Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Today's Internets - "About 48 hours before he died."

"Is there anything interesting you learned about Robert Anton Wilson by speaking to his daughter, Christina Pearson, that didn't make it into the book? 

WALKER:There's a lot. Actually, one of my regrets about the book is that I have so much material about Wilson -- from that interview and from other sources -- that I didn't use. I could have made that chapter three times as long, and it would have been interesting, but it would have stopped being a segment in a book about American paranoia and started being a biography of Robert Anton Wilson. And while that's a book that absolutely needs to be written someday, it isn't the book I wrote this time. When I talked with Christina, the portrait of her dad that emerged was one of a devoted husband who was a loving but neglectful parent. Someone who in some ways was a classic absent-minded professor: capable of sharp intellectual insights but unsure what to do when a light bulb broke. Someone who spent half his life striving to establish himself as a writer, who finally had a breakthrough with Illuminatus!, and who promptly had his world fall apart again when one of his daughters was murdered and his son went mad. And someone who was, despite everything that went badly in his life, fundamentally an optimist. "He thought he was going to live forever," Christina told me. "When did he stop thinking that?" I asked. "About 48 hours before he died.""

"In a remarkable post, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger describes how the British government raided the Guardian’s offices in order to destroy hard drives containing information provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. 

I explained to the man from Whitehall about the nature of international collaborations and the way in which, these days, media organisations could take advantage of the most permissive legal environments. Bluntly, we did not have to do our reporting from London. Already most of the NSA stories were being reported and edited out of New York. And had it occurred to him that Greenwald lived in Brazil? The man was unmoved. And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian’s long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian’s basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents… 

Whitehall was satisfied, but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age."

"The detention at Heathrow on Sunday of the Brazilian David Miranda is the sort of treatment western politicians love to deplore in Putin's Russia or Ahmadinejad's Iran. His "offence" under the 2000 Terrorism Act was apparently to be the partner of a journalist, Glenn Greenwald, who had reported for the Guardian on material released by the American whistleblower, Edward Snowden."
"Miranda's phone and laptop were confiscated and he was held incommunicado, without access to friends or lawyer, for the maximum nine hours allowed under law. It is the airport equivalent of smashing into someone's flat, rifling through their drawers and stealing papers and documents. It is simple harassment and intimidation."

"How to turn a democracy into a STASI authoritarian state in 10 easy steps:
1. Misuse the concept of a Top Secret government document (say, the date of D-Day) and extend classification to trillions of mundane documents a year.
2. Classify all government crimes and violations of the Constitution as secret
3. Create a class of 4.5 million privileged individuals, many of them corporate employees, with access to classified documents but allege it is illegal for public to see leaked classified documents
4. Spy on the public in violation of the Constitution
5. Classify environmental activists as terrorists while allowing Big Coal and Big Oil to pollute and destroy the planet
6. Share info gained from NSA spying on public with DEA, FBI,local law enforcement to protect pharmaceuticals & liquor industry from competition from pot, or to protect polluters from activists
7. Falsify to judges and defense attorneys how allegedly incriminating info was discovered
10. Further criminalize whistleblowing as “Terrorism”, have compradors arrest innocent people, detain them, and confiscate personal effects with no cause or warrant (i.e. David Miranda, partner of Glenn Greenwald)
Presto, what looks like a democracy is really an authoritarian state ruling on its own behalf and that of 2000 corporations, databasing the activities of 312 million innocent citizens and actively helping destroy the planet while forestalling climate activism."

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