1. FBI vs. Apple Establishes a New Phase of
2. VIPS Offers Advice to
Report Issues Dire Warning About Global Decline in
The Dominant Media, "Left-Leaning" Economists and
the Illusion of Consensus
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, February 27,
crisis blog. It is the weekend and there were fewer crisis articles. I
have 4 items with 4 dotted links, and they are all mostly
background about matters I have reported on before:
1. FBI vs. Apple Establishes a New
Phase of the Crypto Wars
Item 1 is about the latest crypto war
between Apple and the FBI: I suggest the FBI, CIA and NSA have so far,
and the last 47 years, gotten what they wanted; item 2
is about an article by Ray McGovern about VIPS: I like them, but hardly
any presidential candidate does, other than Sanders and Stein; item 3
is about the very ill position of the bees and other pollinators, and
ends with a statement that much more is being written about them than
done; and item 4 is another article about the
massive propaganda media-accepted "left-leaning" economists engage in
if they meet anyone who does not quite share their media-acceptable
prejudices. (It's the same as with the media-accepted "right-leaning"
propagandists: You simpy can't trust the main media.)
first item is by Dan Froomkin and Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
For over two decades, the battle between
privacy-minded technologists and the U.S. government has primarily been
over encryption. In the 1990s, in what became known as the Crypto Wars,
the U.S. tried to limit powerful encryption — calling it as dangerous
to export as sophisticated munitions — and eventually lost.
After the 2013 Snowden revelations, as
mainstream technology companies started spreading encryption by putting
it in popular consumer products, the wars erupted again. Law
enforcement officials, led by FBI Director James Comey, loudly insisted
that U.S. companies should build backdoors to break the encryption just
That won’t happen because what these law
enforcement officials are asking for isn’t possible (any backdoor can
be used by hackers, too) and wouldn’t be effective (because encryption
is widely available globally now). They’ve succeeded in slowing the
spread of unbreakable encryption by intimidating tech companies that
might otherwise be rolling it out faster, but not much else.
I wish I was as certain as Dan Froomkin
and Jenna McLaughlin seem to be.
Perhaps one reason is that they probably do not share one of my
presumptions, which is that the secret services and the Pentagon (i)
have the same or a very similar program as they had
already in the late Sixties (!) and (ii) they have so far succeeded
in furthering it for 47 years now.
In proof of which, here are two quotes I reproduced in 2012, the first from
the late Sixties:
Mr Brezezinski does not expect that the Luddite
anarchy will seriously obstruct the new
'it will soon be possible to assert almost
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-
containing even personal information
personal behaviour of the citizen, in
customary data.' Moreover it will be
and plan to meet any uprisings in the
will even be able to forecast crises before the
conscious of wanting them.
And the second from 1970:
involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a
society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional
values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous
surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files
containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These
files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities."
Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era, 1970
To me that suggests that so far the
FBI, the CIA, the NSA etc. have simply succeeded in getting all they
wanted, and more.
In fact, something like this may be behind this quote from Froomkin and
The more we learn about the FBI’s
demand that Apple help it hack into a password-protected
iPhone, the more it looks like part of a concerted, long-term effort by
the government to find new ways around unbreakable encryption — rather
than try to break it.
But this does not seem very clear to me, at least not
beyond suggesting that the FBI, the CIA, the NSA etc. may be seriously
considering getting all of every- body's keystrokes
(which means that they can retrieve passwords, also in a
generally unsuspected way).
I don't know. Here is someone with a similar attitude as I have - " the priority is to access data, point blank"
is what moves both law enforcement and the secret services:
“I think that for many within law
enforcement, the priority is to access data, point blank. That could
mean installing backdoors directly into encryption standards or finding
some kind of workaround,” Andrea Castillo, the technology policy
program manager for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University,
wrote in an email to The Intercept.
“The first strategy failed in the court
of public opinion, so it appears that they are now attempting more
covert methods to get around encryption. Unfortunately, there are major
security risks with both approaches,” she said.
