Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #799 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

NB: This description contains material that surfaced since the original program was recorded.

Introduction: Beginning with the growth of Eurofascism, the broadcast highlights the appointment of Makis “The Hammer” Voridis, a longtime doctrinaire fascist to head Greece’s ailing health care system. It appears the “Clausewitzian economics may well be supplemented by “Clausewitzian healthcare.”

In Europe, the economic conditions deriving from the Euro-austerity doctrine mandated by Germany are bearing fruit similar to the harvest of the 1930’s  brought about by the Great Depression. Neo-fascist parties scored huge gains in the recent European Parliamentary elections.

The bulk of the program illustrates the abuse of the concept of “freedom,” resulting in damage to others and benefits to malefactors.

Derivative of the fascist doctrine stemming from the Austrian school of economic theory, Bitcoin is inextricably linked with the milieu of Edward Showden and the libertarian wing of the GOP.

In our ongoing critique of Bitcoin, we’ve noted that it appears to be an “op,” executed by Siemens spinoff Lantiq, which was capitalized by Golden Gate Capital (staffed by alumni of Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s firm.)

In a reprise of a previous and apparently ongoing vulnerability of Bitcoin, the possibility of an “Armageddon” in the Bitcoin world produced by concentration of ownership looms.

Once again, the GHash.io mining pool is at the center of the plot. Because it had garnered control of 51% of the Bitcoin market, it could “double-sell” coins and compromise the integrity of the entire network.

The concentration of Bitcoin ownership is also noteworthy because Bitcoins are now being accepted for political contributions. The “freedom” advocated by Bitcoin’s supporters has resulted in serious criminal activity, including horrifying, violent pornography, financed by Bitcoin’s user anonymity.

Exemplifying how “freedom” can become a catchword for forms of fascism, recent cop shooters in both Las Vegas and Northern California subscribed to the “sovereign citizen” doctrine, as well as support for Ron Paul and Cliven Bundy.

The “don’t fence me in” attitude of the “Paulistinian Libertarian Organization” and the sovereign citizens have echoes in the GOP, who appear to be gearing up for another government shutdown over Obama’s climate change policy.

While the Snowdenistas have obsessed–wrongly in our opinion–on the NSA and GCHQ, the high-tech corporations are forging ahead with technological developments that hold some horrifying possibilities for the concept of real personal freedom.

Program Highlights Include: Since the program was recorded, Udo Voigt of Germany’s NPD (the Federal Republic’s largest neo-Nazi party) was appointed to the European Parliament’s Civil Rights CommitteeCarbon County (Utah) and its declaration of exemption from federal land use law, in order to further mining interests there; Facebook’s sharing of extensive data mining with other corporate interests; the probability that tech companies invasiveness will become the norm, due to the tremendous capital invested in those corporations; Google’s use of military “ops” veterans to develop a fleet of high altitude balloons.

Voridis' axe/hammer and two of his fellow craftsmen

1. “The Ham­mer” is back. Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis is Greece’s new Health Min­is­ter.

In FTR #788, we noted the joint progress of German/EU-imposed “austerity” and fascism in Greece.

With the country’s poverty-driven health care approximating a lethal, slow-motion eugenics program, Greece’s “Clausewitzian Economics” figures to accelerate with the appointment of Makis Voridis, a doctrinaire Nazi, to administer the Greek Health Ministry.

As the German-dominated EMU and EU “bring the hammer down” on the European economy and citizenry, it is grimly fascinating to watch this hands-on application of Von Clausewitz’s theoretical principles.

Generally considered in the context of military strategy and tactics, Von Clausewitz’s concept of Total War lends itself readily to economics and social policy.

Having Voridis as Greece’s Health Minister reminds us of Josef Mengele, selecting those fit for work from those designated for immediate gassing at Auschwitz.

“Yacht Apps and Anti-Semitic Min­is­ters in the Birth­place of Democracy” by Mark Ames; Pando Daily; 6/15/2014.

Good and bad eco­nom­ics news out of the birth­place of democracy.

The good news: Accord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal, Greece is see­ing a boom in tech star­tups. Of course, that boom starts from a very low num­ber, as the Jour­nal reports:

“there were 144 star­tups in Greece in 2013, up from just 16 in 2010. The money invested in them has climbed to €42 mil­lion ($57 mil­lion), com­pared with just €500,000 three years ago.”

Most of the fund­ing is geared towards ser­vic­ing the sec­tor of Greece that hasn’t been ruined by the past few years of EU-imposed aus­ter­ity, which rules out a large per­cent­age of under-35s, the pre­sumed Inter­net gen­er­a­tion. The unem­ploy­ment rate for young Greeks aged 15–24 is 58.3%, while for 25–34 year old Greeks, the unem­ploy­ment rate is 35.5%. Excit­ing new Greek star­tups attract­ing out­side VC cap­i­tal, like incred­i­blue— an online yacht book­ing ser­vice — and Tax­ibeat, a mobile taxi­cab hail­ing app — aren’t going to be much use to them.

Still, Greece’s “boom­ing” tech sec­tor is the good news.

Now, the bad news: Greece’s pro-EU rul­ing con­ser­v­a­tive party, the New Democ­rats, just named an actual neo-Nazi, Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis, as Greece’s new Health Min­is­terJew­ish groups are outraged over the news that Voridis—a long­time neo-fascist activist and anti-Semite who has pub­licly pro­moted the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion as wor­thy of schol­ar­ship, and doubted the authen­tic­ity of the Diary of Anne Frank—is serv­ing as a promi­nent min­is­ter in the rul­ing party’s cab­i­net, in charge of an impor­tant min­istry at a time when Greece has been gutting its health care bud­gets, caus­ing wide­spread misery.

I wrote about Voridis in Novem­ber 2011, because I was shocked that a gov­ern­ment coali­tion essen­tially imposed on Greece by the EU and West­ern cred­i­tors would demand that the allegedly tech­no­cratic “aus­ter­ity coali­tion” included mem­bers of Greece’s anti-Semitic, neo-fascist LAOS partyInclud­ing Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis, who served as min­is­ter of infra­struc­ture and trans­port.

