to 0.5%.

Austria is just the tip of the New Normal spear. Prominent New-Normal fascists in Germany, like Der Führer of Bavaria, Markus Söder, and Minister of Propaganda Karl Lauterbach, are already calling for an allgemeine Impfpflicht (i.e., “compulsory vaccination requirement”), which should not come as a surprise to anyone. The Germans are not going to sit idly by and let the Austrians publicly out-fascist them, are they? They have a reputation to uphold, after all! Italy will probably be next to join in, unless Lithuania or Australia beats them to the punch.

But, seriously, this is just the beginning of the Winter Siege I wrote about recently. The plan seems to be to New-Normalize Europe first — generally speaking, Europeans are more docile, respectful of all authority, and not very well armed — and then use it as leverage to force the new pathologized totalitarianism on the USA, and the UK, and the rest of the world.

I do not believe this plan will succeed. In spite of the longest and most intensive propaganda campaign in the history of propaganda, there remain enough of us who steadfastly refuse to accept the “New Normal” as our new reality.

And a lot of us are angry, extremely angry … militantly, explosively angry.

We are not “vaccine hesitant” or “anti-vax” or “Covid-denying conspiracy theorists.” We are millions of regular working-class people, people with principles, who value freedom, who are not prepared to go gently into the globalized, pathologized-totalitarian night. We no longer give the slightest shit whether our former friends and family members who have gone New Normal understand what this is. We do. We understand exactly what this is. It is a nascent form of totalitarianism, and we intend to kill it — or at least critically wound it — before it matures into a full-grown behemoth.

Now, I want to be absolutely clear. I am not advocating or condoning violence. But it is going to happen. It is happening already. Totalitarianism (even this “pathologized” version of it) is imposed on society and maintained with violence. Fighting totalitarianism inevitably entails violence. It is not my preferred tactic in the current circumstances, but it is unavoidable now that we have reached this stage, and it is important that those fighting this fight recognize that violence is a natural response to the violence (and the implicit threat of violence) that is being deployed against us by the New Normal authorities, and the masses they have whipped up into a fanatical frenzy.

It is also important (essential, I would argue) to make the violence of the New Normal visible; i.e., to frame this fight in political terms, and not in the pseudo-medical terms propagated by the official Covid narrative). This isn’t an academic argument over the existence, severity, or the response to a virus. This is a fight to determine the future of our societies.

This fact, above all, is what the global-capitalist ruling classes are determined to conceal. The roll-out of the New Normal will fail if it is perceived as political (i.e., a form of totalitarianism). It relies on our inability to see it as what it is. So it hides itself and the violence it perpetrates within a pseudo-medical official narrative, rendering itself immune to political opposition.

We need to deny it this perceptual redoubt, this hermeneutic hiding place. We need to make it show itself as what it is, a “pathologized” form of totalitarianism. In order to do that, we need to understand it … its internal logic, and its strengths, and weaknesses.

Pathologized Totalitarianism

I have been describing the New Normal as “pathologized totalitarianism” and predicting that compulsory “vaccination” was coming since at least as early as May 2020. (See, e.g., The New Pathologized Totalitarianism). I use the term “totalitarianism” intentionally, not for effect, but for the sake of accuracy. The New Normal is still a nascent totalitarianism, but its essence is unmistakably evident. I described that essence in a recent column:

The essence of totalitarianism — regardless of which costumes and ideology it wears — is a desire to completely control society, every aspect of society, every individual behavior and thought. Every totalitarian system, whether an entire nation, a tiny cult, or any other form of social body, evolves toward this unachievable goal … the total ideological transformation and control of every single element of society … This fanatical pursuit of total control, absolute ideological uniformity, and the elimination of all dissent, is what makes totalitarianism totalitarianism.

In October 2020, I published The Covidian Cult, which has since grown into a series of essays examining New-Normal (i.e., pathologized) totalitarianism as “a cult writ large, on a societal scale.” This analogy holds true for all forms of totalitarianism, but especially for New Normal totalitarianism, as it is the first global form of totalitarianism in history, and thus:

The cult/culture paradigm has been inverted. Instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it.

In The Covidian Cult (Part III), I noted:

In order to oppose this new form of totalitarianism, we need to understand how it both resembles and differs from earlier totalitarian systems. The similarities are fairly obvious — i.e., the suspension of constitutional rights, governments ruling by decree, official propaganda, public loyalty rituals, the outlawing of political opposition, censorship, social segregation, goon squads terrorizing the public, and so on — but the differences are not as obvious.