Anyway... this is an interesting article on some of
the backgrounds of "the Crypto Wars", and it contains
2. VIPS Offers Advice to Candidates
is by Ray McGovern
(<- Wikipedia) on Consortiumnews:
This starts as
follows (and if you don't know who Ray McGovern is you should read the
first link in this item):
A Memo to: Dr. Ben Carson, Hillary
Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Dr. Jill
Stein, and Donald Trump
The media brouhaha over naming your
campaign advisers on foreign policy prompts this reminder of a
unique resource available, gratis, to all of you. That resource is our
nonpartisan group – Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
(VIPS). If we were into self-promotion, we would add to our (virtual)
letterhead: “serving satisfied customers since 2003.”
We are about apolitical analysis; we are
into spreading unvarnished truth around; we do not shape our analysis
toward this or that debating point. Thus, we eschew the moniker
“campaign adviser.” But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t provide
apolitical and unvarnished advice to anyone who seeks it.
I think Ray McGovern is quite correct in
thus describing VIPS (of which he is one of the creators). Here is more
Also distinguishing us from “campaign
advisers,” none of us in VIPS lust for a high position in a new
administration; none are heavily invested in arms industries; none of
us ask for a retainer. In other words, there are no strings
attached to the substantive analysis we provide to all our
readers and listeners. If objective, disinterested analysis is your cup
of tea, we suggest that you check out VIPS’s record, to include the
multiple warnings we gave President George W. Bush in the months before
the attack on Iraq.
In fact, VIPS was founded by a handful
of former CIA analysts, including me, for the express purpose of
warning President Bush that his small coterie of advisers, led by Vice
President Dick Cheney, was adducing fraudulent – not mistaken
– “intelligence” in promoting the concept the war on Iraq.
There is a considerable amount more that I
leave to your interests. The article ends as follows:
If nonpartisan, fact-based analysis is
your cup of tea, have a look at those memoranda, which we believe are
second to none in terms of candor and tell-it-like-it-is
analysis. Our work reflects the ethos that earlier guided the work
of intelligence community analysts at CIA and elsewhere, a commitment
to both objectivity and scholarship.
That was before Director Tenet decided
to welcome frequent visits by Vice President Dick Cheney to make sure
CIA analysts were finding or fabricating enough “intelligence” to
“justify” the launch of an unnecessary war. We take no pleasure in
having been correct at the outset, in predicting “the unintended
consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”
I think Ray McGovern is right, but I also
think that only Sanders and Stein might be interested: The others
proceed by lies and propaganda anyway.
3. New Report Issues Dire Warning About Global Decline in
third item is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
have written repeatedly about this before - see the index of 2015, with
"Bees" - precisely because the massive dying of bees (and other
pollinators) "poses risks to the global food
Pollinators worldwide, from bees
and butterflies to beetles and bats, are facing a grim state of affairs.
Factors such climate change and land use
changes are driving many pollinator species—including 16 percent of
vertebrate pollinators—towards extinction. For invertebrate pollinators
like bees and butterflies, over 40 percent of species may be be
threatened locally, a new report shows.
And this all adds up to very bad news
for humans, the report
details, as it poses risks to the global food supply.
The assessment released Friday is from
the four-year-old Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a UN-formed body similar
to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). IPBES came to
its first ever analysis based on a body of existing scientific studies.
This is a brief article that is not optimistic, and that ends thus:
As far as a real impact from the group's
report, Dave Goulson, author,
bumblebee expert, and professor of biology at the University of Sussex,
"I would question whether any practical
on-the-ground action to help pollinators will happen as a result of
this document. We are in the midst of the sixth global mass-extinction
event, and we sit around spending thousands of hours writing documents
about biodiversity, but we do not take action to address the
fundamental issues that are causing this ecological catastrophe," Nature
him as saying.
I fear that is correct.
