A funny thing happened this summer. As most of the people who read this blog are aware, I spoke on a whistleblowing panel at the Oxford Union in February of 2018 and became the only person in the history of the self proclaimed last bastion of free speech to be censored by them. You can read all about it here, here and here. On July 7, I received an unexpected invitation to speak at the Oxford Union. Again. That’s pretty funny in itself but there’s more.
I was invited last year to speak at the Oxford Union, and the event, held last February, perfectly illustrates the current faux debate between hate speech and free speech. The Oxford Union is the self-proclaimed “world’s most prestigious debating society” and “last bastion of free speech” and it rides on a who’s who list of past speakers such as the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Malcolm X, Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein. Membership is open only to Oxford students, and lifetime membership includes a very large selection of the world’s politicians and media moguls. Past Union presidents who went on to lead states include Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, and UK Prime Ministers Heath, Asquith and Gladstone. The current UK cabinet has more former presidents of the Oxford Union than it has minority ethnicities. This platform is as far as you can get from the egalitarian access of social media.
The Oxford Union serves as a safe space where powerful men who do horrible things can go to speak and be appreciated. Despite the protestations that a platform at Oxford Union is meant to allow unpopular views to be challenged, it doesn’t happen. Speakers ranging from O.J. Simpson after his trial to Oswald Mosley, who led the UK Fascist Party until it was banned in 1940, are welcomed on their own terms. This is the free speech that Boris Johnson (former Oxford Union president) and Jacob Rees-Mogg (current Oxford Union trustee and son of former Oxford Union president) are fighting for. The UK has recently passed a law against Union members or other students exercising their own free speech and expressing opinions on who comes to speak at their club, threatening fines against universities who refuse platforms to those assumed to have a right to one. At the same time, UK lawmakers and media have been fighting against free speech access on every more egalitarian platform. The misogynists who upskirt teenagers on the pages of British tabloids deplore the misogyny of social media. The lawmakers who refuse to conduct a competent inquiry into UK child rape cover-ups by politicians imprison accusers instead. The Official Secrets Act, libel and ‘intellectual property’ laws which protect only the powerful, and non-disclosure agreements available only to those who can afford them, ensure a class strata dictates who may and who may not be criticized or offended.
The Oxford Union is the public face of the Bullingdon Club and the Piers Gaveston Society and looks it, but even this last bastion of entitlement is lately feeling pressure to embellish itself with a sprinkling of darker skin and female pronouns. Identity politics provides the branch managers of tyranny. The endless twaddle of Tories and Trumpkins which usually fills Oxford Union term cards is now supplemented with occasional Serena Joys and Gileadian aunts in the name of ‘feminism’ and occasional corrupt politicians for ‘diversity’. Polite demurs from careerist NGOs and journalists paid to politely demur are occasionally presented as ‘balance’. It is in this context that I was invited. For students of a prestigious university, they have no research skills at all.
Diversity of opinion, or even irrefutable facts, are not acceptable to the “world’s most prestigious debating society”. The purified thought bubble surrounding Oxford students welcomes derision against any weaker members of society but does not permit criticism of those in power. I shared a panel with David Shedd, a former CIA operative who also held the posts of Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and Deputy Director of U.S. National Intelligence. The entire panel was censored from Oxford Union’s YouTube channel at his order, despite their contractual obligation to publish it there and the prior release forms signed by all involved. “It is ironic that we are censoring a Whistleblowing Panel!!” chirped their bursar, Lindsay Warne. Shedd’s objection was not to anything he said, but what I said – a third-party censorship demand which has been granted and upheld by three successive Oxford Union presidents: Laali Vadlamani, Gui Cavalcanti and Stephen Horvath. Those names will no doubt be found in UK parliament and media in five or ten years, drafting even more draconian laws to protect the powerful against speech.
The speech of tyranny is always upheld by tyrants as free speech. The speech of anyone in opposition to tyranny will always be silenced by every means possible. Harmful speech has never in history meant anything other than speech which offends the powerful and it does not today. From the Malleus Malleficarum through to the upskirting tabloids, media controlled by the powerful has existed to uphold the powerful and persecute, threaten and control the weak. It has never been subjected to censure over this. Indeed, protection of the media has been a fundamental pillar of advocates of free society since media was invented and that only increased with the invention of the Internet as a place to stalk and humiliate women and children. Suddenly, this has changed, and I think I can put a date on when it changed.
In 2012, Gawker (before it was permanently silenced by billionaire Peter Thiel) published a story on Michael Brutsch, aka reddit moderator Violentacrez. In 2012, reddit was a cesspool that reflected the free speech of powerful men at the expense of the human dignity and privacy of anyone weaker, and Violentacrez was its most prolific bottom feeder. In the words of journalist Adrian Chen, “His specialty is distributing images of scantily-clad underage girls, but as Violentacrez he also issued an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed.” Brutsch moderated hundreds of the most predatory sub-reddits, including Creepshots, Jailbait, Chokeabitch, Beatingwomen, Picsofdeadjailbait and even worse, to the glee of reddit users, who voted the child predator site Jailbait as 2008’s “subreddit of the year”. Four years later (as part of a growing reaction) he was outed by Chen, and reddit exploded in outrage, banning all Gawker links from the traffic generating behemoth. The privacy of a man to anonymously violate the privacy of women and children was itself violated, and the balance of power on the Internet was never the same again.
The Internet become a place where, for the first time since the printing press was invented, women and other marginalized people could fight back and get overwhelming results. It was the place where Pax Dickinson, CTO of Business Insider, lost his job for misogynist tweets and was followed by so many others. It was the place where #takedownjulienblanc first created global awareness of the toxic internet manosphere which has spawned such movements as incels, PUAs, MRAs and more. It was the place where victims of sexual assault have rallied again and again, from the #DelhiGangRape to #paedobritain and #opDeathEaters to #MeToo and #Cuéntalo. And it was the place where the powerful libertarian men who controlled all the international media, academia and speaking forums, first decided that free speech should have limitations. This newly commended censorship is presented as a measure needed to protect ‘the marginalized’ even though it was the powerful and their media who marginalized ‘the marginalized’ in the first place and the censorship is directed solely at the forums accessible to ‘the marginalized’. The new censorship, combined with forced public acceptance of platforms for the powerful, is meant to ensure the continuation of the freedom of speech that powerful people have always enjoyed and more easily enforce immunity from the social consequences of either their speech or their actions.
Does anyone really think the current howls for censorship of social media will include censorship of the NY Times writers excusing incel violence or the Atlantic writers who want women to be hung for exercising bodily autonomy? Social media is the only reason these writers are challenged now – censorship of social media will remove all opposition to them. The business model of Facebook and Google is to enable states and corporations to coerce public opinion for the powerful. Tech CEOs are now being ordered to decide which speech and which people are socially acceptable. Does anyone think billionaire tech CEOs will defy their funders and enablers to defend the powerless or censor the powerful? Powerful men who have sadistically raped, tortured, trafficked and murdered women and children are unironically presenting themselves as victims of a witch hunt. Free speech for victims of powerful men is not a witch hunt. A witch hunt was when powerful men and their exclusive access to media inspired a genocide of up to a million women and indigenous people and terrified community and land caregivers into centuries of silence. Today’s social media campaigns are the accused witches finally fighting back, countering the media which called them all ‘crazy’ with sheer numbers.
All genocides and all bigotry begin with hate speech. Hate speech is countered by open communities and communication, never by one-way powerful platforms and definitely not by state or corporate control and manipulation of dialogue. Nazis and fascists in the street are countered by community rejection, never the states which instigate and profit from hate and division. If there was any doubt that this is conscious state policy, that doubt should be removed by the relentless state and corporate campaigns currently sowing hate and division on social media. Civility and the institutions of civility were invented to control voices opposing the powerful just as the institutions of justice were invented to control defence against the powerful. It is always the voices of women and the lowest classes that civility demands be kept well-modulated and profanity-free.
Identity politics has played a crucial role in the new fight against egalitarian speech. An endless parade of female pundits have been given bylines and panel seats to insist that social media silences them. Censorship is being marketed with the faces of women and children. Now that we finally have a megaphone, we are told it is more than our weak selves can handle. The women who are acceptable to places like the Oxford Union tell the world that the rest of us can’t handle free speech and must be protected by gatekeeping bastions such as … well, such as the Oxford Union. If “the last bastion of free speech” will censor what I said, they will censor anyone who draws outside the lines. Community and land caregivers will be told they are represented by identitarian tokens parroting the words and agenda of fascists, a rainbow of totalitarians silencing all diversity of views. The next time women feel inclined to accept censorship on the only somewhat egalitarian platforms we have had since the invention of the printing press, remember what you will be left with: corporate media musing whether women should be publicly hung for exercising bodily autonomy or required to provide ‘redistribution of sex’ to men who want to kill them, and representation of us all by Ann Coulter and Marine Le Pen.
Anyone who seeks to represent you will be your tyrant. Your own voice is the only one that can represent your ideas and your ideas are the only part of your voice that matters. When you accept that women and other marginalized people are not capable of defending ourselves on the first platforms where we actually had power, you are accepting an all-powerful, patriarchal, protection racket which has never in history protected women or anyone marginalized from hate. The face of censorship is not women and children. It is Michael Brutsch and Pax Dickinson, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
The primary problems with social media today are caused by state and corporate interference and the personality centred structure, not free speech. It is state and corporate funded social media astroturfing campaigns, libel laws, ‘intellectual property’, non-disclosure agreements, official secrets, state and corporate propaganda, and all other cloaks shielding the powerful which need to be destroyed. Egalitarian access to public platforms must be protected above all, not for identity groups but for every individual voice.
Anyway, this is what you cannot say at “the last bastion of free speech” “the safest space for punching down”. Pay attention, because this is what you will not be able to say anywhere if free speech continues to be restricted to exclusive ‘bastions’.
This is a transcript and audio of what I said at the Whistleblowing panel that was censored by the Oxford Union. I was informed by Oxford Union bursar Lindsay Warne that the Standing Committee and then-president Laali Vadlamani had censored the panel in response to a demand from David Shedd and this was confirmed by current Oxford Union president Gui Cavalcanti. All journalists who have inquired about the video have been treated with the utmost disrespect as Warne told me they “owe nothing to journalists”. This is false. The speaker’s contract with the Oxford Union contains the following passage.