And I described how New Normal totalitarianism fundamentally differs from 20th-Century totalitarianism in terms of its ideology, or seeming lack thereof.

Whereas 20th-Century totalitarianism was more or less national and overtly political, New Normal totalitarianism is supranational, and its ideology is much more subtle. The New Normal is not Nazism or Stalinism. It’s global-capitalist totalitarianism, and global capitalism doesn’t have an ideology, technically, or, rather, its ideology is ‘reality’.

But the most significant difference between 20th-Century totalitarianism and this nascent, global totalitarianism is how New Normal totalitarianism “pathologizes” its political nature, effectively rendering itself invisible, and thus immune to political opposition. Whereas 20th-Century totalitarianism wore its politics on its sleeve, New Normal totalitarianism presents itself as a non-ideological (i.e., supra-political) reaction to a global public health emergency.

And, thus, its classic totalitarian features — e.g., the revocation of basic rights and freedoms, centralization of power, rule by decree, oppressive policing of the population, demonization and persecution of a “scapegoat” underclass, censorship, propaganda, etc. — are not hidden, because they are impossible to hide, but are recontextualized in a pathologized official narrative.

The Untermenschen become “the Unvaccinated.” Swastika lapel pins become medical-looking masks. Aryan ID papers become “vaccination passes.” Irrefutably senseless social restrictions and mandatory public-obedience rituals become “lockdowns,” “social distancing,” and so on. The world is united in a Goebbelsian total war, not against an external enemy (i.e., a racial or political enemy), but against an internal, pathological enemy.

This pathologized official narrative is more powerful (and insidious) than any ideology, as it functions, not as a belief system or ethos, but rather, as objective “reality.” You cannot argue with or oppose “reality.” “Reality” has no political opponents. Those who challenge “reality” are “insane;” i.e., “conspiracy theorists,” “anti-vaxxers,” “Covid deniers,” “extremists,” etc. And, thus, the pathologized New Normal narrative also pathologizes its political opponents, simultaneously stripping us of political legitimacy and projecting its own violence onto us.

20th-Century totalitarianism also blamed its violence on its scapegoats (i.e., Jews, socialists, counter-revolutionaries, etc.) but it did not attempt to erase its violence. On the contrary, it displayed it openly, in order to terrorize the masses. New Normal totalitarianism cannot do this. It can’t go openly totalitarian, because capitalism and totalitarianism are ideologically contradictory.

Global-capitalist ideology will not function as an official ideology in an openly totalitarian society. It requires the simulation of “democracy,” or at least a simulation of market-based “freedom.” A society can be intensely authoritarian, but, to function in the global-capitalist system, it must allow its people the basic “freedom” that capitalism offers to all consumers, the right/obligation to participate in the market, to own and exchange commodities, etc.

This “freedom” can be conditional or extremely restricted, but it must exist to some degree. Saudi Arabia and China are two examples of openly authoritarian GloboCap societies that are nevertheless not entirely totalitarian, because they can’t be and remain a part of the system. Their advertised official ideologies (i.e., Islamic fundamentalism and communism) basically function as superficial overlays on the fundamental global-capitalist ideology which dictates the “reality” in which everyone lives. These “overlay” ideologies are not fake, but when they come into conflict with global-capitalist ideology, guess which ideology wins.

The point is, New Normal totalitarianism — and any global-capitalist form of totalitarianism — cannot display itself as totalitarianism, or even authoritarianism. It cannot acknowledge its political nature. In order to exist, it must not exist. Above all, it must erase its violence (the violence that all politics ultimately comes down to) and appear to us as an essentially beneficent response to a legitimate “global health crisis” (and a “climate change crisis,” and a “racism crisis,” and whatever other “global crises” GloboCap thinks will terrorize the masses into a mindless, order-following hysteria).

This pathologization of totalitarianism — and the political/ideological conflict we have been engaged in for the past 20 months — is the most significant difference between New Normal totalitarianism and 20th-Century totalitarianism. The entire global-capitalist apparatus (i.e., corporations, governments, supranational entities, the corporate and state media, academia, etc.) has been put into service to achieve this objective.

We need to come to terms with this fact. We do. Not the New Normals. Us.

GloboCap is on the verge of remaking society into a smiley-happy pathologized-totalitarian dystopia where they can mandate experimental genetic “therapies,” and any other type of “therapies” they want, and force us to show our “compliance papers” to go about the most basic aspects of life. This remaking of society is violent. It is being carried out by force, with violence and the ever-present threat of violence. We need to face that, and act accordingly.