I call him “The Ham­mer” because photographs sur­faced show­ing Voridis as a Uni­ver­sity of Athens law stu­dent, car­ry­ing a makeshift stone ham­mer in hand which he used to bash sus­pected left­wing stu­dents with. That was in 1985, when Voridis was in a fas­cist group called “Stu­dent Alter­na­tive” which sup­ported Greece’s bloody mil­i­tary coup and mil­i­tary junta that ruled from 1967–1974.

Voridis was expelled from law school for club­bing left­ist stu­dents, and went on to Big Things in the world of neo-fascist Greek pol­i­tics. In 1994, he founded the far-right Hel­lenic Front, which in 2004 formed a coali­tion with a self-described Nazi, Kon­stan­ti­nos Plevris, who openly advo­cated for the exter­mi­na­tion of Greece’s remain­ing Jews. In 2005, Voridis merged his party into the LAOS party, whose leader, Geor­gios Karatzaferis, pub­licly mocked Auschwitz and Dachau death camps as “myths,” blamed Jews for 9/11 dur­ing a speech in par­lia­ment, and said “the Jews have no legit­i­macy to speak in Greece.”

In late 2011, as Greece pol­i­tics col­lapsed under the weight of its debts and the harsh EU-imposed aus­ter­ity mea­sures, the EU imposed a new “aus­ter­ity” gov­ern­ment that included “The Ham­mer” Voridis and other mem­bers of the neo-fascist LAOS party. The aus­ter­ity gov­ern­ment ran Greece until new elec­tions were called in mid-2012. In those interim months, the aus­ter­ity coali­tion pushed through rad­i­cal aus­ter­ity mea­sures that caused LAOS’ fas­cist vot­ers to desert them for an even more vio­lent, more extreme neo-Nazi party, the Golden Dawn Party. One would’ve thought that’d be the end of Makis Voridis.

But Voridis is one of the slyer fas­cists. He joined the aus­ter­ity cab­i­net and served from Novem­ber 2011 through June 2012. In the June 2012 elec­tions, after LAOS was oblit­er­ated for par­tic­i­pat­ing in the aus­ter­ity gov­ern­ment, Voridis aban­doned LAOS and joined the new rul­ing party that won the elec­tions, the respectable right-wing New Democ­racy party.

And now New Democ­racy is pay­ing back the favor to their favorite aus­ter­ity fascist.

2a. We’ve told you so–over and over and (present-participle, expletive deleted) over again!

Fascism is descending over much of the world, from the Hindu/nationalist fascist RSS/BJP milieu of Narendra Modi in India to the neo-fascist/Third Positionists comprising the Snowdenista/Wikileaks phalanx.

Darkness is setting in.

In Europe, the economic conditions deriving from the Euro-austerity doctrine mandated by Germany are bearing fruit similar to the harvest of the 1930’s  brought about by the Great Depression.

Not even as relatively staid a source as The Daily Beast can ignore the onrush of Euro-fascism.

“Fascism Is Fashionable Again in Europe” by Thane Rosenbaum; The Daily Beast; 6/8/2014.

Fascism is back in fashion nearly all throughout Europe. Elections for the European Parliament, with ballots cast in 28 countries, produced a startling victory for the sort of political parties that are normally not invited to fashionable parties.

In some countries, like France, where fashion always matter, the voters gave the boorish National Front the largest share of votes. Similar extreme right-wing sentiment fueled the electoral outcome in England, where the United Kingdom Independence Party outpolled all other parties. [The United Kingdom Independence Party is not fascist in ideology. Its advocates seem relatively unaware of the Friedrich List-inspired nature of the German dominaed EU, however.–D.E.] In both countries, extremists captured more than a quarter of the vote.

Things were only slightly better in Austria, Denmark, and Sweden. In Hungary, the demonstrably anti-Semitic Jobbik party finished second. In Greece, the Golden Dawn party, a neo-Nazi outfit that dresses in what looks like Nazi uniforms, captured seats for the first time. Even in Germany, where Nazi memorabilia and romanticism are outlawed, a neo-fascist claimed a seat.

All across the Atlantic the fringe is looking more and more like the mainstream. These groups are generally united in their thuggery and xenophobia. Openly racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic feelings seem to be the first plank atop each party’s platform. To be sure, economic recession, the ongoing European debt crisis, and high unemployment contributed to this dash toward extremism, but anti-foreigner rhetoric ultimately dominated the campaigns.

Hating the other has become a European rallying cry.

These parliamentary results, however, were not that difficult to predict for anyone paying attention to the vulgar events that have overtaken the continent lately. This past September, in Greece, a man sympathetic to Golden Dawn’s stump speeches murdered Pavlos Fyssas, a left-wing rapper better known by his hip-hop handle, Killah P. Like the storm troopers of old, Golden Dawn—the fastest growing party in Greece—can’t seem to make an appearance without a riot breaking out, openly invoking Nazism and Hitler as their primary political influences. They even have a logo that resembles a swastika.

A Belgian political party, Stand Up Belges! has gained followers. A day before the elections, three people were murdered (and one critically wounded) at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Less than a month earlier, there was a planned “gathering of dissidents” featuring an assortment of Nazi-envy characters. The protest was banned but not before the crowd performed the quenelle en masse, popularized by French comic Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala. The gesture has become a trendy symbol among those who would otherwise fetishize Heil Hitler.

Speaking of Dieudonne, he has been convicted seven times in France for preaching anti-Semitism and boasts a personal friendship with Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the National Front. Dieudonne’s act has included dressing up as a rabbi and giving a Nazi salute. Recently on stage he warned a French-Jewish radio host, “if winds change … I think to myself, well, the gas chambers … too bad.” On February 1, his supporters held a demonstration purportedly against the French president, but the protest descended into an old-school pogrom when the crowd chanted: “Jew, France is not yours!”

Such are the polemics of European hate, which no one takes seriously until it’s time to take it seriously.The economic conditions and political landscape throughout the continent is starting to look a lot like the ’30s, which, despite what Winston Churchill said about his own country at the time, was not Europe’s “finest hour.” A good thing Churchill didn’t live to see the United Kingdom Independence Party. . . .

2b. Since the program was recorded, Udo Voigt of Germany’s NPD (the Federal Republic’s largest neo-Nazi party) was appointed to the European Parliament’s Civil Rights Committee.

“Neo-Nazi Holo­caust Denier Joins EU Par­lia­ment Civil Rights Committee” by Caitlin Mac­Neal; TPM Livewire; 7/8/2014.