“The Union offers a unique combination of tradition and prestige, with our student members constituting an engaged and enthusiastic audience; our events can be tailored to fit almost any format – a speech followed by questions, a prepared Q&A or simply an informal conversation – and last year attracted coverage from the BBC, CNN, New Delhi TV, Russia Today (RT), and most major British national newspapers and international publications including the New York Times and the Economist. Furthermore, all our events can be professionally filmed for our YouTube channel, which has received over 40 million views since it was relaunched last year.”
The sole benefit being offered to speakers at the Oxford Union (other than the censored Youtube channel) is the labour of journalists. Oxford Union certainly do owe respect and cooperation to journalists, and they owe it to speakers as well. Speakers should know that they will be censored at the ”world’s most prestigious debating society” if they say anything challenging to power, despite this being an obvious breach of the contract they are being offered. Anyone who actually believed the Oxford Union was, as their slogan claims, “the last bastion of free speech”, should see how very easy it is to be censored if you punch up instead of down.
This is a full transcript of my part, for the record and for any journalists who were interested. Open copyright CC BY 4.0, share and use in any way you wish.
My name is Heather Marsh. I am an author and I write a great deal about mass collaboration and horizontal governance and I’ve worked for many years as an activist and journalist to amplify voices in urgent need of attention, primarily whistleblowers. I am also a software developer and I’m working on a project called Getgee which is a universal database commons that will help us share, audit and amplify open collaborative information, so that we can participate intelligently in our own governance.
My focus has always been human rights and horizontal governance. Of the human rights atrocities I have worked to expose, a very large number are associated with David Shedd and the organizations and allies he represents. As just one example, I fought for over a decade to achieve justice for my fellow Canadian, Omar Khadr who was abducted at 15 years old, subjected to the most horrific torture at the CIA black site Bagram, then trafficked and tortured for another decade at Guantanamo before enduring a show trial of invented court, invented evidence, invented experts and retroactively applied, invented crimes. The hell this Canadian child went through for 12 years was conducted by the organizations represented by David Shedd. It is deeply uncomfortable for me to be here today, on the same panel as someone whose work has established and worked to normalize ever-increasing drone murders, black site disappearances and torture and I hope it is uncomfortable for all of you as well, and for him. Beware of your contribution to the growing banality of evil lest you yourself become a cog in the machinery of terror.
I am here today because I want to talk about how our structures of power are evolving. There is probably only one thing I have in common with David Shedd and that is that we both want a world without whistleblowers. He wants to crush whistleblowers and I want a world where the caregivers of our communities and land hold institutional power, where everyone’s voice is heard and those who terrorize us all with impunity lose the power to do so.
The opening was some generic question about whistleblowers.
If there is one thing I would like people to take home today it is the definition of whistleblower. There seems to have been an effort lately to equate whistleblowers solely with an elite, western, usually male leaking documents. A few days ago I read an article about a program for whistleblowers in the US intelligence agencies. It was a human resources program for employee grievances. The people they were calling whistleblowers were torturers at Bagram who didn’t like having a female boss or assassins who felt overlooked for promotion. And then, there was a cover full of whistleblowers on TIME magazine this year, but they were called Silence Breakers! What is a Silence Breaker if not a whistle blower? You know, there are no female philosophers because a female philosopher is called a feminist. Apparently we have the same sort of thing happening here, there are no whistleblowers outside of this elite demographic because they are called activists or silence breakers or something.
I have worked with many whistleblowers over many years. I worked with Rohingyaactivistsfrom2012 on to help convince the world that they were in fact experiencing a genocide. I have worked with victims of trafficking networks and resource corporations and institutions like prisons and care facilities. Whistleblowers are people like the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina who fought the silence of the dictatorship in defence of the disappeared, and all the movements like them that have followed in their steps, like Central America’s Caravan of Missing Migrants, Nigeria’s Bring Back Our Girls movement, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement in Canada, the Missing Students activists in Mexico and the people standing up against ICE pogroms in the United States right now. They include labour activists like Kim Jinsuk, a woman who in 2011 stayed up a crane for 309 days to protest the lack of labor rights in South Korea, and Hua Haifeng, who was arrested in China recently for exposing abuses against workers in the factories manufacturing Ivanka Trump’s brand. They include Maria del Rosario Fuentes Rubio, who was murdered for her reporting on Mexican cartels in 2014 and Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb in Malta last October for her work exposing organized crime, They include the environment caregivers now being killed at a recorded rate of four a week and increasing. They include Helena Maleno who has been credited with saving the lives of at least 10,000 refugees in the Strait of Gibralter and is now facing imprisonment in Morocco and your own MP Jo Cox who was murdered because of her work in caring for refugees.
Obviously we could do this for days. Whistleblowers come from absolutely every demographic but there is one group that is very over represented and that it is the caregivers of our communities and land standing against the impunity enjoyed by powerful criminals. The media coverage depicting whistleblowers as a fairly elite demographic of western male hackers leaking documents is a little disproportionate.
But those in power do understand where the threat to their impunity is coming from. China arrested five women in 2015 just for distributing pamphlets against sexual harassment. Canada openly identifies First Nations communities and environmentalists as target groups to be monitored for terrorist activity and it is obvious in the terrorist definitions of every country. The definition of terrorism in the five eyes is attempting to influence your community or government, which is also the definition of democracy. Participating in your own governance, alerting your neighbours to what is happening, is defined as terrorism. So this redefinition of whistleblowers as scary non-state actors and hostile intelligence services, this will be used against the women and men who are the community and land caregivers of every nation because these are the number one threat to the corporate mafia that wants immunity from prosecution for their crimes. As soon as laws against whistleblowers are passed they will be used against people accusing MPs of rape or people letting the public know that Trudeau has just turned more lakes into toxic waste dumps for mines or people boycotting Israel or the NRA. It is this groundswell of community and land caregivers, the rising up of 7 and a half billion people participating in their own governance, that are the real threat to corrupt power.
So we need to define whistleblowers properly or we are not going to come up with solutions that will actually meet their needs. A human resources program in the CIA will not help all these people. Even in the case of John Kirakiou, obviously he never should have been imprisoned for pointing out that there was torture at Guantanamo, but everyone in Guantanamo would have and did try to tell us the same thing. It is the people in Guantanamo and every other prison who we should never have allowed to be silenced in the first place and those are the voices we need to make sure we hear.
What do you think the media is missing in their coverage of whistleblowers?
I remembered what I don’t like about the media coverage of whistleblowers. I feel like it is covered in such a personality centred, celebrity focused way that it is like listening to people discussing Harry Styles’ hair. There are important issues to be discussed in the structure of power that allows only some people’s voices to be heard. How can we hear directly from voices which are being silenced? This is something I have been working on for years because it turns out, you can murder millions of people without leaving a paper trail or inspiring an insider whistleblower. How do we make sure we hear all voices? If mining corporations in the Yasuni say indigenous people are just killing each other and it has nothing to do with them, who outside can prove that one way or another? With the Rohingya genocide, ironically the best documentation we could get was from Google maps, which showed villages which had been there earlier and now they were gone. I’ve thought a lot about different solutions for years, like uploading testimony in actionable affidavit format from places like Myanmar or UN peacekeeping camps or anywhere people are silenced and at risk. Like the current Oxfam story. That was absolutely no surprise to anyone who works in human rights, and it is certainly not just Oxfam either. You will find this everywhere you have this same structure of power and secrecy at the top and fear and silencing at the bottom. We’ve seen it in NGO’s, militaries, UN peacekeepers over and over … This is why I am working on a universal database, to try to democratize this access to a megaphone and bring us information from everyone.
It is not new laws we need, we already have so many international laws protecting our human rights, our rights to freedom of expression, our right to knowledge, our rights to not be tortured and murdered, our right to a fair trial, and these are all being ignored. We don’t need to create another witness protection program with the mafia in charge of it. It is our governance that needs to be revamped. We are still governed by a form of democracy created before women or children or indigenous people or labourers were considered persons or part of the demos and before any international networks existed below the level of trade empires.
It’s been almost four hundred years since that awful Cambridge man argued in Patriarcha that an all powerful patriarchal system was the only legitimate form of governance and Robert Filmer was most decisively refuted by Oxford’s own John Locke, who ought to be familiar to anyone from the United States as well, since he was fairly influential in creating the ideology they are supposed to be run by. I did think that western democracies were done with this debate. If you want to live under an all powerful patriarchal form of governance, you move to an absolute monarchy or a dictatorship, not a democracy. Patriarchy and democracy are incompatible. We settled this nearly four hundred years ago. And it is customary for those who uphold this absolute form of secretive tyrannical rule to call people like me anarchists, but if all anarchy means is there are no absolute rulers or centralized authority, then shouldn’t that be a basic tenet of a democracy?
If you do want democracy, it’s not just media that needs to be free. It’s not even just speech. It is knowledge. An uninformed vote is a coerced vote. People without reliable information they can trust will follow ideologies and demagogues blindly and we are seeing more and more of that lately as our access to information and our trust in information is eroded. And when government is conducted in secrecy, the atrocities that have repeated throughout history will happen again, as they always do in the dark. We really don’t need to keep proving this. So we don’t need reactionaries trying to shore up some ancient flailing patriarchy with increasing tyranny and secrecy. We don’t need revolutionaries knocking off figureheads and installing their own messiahs onto the same structure. We need to build a democracy that is right for today, that includes everyone and resists tyranny, and that means democratic access to knowledge and participatory governance.
[At some point another panelist said they liked Obama and I said Obama had paved the road Trump was driving on and pointed out Obama’s intention was not to close Guantanamo but to bring it onto US soil – where ICE detention centres continue to proliferate.]
What do you think motivates whistleblowers to take these risks and why don’t they go through proper channels? I know what you are probably going to say …
Well yes, because the majority of the whistleblowers I deal with don’t have proper channels and they aren’t given any choice over the situation they are in. That is the whole point, they don’t have institutional power and we need institutional power for community and land caregivers and an end to the secrecy and impunity at the top. Because we are told that we need these structures of absolute power and secrecy for our safety, but intelligence agencies are not competent to protect you from ISIS or anyone else. The heads of most of the top intelligence agencies in the US were compromised recently by a 15 year old British boy called Crackas with attitude and he wasn’t hacking, he just guessed his way in. An Australian student just noticed the US military was revealing all their military locations in Syria through the Fitbit app. Australian MP’s just sold a load of Top Secret documents in an old filing cabinet. There are homemade drones taking out military planes that cost more than your health care. They are not competent to keep you safe, but even if they were competent, our safety is not their priority.