Here in New Normal Germany, if you try to go grocery shopping without a medical-looking mask, armed police will remove you from the premises (and I am saying this from personal experience). In New Normal Australia, if you go to synagogue, the media will be alerted and the police will surround you. In Germany, Australia, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, and many other countries, if you exercise your right to assemble and protest, the police will hose you down with water cannons, shoot you with rubber bullets (and sometimes real bullets), spray toxic agents into your eyes, and just generally beat the crap out of you.

And so on. Those of us fighting for our rights and opposing this pathologized totalitarianism are all-too familiar with the reality of its violence, and the hatred it has fomented in the New Normal masses. We experience it on a daily basis. We feel it every time we’re forced to wear a mask, when some official (or waiter) demands to see our “papers.” We feel it when when we are threatened by our government, when we are gaslighted and demonized by the media, by doctors, celebrities, random strangers, and by our colleagues, friends, and family members.

We recognize the look in their eyes. We remember where it comes from, and what it leads to.

It isn’t just ignorance, mass hysteria, confusion, or an overreaction, or fear … or, OK, yes, it is all those things, but it’s also textbook totalitarianism (notwithstanding the new pathologized twist). Totalitarianism 101.

Look it in the eye, and act accordingly.

Keith Olbermann/Twitter
The post Pathologized Totalitarianism 101 first appeared on Dissident Voice.

From Pegasus to Blue Wolf: How Israel’s “Security” Experiment in Palestine Became Global

The revelation, a few years ago, that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been conducting mass surveillance on millions of Americans has reignited the conversation on governments’ misconduct and their violation of human rights and privacy laws.

Until recently, however, Israel has been spared due criticism, not only for its unlawful spying methods on the Palestinians but also for being the originator of many of the technologies which are now being heavily criticized by human rights groups worldwide.

Even at the height of various controversies involving government surveillance in 2013, Israel remained on the margins, despite the fact that Tel Aviv, more than any other government in the world, uses racial profiling, mass surveillance and numerous spying techniques to sustain its military occupation of Palestine.

In Gaza, two million Palestinians are living under an Israeli blockade. They are surrounded by walls, electric fences, underground barriers, navy ships and multitudes of snipers. From above, the tannaana, the Arabic slang word Palestinians have for unmanned drone, watches and records everything. At times, these armed drones are used to blow up anything deemed suspicious from an Israeli ‘security’ perspective. Moreover, every Palestinian wishing to leave or return to Gaza—with only a few who are allowed such privilege—is subjected to the most stringent ‘security’ measures, involving various government intelligences and endless military checks. This applies as much to a Palestinian toddler as it does to a terminally-ill woman.

In the West Bank, Israel’s security ‘experiment’ takes on many other manifestations. While the Israeli objective is to entrap people in Gaza, its aim is to control the everyday life of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Aside from the  1,660 kilometer-long Apartheid Wall in the West Bank, there are many other walls, fences, trenches and various types of barriers that are aimed at fragmenting Palestinian communities in the West Bank. These isolated communities are only connected through an elaborate system of Israeli military checkpoints, many of which are permanent and many more are erected or dismantled depending on the ‘security’ objectives on any given day.

Much of the surveillance occurs daily at these Israeli checkpoints. While Israel uses the convenient term ‘security’ to justify its practices against Palestinians, actual security has very little to do with what takes place at these checkpoints. Many Palestinians have died, many mothers have given birth or lost their newborns while waiting for Israeli security clearance. It is a daily torment, and Palestinians are subjected to it because they are the unwitting participants of a very profitable Israeli experiment.

Luckily, the news of Israel’s undemocratic practices is becoming increasingly known. On November 8, The Washington Post revealed an Israeli mass surveillance operation, which uses ‘Blue Wolf’ technology to create a massive database of all Palestinians.

This additional measure gives soldiers the chance to, using their own cameras, take pictures of as many Palestinians as possible and match “them to a database of images so extensive that one former soldier described it as the army’s secret ‘Facebook for Palestinians.’”

We know very little about this new ‘Facebook for Palestinians’, aside from what has been revealed in the news. However, we know that Israeli soldiers compete to take as many photos of Palestinian faces as possible, as those with the highest number of photos could potentially receive certain rewards, the nature of which remains unclear.