 A neo-Nazi from Germany’s ultra-conservative National Demo­c­ra­tic Party joined the Euro­pean Union’s par­lia­ment in May and on Mon­day took a seat on the body’s Civil Rights Com­mit­tee, accord­ing to Jew­ish World News.

Udo Voigt has praised Adolf Hitler as “a great Ger­man states­man” and once claimed that “no more than 340,000″ Jews died in the Holo­caust, as opposed to the 6 mil­lion fig­ure agreed on by his­to­ri­ans, accord­ing to the Guardian.

Voigt led the NDP from 1996 to 2011, and dur­ing that time he led the party in an increas­ingly nation­al­ist direc­tion. In 2009, he was con­victed of glo­ri­fy­ing the Waf­fen SS. The Ger­man court unsuc­cess­fully attempted to out­law the party in 2006, and another attempt is cur­rently underway.

Voigt in 2007 con­sid­ered nom­i­nat­ing Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, for a Nobel Peace Prize. The Guardian has an exten­sive account of his incred­i­bly con­tro­ver­sial actions and state­ments here.

Fol­low­ing out­rage over Voigt’s assign­ment to the Civil Rights Com­mit­tee, EU Pres­i­dent Mar­tin Schulz denounced Voigt’s beliefs.

A spokesman for the Euro­pean Jew­ish Con­gress called for mem­bers of the EU par­lia­ment to keep Voigt from gain­ing pub­lic­ity for his views.

“It does the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment no credit to have peo­ple sit­ting on its civil lib­er­ties com­mit­tee who have obvi­ously not only shown no com­mit­ment to civil lib­er­ties, but have sought to under­mine them and to pur­vey a racist and intol­er­ant agenda through­out their polit­i­cal career,” a spokesman told EurAc­tiv.

3. In our ongoing critique of Bitcoin, we’ve noted that it appears to be an “op,” executed by Siemens spinoff Lantiq, which was capitalized by Golden Gate Capital (staffed by alumni of Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s firm.)

Newer readers/listeners should note that Siemens functions as something of a quartermaster for BND–German’s foreign intelligence service, evolved from the Gehlen “Org.”(We have done four pro­grams to date on Bit­coin: FTR #‘s 760764,770785.)

In a reprise of a previous and apparently ongoing vulnerability of Bitcoin, the possibility of an “Armageddon” in the Bitcoin world produced by concentration of ownership looms.

Once again, the GHash.io mining pool is at the center of the plot. Because it had garnered control of 51% of the Bitcoin market, it could “double-sell” coins and compromise the integrity of the entire network.

It is particularly interesting to note that just exactly who owns GHash.io is a mystery, as is the true identity of “Satoshi Nakamoto,”–the inventor of Bitcoin.  Again, we feel we nailed it in FTR# 760.

” . . . . Mak­ing mat­ters worse, no one knows who is behind GHash or CEX. The own­ers of the Netherlands-based com­pany (which lists a Lon­don mail­ing address) are noto­ri­ously secre­tive, mean­ing that the bit­coin com­mu­nity – which at this point rep­re­sents sev­eral bil­lion dol­lars in wealth and untold future value – are left trust­ing a shad­owy entity not to behave badly with its new­found power. . . .

Hmmmmm! A “notoriously secretive,” “Netherlands-based company”–doesn’t sound good. We wonder if this is another property of the Bormann capital network? Certainly, the general profile fits their front organizations.

Front and center in the Bitcoin cheering section are supporters of the Austrian School of economics–Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek et al.Adamantly opposed to “guvmint in’ference” in markets, they advocate unregulated finance. Bitcoin illustrates in brutally dramatic fashion why regulation is very much needed.

“Crypto-‘Armageddon:’ Researchers Claim Min­ing Con­cen­tra­tion Threat­ens to Destroy Bitcoin” by Michael Car­ney; Pando Daily; 6/16/2014.

Here we go again. For the umteenth time in recent mem­ory, the sanc­tity of the bit­coin net­work is fac­ing an exis­ten­tial threat from a large and overly secre­tive orga­ni­za­tion. It’s not an exchange or wal­let ser­vice this time around that has the atten­tion of crypto-currency watch­ers, but rather a large min­ing pool, specif­i­cally GHash.io, the self-described world’s “#1 Crypto & Bit­coin Min­ing Pool.”

So why is the bit­coin world up in arms over GHash? On sev­eral occa­sions last week, one last­ing a full 12 hours, the group, which is owned by cloud-mining ser­vice CEX.io, con­trolled more than 50 per­cent of the global com­pu­ta­tional power directed at min­ing bitcoin.

With such con­trol, GHash (or any group that finds itself in a sim­i­lar posi­tion) could manip­u­late the integrity of the bit­coin net­work by poten­tially double-spending coins, block­ing or revers­ing trans­ac­tions by com­pet­ing min­ers, extort­ing increased trans­ac­tion pro­cess­ing fees from the net­work, or wag­ing a dis­trib­uted denial of ser­vice (DDoS) attack against the entire bit­coin net­work – col­lec­tively, a so-called “51 per­cent attack.” In other words, it’s a major threat to bitcoin’s foun­da­tional dis­trib­uted, and there­fore trust­less, nature.

Cor­nell researchers Ittay Eyal and Emin Gün Sirer were the first to rec­og­nize the 51 per­cent event, call­ing it “armaged­don” in a Fri­day blog post, and describ­ing GHash as a “de facto monop­oly.”The pair, who have long been thought lead­ers on the con­cepts of 51 per­cent attacks and “self­ish min­ing,” write:

GHash is in a posi­tion to exer­cise com­plete con­trol over which trans­ac­tions appear on the blockchain and which min­ers reap min­ing rewards. They could keep 100% of the min­ing prof­its to them­selves if they so chose. Bit­coin is cur­rently an expen­sive dis­trib­uted data­base under the con­trol of a sin­gle entity, albeit one that requires con­stantly burn­ing energy to main­tain — worst of all worlds.

It’s a his­tor­i­cal first for any entity to cross the 50 per­cent thresh­old, although GHash has been close before, approach­ing 45 per­cent in Jan­u­aryof this year. At the time, GHash issued a press release, pub­licly com­mit­ting to never reach­ing the feared 51 per­cent thresh­old (really, any­thing greater than 50 per­cent). So much for that promise.

