Monday, June 23, 2014

Mass Surveillance in Pop Culture

More and more lately, the idea of creeping mass surveillance has been playing itself out on the dreamscape of humanity in the form of popular entertainment.  Here's a relatively recent manifestation:  an episode of The Regular Show, a cartoon about a blue jay (Mordecai) and a raccoon (Rigby) who work at a local park as groundskeepers.  Note that in this particular episode, entitled "Peeps," the main dilemma of the story is solved only when the targeted individuals (Mordecai and Rigby) turn the tables on the invading presence and stare back at it....

A parable for perilous times?

To view the entire episode, simply click HERE.

File:Peeps Screen 005.png

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mass Surveillance in England

An excerpt from Jenny Jones' 6-12-14 Guardian article entitled "The Met Turned Me into a Domestic Extremist--with Tweets and Trivia":

"I would describe myself as many things, but domestic extremist is not one of them. In the eyes of the Metropolitan police, however, that is what I am; and that's why my name is on a file in their secret database of 'domestic extremists.'
"In June 2013, after having paid £10 and filled out a very long form, a copy of my police file arrived in the post. I don't know what I expected to find, but the three pages can only be described as pathetic […]. 
"The supposed point of this database, which is managed by the Met, is to gather intelligence from police forces, counter terrorism units, industry and open sources about domestic extremism threats, of which I am apparently one […].
To read the complete article, click HERE.
Here's an excerpt from a related Guardian story, this one from 6-3-14, entitled "Why I'm Fighting the Met in Court over Undercover Relationships":
"I am one of eight women currently taking legal action against the commissioner of the Metropolitan police. We were all deceived into long-term intimate relationships with undercover police officers who were infiltrating environmental and social justice campaign groups. From 1995 until 2000 I was in a relationship with Mark Jenner, who I knew as Mark Cassidy – a joiner from Birkenhead.
"We were members of the Colin Roach Centre, an independent political group that had exposed police corruption in the early 1990s and promoted trade union, anti-fascist politics. For four years we lived together in what I believed was a monogamous relationship. I have since found out he was married with children at the time […].
"Having had our lives abused and disrupted by the activities of undercover officers, some of us searched for individuals for years, tenaciously tracking down their true identities. We now openly challenge those responsible for what was done to us."
To read the entirety of this article, click HERE.

Friday, June 20, 2014

CIA Devil Doll

An excerpt from Adam Goldman's 6-19-14 Washington Post article entitled "CIA Hatched Plot to Make Demon Toy to Counter Osama bin Laden's Influence":

"For more than a decade, the CIA has deployed drones, satellites, spies, informants and tracking devices to thwart al-Qaeda in Pakistan.
"The spy agency also considered a plan to wage war with toys.
"Beginning in about 2005, the CIA began secretly developing a ­custom-made Osama bin Laden ­action figure, according to people familiar with the project. The face of the figure was painted with a heat-dissolving material, designed to peel off and reveal a red-faced bin Laden who looked like a demon, with piercing green eyes and black facial markings.
"The goal of the short-lived project was simple: spook children and their parents, causing them to turn away from the actual bin Laden.
"The code-name for the bin Laden figures was 'Devil Eyes,' and to create them the CIA turned to one of the best minds in the toy business, said those familiar with the project, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the project publicly…."
To read Adam Goldman's entire article, click HERE.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fun with Drones

From Steve Watson's 6-18-14 Infowars article entitled "'Riot Control' Drone to Shoot Pepper Spray at Protesters":

"A drone that is capable of firing 400 rounds of pepper spray and paint balls, as well as employing 'blinding lasers' and loudspeakers to deter protesters, has been developed and sold to an undisclosed company following a demonstration at a trade show in London.

"Reports indicate that an undisclosed mining company in South Africa has purchased 25 of the 'Skunk riot control copter' devices developed by military surveillance and communications contractor Desert Wolf.

"The company’s website describes the drone as being 'equipped with 4 high-capacity paint ball barrels firing at up to 20 bullets per second each, with 80 Pepper bullets per second stopping any crowd in its tracks.'

"'The current hopper capacity of 4000 bullets and High Pressure Carbon Fiber Air system it allows for real stopping power,' the description continues. 'Bright strobe lights, blinding Lasers and with on-board speakers enables communication and warnings to the crowd,' the company also notes.

"Defence Web notes that the eight-rotored drone also has high definition and thermal vision cameras, and comes with a ground control station to be operated by two people.
"Desert Wolf’s director, Hennie Kieser, notes that the operators will be monitored by a camera and microphone, to ensure that they are not 'too aggressive'.
"Exactly who will be watching them on the camera and listening to them on the microphone is not explained."
To read the rest of Watson's article, click HERE.