While the ‘Blue Wolf’ story is receiving some attention in international media, it offers nothing new for Palestinians. To be a Palestinian living under occupation is to carry multiple permits and magnetic cards, to pass various clearances, to have your photo taken regularly, to have your movement monitored, to be ready to answer any question about your friends, your family, co-workers and acquaintances. When that is impractical, because, say, you live under siege in Gaza, then the work is entrusted to unmanned drones scanning sky, earth and sea.

The reason that ‘Blue Wolf’ is receiving some traction in the media is that Israel has been recently implicated in one of the world’s greatest espionage operations.

Pegasus is a type of malware that spies on iPhones and Android devices, to extract photos, messages, emails and record calls. Tens of thousands of people around the world, many of whom are prominent activists, journalists, officials, business leaders and alike, have fallen victim to this operation. Unsurprisingly, Pegasus is produced by the Israeli technology firm, the NSO Group, whose products are heavily involved in the monitoring of and spying on Palestinians, as confirmed by the Dublin-based Front Line Defenders, and as reported in the New York Times on November 8.

Sadly, the Israeli unlawful and undemocratic practices became a subject of international condemnation when the victims were high-ranking personalities, the likes of French President Emmanuel Macron and others. When Palestinians were on the other end of Israeli spying, surveillance and racial profiling, the story seemed unworthy of reporting.

Worse, for many years, Israel has promoted its sinister ‘security technology’ to the rest of the world as ‘field-proven’, meaning that they have been used against occupied Palestinians. Not only did such a declaration raise a few eyebrows, the tried and tested brand allowed Israel to become the world’s eighth-largest arms exporter. Israeli security exports are now utilized in many parts of the world. They can be found at North American and European airports, at the Mexico-US border, in the hands of various world’s intelligences, at European Union territorial waters—largely to intercept war refugees and asylum eekers.

Covering up Israel’s unlawful and inhuman practices against the Palestinians has proven a liability on the very people who justified Israeli actions in the name of security, including Washington. On November 3, the Joe Biden Administration decided to blacklist the Israeli NSO Group for acting “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.” This is a proper measure, of course, but it fails to address the ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinian people.

The truth is, for as long as Israel maintains its military occupation of Palestine, and as long as the Israeli military continues to see Palestinians as subjects in a mass ‘security experiment’, the Middle East—in fact, the entire world—will continue to pay the price.

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Amazon and Google: Partners in Israeli Apartheid

The best-selling Irish novelist Sally Rooney is openly shunning Israel after recent reports from human rights groups warned that Israel practices apartheid, systematically oppressing Palestinians under its rule.

But while Israel risks becoming a pariah among some cultural producers, it is being aggressively embraced by globe-spanning corporations like Amazon and Google – among the wealthiest companies in history.

The two tech giants are not just lining up to do business with Israel. They are actively working to build and improve the technological infrastructure Israel needs to surveil Palestinians and confine them to the ghettos Israel’s army has created for them.

Through their collaboration on Israel’s Project Nimbus, both companies are helping to remove any pressure on Israel to make peace with the Palestinians and are instead becoming partners in Israeli apartheid.

Now workers for both companies are speaking out – most of them anonymously for fear of what they call “retaliation.”

This month some 400 employees of the two companies published a letter in The Guardian newspaper warning that Amazon and Google were contracted to supply “dangerous technology” to the Israeli military and government that would make Israel’s rule over Palestinians “even crueler and deadlier.”

Under wraps

The $1.2 billion contract for Project Nimbus awarded earlier this year means the two tech firms are to build data centers in Israel on behalf of the Israeli military and government.

Senior staff will need Israeli security clearance to work on the project.

In a sign of how aware Israel is of the potential backlash against Amazon and Google’s involvement, the contract bars the tech corporations from withdrawing due to pressure from either employees or the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The terms of the contracts are also being kept under wraps to prevent scrutiny.

The tech giants’ wish to avoid publicity is understandable. Each pays lip service to ethical business practices. Google claims that firms “can make money without doing evil,” while Amazon’s “leadership principles” state a commitment to “make better, do better and be better.”

Providing Israel with the technological tools to better enforce both its belligerent military occupation and its apartheid policies privileging Jews over Palestinians looks suspiciously like making a lot of money from colluding with evil.

In the words of the whistleblowing staff, Amazon and Google’s collaboration allows “further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land.”

Neither Amazon nor Google responded to a request for comment on the concerns raised in the letter.

Enforce occupation

Two employees, Gabriel Schubiner, a software engineer at Google, and Bathool Syed, a content strategist at Amazon, went public on NBC’s website shortly after publication of the letter in The Guardian.