I remember in one of the mass shootings in the US, this one involved really tiny kids, and there were two things that really stood out for me about this case. One, the mother was completely blamed for her son’s actions even though she was his first victim. President Obama and the media both left her name off the victim lists as if she was a perpetrator or a non-human. The other thing that struck me was that she was entirely blamed – but she had no community support she could have relied on. This was a single woman, living with an obviously violent and very disturbed adult son, and she had absolutely nowhere to turn for help. How is she supposed to be responsible for something she has no power to stop? And we’ve just seen the same thing happen again in Florida, the students and teachers and community were blamed for not doing enough but they did everything in their power and they were ignored because the politicians are not listening to them. Look at the #ArmMeWith hashtag on social media this week, teachers are asking for books, time, resources, mental health care, a decent adult to child ratio – they are saying they don’t need guns, they need the resources to build community. And the US government is offering guns because that is profit for the only nation they care about, which is the weapons manufacturers and the NRA.
Some people have been really worried in past years about terrorists entering into Europe with refugees and yes, of course, they have. Not nearly as many as some people would like you to believe, because we all have our own homegrown terrorists now, but yes, some have come through camps, and the people in refugee camps will tell you who those people are. Or online communities will tell you. In Canada, we had a man a couple years ago who used to torture kittens to death and upload the videos online. He was reported by most people who saw the videos and they were ignored. Then he went on a gore site – you would think if we have some patriarchal power trying to keep us all safe they must be monitoring gore sites, right? – and he advertised an upcoming murder. He was reported, and the reports were ignored. Then he horrifically murdered someone and uploaded that video. He was reported by so many people. One retired police officer in the US reported him to the RCMP, the FBI and his local sheriff. Everyone ignored all the reports. He took the body out of his own apartment, past the CCTV cameras on his building and street, and put it in a dumpster. Then he took his biometric, smart, Canadian passport, under his own name, which was now all over the international news and on an Interpol warrant, and he boarded an international flight from Canada to France and then to Germany, where he sat in a cyber cafe reading articles about himself until finally a man in the cafe went out and got a police officer to come in and arrest him. Is this blinding incompetence or is our safety maybe not really a great concern for intelligence agencies?
The answer of course is both. They are not competent to keep you safe, but also they aren’t listening. The mothers, the caregivers, the schools, the people online, the people in refugee camps, these people are all ignored. They are listening to corporations like Areva or Shell. Boko Haram took root initially in an area completely overwhelmed by the corruption of Goodluck Jonathan’s government and the devastation brought by Shell and other oil companies. Areas like Mali and Niger were equally devastated by France’s Areva corporation, among others,. The people living on that land were being murdered and left with no means of survival by criminal corporations and complicit government. Again, the lack of power and the extreme abuse of community and land caregivers creates vulnerability to the growth of terrorism. And it is no secret to the intelligence communities that this is the trigger. The minute you hear protests start against Areva, you also start hearing France and the United States talking about growing extremist threat because they know very well that extremism follows backing people into a corner with no way to turn. So again, the solution is to empower the caregivers, listen to them, and end impunity for criminal corporations. If you know corporate policies are going to cause the growth of ideological extremism, maybe change corporate policies before that happens. Protection available only to the highest bidders is not security. Security is strong involved and supportive communities networked with other communities.
Response to David Shedd responding to above by saying “our men and women in uniform” are heroes, invincible, have so much data, etc., etc.
I think if we are going to talk about national security on this panel, we need some context. David Shedd belonged to the most powerful, well-funded, weaponized, international, organized crime syndicate the world has ever seen. Not even counting the other organizations he is affiliated with or those he calls his allies – just looking at the CIA by itself – they are in the business of assassinations, they manage black sites for torture, they work with with local mafias, cartels and militias all over the world, they run operations trafficking weapons, drugs and people all over the world, they have ongoing programs of human experimentation … these are just a few of the things the CIA itself has done, not counting their network of allies. They are part of a vast criminal network that is now planning even greater expansion, more torture, far more disappearances, far more murder. So when these men talk about whistleblowers threatening national security, we need to ask three obvious questions: what is security to them, who is their nation and who are the whistleblowers?
So given that we are dealing with criminals and members of criminal organizations, what they mean by security is immunity from criminal prosecution. And we have seen that. They do not keep us safe, we have plenty of evidence of that, but they certainly do keep themselves safe. The US military bombed an MSF hospital. Can we investigate? No we cannot, they have bulldozed the evidence. They “tortured some folks” and they plan on torturing a lot more, but that’s classified. Jeffrey Epstein is a man in the United States known to have raped and trafficked dozens or hundreds or who knows how many children. The US Attorney General at the time, Alberto Gonzales, said he would have instructed the US Justice Department to “pursue justice without making a political mess”. Epstein’s little black book contains people like Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew. There is only one way to interpret that directive and that is impunity for anyone above a certain social strata or anyone with blackmail on them. The Pentagon, since 2010, has refused to investigate, at that time it was over 1700 cases, of child abuse media they have found on Pentagon computers. The people in the US are finally starting to talk about all the taxpayer funded NDA’s that protect people in congress against reports of rape and sexual assault. California alone has reportedly paid more than $25 million in the last three years to buy criminal impunity for their politicians. In the UK, you have your own child rape inquiry where UK police have spoken many times of investigations which have a strata they can’t go above – where those above that strata are referred to as the Untouchables, protected by the Official Secrets Act and many other layers of secrecy. Your former Oxford Union president and UK Prime Minister, Ted Heath, how many people came forward and said they were his victims as children, but there was never an investigation during his lifetime.
So security for them means immunity from criminal prosecution, not just for their actions against so-called enemies but against anyone. The current CIA head talks about a bureaucracy that slows down the CIA – that bureaucracy is our human rights and that is how they see our lives – as bureaucracy. If they kill too many of us at once they have to fill out a form. And that slows them down. Pompeo wants ‘agile’ assassins. He wants killers who ‘fail fast and break things’, as if they were writing stupid apps instead of murdering children. He wants ‘disruptive’ terrorism. And their security is the freedom to do this with impunity and in secrecy.
And who is this nation they want security for? The US were supposedly enemies with Syria and allies with Canada when they were abducting Canadians to be tortured in Assad’s prisons. Their allegiances change at the drop of a hat and they all have each other’s secrets anyway. That is the whole point of their industry. The entire supranational intelligence community has access to each other’s secrets – they need security from the rest of us finding out. And their nation is anyone with enough money to pay them, corporations or states. You had Erik Prince speaking here a while back, the crown prince of mercenary contractors. He made his fortune at the top ranks of US military and intelligence and then contracted all that information to supposedly US enemy China. I believe David Shedd is also now in international private practice. Their nations are whoever can pay. We didn’t really need the US Patriot Act to tell us our intelligence agencies may be allies but the people in our states are certainly not their allies.
This is not national security. It is certainly not security for my nation. My nation consists of the caregivers of communities and the environment all over the world. They aren’t spying on corporations and telling communities what corporations are up to, they are spying on communities and selling that information to corporations. The victims of Jeffrey Epstein, all the victims whose abusers are protected by official secrets and taxpayer funded NDA’s, none of these victims are part of their nation. Their nation is the international intelligence community and the politicians and corporations who can afford to pay them. This is not national security. It is a mafia protection racket available to the highest bidder.
Response by David Shedd.
HM: Why are you not doing anything about ICE internment camps in the United States if you care so much for latin americans?
DS: What camps???
HM: Maybe you should read the news.
[Some more back and forth about ICE where I discussed their access to intelligence data and potential to become an intelligence agency and Shedd denied everything and rolled his eyes at the audience. After the panel, the other panelists left and the audience stayed and asked a lot of questions about ICE. I explained that they were comparable to the Gestapo and some of their activities at that point (February).]
DS: Our brave men and women ….
DS: Torture??!? What torture???
HM: Have you not read the Torture Report? Obama declassified part of it, didn’t you know?
DS: Stop. Our brave men and women devoting their lives …
HM: Torturing people.
DS: I asked you to stop.
HM: I asked you for twelve years to stop torturing my friend and you didn’t stop.
Note: There was a meet and greet before the panel. David Shedd outlined work he was now doing in South America to “ensure compliance” with banking regulations. I asked: “Is that meant to ensure the United States has a monopoly in money laundering?” and he said he didn’t know. Shedd also said he works with a charity to stop trafficking of women and children in South America, overlooking the obvious first step of getting the CIA and its contractors to stop trafficking women in children in South America, and he deplored that Russia was beating the US to the destruction of the Arctic.
There are two primary methods of coercion used to enforce societal norms. The most visible is hard coercion, apparent in militias and police as well as courts, prisons, and institutional force of all kinds. The far more powerful form, without which the hard coercion would not be tolerated, is seductive coercion.
Seductive coercion comes in two forms. The first is used to create society and involves social acceptance and approval as motivators. This form of seductive coercion produces love, loyalty, and other forms of social bonding.
The second form is used to create hate and enmity and to reject another society, go to war against them or persecute them in another way. This form of coercion uses group affiliation, fear, dehumanizing propaganda and dissociation.
There are well known, although poorly understood, hormonal responses which help build both hate and love. Both are intense responses to others which are dependent on some shared experience, even if only through propaganda. Often the most intense hate is produced in the same populations which formerly experienced the most intense love, such as in civil wars or familial breakups.
Both hate and love and the lesser emotions around them are measures of social approval. In the past, all societies used an approval economy to measure acceptance or shunning of each other. Acceptance was not simply an emotional boost, it was inclusion into the social circle which allowed access to essentials of life such as shared food, shelter and procreation. Rejection by shunning was very frequently a death sentence or at least condemnation to an extremely difficult, stressful and shortened life. At best it would mean starting all over again by trying to gain acceptance into a new society.
In order to create the dissociated ponzi schemes of power currently governing society, human relationships had to be replaced with the trade economy. Trade economy replaced societal approval with approval based on each person’s ability to be of service to the powerful. The trade economy eventually interrupted almost all social relationships and replaced them with industry. Social approval was replaced with currency to the point that a person’s worth is now commonly given as a currency value. Currency is a powerful seductive tool because it allows acceptance into the most privileged spots of all societies with no effort required to gain social approval or accept the norms and values of the society.