To be clear, GHash doesn’t own 50 per­cent of the global min­ing power, it sim­ply “con­trols” it. This dis­tinc­tion is impor­tant, but does not nec­es­sar­ily elim­i­nate the threat the group poses. GHash has in the past claimed to own only half the hard­ware pro­vid­ing the hash­ing power that it con­trols, with the rest con­tributed by third-party min­ers that allo­cate min­ing power to its pool. Nonethe­less, the bit­coin net­work has rea­son to be fear­ful of this con­cen­tra­tion of power.

Mak­ing mat­ters worse, no one knows who is behind GHash or CEX. The own­ers of the Netherlands-based com­pany (which lists a Lon­don mail­ing address) are noto­ri­ously secre­tive, mean­ing that the bit­coin com­mu­nity – which at this point rep­re­sents sev­eral bil­lion dol­lars in wealth and untold future value – are left trust­ing a shad­owy entity not to behave badly with its new­found power.

To be clear, GHash has not abused its power yet. But if history’s taught us any­thing it’s that power cor­rupts. Mak­ing mat­ters worse, the com­pany was pre­vi­ously accused of using its enor­mous size advan­tage to bully a gam­bling site via double-spending attacks.

Eyal and Sirer write:

No one knows the ulti­mate aims of GHash. The peo­ple who join the GHash pool do so because GHash has zero fees — these peo­ple are essen­tially opti­miz­ing for short term prof­its over the long term well-being of the cur­rency. All of these are pre­cisely the points we cau­tioned about. So this is when we get to say “We told you so.”

The pair go on to advo­cate a “hard fork” in the code­base under­ly­ing bit­coin, with the goal of accom­plish­ing three core fixes: dis­in­cen­tiviz­ing min­ing pools, com­bat­ting self­ish min­ing, and mak­ing min­ing activ­ity more trans­par­ent. They con­clude, sarcastically:

Or we can carry on as if noth­ing of impor­tance hap­pened. GHash will be on their best behav­ior for the next few weeks, and Bit­coin will limp along. What will bring the actual demise of Bit­coin is the sub­ject of a future blog post, but this is by no means the end. Peo­ple can still use Bit­coin to buy drugs, trin­kets from Overstock.com, and maybe even grilled cheese from a food truck. There is an after­world. And for every­thing else, there is dirty fiat and Mastercard.

As Eyal and Sirer point out, the poten­tial of 51 per­cent attacks has been known for some time. As a whole, the bit­coin com­mu­nity lead­ers have been quick to write off the risks of such a sce­nario, offer­ing two com­mon jus­ti­fi­ca­tions. First, we’re told that the invest­ment required to cre­ate a min­ing pool would dis­in­cen­tivize a pool’s par­tic­i­pants from ever con­duct­ing such an attack. But, as the Cor­nel report explains:

…[this] assumes a sta­tic world. Instead, the min­ing rigs have a fairly short use­ful life­time. If a miner knows that they will be over­taken by the next gen­er­a­tion of hard­ware about to be unleashed by a com­pet­ing min­ing pool, it will have a def­i­nite time hori­zon for extract­ing every last bit of value, and that plan may not have room in it for a voy­age to the moon.

Sec­ondly, naysay­ers are quick to argue that the min­ing com­mu­nity and bitcoin’s core devel­op­ers will eas­ily rec­og­nize such an attack and will there­fore pre­vent the bad actors from harm­ing the broader bit­coin net­work. At best, this seems like an ide­al­is­tic view of likely events. Even if such an attack were rec­og­nized and ulti­mately inter­rupted, the trust-eroding effects – both within the com­mu­nity, but more so within main­stream con­sumers and media – would be stag­ger­ing. Assum­ing that no harm will come of even a brief 51 per­cent attack couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.

A GHash spokesper­son told CryptoCoinNews:

…we would never do any­thing to harm the Bit­coin econ­omy; we believe in it. We have invested all our effort, time and money into the devel­op­ment of the Bit­coin econ­omy. We agree that min­ing should be decen­tral­ized, but you can­not blame GHash.IO for being the #1 min­ing pool.

Bit­coin was cre­ated specif­i­cally to avoid the need to trust any cen­tral­ized author­ity, be it a fed­eral gov­ern­ment, the Fed­eral Reserve, the World Bank, or oth­er­wise. The fact that the crypto-currency com­mu­nity is now con­fronting this sce­nario is a legit­i­mate threat to the entire experiment.

The broader mar­ket seems to agree with this con­cern, push­ing the price of bit­coin down more than 16 per­cent in a few days, from a near-term high of $655 on Tues­day, June 10 to a low of $553 on Sun­day the 15th– cur­rently, the Coin­desk Price Index sits at $589. This drop fol­lows a recent upswing in price fol­low­ing a pro­longed bear mar­ket that coin­cided with the col­lapse of Mt. Gox. As of this moment, GHash con­trols roughly 35 per­cent of global hash­ing power while the next largest known group, Dis­cus Fish, con­trols 16 percent.

GHash doesn’t need to con­duct a 51 per­cent attack for their hash­ing power con­cen­tra­tion to be a major issue. The sim­ple fact that the bit­coin net­work must look over its shoul­der to won­der if (or when) such an attack will arrive is enough to desta­bi­lize the system.

4. If you thought that campaign finance had become a sticky wicket in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, you might be bitterly amused by the latest development in the lubrication of the wheels of democracy.

The Federal Election Commission has given the nod to accepting Bitcoins as campaign contributions.

The available evidence suggests that Bitcoin is probably an Underground Reich “op” with roots in the cyber-fascistic libertarian milieu.

Fans of Citizens United and McCutcheon will be thrilled to know that one mysterious company control 51% of the total of the currency in existence.

Long live the Republic!

“Politics Jumps on Bitcoin Wagon” by Fredreka Schouten; USA Today; 5/9-11/2014.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) unanimously approved its use as a political donation Thursday. Commissioners imposed several conditions. Among them: No anonymous bitcoin contributions will be allowed, and campaign treasurers must scrutinize the donations for “evidence of illegality.”

Jim Harper of the industry’s Bitcoin Foundation, said the FEC’s move lends further legitimacy to thecurrency. “It’s another part of the growing body of regulation that establishes bitcoin as a co-equal part of the financial services system,” he said.