They gave examples of how Israel would be able to use Amazon and Google’s computer services to help enforce the occupation. Data would be used to identify Palestinian homes for demolition, in what are often moves towards land clearances by Israel to build or expand illegal settlements.

And the information collected and stored on the servers would guide attacks on built-up areas in Gaza, which Israel has been blockading for the past 15 years. In previous military campaigns, Israel has bombed Palestinian hospitals, schools and universities.

Amazon and Google’s servers will also assist Israel’s Iron Dome missile interception system, which has helped Israel neutralize rockets from Gaza so that it can maintain an enforced quiet from Palestinians as it keeps them caged and imposes a starvation diet for the enclave’s inhabitants.

The two employees also noted that Amazon and Google will be directly implicated in Israel’s wider apartheid policies of the kind criticized earlier in the year by human rights groups, including the Israeli occupation watchdog B’Tselem.

Nimbus will serve the Israel Lands Authority, which not only allocates lands for illegal settlements but oversees discriminatory policies in land allocation inside Israel that openly privilege Jews over the fifth of the Israeli population who are Palestinian natives.

Israel claims these so-called Israeli Arabs are equal citizens but they suffer systematic discrimination, as B’Tselem and the New York-based Human Rights Watch have highlighted.

“Data crossroads”

Amazon and Google have ignored previous calls from staff to prioritize Palestinian rights over increased profits from colluding in Israel’s war economy.

In May many hundreds – again anonymously – urged both companies to sever their ties to the Israeli military shortly after it killed almost 260 Palestinians, including more than 60 children, in an attack on besieged Gaza.

Figures published this month demonstrated Israel’s central place in the global digital economy. Despite its tiny size, Israel’s share of hi-tech investments now amounts to a third of those made in European countries.

Israel has particularly benefited from the growing demand in the West for its surveillance technologies, cyber weapons and developments in militarized artificial intelligence. The Israeli military and offshoot startups launched by retired soldiers have a competitive edge, claiming that their technologies have been “battle proven” on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

According to reports in local media, Israel is poised to become a “global data crossroads.” In addition to Amazon and Google, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM are all expected to build server farms in Israel to cash in on the greater integration of digital and military technologies.

The critical role of Israel in hi-tech – from its Intel chip plant to firms like AnyVision and Onavo that offer specialist surveillance, facial recognition and data-mining technologies – means no one can afford to fall out with Israel.

Google and Facebook have already faced criticisms for their work with Israel censoring Palestinians on social media or making them invisible on online maps.

Profits galore

The anonymous staff signing the letter to Amazon and Google sound nostalgic for the days when, they write, the technology they built was designed “to serve and uplift people everywhere.”

But the reality is that tech firms like Amazon and Google have long moved past simple online services such as helping us to buy a book or search for a recipe. The drive for profits, the need to keep competitors at bay and an incentive to avoid state regulation mean they have become key players assisting the “national security state.”

As well as its notorious union-busting initiatives, Amazon has increased the surveillance powers of US state and local police forces and of immigration services that have been harshly criticized for separating asylum-seeking families at the US-Mexico border.

From early on, Google partnered with, or received money from, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon and the US State Department.

The 400 or so anonymous employees still hope they can replicate previous victories that ended the tech corporations’ complicity in oppression and military aggression.

In 2019 Google pulled out of Project Dragonfly, intended to help China censor its population’s online searches. And the year before it ditched Project Maven to assist the Pentagon with drone assassinations.

But China was an official enemy, and the Pentagon is still pressing ahead with the drone project, reportedly aided by firms backed by investment funds owned by Google parent Alphabet and a startup tied to a former Google executive, among others, to do the work Google itself had to abandon.

Getting either Amazon or Google to honor their public commitments to ethical behavior by withdrawing from Project Nimbus may prove much harder – and not only because of the contractual obligations Israel has insisted on.

Israel has become too integral to the global surveillance and war industries for any tech giant to risk antagonizing it. With profits galore to be derived from closer collaboration with the military industrial complex, the pressure will be on to forge closer bonds with Israel, whatever its human rights record.

And with the Israel lobby deeply ensconced in Western capitals, the tech corporations will not wish to risk the reputational damage of being tarred as anti-Semitic for boycotting Israel.

Pressure may be mounting on many companies to distance themselves from Israel over its occupation and apartheid policies. But for Amazon and Google it is those very practices of occupation and apartheid that are a tech seam waiting to be mined.

• First published in The Electronic Intifada

The post Amazon and Google: Partners in Israeli Apartheid first appeared on Dissident Voice.