In those cultures where women and children had autonomy, patriarchy had to be instilled at the family level as the essential building block to patriarchal governance. As the trade economy created waged labour only for those who were serving the wealthy and left community and family service unpaid, women were placed at a huge disadvantage under the trade economy and made to rely solely on a father or husband for the currency which had become social approval. The marriage partnership became dissociated and turned into a master-slave or employer-employee relationship instead of one built on mutual social approval. Matriarchal societies were destroyed as the approval or ability to shun which had been the power of the women in those communities was now worthless and whoever possessed currency needed no one’s approval for societal acceptance.
The industrialization of jobs meant that work is no longer a shared and bonding community experience. The commodification of goods and services has taken sharing and giving out of communities. The state run defence militias claims to remove the need for community solidarity and loyalty. NGOs commodified human empathy, state education commodified respect for community history and tribal knowledge, official government and process dissociated community from governing councils. All of these dissociative structures have removed community bonding experiences.
Cultures which do not greet by kissing and hugging, who handshake (the old greeting to show your enemy you held no weapons) or maintain distance with cold body language, are not producing the hormones necessary to create love and empathy for each other. In a dissociated western world where partners and parents spend little time with each other, much less their community, children are raised in physical bubbles and no one except close family and friends are supposed to touch, it is hard to imagine oxytocin and other hormone levels being socially optimal for bonding. Every transaction of approval, even between parent and child, has sometimes been replaced by an exchange of currency instead of a smile, a hug or a reciprocal gesture of approval. Social shyness and waiting for approval to be gifted has been replaced by taking approval as a right, demanded by all who possess currency. Social shyness is also strongly discouraged by the trade economy which rewards aggression and demands.
Although the exact combination of hormones optimal for bonding is still poorly understood, touch and psychological support are known to be essential for oxytocin production and less oxytocin usually results in more aggression and less caring. Patients with autism and psychiatric disorders have been found to improve with increased oxytocin levels. Cultures with common physical contact such as holding hands or maintaining less personal space, which share community jobs and local jokes and stories and are heavy sharing or gifting cultures, have far more bonding opportunities.
Sex, both social and anti-social
Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover … the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. – Aldous Huxley to George Orwell
When waged labour created a class division between men and women, they became rivals and the so-called war of the sexes began or was entrenched. There is a gender divide in coercion, with hard coercion typically considered the power of men due to their physical strength and seductive coercion considered the power of women, both because hard coercion was not usually an option for women and because they were primarily responsible for the care of society during its formative years. There is also a gender divide among sociopaths. Robert Hare estimated seven times more male sociopaths than female and it has been historically easier for male sociopaths to climb to positions of power. There is an even greater predominance of men within sexual sadism disorder which seems to be manifesting in the establishment wide torture and death cults of the UK and elsewhere.
Societies ruled by seductive coercion used talking, councils and shunning, while patriarchy ruled primarily by hard coercion, police, laws and prisons. A patriarchal power structure had to take control of seductive coercion, partly by demonizing and infantilizing women and and partly by perverting seductive coercion for their own uses. Seductive coercion has increasingly become a powerful tool of the sociopathic oligarchy.
One of the most important tools in both social and anti-social seductive coercion is sex. Sex has been used to bond couples for communal support in child rearing, but it has also been used as a weapon of war throughout history. There are evidently two distinct types of sex, one bonding and social and the other extremely anti-social.
Oxytocin, believed to play a significant role in bonding, is produced by physical closeness such as breastfeeding, everyday physical contact, massage, tantric or Taoist sex, non-orgasmic sex, cuddling, relaxation, mental closeness, social acceptance, approval and emotional support. Oxytocin is also produced by stress and orgasm, and while it will help bond allies, it will also increase hatred and a lack of empathy for those perceived as outside the social group.
Rape has gone from a by-product of war to a deliberate strategy of war, whether by militia commanders in the DR Congo telling their fighters that rape will bring them magic powers or by Israel and their constant sexual war imagery and orders for war rape. It is one thing to look at the supposed motives for rape in destroying the targeted population, but we must also look at what is causing large populations of men to obey orders for mass raping and whether it is also being used as a tool to condition them hormonally to dehumanize, kill and torture their enemy. Is rape being used simply as a tool against the victims, or is it being used more to raise the level of hate in the fighter? It is possible that the DR Congo militia’s idea of rape as a tool of war for obtaining magic powers to beat their enemy is closer than the NGOs who describe it as a simple war crime.
Dopamine, is a very powerful hormone associated with addictive substances such as cocaine, mental illness such as schizophrenia, and the release of a reward hormone on learning or experiencing novel stimuli. Novel sexual experience causes a surge in dopamine, but the experience must keep changing which leads to a search for more and more extreme stimuli. After orgasm, dopamine levels plummet, leading to the addictive endless search for ever increasing levels of dopamine. The pornography that is the most popular is that which produces the dopamine highs and crashes and is therefore addictive. That is also the type which requires ever-increasing stimulation to reach the same dopamine levels and produces no bonding hormones. While sexual sadism disorder has probably been with us forever, child abuse and snuff film industries were almost exclusively created, not born.
State and corporate control of women’s sexuality was necessary because it was a powerful coercive tool. Misogyny centres around hatred of coercion, particularly suspected but poorly understood female coercion. From the first ruling of the Catholic Church that sex should be for the purposes of procreation only, sex has been changed from the type that releases bonding hormones to the type that more closely resembles anti-social rape. Non-orgasmic sex, once used for birth control and enjoyment, was decreed sinful by the church and male orgasm became the only point to sex. Sexual contact outside male orgasm was frequently eliminated completely, which would hypothetically greatly reduce the amount of bonding hormones produced between a couple. At the same time, breast feeding was also strongly discouraged and hospitals and other institutions removed infants and children from parental care, reducing familial bonding levels still further.
Heavily dopamine producing sex, from brief encounters with sex workers, rape, pornography, and any other form of ‘hate-sex’ continued and increased as the bonding community and family life was removed. Corporate advertising removed sex progressively farther from a form of approval to a product of the trade economy. Military producedgames and movies conflated sex with every form of war and violence as did the news media and the military itself. The UK media call torture, murder and dismemberment of children ‘child sex’ and ‘paedophilia’ as does the UK government’s Child Sex Abuse inquiry. Dissociated populations which no longer produced hormones at community bonding levels were taught to crave dopamine with increasingly violent and risk-taking behaviour, drugs and consumerism.
The same gratification conditioning is fed by addictions of all kinds, from drugs to addictive, harmful, and sometimes anti-social foods. The US military is developing an ‘anti-suicide’ hormonal nasal spray which is suppressing guilt, presumably through suppressing empathy, in militia members who have seen or committed atrocities. It is as ridiculous to deny the importance of stimulus choices in determining our social development as it would be to deny the importance of exercise choices in determining our muscle development. Seductive coercion and behaviour conditioning is present in every aspect of life worldwide. There is nothing at all new in this, it has always been this way. What is new is seductive coercion is now being controlled by an all-pervasive, sociopathic oligarchy who keep both their methods and their goals as state and corporate secrets and remove all choice from the society.
“Social order at the expense of liberty is hardly a bargain.” – Marquis de Sade
The freedom espoused in the rhetoric surrounding both the French and US revolutions was a very anti-social freedom. What began as a rejection of the patriarchy or state, continued as a rejection of society and a promotion of extreme freedom for those best suited to a trade economy. The pursuit of happiness became a right of any who could command it through strength to survive in an economy completely rigged in favour of the small fraternity steering both the French and US revolutions. The hated patriarchy was overthrown and replaced by the fraternity, a decentralized patriarchy without the responsibility inherent in the role. Social approval was necessary for nothing as the fraternity used currency as their dissociated approval to command all of society’s benefits. Social obligation became so dissociated from the now monetized approval that it was left to the charitable intervention of the vilified patriarchal state and fought against alongside the rejection of the state.
The sex life of the Marquis de Sade is a perfect metaphor for the actions of both his compatriots at the Jacobin Club during the Terror and the sociopathic oligarchy of today. De Sade was against the death penalty and insisted no one should ever be found guilty for anything done in the pursuit of pleasure, while his idea of pleasure involved escalating levels of torture and murder of unwilling victims. Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness was always intended for the fraternity only, and the rhetoric has never matched the actions toward any outside the fraternity.
In lieu of any other understanding of the nature of the motivations of our current sociopathic oligarchy, it is not unreasonable to expect they get the same gratification from the torture, murder and destruction of their day jobs as the Marquis de Sade did from his pursuit of pleasure. With the revelations of the current ‘child sex’ inquiry into the UK establishment death cult it seems almost certain they do. Those with sexual sadism disorder do not have to indulge in any behaviour that normative people would consider sex, and do not even have to be directly involved in an act, so it is very likely that ordering wars and mass guillotine executions worked just as well for their arousal as individual torture. For those with lesser power, ordering a snuff film would also work. It is impossible to look at the war horrors combined with media sexual imagery and not see the mirror image of the child torture and death cult and media sexualization of it.
The trade economy decreed that all was for sale and everyone has a right to anything they can purchase, with no social obligations. The requirement of approval from society is presented as a horror, social obligation is depicted as robbery. ‘Freedom’ advocates were outraged at the recent #takedownjulienblanc campaign because his anti-social behaviour was restricted by a societal right to associate or not and his currency approval was not enough to buy him acceptance and access to all the privileges of belonging to all the nations in the world.
Instead of researching known contributors to dissociative personality and behaviour, societies are encouraged to embrace dissociated behaviour as ‘diversity’ and ‘freedom’, to look for unconditional acceptance instead of understanding. Any suggestion of understanding or coercing individual behaviour triggers memories of CIA brain-washing, Clockwork Orange, or Thought Reform and produces revulsion in the same populations that accept the extremely coercive and behaviour-modifying death penalty. Talk of open, societal, behaviour coercion is greeted with the same horror that once followed any suggestion of heart or brain surgery. Meanwhile, those same agencies responsible for the earlier state horrors of behaviour modification experiments have progressed to the point that no one even acknowledges their coercive social engineering.