Rep. Jared Polis, a liberal Democrat from Colorado, immediately announced his campaign would begin accepting the digital money. He praised the FEC for its “forward-looking stance” to recognize “the rights of individuals seeking alternatives to government-backed currencies to participate in our democratic political process.”

It’s not clear how quickly the currency will spread through the election landscape. Officials with the committee working to elect House Democrats said they had no immediate plans to accept bitcoins.

Even without the formal approval of regulators, the Libertarian Party began accepting Bitcoin about a year ago and has collected the equivalent of about $10,000, Executive Director Wes Benedict said.

5. Derivative of the fascist doctrine stemming from the Austrian school of economic theory, Bitcoin is inextricably linked with the milieu of Edward Showden and the libertarian wing of the GOP.

A horrifying–though predictable–story from the Daily Mail illustrates the moral, practical and philosophical bankruptcy of libertarian philosophy.

Kiddie porn freaks (with an apparent sadistic bent) have been using Bitcoin to finance online videos with the children being tortured with lit cigarettes.

Aside from the potential for such activity to be utilized by organized crime syndicates and intelligence services for a variety of purposes, this will  certainly obviate the need for rigorous surveillance of the internet.

We here a great deal about “freedom” these days, particularly in connection with the internet.

Real freedom, however, can only exist when married to responsibility. The propagation of activities such as the one described in the story below underscores the depravity of many of those who argue for an unmonitored internet, on which “anything goes.”

 “Dis­turb­ing New Inter­net Child Abuse Sees Tod­dlers Raped and Burned Live on Web­cam as Pae­dophiles use Bit­coin to Stop Being Traced, Warns Police Chief” by Kieran Corcoran; Daily Mail; 4/21/2014.

One of Europe’s top police offi­cers has warned of a sick­en­ing online trade in child tor­ture porn.

Rob Wain­wright, the direc­tor of Europol, said offend­ers are using the untrace­able online cur­rency Bit­coin to pay for depraved ‘shows’, per­formed live on web­cams, which see young chil­dren raped and burned.

He said: ‘The level of deprav­ity seems to be descend­ing year on year, frankly, includ­ing what seems to be in vogue now, which is live web­cam ‘shows’ of tod­dlers not just being raped but being burnt with cigarettes.

Scroll down for video

Sick­en­ing: Mark Wain­wright warned that online preda­tors were pay­ing to watch chil­dren be raped and burned live on webcam

‘Sorry, but it’s hap­pen­ing online and it’s extremely dif­fi­cult for us to identify.’

Mr Wain­wright warned that Bit­coin — a ‘crypto-currency’ based on math­e­mat­i­cal for­mu­lae and inde­pen­dent of any gov­ern­ment or cen­tral bank — is prop­ping up a crim­i­nal black market.

He also warned that police and politi­cians were strug­gling to keep up with the pace of online crime, thanks to wide­spread anonymity online, and easy access to encryp­tion tech­nol­ogy which can make crim­i­nals almost impos­si­ble to track down.

Mr Wain­wright warned that the prin­ci­ple that everyone’s online activ­ity should be anony­mous by default needs to be chal­lenged in order to police the inter­net effectively.

(*fur­ther enhanc­ing the require­ment for a vir­tual panop­ti­con — participo)

He crit­i­cised the slug­gish response from the police, politi­cians and big busi­nesses, say­ing that equiv­a­lent lev­els of crime in the phys­i­cal world would be ‘front page news.’

Every­thing you need to know about bitcoin

Black mar­ket: The Bit­coin cryp­tocur­rency is being used for ille­gal activ­i­ties, Mr Wain­wright warned

–Black mar­ket: The Bit­coin cryp­tocur­rency is being used for ille­gal activ­i­ties, Mr Wain­wright warned
He told The Times: ‘It is frus­trat­ing that we are not get­ting the mes­sage out, at least not loud enough for leg­is­la­tors to hear it.’

The Inter­net Watch Foun­da­tion pres­sure group has recently claimed to have found evi­dence of an email scam direct­ing peo­ple to under­ground web­sites where the sick ‘shows’ could be seen in exchange for Bitcoin.

6a. Once again, the “leaderless resistance” strategy has claimed victims, with the Cliven Bundy Freikorps figuring among the ideological assignations of the Las Vegas killers.

Particularly noteworthy here is the fact that Jerad and Amanda Miller were supporters of Ron Paul, Eddie the Friendly Spook Snowden’s Presidential candidate of choice. Nazi fellow-traveler Glenn Greenwald, Snowden’s journalistic leaker of choice, ran legal interference for the “leaderless resistance” strategy as an attorney.

Greenwald’s pro-bono efforts on behalf of his murderous Nazi clients helped to insulate advocates of the sort of thing the Millers did in Las Vegas against civil litigation arising from the actualization of their principles.

Hatriot Politics Created the Las Vegas Killers” by Jon Avlon; The Daily Beast; 6/9/2014.

The obsessively anti-government Hatriot movement moved from cultivating conspiracy theories to real killing on Sunday in Las Vegas.

The Wingnut Bonnie and Clyde duo, Jerad and Amanda Miller, stormed into CiCi’s Pizza and shot two metro cops, Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, at close range while shouting “This is a revolution!” They flung the Tea Party’s favorite coiled snake Gadsden flag and a swastika on the still-warm corpses and then moved to a nearby Walmart to murder a shopper before turning the guns on themselves.

But the crime scene chronology only tells part of the story—because the Millers’ Massacre had been brewing for a long time, visible online. Their Facebook pages detail a descent into a murderous rage, railing against a tyrannical government and parroting talking points from fright-wing radio hosts such as Alex Jones and militia movement groups such as the Three Percenters while “liking” the pages of conservative activist groups ranging from the Heritage Foundation to FreedomWorks and the NRA. Miller’s profile picture was a skull wearing an American flag bandana against a backdrop of crossed knives over the word “Patriot.” . . .

. . . . Police sources confirm that the Millers conspired to infiltrate an unidentified court building and execute public officials. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday that Kelley Fielder, who called the Millers “best friends,” said they left her with a box of documents that officials report included a written plan to murder court officials. The box was recovered Sunday during a police search of Fielder’s apartment. The search also found three empty rifle cases and an empty box used for handcuffs.