Here's a related article, this one from today's L.A. Times, about a "mystery" drone that was "smashed to bits" by a mob of L.A. Kings fans outside Staples Center in Los Angeles.  According to Joseph Serna and Brian Bennett of the L.A. Times:

"[A]s the aircraft hovered over the throngs of fans last week, people took it upon themselves to let the drone know it wasn’t welcome. A mob mentality set in and soon after, revelers were throwing everything they could to knock the drone down -- minus the kitchen sink.

"After a light tap from an unidentified object on its left side, a black Kings T-shirt knocked the drone on the right and sent it careening down within arm’s reach of the fans.

"Video footage shows the drone getting pulled into the mass, where it was smashed to bits by a skateboard, according to the person who posted the video.

"The owner of the drone hasn’t come forward, Los Angeles police said, and the Staples Center and Kings organizations have said the aircraft wasn’t theirs."
To read the entire L.A. Times article, click HERE.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

John Keel, NASA, and a Flying Saucer on Mars

On March 16, 1966, John A. Keel delivered a lecture to a gathering of Saucer News readers about his initial investigations into the infamous West Virginia anomalies that later became the basis for his most popular book, The Mothman Prophecies (1975).  For this reason alone, this particular lecture has considerable historical and literary significance—at least for fans of Keel, Mothman lore, flying saucer esoterica, and related High Weirdness.  Because the talk ends rather abruptly, I’m not entirely certain the complete recording is included here, but the fact that we have even a half hour of it is pretty incredible all on its own.  You can hear this nearly 50-year-old lecture by clicking HERE.

It just so happens, thanks to NASA, that this is a rather appropriate time to listen to Keel’s lecture, as the space agency has just announced that they have a very serious plan to send a “flying saucer” (AKA, a “Low Density Supersonic Decelerator”) to Mars.  For that story, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and many other news outlets, click HERE.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Cryptoscatological Roundup

Earlier today I came across a fascinating conversation between Sean David Morton and John B. Wells, which first aired on Morton's Strange Universe radio show back on January 31st of this year.  This episode aired the same week that Wells was unceremoniously fired from his gig as a weekend host on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.  Stick around to hear about Sean David Morton's dinner with Eldridge Cleaver and Ayn Rand (!) back in 1973, which Morton somehow manages to weave into the conversation at around 52:00.  Click HERE to listen to the entire interview.

Also, for a cogent roundup of recent cryptoscatological events, simply click HERE to check out Loren Coleman's 6-9-14 Twilight Language post entitled "Slender Man Mayhem & Las Vegas Killings."  You might also want to take the time to click HERE and read Coleman's latest post, this one entitled "Full Moon on Friday the 13th:  PsyWar or SubGenius?"

"PsyWar. Wag the dog. Psy Ops. Black ops. Political warfare. False flag. Astroturfing. There are so many words being used in common jargon today that few understand the depths or even reality of psychological warfare taking place. How much of it is actually activated by a third party? That hardly seems important any more, due to the mere fact that the copycat effect, behavior contagion keeps the cycle going within its own self-repeating process.

"Sometimes people get a feeling deep in their bones. They don't know why or what's going on. But it is very real to them. They don't know where it's coming from. Among some folks, the ones triggered and vulnerable, who are pushed around and sparked by such things, this Friday June 13th may be especially troubling. There is the sense to some that this Full Moon Friday the 13th might be one in which the human mood is provoked by the tidal wave of lunacy and phobias that haunt some people.

"Let us not get bogged down in theories, beliefs, and conspiracies. I suggest we look at the data, open our eyes, and watch what happens, but not in some analytic frozen state.

"I say, 'Be aware.'"

--Loren Coleman, 6-13-14

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Excerpts from Andy Greenberg and Ryan Mac's 8-14-13 Forbes article entitled "How a 'Deviant' Philosopher Built Palantir, a CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut":