Free will is a deeply cherished myth for many. The idea that free will is real and social auto-coercion is an attack on freedom has allowed seductive coercion to be completely controlled by an invisible corporate oligarchy which modifies everyone’s behaviour through games, food, drugs, media, dissociative structures, anti-social laws, propaganda and more. Social approval has been replaced by currency, control of social coercion has been taken by an invisible oligarchy of intelligence and corporate propagandists, control of mental health has been usurped by those feeding drugs, foods and environmental conditions that cause mental disorders.
In the past, the practice of shunning was sometimes abused and there were always people considered lesser or not accepted into certain societies for reasons most would deem unfair. Any form of coercion that can be influenced by popularity or power is corruptible. Today, people who do not feel welcomed or appreciated by one society should have freedom of movement to join another. Societies which unfairly persecute one of their members are susceptible to being shunned themselves. In OpMaryville, Anonymous retaliated against a community which had shunned a rape victim and her family in favour of her far more locally powerful rapists. The BDS and BlockTheBoat campaigns allow outside nations (independently of states) to shun Israel for their genocidal and apartheid policies. Today we have the ability to provide an instant global appeal court for any individual who feels their rights are being violated by their society.
It is impossible to deny that those in power globally are both sadists and sociopaths. It would not be difficult to manage the world peacefully, with enough resources, autonomy for all and aid in times of disaster. It is not necessary to continue to destroy the environments we live in. The horrific and genocidal big three criminal industries of human, drugs and weapons trafficking are all enabled and run by those in power. It is not enough to replace the sociopaths in power, the system which created them rewards and creates both sadism and sociopathy. Nothing less than a completely new system with new social motivators and norms will remove sadism and sociopathy from the seats of power.
Seductive coercion is a constant in society. To reject social auto-coercion is to accept tyrannical secret coercion.
 Discussion of social hormones and the types of sexual and social interactions producing them is both grossly oversimplified and poorly cited here out of necessity. It is important to recognize their role in society, but studies are far too incomplete and contradictory to give any definitive statements or cite any particular study as a final authority. There are many other hormones and environmental combinations at work than those suggested here, and research and beliefs regarding the connection between sex and hormonal balance is found in many places outside science. In lieu of specific citations, I would encourage the interested reader to conduct independent research into Taoist sex, tantric sex, sex therapy, various forms of ritual magic, magick, satanism and other occult practises related to gaining power through sex, porn addiction, sex in advertising, oxytocin, dopamine, prolactin, androgens, seratonin, cortisol, endorphins and more. I do not endorse the claims found in any of those places. The point of this article is not to point to definitive answers but to suggest where we should be looking for them.
It is now an undeniable fact that the UK establishment has, for decades, been run by people who tortured and killed children for entertainment, for political power, and just because they could.
The cognitive dissonance that statement produces in the majority of the population has provided the cloak of invisibility that has kept these people in power and their actions unpunishedfor all these years. When faced with an undeniable proof of any part of this, people’s shock was easily comforted by soothing assurances that the person was only one, that no one around him had been aware, that this would be taken care of. The idea of a society of torturing murderers, openly known to each other, controlling not just the UK but embedded in the upper echelons of many (if not all) countries was the stuff of conspiracy websites, those prolific disseminators of unbelievable truths well mixed with repellant bigotry and obvious falsehoods, presented as a whole to discredit all ingredients. Human trafficking is the largest criminal industry in the world. It is far less reasonable to believe it is conducted without the full knowledge and co-operation of those in power, but the power of deeply anti-social behaviour is how unwilling anyone is to believe another human is capable of it.
The propaganda arm of this international ring of torturers which attempted to normalize abuse of children and babies as ‘sex’ is still very apparent in the corporate media coverage of the CSA inquiry which depicts the torture and murder of children as “sex attacks on kids”, “child sex” or a “sex scandal”. Sex is not an attack. This is not sex. The fact that these people tortured and murdered children in their recreational hours does not make them simply pedosadists, or what corporate media still likes to call pedophiles in acquiescence to PIE’s demands that they be depicted as ‘child-lovers’. Their recreation may have revolved around torturing children, but their office hours as UK media and government establishment revolved around torture and mass murder of people from all demographics. It is not sufficient to call them psychopaths or sociopaths since very few of those seriously harm others and almost none to this extent. These people who want to be known as child lovers are death eaters. They feed on the agony of others. They torture and murder not because they have to, but because it feeds something in them. The only reason they are attracted to children is the increase in pain, horror, power, and taboo. They are no less attracted to mass slaughter than they are to the torture of children.
Sociopaths are attracted by what repels others.They seek filth, horror and destruction. Using the torture of children as bait to blackmail political opponents is a natural act for death eaters, as is destroying populations with ‘drug wars’ and ‘terrorism’ or using the slaughter of populations to advertise the weapons industry. People are products in the trade economy, and if death eaters are in control, people are their products to use as they wish. They are presiding over the destruction of the planet and beating back any who try to stop them because mass destruction is a compulsion for them.
The attempt to conflate torture and murder with sex is not unique to the UK establishment. “Our definition of sexy was something like Khadr.” said the man who decided to prosecute a tortured child. Militias in the DR Congo are promised magic power from raping women. Israel uses sexual imagery to promote the destruction of Palestine and rape is a constant in wars, torture, imprisonment, everywhere death eaters act. Death eaters gain power by manipulation of others. Hard coercion such as the control of military and police is theirs when they gain power, but until they have attained it they rely on seductive coercion. An insistence on hard coercion to control society is a denial of the power of seductive coercion. Conflation of torture and murder with sex is a perversion of that power. An attempt to depict deeply anti-social acts as sexual freedom is an attempt to normalize deeply anti-social behaviour.
Death eaters are not child lovers. Torture and murder are not a sex scandal. Sex is not an attack. Seductive coercion is used to create society. Its use in dissociated populations to incite acts of violence is a perversion of its power used against society.
Societal auto-immune disease
In industrialized states sociopathy is not only normal, it is normative. Industrialized society is the replacement of human relationships with corporations where people are products and human need is industry. To be dissociated from the approval economy is to be dissociated from society. A trade economy consists of sociopaths connected only by money. Antisocial personality is a natural trait of anyone who climbs to the top of a ponzi scheme built on systems of dissociation. Sociopaths cannot relate to others as human. They see them as products, the perfect outlook for success in the predatory trade economy.
Most definitions now define psychopaths as those born dissociated, and sociopaths as those created (and both categories are best used only for sweeping generalizations which this is). While psychopaths have always been with us, dissociated populations are producing sociopaths in unprecedented numbers. Huge populations of sociopaths and apathetics are necessary for death eaters to survive in power. ‘Shh, we need to torture children for your safety,’ say the death eaters and the sociopathic and apathetic public nods and turns away. Without the disinterested and complicit buffer, nothing would save the death eaters from the torches and pitchforks of those at the bottom.
Antisocial personality is a societal auto-immune disease. It manifests as the most obvious horrors in society. Self-identified narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths generally would like theirs to be an accepted part of the spectrum of human behaviour, as PIE lobbied to have abusing babies an accepted ‘liberation’ in the 70s. Trying to divert focus from their anti-social behaviour to a discussion on sexual orientation is part of their continual efforts to normalize their behaviour or at least to divert attention to understanding for them instead of protection for their victims. Depicting action against them as a feminist attack on male normative sexuality is an appeal for both sympathy and broad acceptance and a dismissal of the existence of their victims.
If anti-social behaviour was widely accepted, society would not exist (as it largely does not today) and human and most other life on earth would not survive much longer. It is not logical to accept self-destruction as a normal part of society or evolution. We cannot kill sociopathy, it is part of us. Like cancer, it will probably always be a part of us in small amounts and it would be very unwise to attempt to eliminate it entirely. Humanity cannot divide neatly into these categories, and there are a variety of factors that cause dissociated behaviour, all ‘normal’ but all unacceptable in a society that wishes to continue existence.
The UK media depiction of the subjects of the so-called Child Sexual Abuse inquiry as paedophiles is a very deliberate propaganda exercise and attempt to manipulate public opinion. People who rape, torture and murder are not child lovers. The victims of these people were not only children. The phrase ‘paedophile’ brings the focus from the vicim to their assailant, and the pseudo-medical op-eds claim a right for understanding for death eaters, not the children. The use of the word paedophile individualizes the problem and is an attempt to pretend there are a ‘few bad apples’ instead of an entire ruling society complicit in the cover up and normalization of the torture and murder of others.
Societies do have the right to shun those who seek to destroy them. This fairly obvious principle has been perverted beyond all recognition by states who use it as an excuse to destroy others as they have perverted every other personal right to endorse corporate tyranny. States are highly militarized economic markets, not societies. Societies can shun harmful and anti-social behaviour in all forms, whether it is normal or not, as we do every day in all of our social norms. We do not need to build society according to an anti-social structure or create society that feeds anti-social behaviour at the top of the power structure. We do not need to accept death eaters as child lovers. We do not need to accept their hopeful norms in our coercive media propaganda.
Societies have the right to associate or to refuse to associate.
“I know there is a God because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil.” ― Roméo Dallaire, Shake Hands With The Devil
In Shake Hands with the Devil, Romeo Dallaire, former head of the UN mission to Rwanda, described shaking hands with commanders of the Hutu militias responsible for the 1994 Tutsi genocide. He felt he was in the presence of evil, or, to his Christian outlook, the devil. When faced with incomprehensible savagery it is hard to find human nature behind it and natural to look for some invisible hand of evil. The same outlook is understandable to some in west African countries, where the leaders have for years been suspected of complicity in ritual killings, or torturing their own citizens and using their body parts as amulets for power. Compulsory membership of politicians in certain Masonic lodges and the undeniable power and wealth wielded by the powerful, support both the cult rumours and the presumed effectiveness of evil forces being invoked. These so-called powers are also sought by some militias.
If a person is thought to embody evil in themselves, the person is demonized in the eyes of the other. Once a large group has designated another entire group as evil, actions no longer matter. The ensuing war will have nothing to do with good actions and bad actions and everything to do with one side exterminating the other. Those facing the side designated as evil are then depicted as Good, and any behaviour of theirs will be justified thereafter as can be seen in the excuses made for Rwanda actions even today. Some groups can carry their indestructible Good status in the face of all evidence of their actions for generations and against completely different opponents, as we see with Israel and the fact that they still have defenders justifying their ‘right’ to torment and murder others.