Jerad Miller’s anti-government frenzy was whipped up by the extreme right wing echo chamber. Earlier this year, Miller responded to calls to stand with Cliven Bundy in and declared common cause with the renegade rancher. “I will be supporting Clive Bundy and his family from Federal Government slaughter,” he wrote. “This is the next Waco! His ranch is under siege right now! The federal gov is stealing his cattle! Arresting his family and beating on them! We must do something, I will be doing something.” When Miller returned from Bundy’s ranch, he posted that “BLM [Bureau of Land Management] snipers were all over the place.” . . .

. . . . Jerad Miller was a product of his environment, the unhinged right wing echo chamber and its constant drumbeat about government tyranny being imposed on freedom-loving citizens. “Either you stand with freedom, or you side with tyranny,” Miller wrote on his Facebook page in March. “There is no middle ground. We have deluded ourselves into such a notion. There is no grey area.”

Miller was a vocal supporter of libertarian Ron Paul, posting during the fall of 2012: “Ron Paul is the only hope for America and we have all failed him, our children and our grandchildren by failing to demand fair coverage of all presidential candidates. . . .

6b. There was another shootout  involv­ing law enforce­ment offi­cers and a ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen’:

“BLM Shoot­ing Sus­pect Is Anti-Government Con­spir­acy The­o­rist With Pend­ing Gun Charge” by Dylan Scott; TPM Muck­raker; 6/17/2014.

The man accused of shoot­ing two law enforce­ment mem­bers in Cal­i­for­nia, includ­ing a Bureau of Land Man­age­ment ranger, has had at least one pre­vi­ous run-in with law enforce­ment and has described him­self as the tar­get of a mas­sive gov­ern­ment conspiracy.

Brent Dou­glas Cole, 60, was named by the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office on Mon­day as the sus­pect in Saturday’s shoot­ing that also left him wounded.

Anna Fer­gu­son, assis­tant dis­trict attor­ney for Nevada County, con­firmed to TPM that Cole was also fac­ing mis­de­meanor charges in Nevada County Supe­rior Court for allegedly car­ry­ing a loaded firearm. He was charged on Jan. 26.

On Tues­day, the Union news­pa­per in Nevada City, Calif., pub­lished an arti­cle that quoted from court doc­u­ments in the case. The doc­u­ments showed Cole believed he was the tar­get of a mas­sive conspiracy:

Offi­cers acted with­out war­rant or any prob­a­ble cause to seize my per­son using a swat team style assault, and then started look­ing for some­thing to charge me with. I was attacked and molested, uncon­sti­tu­tion­ally arrested, unlaw­fully incar­cer­ated, repeat­edly intim­i­dated and coerced to plead guilty to hav­ing com­mit­ted a crime, held in secret for five days, and my prop­erty and lib­erty taken from me since Jan­u­ary 26, 2014. I am being per­se­cuted for being a gun owner, and for exer­cis­ing my inher­ent Right by unwit­ting or unknow­ing accom­plices of a sedi­tious con­spir­acy against rights insti­tuted by for­eign pow­ers inim­i­cal to the United States of America.

That’s in line with online pro­files, reviewed by TPM, that appear to belong to Cole and sug­gest some­one obsessed with mul­ti­ple con­spir­acy the­o­ries, includ­ing 9/11 trutherism, flu­o­ri­dated water and anti-semitic beliefs.

The South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter, in research shared with TPM on Tues­day after­noon, linked Cole to an online pro­file in which he described him­self as “a sov­er­eign Amer­i­can Cit­i­zen attempt­ing to thwart the obvi­ous con­spir­acy and sub­terfuges of pow­ers inim­i­cal to the United States.”

“Sov­er­eigns believe that they — not judges, juries, law enforce­ment or elected offi­cials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes,” the SPLC has writ­ten in its sum­mary of sov­er­eign cit­i­zen beliefs.

Some­one using the name Brent Dou­glas Cole uploaded Google doc­u­ments that were pur­port­edly filed in his defense for the Jan­u­ary arrest. Those doc­u­ments have not been inde­pen­dently ver­i­fied by TPM, but they carry the same case num­ber as the firearms case.

In the doc­u­ments, Cole described him­self as “a statu­tory Attor­ney Gen­eral of the United States” and claimed the Cal­i­for­nia law under which he had been charged vio­lated the Sec­ond Amend­ment. He also spelled his name in a man­ner typ­i­cal of mem­bers of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens move­ment, using low­er­case let­ters and unusual punc­tu­a­tion: “brent-douglas: cole.”

A Face­book pro­file attrib­uted to a Brent Cole, and which also linked to the alleged doc­u­ments in the firearms case, included this quote from June 5:

“The con­vic­tion of police that they are endowed with the author­ity and autho­riza­tion to to what­ever they wish to do to any­one, with­out any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, and incur no lia­bil­ity or cul­pa­bil­ity for crim­i­nal acts com­mit­ted must end.”

Cole also posted a num­ber of news arti­cles on Face­book sym­pa­thetic to the Bundy Ranch mili­tia, includ­ing a April 16 post about “an Infowars expose con­nect­ing the land grab to Harry Reid and a Chinese-backed solar farm.”

Accord­ing to the Union news­pa­per, the BLM ranger had con­tacted the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol for assis­tance in its inves­ti­ga­tion of vehi­cles at the Tahoe National For­est. It was dur­ing that inves­ti­ga­tion that the two offi­cers were con­fronted by Cole and exchanged gun­fire. The shoot­ing took place near the South Yuba River camp­ground, accord­ing to the sheriff’s office.

The two law enforce­ment agents suf­fered non-life-threatening injuries in the inci­dent. Cole suf­fered mul­ti­ple gun­shot wounds, accord­ing to the Union, and was hos­pi­tal­ized as of Monday.

 7. The political heirs and cohorts of Cliven Bundy continue to make waves. An entire county in Utah appears to be embrac­ing the ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen’ theme and is try­ing to secede from the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment.

“Utah County Declares BLM’s Author­ity ‘Is Not Rec­og­nized’ There” by Dylan Scott; TPM Livewire; 6/18/2014.