"[Alex] Karp’s 24/7 security detail is meant to protect him from extremists who have sent him death threats and conspiracy theorists who have called Palantir to rant about the Illuminati. Schizophrenics have stalked Karp [Palantir's chief executive] outside his office for days at a stretch. 'It’s easy to be the focal point of fantasies,' he says, 'if your company is involved in realities like ours.'
"Palantir lives the realities of its customers: the NSA, the FBI and the CIA–an early investor through its In-Q-Tel venture fund–along with an alphabet soup of other U.S. counterterrorism and military agencies. In the last five years Palantir has become the go-to company for mining massive data sets for intelligence and law enforcement applications, with a slick software interface and coders who parachute into clients’ headquarters to customize its programs. Palantir turns messy swamps of information into intuitively visualized maps, histograms and link charts. Give its so-called 'forward-deployed engineers' a few days to crawl, tag and integrate every scrap of a customer’s data, and Palantir can elucidate problems as disparate as terrorism, disaster response and human trafficking […].
"And now Palantir is emerging from the shadow world of spies and special ops to take corporate America by storm. The same tools that can predict ambushes in Iraq are helping pharmaceutical firms analyze drug data. According to a former JPMorgan Chase staffer, they’ve saved the firm hundreds of millions of dollars by addressing issues from cyberfraud to distressed mortgages. A Palantir user at a bank can, in seconds, see connections between a Nigerian Internet protocol address, a proxy server somewhere within the U.S. and payments flowing out from a hijacked home equity line of credit, just as military customers piece together fingerprints on artillery shell fragments, location data, anonymous tips and social media to track down Afghani bomb makers […].
"The biggest problem for Palantir’s business may be just how well its software works: It helps its customers see too much. In the wake of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations of the agency’s mass surveillance, Palantir’s tools have come to represent privacy advocates’ greatest fears of data-mining technology — Google-level engineering applied directly to government spying. That combination of Big Brother and Big Data has come into focus just as Palantir is emerging as one of the fastest-growing startups in the Valley, threatening to contaminate its first public impressions and render the firm toxic in the eyes of customers and investors just when it needs them most […].
"Karp seems to enjoy listing reasons he isn’t qualified for his job. 'He doesn’t have a technical degree, he doesn’t have any cultural affiliation with the government or commercial areas, his parents are hippies,' he says, manically pacing around his office as he describes himself in the third person. 'How could it be the case that this person is cofounder and CEO since 2005 and the company still exists?'
"The answer dates back to Karp’s decades-long friendship with Peter Thiel, starting at Stanford Law School […]. Thiel had cofounded PayPal and sold it to eBay in October 2002 for $1.5 billion. He went on to create a hedge fund called Clarium Capital but continued to found new companies: One would become Palantir, named by Thiel for the Palantiri seeing stones from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, orbs that allow the holder to gaze across vast distances to track friends and foes.
"In a post-9/11 world Thiel wanted to sell those Palantiri-like powers to the growing national security complex: His concept for Palantir was to use the fraud-recognition software designed for PayPal to stop terrorist attacks. But from the beginning the libertarian saw Palantir as an antidote to–not a tool for–privacy violations in a society slipping into a vise of security. 'It was a mission-oriented company,' says Thiel, who has personally invested $40 million in Palantir and today serves as its chairman. 'I defined the problem as needing to reduce terrorism while preserving civil liberties.'"
To read the entire Forbes article about Palantir, click HERE.
For more on Palantir and its impact on local law enforcement (specifically in regard to the LAPD), you should watch Rachel Crane's recent CNN report.  Here's a brief excerpt from Crane's exchange with Captain John Romero of the LAPD:

RACHEL CRANE (CNN):  "Anybody who is a vehicle owner is in Palantir?"

CAPTAIN JOHN ROMERO (LAPD):  "Anybody who is a vehicle owner in a public place, and has passed a license plate reader, will be in our data set.  [W]e have a lot of data for people who have done nothing [illegal]."  [Emphasis mine.--RG]

To see CNN's entire report on Palantir, click HERE.

Friday, June 6, 2014

John Keel on David Letterman

I had no idea that John A. Keel (author of such groundbreaking books as Jadoo, Strange Creatures from Time and SpaceOur Haunted Planet, and many others) once appeared on a very early version of the David Letterman show.  I just happened to stumble across this footage the other day thanks to the beauty of synchronicity.  Apparently, this interview occurred on July 28, 1980 when Keel was still the editor-in-chief of Pursuit Magazine.  Note that the closest Keel gets to outlining his "ultraterrestrial theory" about the paranormal (explored in-depth in such books as UFOs: Operation Trojan HorseThe Mothman Prophecies and The Eighth Tower) is when he tosses out the line, "The same place the dinosaurs are coming from."  Keel probably felt that delving any deeper into the theory would have been far too heady for the average television viewer in 1980 (and his instincts were no doubt correct).  For a variety of reasons, it's fascinating to see Keel do his best to discuss his work in such a superficial venue.  Click HERE to watch the eight-minute-long conversation.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

More San Diego Mayhem

According to Monica Garske's 6-5-14 article entitled "3 Homes Destroyed in Military Plane Crash":

"Military officials are investigating what caused a military plane to crash into homes in an Imperial Valley neighborhood about two hours southeast of San Diego County Wednesday.

"The pilot safely ejected from the plane before it crashed, officials said, and no civilians on the ground were injured. Three homes were destroyed in the crash [...].

"MCAS Miramar officials said the Third Marine Aircraft Wing AV-8B Harrier was stationed at MCAS Yuma and crashed around 4:20 p.m. The pilot was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. He sustained minor injuries but is expected to make a full recovery [...].

MCAS Miramar 1st Lt. Jose Negrete said authorities were on scene collecting evidence and assessing the damage. An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the crash [...].

"According to NBC News, this is the second crash in less than one month involving a Harrier jet from the MCAS Yuma base. On May 9, another crashed in a remote desert area near the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona during a routine training exercise.

"In that case, the jet was destroyed and the pilot ejected safely as well [...]."

To read Garske's entire report, click HERE.