Countries that have had an acknowledged atrocity are much more self aware and able to recognize and stop new ones. If an atrocity is outside the Overton window of what a people will believe about themselves they will deny it happened or ignore it. For Canadians, the pull of the manufactured self-image of ‘nice’ is too attractive to confront, even when faced with human rights and environmental disasters Canada is responsible for worldwide. To acknowledge that global mining atrocities are a fundamental part of Canada, that a Canadian child has now been tortured and imprisoned for the thirteenth year, that these actions cannot be blamed on one government but are part of Canada itself, is an attack on their self-image that many Canadians refuse to face. The US was previously the same with their acceptance of ‘freedom’ propaganda and their refusal to see their own police state as anything but protection.
A good guy / bad guy, personality based morality is very helpful for any who wish to wage wars or destroy the lives of others. No one has to think, just identify the Good Guys and the Bad Guys, be for the one, beware the other. We really don’t need legions of security analysts, militaries and intelligence to sort out Good Guys from Bad Guys. Bad Guys are destroying, killing, enslaving and robbing, Good Guys are creating, researching and caring for others. Bad Guys are capable of becoming Good Guys as soon as they stop the actions harmful to society and start the ones helpful to society.
The myth of free will and the myth of equality
I was one of those children forced into fighting at the age of 13, in my country Sierra Leone, a war that claimed the lives of my mother, father and two brothers. I know too well the emotional, psychological and physical burden that comes with being exposed to violence as a child or at any age for that matter. –Ishmael Beah
In order to designate someone as evil and deserving of any horror that the powerful wish to inflict on them, they must be held personally responsible for the actions of themselves and their ‘side’. In order to hold people personally responsible even for their own actions, the public must believe they had free will, something that does not exist. The idea of personal responsibility also depends on an assumption that people have equal access to information and the ability to process it. Propaganda and coercion which comes from the top is denied and blame is cast to those at the bottom who acted upon it. The propaganda masters convince the public that the weak-minded and the vulnerable must take responsibility for acting as the zombie army of the powerful who are absolved of responsibility.
For punishment to be applied equally to all, the public must believe that all are equal, which is also false. The myth of equality is essential for sustaining this binary outlook and careful censoring of information is essential to maintaining the myth of equality. ‘Hamas is evil, bomb Gaza’ cannot stand in the face of relentless social media pictures of babies, beautiful children and wonderful people well-known to the online community being blown up by Israel. ‘Boko Haram is evil, Nigeria military should kill them all’ is shocked by images of little boys fighting and being killed on both sides or Nigeria military torturing a little girl working for Boko Haram. Hillary Clinton deplores the loss of imperial control over information and Netanyahu bitterly calls his victims “telegenically dead“. The old media control which depicted all enemies of militias as adult men with guns was essential to justify any war.
We have a tendency to think of our villains as geniuses or assume they at least have the ability to predict the outcome of their actions but for those filling prisons and dying in wars that is not always the case.
While most people recognize the ability to rehabilitate child soldiers, what of those who are not rehabilitated? If they do not bear responsibility as children, why does the responsibility for their formation descend upon them as adults? How can anyone presume to know what has happened to the mind of anyone who has lived completely different experiences than them and possesses a completely different mind?
If it is agreed that charges should only be applied to criminals who have attained a certain standard of cognitive ability, why is the same penalty applied to all at that point? If the spectrum of ability and advantage continues above the line labeled competent, should the penalties not be a corresponding spectrum? If they must attain a standard of cognitive ability, why are moral imbeciles judged by the same standards as the socially normative? Why is sociopathy not recognized as a mental illness if insanity is? What if sociopathy is a physical disease? What of those with fetal alcohol syndrome and other forms of physical brain damage that currently fill prisons and militias?
The role of drugs in convincing militias to commit atrocities and overcome guilt is seldom reported. Not only non-state militias employ drugs, the US military even has a follow up anti-guilt nasal spray to prevent troops from feeling natural remorse.
Not all opponents are worthy of hate.
Few believe that all of their own ancestors should have been wiped out, but everyone has ancestors who displayed what we like to call inhuman characteristics. Why do we believe they are absolved from the personal responsibility we bear today if not because we accept the power of social coercion and social norms? If social coercion and social norms applied in the past, why is their power denied today? The US government acknowledged the power of seductive coercion with what they cynically called the battle for hearts and minds in Iraq. They of all people understand coercion and knew that their actions would have the opposite affect.
Any suggestion of deliberate social auto-coercion is met with howls from free will advocates, especially from the US, that bastion of personal freedoms perverted to suit corporate ends. Every intelligence agency in the world, all corporations and all militaries constantly manipulate public norms and behaviour, but an attempt for a community to regain control is depicted (by corporate media) as an attack on freedom and autonomy instead of the assertion of it.
People can somehow become convinced that if we only kill enough people, inherent goodness will shine from the survivors. In the end, we can’t kill enough people to make the world a kinder gentler place. We have proven enough times that there is no time and place immune to an outbreak of human savagery. UN peacekeeping is incompetent, political, and after the fact. We need societies resilient to violence. In the end we will need to understand each other and use social auto-coercion as we do after the horrors of every war in order to return to normal life. We need to start using it before the outbreak of any violence, not to stop Bad Guys but to stop bad actions. Instead of spending vast sums tracking individuals and their connections in the search for Bad Guys, we need to strengthen social auto-coercion and fight the coercion coming from sociopathic power.
For those who insist societies will never function without military and police hard coercion, societies worldwide did, very well. For those, usually the same people, who insist that seductive coercion is immoral, seductive coercion is what creates a society out of a group of disconnected people. For those who do not believe that coercion ought to be in the hands of the people, coercion ought never to be anywhere else. The only way to prevent coercion by a secret oligarchy is to use it as community.
“If we don’t harness their potential for good, their societies will continue to reap their capacity for evil.” ― Roméo Dallaire,They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children
Roméo Dallaire, Shake Hands With The Devill: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda (2003)
Ishmael Beah, Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (2007)
Roméo Dallaire, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children (2010)
Heather Marsh is a human rights and internet activist, programmer, political theorist, and former Editor in Chief at Wikileaks Central, and the author of Binding Chaos, a compelling blueprint for 21st century governance. An excerpt:
Binding Chaos – book by Heather Marsh We can do better than [representative democracy]. We can govern by user groups, respect individual rights and global commons, and collaborate using stigmergy. We can belong to overlapping societies voluntarily by acceptance of social contracts. Where necessary, elite expertise can be contained and used through transparent epistemic communities with knowledge bridges while control remains with the user group.
Loomio co-founder Richard D. Bartlett had the very good fortune to interview Heather recently, as part of our ongoing interview series: Inspiring Disruptors.
I’m really excited about your concept of “stigmergic collaboration, epistemic communities and knowledge bridges”. How would you describe these ideas to my 8 year old niece? (She is pretty smart).
Stigmergic collaboration is what happens when people who don’t have to talk to each other or know each other work on the same project and build something together. There has to be one idea that everyone understands and agrees on as a goal but beyond that no one is the boss or telling anyone how to work or even if they should work.
If you go into your doctor’s office and she has a puzzle on a table that other patients have been working on that is an example of stigmergy. You don’t know who has worked on it before or after you, but you know what to do and you are free to add a few pieces if you like.
There are much bigger ideas too, like “Information wants to be free”. There are many nodes under that stigmergic idea, everything from whistleblowers, MOOCs, file sharers, projects such as Wikipedia and Telecomix, open source everything and much more. Everyone is free to further the idea in their own way, the only commonality is the goal.
Epistemic communities are a way to provide elite expertise for projects without relinquishing control to an elite oligarchy. People or ideas are peer promoted from within the user group and communities remain transparent and permeable to everyone. Acceptance or rejection of the ideas is always up to the user group to avoid an unassailable oligarchy.
Knowledge bridges are people who help disseminate information from an expert to a novice level of understanding and collectively audit what the epistemic community is doing. Besides being essential for education and auditing, this is important to avoid demagogues who have the ability and time to develop mass appeal but are not the source of expertise at the level the world needs. Epistemic communities and knowledge bridges allow elite expertise a direct path of communication to the entire user group and provide a path for anyone in the user group to achieve elite expertise if they wish.
Your niece would understand this if she has ever looked up math games on the Internet. The Internet provides many knowledge bridges which help lead her to the epistemic community of elite mathematicians and allow her to become one if she chooses to study that hard.
Where are you seeing these ideas take hold? What do you see happening in the world that gives you hope?
Anywhere information can be very rapidly disseminated, verified, audited and acted upon is fertile ground for stigmergy, epistemic communities and knowledge bridges. I love the way MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) forums sometimes act as a job seeking forum with employers and collaborators finding talent by watching people work in a real setting instead of relying on official certification, like musical collaborations used to result from jam sessions. I also love the local affinity groups and friendships created from those courses.
The progress that gives me hope is in the areas which strive to get more people connected to collaborative networks and more amplification to silent voices. Stigmergy has always been our most powerful collaborative method and stigmergy follows ideas, so efforts to bypass control by corporate media, politicians, thought leaders and other representatives and allow people to contribute ideas directly with their own voices are essential.
Your conception of government as mass collaboration has really influenced my thinking in designing for Loomio. Do you have any ideas about the practice of making this idea real for people in their everyday lives?
Governance to me is action not an organization. It is something people have to just do. It is only after governance by the people is established that politicians can be lobbied into supporting it until it makes them obsolete. My first goal is to enable every person to participate, to write software, platforms and guides and provide outreach of all kinds to help people participate wherever their interests lie.
Unofficial ministries for each system should be set up as permanent open epistemic communities regardless of what government is in power. Currently, lobby groups are sometimes formed to attempt to influence policy but what is needed are full and permanent shadow cabinets by the people. When this shadow cabinet is established and effective, there will be no need for any other. The unofficial ministries which represent the will and peer promoted expertise of the people will guide policy or the elected politicians will face the consequences. The power of the voters is in the contribution of their ideas and actions far more than their ballot vote every four years or so. Official organizations and positions can be replaced by communities which are open to all to participate in. The unofficial ministries can call their own referendums and submit their own bills to elected MP’s when needed. In many cases the involvement of elected officials is not necessary, epistemic communities can guide policy through education and participatory discussion instead of official government policy.
Binding Chaos maps out a pretty compelling blueprint for a new way of structuring society; can we iterate towards it? Do you have ideas about fertile places to start? Whose job is it?