A Utah county passed a res­o­lu­tion this month assert­ing that the author­ity of fed­eral agents, specif­i­cally those of the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment, to enforce state or local laws — even on fed­eral land — would not be rec­og­nized within its borders.

The Car­bon County Com­mis­sion approved the res­o­lu­tion unan­i­mously on June 4.

“Any such attempted exer­cise of law enforce­ment pow­ers by an offi­cial of a land man­age­ment agency IS NOT RECOGNIZED by Car­bon County,” the res­o­lu­tion stated (caps in orig­i­nal), “and shall be deemed AN IMMINENT THREAT TO THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE OF THE CITIZENS OF CARBON COUNTY.”

In pref­ac­ing its case, the com­mis­sion con­cluded “that Car­bon County does not rec­og­nize any attempt by a fed­eral offi­cial to try to enforce state or local crim­i­nal or civil laws on any lands in Car­bon County, includ­ing any BLM or For­est Ser­vice lands.”

The res­o­lu­tion also demanded that any fed­eral agent intend­ing to take a law enforce­ment action “shall first declare his pres­ence and intended action to the Sher­iff of Car­bon County.”

The move fol­lows the stand­off in Nevada ear­lier this year between the BLM and a mili­tia sup­port­ing rancher Cliven Bundy. The res­o­lu­tion, how­ever, did not men­tion Bundy or the standoff.

8. This week­end the Koch broth­ers hosted their big donor net­work event where they roll out their plans for big new ini­tia­tive focus­ing on oppo­si­tion to energy reg­u­la­tions. And what do we find today? The GOP has just started talk­ing about the kind of manuev­ers in the Sen­ate designed to gut energy indus­try reg­u­la­tions that appear to be very close to same tech­niques used in the past to cre­ate a shutdown-showdown scene­rio this fall.

“Shut­down Wars Return? GOP Sen­a­tors Want To Block Obama’s Cli­mate Rules” by Sahil Kapur; Talking Points Memo: DC; 6/18/2014.

If early Repub­li­can enthu­si­asm is any indi­ca­tion, the upcom­ing Sept. 30 dead­line to keep the fed­eral gov­ern­ment open could turn into an all-out war over Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s exec­u­tive actions to com­bat cli­mate change.

As TPM reported ear­lier this week, senior House Repub­li­cans are con­sid­er­ing using appro­pri­a­tions leg­is­la­tion to block the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s new restric­tions on coal-fired power plants, aimed at cut­ting climate-warming pol­lu­tion by 30 per­cent by 2030.

On Tues­day, numer­ous Sen­ate Repub­li­cans expressed strong sup­port for the idea.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of sup­port on our side for try­ing to block that. And I hope with some Democ­rats too,” Sen­ate Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence Chair John Thune (R-SD) told TPM. “The power of the purse is one power Con­gress has, and if you want to send a clear mes­sage to the admin­is­tra­tion about a series of reg­u­la­tions that you think are very detri­men­tal, one way to do that would be through the appro­pri­a­tions process.”

Thune, the No. 3 GOP sen­a­tor, said his party will sup­port “any­thing we can do to pre­vent the admin­is­tra­tion from going for­ward with what are really poorly timed, very bur­den­some, very expen­sive … regulations.”

Sen­ate Bud­get Com­mit­tee Rank­ing Mem­ber Jeff Ses­sions (R-AL) said Repub­li­cans ought to con­sider revers­ing what he described as pres­i­den­tial over­reach by Obama on envi­ron­men­tal regulations.

“I think Con­gress needs to give seri­ous thought to uti­liz­ing its con­sti­tu­tional power — the power to fund or not fund,” he told TPM. Asked about using the appro­pri­a­tions bill to undo the EPA rules, he said, “That’s one of the pow­ers that Con­gress clearly has.”

The Sen­ate Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee will con­sider gov­ern­ment fund­ing bills this week. If Repub­li­cans insist on pro­hibit­ing imple­men­ta­tion of the EPA rule in order to keep the gov­ern­ment run­ning past Sep­tem­ber, it could spark another shut­down stand­off. Democ­rats strongly sup­port Obama’s envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions and they intend to block attempts to undo them.

Retir­ing Sen. Saxby Cham­b­liss (R-GA) told TPM the idea is “some­thing that will be dis­cussed, I’m sure.”

“Obvi­ously there are a lot of us that are con­cerned about those reg­u­la­tions and it’s going to be a huge blow to the econ­omy,” he said. “And what­ever we can do to keep that from hap­pen­ing, we’re going to con­sider it.”

Sen. Ron John­son (R-WI) told TPM he’d be “totally sup­port­ive” of using gov­ern­ment fund­ing leg­is­la­tion to block the EPA rules.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), a mem­ber of the Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, said he’ll do every­thing in his power to fight the EPA’s so-called “waters of the U.S.” rule — a reg­u­la­tion pro­posedin April aimed at pro­tect­ing the country’s streams and wet­lands from pol­lu­tion — which agribusi­nesses fear will harm them.

“I strongly oppose the pro­posed rule,” Hoeven said. Asked if he intends to attach an amend­ment to the appro­pri­a­tions bill block­ing the EPA rule, he said, “That’s my intent. … Any­thing I can attach it to that makes it though — I’m gonna do it.”

The dis­pute that usu­ally sparks shut­downs is about how much the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should spend. That’s not a prob­lem this time because the two sides have agreed to spend $1.014 tril­lionin fis­cal year 2015. But the envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions have become a cause célèbre in Repub­li­can cir­cles, ignit­ing inter­est in find­ing ways to force the pres­i­dent to back down.

TPM asked Sen. John­son if he wor­ries the strat­egy could lead to another gov­ern­ment shut­down just one month before the con­gres­sional elections.

“We should not, obvi­ously — the fed­eral gov­ern­ment does enough harm to our econ­omy. We need to bring a lit­tle more cer­tainty,” the sen­a­tor said. “So I’m not in favor of threat­en­ing gov­ern­ment shutdowns.”

It’s too early to know if Repub­li­cans will with­hold sup­port for fund­ing the gov­ern­ment unless Democ­rats agree to block the EPA rules. But if they pur­sue the course sev­eral of them have sug­gested and refuse to back down, this sum­mer could turn into a replay of last year’s stand­off — only over envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions rather than Oba­macare — where one side backs down or Con­gress shuts down parts of the fed­eral government.

