The Myth of Internet Freedom

Stare Into the Lights My Pretties

Jordan Brown (2017)

Film Review

This documentary takes an honest look at the dark side of what they call “screen culture.” The notion that the Internet is “free” is a total myth propagated by the corporate PR industry. The Internet has maximized corporate power more than any other technology, while significantly accelerating globalization.  It also enables government and corporations to spy on virtually every aspect of our lives

The overall premise of the film is that technology never arises in a vacuum. Although falsely portrayed as fulfilling our needs and desires., it ALWAYS serves the ideology and interests of ruling elites who pay for its development. Moreover once people allow new technology into their lives, it changes the way they think.

In Stare Into the Lights My Pretties, neuroscientists express concern about the harmful effect of six-plus hours a day of screen time on concentration, memory, problem solving, empathy and collective awareness.

Far more alarming, though, are the social control aspects of screen culture, all the while masquerading as Internet freedom.

Previously I had no idea of the absolute gatekeeping function of giant monopolies like Google and Facebook in filtering information that reaches individual Internet users. Despite the apparent wealth of information that bombards us via the Internet, the average American is less knowledgeable about US foreign and domestic affairs than prior to the 1990s Internet explosion. This mainly relates to sophisticated algorithms used by Google, Facebook, Yahoo News and even the Huffington Post, Washington Post and New York Times to selectively show us information they think we want to see (based on our clicking behavior).

I suddenly understand why climate deniers are so unshakable in their beliefs. When they search for the term, “climate change,” they end up with a totally different set of articles than I do – thus strongly reinforcing their existing beliefs.

Other more sinister elements of this social control relate to sophisticated behavioral modification techniques that addict us to our screens and to get us to click on specific sites and remain there as long as possible. When we use the Internet, we get confused what the real product is. The real product isn’t the web content we are offered – the real product is us and the massive amount of data collected every time we go online. This, in turn, is sold on to corporate advertisers who use it to entice us to buy their products.

 

 

 

What Silicon Valley Has Planned for Public Education

What Silicon Valley Has Planned for Public Education

Alison McDowell (2017

This troubling presentation concerns a well-advanced plan by corporate America to gradually replace public schools with 100% digital education. The attack on American schools is multi-pronged – with anti-public school forces closing schools, laying off teachers and neglecting crumbling infrastructure while stealthily increasing the availability of digital notepads, Chrome books and other digital platforms in existing schools.

Education Reform 2.0 would build on high stakes testing and school closures to replace teachers with digital learning platforms designed to incorporate “cradle to grave” tracking of students’ skill sets and online activity. Increasingly employers would rely on this information to determine suitability for employment.

The institutional backers of this digital revolution include some of the most powerful corporations and foundations in the US. Prominent names include the Gates Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Goldman Sachs, the Institute for the Future (offshoot of Rand Corporation), Amazon, Google, Dell (the company Snowden worked for), and Halliburton.

The US military is also involved and planning and development of 100% digital learning with Army Research and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) assuming responsibility for the “behavior modification” (ie mind control aspects) that reward students for appropriate engagement with the digital platform.

McDowell describes how many schools across the US are already replacing class time with Skype sessions with Halliburton “mentors” and on-line math lessons with carton “peers.”

Proponents of 100% digital learning are working closely with focus groups to “market” this new technology that tracks and mind controls children to skeptical Americans who value their privacy.

At 38 minutes, McDowell shows a promotional film for “tracked online learning.” It explains how high school and adult learners are earning “edu-blocks for a variety of learning experiences (including reading books, volunteer work, watching videos and “teaching” skills to other learners. Also how companies are already using your ledger blocks to evaluate potential employees’ suitability for specific projects or even investing in their university education by paying their tuition. One edu-block enthusiast describes how participating in the online program is enabling her to reduce her student loan debt.

The ledger is designed to keep track of all the YouTube videos you watch and even all the texts you send (and delete).

The End of Globalization

From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalisation

by Finbarr Livesey

Profile Books Ltd (2016)

Book Review

In From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalisation, Finbarr Livesey challenges the common neoliberal claim that globalization is the be-all and end-all of global prosperity.

Livesey’s premise, which he supports with an impressive array of data, is that globalization peaked shortly after 2008 and the world economy is in a period of deglobalization. World trade is slowly declining as a percentage of GDP, and many companies who moved factories to the third world are improving their bottom line by reshoring them to the US and Europe.

Livesey contends that, to a large extent, last year’s vote for Britain to leave the EU and for a US president who promised to withdraw from the TPP and bring back American jobs, merely reflect an economic trend that began nearly a decade ago.