We have to start everywhere. It is everyone’s job to fight for their own autonomy and their own freedom to participate where they feel most excited and fulfilled. The world right now is full of people breaking out of the boundaries set for them, whether they are joining plenums in Bosnia or autodefensas in Mexico, scaling borders between Morocco and Melilla, breaking into a US nuclear weapons plant like 85 year old Sister Megan Rice, making themselves personally responsible for feeding and sheltering homeless people like OpSafeWinter, or fighting for justice for another human like the Free Omar Khadr Now group. Every person who decides to conduct their lives in a way that makes better sense to them and refuses to accept the status quo is participating. Not all ideas will be good, but if we all try we can iterate towards something that is better. And if we all try we can’t be stopped.
Have you had any thoughts about tools to enable this transition? Have you seen any promising approaches?
Collaborative problem solving tools like Loomio, etherpads and many others emerging now are a great help in shaping the way we work. Our methodologies need to change, and these tools will teach the new methodologies to a great extent. We need tools which are free of corporate or centralized control, which are part of their user communities and responsive to them. Organic community cooperatives like Loomio and Lorea are wonderful examples of responsive tool development.
I talked a bit in Binding Chaos about Twitter, Klout and other social media and their tendency to replicate and exaggerate our societal tendencies towards oligarchies. Digital currencies also currently facilitate our trade economy with almost all of its flaws intact. The social influence and currency algorithms both need to be re-examined to not just replicate our old methods but create new ways of interacting and relating to each other. An expiring currency would help to create a more sharing economy. A social influence algorithm that rewarded less on attracting celebrity attention and more on boosting unheard voices would change the impact of celebrity influence. We need more experimentation with the fundamental concepts behind influence and currency.
One of the key areas I would love to see progress is in knowledge repositories as global commons. We can’t have open, permeable epistemic communities on platforms with centralized control. The news will remain as transient spectacle until we have the tools to build knowledge from that information. Wikipedia by itself is not stigmergy, it is a tightly controlled cooperative. We need innovation in data modeling tools that will scale and connect and are not under centralized or corporate control.
What do you think can be done to create safe spaces online? Where have you seen this work well?
We have a lot of work to do first to decide what our definition of safe is. There is a sliding scale between free speech and freedom from the hate speech which is paradoxically a form of censorship. It is interesting to see different populations gravitate to different tools for playing with public influence, amplification and interaction depending on their ideas of where the ideal position on the scale is. I don’t think comfort levels are ever going to be uniform for different people and applications. Diversity of options and freedom from outside spying and control are essential.
Despite the obvious issues with Twitter it is the most interesting place to watch for global political communication, the only place you can publicly see politicians and participants in wars communicating with their opponents. Watching Twitter fights between Israeli forces and Gazans, the M23 militia and the FARDC military in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Rwanda politicians and the son of the man they are accused of just assassinating pushes the boundaries of communication about as far as I can imagine. To see these conversations cut short by censorship would be a huge loss.
There has been a great deal of discussion about trolls on Twitter and elsewhere, but they are to some extent the bottom feeders that keep the pond clean and are very self correcting in a troll eats troll platform. In a platform designed around celebrity and majority influence the unpopular opinions are left to the trolls so they are essential. The worst offenders in the name of free speech are those posting child abuse and other violations of privacy and personal integrity. In a self governed and open platform they can be dealt with by either the majority or a vigilante minority with support from law enforcement where crime is committed. The vigilante aspect is quickly reversed and turned on the vigilante if the public feels it is not justified. If a society agrees that certain behaviour cannot have anonymity it won’t for long. It is possible to design a platform where proxy routing anonymity can be tied to social approval so it would not be up to centralized control to decide.
A society with extreme free speech is too uncomfortable for many so it is essential to have both quiet places to work and open forums uncensorable by anything but public opinion and existing laws against child abuse and similar. Also essential is permeability, especially to influential forums. We now have a permanent Nemesis in astroturfing campaigns and attempts to game influence, plus spam. We have to somehow detect and block all that white noise while still maintaining both anonymity and ease of entry. This is definitely one of the most challenging puzzles we have to deal with right now, both socially and echoed in our tools.
How can we support your work?
In the interest of practicing what I preach, I have tried to not trade any of my work by manufacturing scarcity or withholding effort. It is my hope that people will one day pay for value already received by using the donate buttons at the top right on my blog instead of expecting a Kickstarter type campaign or funding drives. I also hope ideas will one day travel through peer promotion and knowledge bridges, not through personal brands or corporate promotion, so I do nothing with my work besides posting it on my blog. People who donate, share my work, use Amazon to share with prisoners, talk about it, translate it and encourage others to support it, leave me free to write and are very appreciated, even more since they are actively changing the world by using the methods described in Binding Chaos.
Since the above articles in September 2012 and 2010, it has become abundantly clear that none of the world’s governments have any motivation or ability to stand up to the corporate multinational empires headquartered in the countries of the five eyes and their associates. The UN vote in support of Palestine in November of 2012 was a symbolic rebellion, but in the end only proved how ineffective that rebellion would be as Israel instantly paraded their complete contempt for the world’s opinion. As Israel and the US promised, the vote changed nothing on the ground. A relentless stream of new treaties and laws is entrenching the corporate umbrella that now has legal control over the world’s governments. Sovereignty is dead. Corporations are people and people are products.
People no longer accept, or even have any knowledge of, their governance or the laws controlling them. States no longer pretend that laws apply to them. Society worldwide is ruled purely by military coercion. The uprisings which began in 2010 were thoroughly co-opted in early 2011 and used to create unending massacres and division that terrify anyone interested in suggesting change. Government turnover is meaningless in any case as the resource corporations and their security militias and media retain power regardless of political change. We need focus.
Empire on parade
The NSA revelations, like the US state cables before them, proved that things are much worse than we even thought and resistance is more futile. This message has been drummed incessantly in the past years. Since the curtain fell and both sovereignty and governance by the people were proven to be an illusion, there is no longer any pretense of maintaining the illusion. The current propaganda seems instead bent on proving the futility of resistance.
I’ve been writing for the last several years on the empire’s military coming-out in the media and what it says about their progress. We are long past the point where any transparency about military might is intended to result in change, much less reduction or disarmament. Since Obama’s earliest speeches he has been bragging about the “finest fighting force the world has ever seen” and the expansion of its empire. These are not secrets. Like in the Republic of North Korea and every previous empire, the media parade of invincible military might is meant to impress and suppress pretenders to the throne. Julian’s long ago essay on conspiracy has been turned on the people as the NSA and others make activists terrified of voicing dissent much less acting upon it. The message is also for any pretenders from BRICS or elsewhere as the US regime forces the landing of a plane containing a head of state, strip searches a diplomat and spies brazenly on allies.
Complicit military propaganda is presented as brave and daring journalism, somehow achieved with full co-operation from the empire itself. Junta kingpin Erik Prince is not shy of journalists and not at all reticent in proclaiming his allegiance only to himself. These places are not where secrets lie. This pretense of exposing secrets covers for the lack of exposing real secrets: the unheard voices of victims of Shell Oil in the Niger Delta, Areva uranium mining in Khazakstan, Niger, Gabon and elsewhere, the myriad corporate predators of the Amazon, the Kachin and Rohingya people of Myanmar, the silence invariably present wherever the corporate mafia abuses are the most extreme. Noisy debates on government transparency cover the complete lack of debate on corporate transparency. Congratulations on the democratic permeability of circles of government power deflect from the impenetrable circle of corporate power.
When the most silent voices cannot be ignored they are represented by controlled channels through NGOs and media, claiming to speak for those they are really speaking over. With a few truly heroic exceptions, the NGOs selectively report abuses and channel funding to further the aims of their government and corporate funders and enablers. The US funded NGOs in the Amazon seek to disrupt government trade with China and other competitors and rebellious governments co-opt the message for their own NGO partners and shut down the competing voices. Meanwhile, the people affected are unheard and the corporations in one form or another continue their destruction.
As people circumvent their governments to reach past the nationalist othering and connect globally, global Thought Leaders are propped up and paraded around to direct traffic for The Revolution™. They roam the world issuing platitudes of despair and futility straight out of 1984. “They control everything. Resistance is futile. Don’t use Facebook.” ‘They‘ cannot be named as they are bankrolling both the Thought Leaders and their solutions. Ideas become ideology and ideologies are branded and polluted. Opportunists are promoted, realists are co-opted, idealists are frightened and radicals are shot, just as Stratfor taught they should be. When a billionaire as invested in the status quo as Pierre Omidyar says celebrity Thought Leaders are replacing organizations it is as much a command as a statement. Read the playbook. Don’t play.
The world needs real journalism. We are decades, even centuries, behind what we need to know about the people really in power, the corporate shareholders. They must become our new celebrities, the targets of so much gossip we will soon understand their relationships and weaknesses better than we understand those of reality TV stars. These are the people we are fighting, not the figureheads and militias they pay to stand between us.
War is Peace: The year of the aggressive peacekeepers
The 2013 War is Peace initiative saw the creation of the first ‘aggressive peacekeeping’ mandates, one in the Democratic Republic of Congo and one in Mali. It isn’t risking much to predict the same will happen in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. This carries group affiliation to the natural conclusion we saw in the 2006 creation of ‘murder by an unprivileged belligerent in violation of laws of war’ dubbed a war crime by the Guantanamo Military Commissions Act. In 2006, the US decreed that the US military could kill children, but it was a war crime for children to kill US Special Forces commandos. In 2013 the United Nations allowed UN peacekeepers to retain the protection of it being a war crime to kill them while simultaneously allowing them to initiate attacks on those they deem to be a potential (not immediate) threat. Not only has the UN put the right of all legitimate peacekeepers to protection at risk, they have established precedent by which a foreign army can invade and conquer a sovereign state and have citizens tried as war criminals if they resist. The international media has been happy to accept this with no question and obediently report the killing of ‘peacekeepers’ in both Mali and the DRC with no explanation that the definition of that word has been changed to mean its opposite.
UNSC permanent members: United States, Britain, Russia, France, China.
A look at the UN Security Council provides a clue to the escalating violence despite UN attempts to ‘establish peace’. Peace will never be produced by those invested in war. China is the fastest growing arms exporter of the past decade. Canada’s current government was incensed at being refused a seat on the UNSC just as their arms salessoared. Arms dealers are the obvious winners in the current economy. While an international peacekeeping force used at the discretion of the assembly of United Nations may once have seemed a good idea for humanity, the UNSC as run by the global war masters is just good corporate marketing strategy, enabling endless discussions about men with guns killing other men with guns and arguments over which side needs more guns.