9. Facebook is manifesting what one Silicon Valley CEO sees as a trend in corporate data harvesting.

“Here’s How to Defend Your­self from Facebook’s New Browser-Spying Campaign” by Mark Sullivan; Ven­ture­Beat; 6/12/2014.

Face­book sent out a notice Thurs­day about its inten­tion to begin shar­ing the brows­ing data of its mem­bers with its adver­tis­ing part­ners.

It’s a move that most observers saw com­ing, but one that Face­book has always denied — with vigor.

Face­book can’t cap­ture data about you vis­it­ing just any site, only those that have part­nered with it. Basi­cally, any site that has a “like” but­ton (such as this one) or that per­mits you to log in with your Face­book cre­den­tials will store data about your visit in your browser, which can later be read by Facebook.

Here’s how Face­book describes it in its Terms of Service:

“We and our affil­i­ates, third par­ties, and other part­ners (“part­ners”) use these tech­nolo­gies for secu­rity pur­poses and to deliver prod­ucts, ser­vices and adver­tise­ments, as well as to under­stand how these prod­ucts, ser­vices and adver­tise­ments are used. With these tech­nolo­gies, a web­site or appli­ca­tion can store infor­ma­tion on your browser or device and later read that infor­ma­tion back.”

Face­book also released a video to adver­tis­ers and users Thurs­day morn­ing explain­ing the company’s tar­get­ing prac­tices. A com­mon mantra among web mar­keters is that they’re actu­ally doing con­sumers a favor by col­lect­ing the infor­ma­tion they need to serve more rel­e­vant ads.

What to do (and not bother doing)

If you don’t want Face­book to col­lect and trans­mit your brows­ing data, you can take some steps to pre­vent it from doing so.

But first, here’s what not to do.

The adver­tis­ing indus­try has put up a site called Your Ad Choices, which offers con­sumers a way to “opt out.” But the site lets you opt out of receiv­ing ads that have been tar­geted at you based on your brows­ing data. But it will not let you “opt out” from com­pa­nies har­vest­ing your brows­ing data.

Nor can you expect to get any real relief by try­ing to tweak­ing your Face­book Pri­vacy set­tings. Face­book announced today that it would be rolling out “ad pref­er­ences,” a new tool acces­si­ble from every ad on Face­book that “explains why you’re see­ing a spe­cific ad and lets you add and remove inter­ests that we use to show you ads.” Of course, Face­book is not offer­ing you a way to stop them from col­lect­ing your brows­ing data in the first place.

Sev­eral browser plug-ins will block sites like Face­book from drop­ping lines of code into your browser allow­ing it to track you.

One of the good ones is Do Not Track Mefrom Abine.com. This is a Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based firm that focuses on build­ing browser tools to secure brows­ing data and other per­sonal information.

Other solid rec­om­men­da­tions that will work on Chrome and Fire­fox browsers are Ghostery and Disconnect.

Abine CEO Rob Shavell says he isn’t sur­prised by the news about Facebook.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more com­pa­nies doing this,” Shavell told Ven­ture­Beat. “Hav­ing worked at a ven­ture cap­i­tal firm in Sil­i­con Val­ley, I think there’s a data bub­ble going on. There’s been so much money invested in ad tech com­pa­nies, includ­ing Face­book, and so much hype around them, they are going to have to col­lect more and more per­sonal data. There’s just too much pres­sure to make all that money back.”

Shavell says investors have put $6.5 bil­lion behind adver­tis­ing tech com­pa­nies in the past two years.

Face­book did not respond to a request for com­ment on this story.

10. Google is already developing sophisticated robots with military applications. Now it is developing a “balloon air force to encircle the world with WiFi. Former military operations personnel are involved with the project, raising questions for which there aren’t answers at this point. Once the tech­nol­ogy is per­fected the bal­loon army can then cir­cle the globe pro­vided free WiFi to rural areas.

“Google Works with ‘For­mer Mil­i­tary Oper­a­tions Peo­ple’ to Develop its WiFi Drone Army” by Yasha Levine; Pando Daily; 6/18/2014. 

A few days ago, Wired’s Steven Levy wrote wrote about the lat­est devel­op­ments from Google’s Project Loon — an auda­cious and fright­en­ing attempt to launch a balloon-drone army high up in the atmosphere.

The plan is to cre­ate noth­ing less than a global WiFi net­work, pow­ered by hun­dreds of bal­loons cir­cling the globe at an alti­tude of 60,000 ft. Google envi­sions Loon deliv­er­ing (and sur­veilling) Inter­net con­nec­tiv­ity to the poor, rural uncon­nected masses around the world, not to men­tion fill­ing in Internet/mobile dead spots in Sil­i­con Valley’s own back­yard. Who knows, it might even com­pete with exist­ing cel­lu­lar phone ser­vices one day.

Writes Levy:

With the advances made over the last year, Google has a clearer idea of how it might even­tu­ally make money with Loon. In addi­tion to con­nect­ing the last few bil­lion (and often cash-poor) Inter­net users, the project might serve already-connected peo­ple with fat wal­lets by part­ner­ing with exist­ing providers to deliver a super-roaming expe­ri­ence. “It’s not lim­ited to rural areas,” Teller says. “Even in the mid­dle of Sil­i­con Val­ley you can lose con­nec­tions while dri­ving; large build­ings and hills can block the sig­nals. Bal­loons can fill in dead spots.”

If hun­dreds of Google spy bal­loons con­stantly hov­er­ing over­head isn’t scary enough, Levy pointed out that the com­pany is work­ing with “for­mer mil­i­tary oper­a­tions peo­ple” in order to track down and find every downed bal­loon in order to study their fail­ures and improve the reli­a­bil­ity of its so far sub-performing bal­loon technology.

I guess it’s not sur­pris­ing, given Google’s his­tory of close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the military-industrial complex.

But I’m curi­ous exactly what kind of “for­mer mil­i­tary oper­a­tions peo­ple” is Google work­ing with? What coun­try? And what mil­i­tary? Or is it pri­vate secu­rity con­trac­tors like Blackwater/Academi? Or maybe the secre­tive CIA-connected Black­bird Tech­nolo­gies, which spe­cial­izes in hi-tech track­ing and search & res­cue mis­sions and has part­nered with Google before?

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