The Dominant Media, "Left-Leaning" Economists and the Illusion of
The fourth item is by
Michael Corcoran on Truth-out:
This starts as follows (and can be seen as
a continuation of yesterday's
What the Mainstream Media Won't Tell You About Bernie Sanders' Economic Plan):
In a matter of a few days, The New York
Times and a handful of liberal economists, most of them with close ties
to the Democratic Party establishment, created an imaginary left-wing
consensus against the most transformative Keynesian reforms in Bernie
Sanders' economic agenda. Many economists and experts have since
attempted to counter this manufactured consensus, but the mainstream
media have largely ignored these efforts. As this false narrative turns
into conventional wisdom, prospects for much-needed and substantive
changes to our economy - universal health care, access to higher
education, a dignified standard of living for all - continue to dwindle.
Yes, indeed. And the present article is
especially about propaganda
(and my note  on this subject is well worth
This development shows the power of the propaganda function of the mass media in the
United States, which keeps parameters of debate limited on an extremely
narrow spectrum. These parameters are largely shaped by the political
parties, with the Democratic Party reflecting the liberal end of
acceptable discourse in publications like The New York Times - thus far and
no further. To go beyond this point will result in one being
marginalized, ignored or mocked - treated as if they have taken "off
from the planet," as Noam Chomsky once described the phenomenon. Given the narrative the
mainstream media have pushed in recent weeks, it appears that proposals
like single-payer health care and tuition-free college go well beyond these
parameters. This is not all that surprising given the Democratic
Party's financial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and the
financial services industry.
Yes, indeed. And here is how it worked in
this specific example:
The Times' article blew up across
media and other media outlets. This was in part because Paul Krugman,
the influential economist and Times columnist, and a vocal supporter of
Hillary Clinton, endorsed the absurdly one-sided article on Twitter and his blog where he dismissed Sanders' single-payer
proposal as a "magical unicorn" (again we see mockery as a way to
portray supporters of Sanders as unserious, or "on another planet"). It
wasn't long before hundreds of outlets ran with the story,
demonstrating the "agenda-setting" function of the Times.
There is a lot more in the article that I
leave to your interests.
It is recommended, and is one more reason
to say that you simply will not get
"The Real News" if you only or predominantly read or view the main
The main media mostly turn out propaganda,
including propaganda about who is to be marginalized, pooh-poohed or
ignored according to accepted propagandists themselves (who are never styled for what they are: propagandists). 
 I quote a part from the item "Public
Relations" in my Philosophical
Public Relations: Cant term for propaganda -
distorted, biased, misinformed, slanted, manipulative prose (pictures,
video, film, TV) designed to deceive
- that is much beloved and used by the institutions that use "Public
Relations" to further their interest and strengthen their social
I have to admit that the more I read about this, the less I trust
Krugman, whom I may delete from the many files I read daily, indeed also because in over 2 1/2 years of daily reading Krugman I rarely found anything of sufficient interest.
have in fact been consciously created, originally as a species of propaganda,
until it became clear this term had negative associations "public
relations" spokesmen and spokeswomen wanted to avoid.
Its purpose, from the very
start, was to spread lies or biased
information about products, manufacturers, instutitons,
and organizations, that
would improve the social
standing or support of the propagandized product or institution.
Note that " Public
Relations" tends to go further
and be more intrusive, subtle and dishonest than mere propaganda
both of which -
in its more oldfashioned or naive forms - are more or less outspoken
about being propaganda or advertisement.
Not so for much of "Public Relations": This
is meant to deceive, misinform,
mislead or prejudice people
who partake of it, namely by pretending to be other than what it is -
such as advertisements presented and packaged as if they were actual
news shows, or "informational services" that really are propaganda for
a specific person or institution, without saying so
(except perhaps somewhere in very small print).
Also, "Public Relations" often
is designed to go further than
plain advertisement, propaganda, or recommendations namely by biasing a
public through making them feel good about a product, brand, or person,
by associating such a thing with what seem to be disinterested or