The present deglobalization was triggered by the 2008 financial crash that sucked trillions of dollars out of the global economy. However, Livesey identifies a number of other factors that influence this trend – chief among them the volatility of oil prices and shipping costs (containers must be booked months in advance) and the growing cost of labor in China and neighboring countries. At the same time, technological advances, including 3D printing and “additive manufacturing,” have led to an upsurge in “on demand” industries and consumer frustration with being limited to millions of identical mass produced items.

At present many companies find it more profitable to shorten their supply chain by producing most or all component parts locally or regionally. Between 2010 and 2015, over 1300 companies brought production back to the US. Even Apple and Google have started to reshore significant manufacturing operations.

At present three-fourths of everything bought in the US is made in the US.

Originally published in Dissident Voice

The CIA Role in the Arab Spring

arabesque americaine

(more from my research for A Rebel Comes of Age)

L’Arabesque Americaine (French edition – not available in English yet)

by Ahmed Bensaada (2011 Michel Brule)

Book Review

The current military junta in Egypt supports growing suspicions that the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011 were simply “color revolutions” – like the so-called “color revolutions” George Soros and CIA-linked foundations orchestrated in eastern Europe a decade ago.

Despite a few autocratic dictators being deposed, in each country the rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer, and US corporate and foreign policy interests continue to take precedence over labor rights and public welfare.

In Arabesque Americaine , Ahmed Bensada assembles a wealth of data  suggesting that the “Arab Spring” was first and foremost a destabilization/regime change operation, funded and orchestrated by the CIA, State Department and historic CIA-funded foundations. His book is unique in that it provides a carefully researched and referenced account of each of the “democracy exporting” foundations, along with the totals it gave each country and group in 2009.

Bensaada, a French Canadian who was born and received his early education in Algeria, devotes special attention to the Egyptian revolution – and the role played by Google’s star employee Gael Ghonem.

A brief outline of the topics covered:

Chapter 1 — the secret American funding and orchestration of the so-called “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe , with particular focus on Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kyrghizistan (2005). In each case, pro-Soviet governments were overthrown by mobilizing disaffected, pro-Western young people — financed by the CIA, State Department, and Pentagon linked “democracy manipulating” foundations. The latter include National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republic Institute (IRI),Freedom House (FH), the Albert Einstein Institution, the Center for Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — and George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI). Several “color revolution” veterans were used to help organize Arab Spring protests. The uncanny similarity in protest symbolism (see video below) was no coincidence.

Chapter 2 — detailed discussion of the above think tanks and foundations, which includes a description of the their government funding, as well as the subversive activities (espionage, election rigging, an popular destablization activities) they have promoted in countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Iran that oppose America’s pro-corporate agenda.

Chapter 3 — the promotion, by the State Department and these think tanks and foundations, of new technologies in Middle East destabilization campaigns. The Tor Project, developed by Google, the US Naval Research Lab and State Department-linked Human Rights Watch, is an example. Tor supposedly permits anonymous navigation of the Internet in countries (with the exception of the US) with heavy Internet censorship. Bensaada also explores the role of Movements.org and the Alliance of Youth Movements in promoting social media to international youth activists. Movements.org is run by Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas and a former adviser to both Condolizza Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Jason Libman, another Google employee formerly employed by both the State Department and the Pentagon. AYM executive director David Nassar was formerly employed by NDI, USAID and IRI. In 2008 the State Department brought future Arab Spring activists to the US to teach them to use Facebook and Twitter, with the assistance of Sherif Mansour from Freedom House, Larry Diamond from NED, and national security adviser Shaarik Zafar.

Chapter 4 — focuses on Egypt, with particular attention to the role played by Google employee Gael Ghonem. Ghonem, who was given paid leave from his job to participate in the Tahrir Square uprising, created the Facebook page “We are all Mohamed Bouazizi” after the Tunisian fruit seller set himself on fire. In 2009, Ghonem also set up a Facebook page for Egyptian exile Mohammed El-Baradei. This was in advance of El-Baradei’s February 2010 Cairo visit to explore. The visit, according to Wikileaks cables, was organized through the US embassy. This was a full year before the Tahrir Square protests.

Chapter 5 — the pro-democracy organizations in other Arab countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen, and Syria) financed by the State Department and specific “democracy manipulating” foundations.

Chapter 6 — summation and analysis that explores the ethical dilemma faced by many Egyptian activists on learning the non-violent manuals they were using were the creation of CIA and State Department Funded think tanks and Foundations.

Below a video illustration of the “color revolution” symbols that were incorporated into the Arab Spring revolutions.

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Rebel cover

In A Rebel Comes of Age, seventeen-year-old Angela Jones and four other homeless teenagers occupy a vacant commercial building owned by Bank of America. The adventure turns deadly serious when the bank obtains a court order evicting them. Ange faces the most serious crisis of her life when the other residents decide to use firearms against the police SWAT team.

$3.99 ebook available (in all formats) from Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/361351