Professional militias, weapons dealers and would-be kingpins have hijacked every attempt at governance reform. Particularly, the gates of Libya and Syria were opened and militias and weapons are pouring at an even greater rate into Africa as they have for years into South America. Any thought of protest against most governments is a thought of horrific civil war as drugs, guns, militias, poverty, child soldiers and extremist propaganda are joined in an explosive mix of threatened instability just below every veneer. The gun culture in the United States is greater than anywhere on earth but the military and prison systems of the most industrialized states all retained the ability to obliterate any dissidents too close to home.
The international media and entertainment industries provide non-stop advertising for the arms industry. Every conflict, real or Hollywood, is reported as ‘good guys’ killing ‘bad guys’, an endless parade of men with guns and flashy military equipment with no time for the stories of those working for peace. Men with guns is one of the most boring topics to keep covering as they are always doing the same thing, killing people, but the entire narrative is always men with guns and politicians with an occasional stat about the number of women raped. ‘There are no good guys’ say men reporting on men with guns, apparently unable to see the people illustrating their own report. The propaganda that men with guns can only be defeated by support for other men with guns has eliminated everyone else from negotiations as generals sit down to discuss peace and refuse a seat to anyone not making war. “In Congo, war has been largely fought on women’s bodies,” but power over peace is given to the men who fought. Efforts to build society are ignored or blocked, efforts to destroy it are rewarded with power.
“Guns don’t kill people!” shrieks the industry building autonomous drones. “Drugs kill”, however. Really, it’s all about who is importing and who is exporting. The idea of disarmament for peace now seems quaint and old-fashioned in most of the world, while in the country most dependent on the weapons industry it produces hysterical rage. Militias for peace have been formed all over the world, killing people to save lives. If there was the slightest chance of these weapons disturbing real power they would be abolished immediately but these freedoms are to enable the mass slaughter of those without power. Peace once meant disarmament. Now disarmament is only mentioned as an excuse for war.
As competing corporation/governments move increasingly aggressively into all continents, all sides of corporate money and media create so-called ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’ unrest to destabilize dissidents and competitors. Any land dispute between corporations and residents is rewritten as an ethnic dispute to distract from the real aggressors and pitch people against each other instead. Extremist ideologies inciting genocide are promoted by corporate interests. Western media reports wars in foreign countries in graphic sensationalist detail and always framed as ethnic or religious, inciting civil war instead of economic reform. Media no longer obsessively cover teen suicides or anorexia because of concern over copycats, but coverage of men with guns is exempt from the responsibility to protect. “Freedom of the press!” chant those so completely coerced by cradle to grave propaganda they have lost even the perception to know when it controls them. As we have seen, freedom of speech is only accepted when only a few are allowed to speak, it loses favour quickly when all voices are allowed. If money and media removed the focus from men with guns, the world would cease to be run by them.
For any student of history, this is the preferred formula for dealing with every uprising, the reason regimes can be flipped over and over again with no change at all in the society. The United States Constitution’s first and second amendments have been inflicted on the entire world because both have been extremely useful for keeping corporate interests in power. There is now a slight possibility to push freedom of speech to the point where it can be used by everyone if we work very hard to pull up all voices that need to be heard and give them the amplification to drown out corporate propaganda. Freedom of speech for the powerless is far more important than freedom of speech for corporate media.
The solutions to peace will be found among the people trying to raise children, grow food and build society, not men with guns. ‘Foreign aid’ has been used for decades to tip the balance of power from one group of men with guns to another. It doesn’t bring peace. If all that financial control was given directly to those in the refugee camps, there would be change. This revolution is not about men with guns vs other men with guns. It is between creators and destroyers, peaceful people and the corporate mafia controlled militias, worldwide. If someone bothered counting bodies globally instead of chanting about regional unrest, this would be more evident.
The mafia won
In 2010 I wrote “There are only two possible explanations for a sovereign nation to bankrupt its own citizens and its government in order to set up a huge international surveillance and military system, “the finest fighting force the world has ever seen” that they do not actually own or control. One, everyone is completely insane, or two, it has not been a sovereign nation for a long time.”
In 2012 I wrote “The US does not actually control their own military or intelligence and the private corporations that do, do not operate from patriotic loyalty and are available to the highest bidder.”
It is time to stop pretending most governments of the world have anything to say about anything. Corporate mercenaries are in control worldwide. The only governments with control are the ones where the state is the corporations. Not only do people like Erik Prince and assorted other mafia bosses control the military and intelligence services of the world, he is (with China this time, sorry US nationalists) in sub-Saharan Africa with Frontier Resource Group (did you know you were a frontier, Africa?) investing in “energy, mining, agriculture and logistic opportunities”. He once more has his own private army. Prince will be facing off against other mafia militias in Africa, most notably his own creation Academi, formerly Blackwater. There are small and large militias doing the same in most of the world, still with a veneer of legal structure in the northern hemisphere but only because the mafia was allowed to write the laws.
While you are petitioning the US government to restrain the NSA, Erik Prince and friends are battling with other people’s lives for control of the world’s coltan (your phones). The corporations that already control your military and your intelligence have decided it is more expedient to just expand their security militias rather than deal with your governments. They are also continuing to rewrite the laws worldwide to exempt themselves from any accountability and turn people into commodities with no societal rights. As long as people refuse to accept that capitalism has failed, trade economy is tyranny, and the right to bear arms is the right to rule by mafia, they will continue to expand.
The people united will never be defeated
We have no idea whether that slogan we rediscovered in 2011 is true as we have never put in any effort to even reach all the people much less unite them. The first right of all people must be the right to communicate, directly. Without direct communication for all there is no way to see past the corporate propaganda and hear the voices with workable solutions. Revolutionary movements that could care less about all the people not at the table will not be building a new paradigm, they are simply seeking to replace the leaders at the top with themselves. Those that would rather amplify celebrities than people at risk are increasing power for the powerful and refusing to empower those who need it. If the people are ever going to be united, we must put far more energy into reaching down for those at the bottom instead of attempting to climb up to those on the top.
The propaganda which teaches that ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ can perform the same actions and still be on separate sides has been highly useful in misdirecting anger. This fight is between those who commit atrocities and those who do not. Our actions define us, not our company. All war coverage that is pitched as ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’ is a lie. The conflict is between the idea of peace and society and the idea of war and dictatorship. We do not need leaders or affiliations, if we follow the ideas we agree with we will have the company we need. If we show solidarity by ideas, not the borders that divide us into economic markets, we can still win. If no one in China cares who is paying Erik Prince’s gang of thugs and buying his pillaged resources, if no one in Canada cares that their courts are shielding 75% of the world’s resource corporations from human rights prosecutions and no one in Australia cares that refugees from their own corporate plunder are being drowned at sea and imprisoned if they make it to Australia, then we lost long ago.
Empire is simply a concept. Laws, governing principles, property and wealth are all concepts. We are being enslaved by our acceptance of these concepts. If we remove everything between the sociopaths in power and the people they are tormenting – remove the militias, the media, the money, the governments, the corporations, the laws that protect corporations, the NGOs, thought leaders, celebrities, distractions and group affiliations – there is nothing left but a very few, very ordinary people.
Yes, of course we can decide that now. Barring near complete planetary destruction, we can decide what we want the biggest stories to be in advance and just get them on the front pages. Those in power have been doing that forever, focusing exclusively on celebrities, celebrated for their ability to distract, sell propaganda and model rampant consumerism, politicians, those not-too-bright replaceable figureheads standing in for the real powerful who never change and are never in the news, and men with guns, presented as both our greatest fear and our greatest hope to keep the general population in a mood of infantile dependence and insecurity. If citizen journalism is worth anything it should be able to create focus of its own. These are my suggestions for 2014.
Truly an endless source of material. Practically every story on the front pages right now can lead straight back to a corporation, although they almost never do. Every conflict presented as ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’ has also an economic and resource based aspect. Every island in dispute has a seabed of corporate interest. Militias are hired, trained and armed by corporations. Trade deals revolve around corporations. International laws are created for corporations. The NSA and other intelligence agencies spy for corporations. International banking is completely intertwined with other corporations. Infrastructure is contingent on resource corporation development. Laws against so-called eco-terrorism and even other terrorism are created and advertised by governments in support of resource corporations. Every environmental story has a resource corporation or several behind it.
The real celebrities
The people behind the corporations are equally fascinating since they are also the people that run the governments, the financial world bodies, the international courts and the trade deals or they are connected to them. The web of what they own, what boards they sit on, who they are related to and who they are allies or enemies with is endlessly intriguing and dictates the course of our lives. In our personality driven world it is not enough to have a logo as the subject of a story and nor should it be. The CEO’s and presidents currently hired to front stories with their faces need to be replaced with the faces of the owners, those actually controlling and benefitting the most from the corporations’ activities.
Why do school children learn the names of dead Presidents and Prime Ministers instead of the names of the billionaires who control their media and their lives? Why is there about 444,000 Google search results for “Mother Theresa controversy” and only 80,700 results for “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation controversy” (the biggest private foundation in the world)? Why are there no Wikipedia pages (or mainstream news coverage required to create them) for most of the world’s most powerful?
We need a database of all of the holdings of these people, what boards they sit on and who they are related to as friends, families and business associates. Celebrity gossip is crucial information but we have misdirected it. These celebrities are far more interesting than the ones we are being trained to focus on.
The money trail
We need longer trails to put stories in context. Instead of just pointing at laws, we need to show who is behind proposing the laws and who is benefiting from them. What corporations (and owners) are benefiting from TPP and other trade treaties? What foundations and celebrities are making their funding in African countries contingent on the spread of homophobia and homophobic laws? Instead of just a non-stop advertisement for war products featuring the latest in fighter jets and killer drones, we need to see all of the people who benefit from the sale of each piece of equipment purchased for a war zone and where that equipment and the trained militias end up. Illegal sale of weapons, drugs and resources go to fund legitimate governments, armies and corporations. Illegal militias are hired as security for resource corporations and others. Hostages tortured for ransom in the Sinai, refugees sold as slaves, the booming human trafficking industry, all have financial trails that do not fit into 500 word articles but are essential to follow.
The other people
We need to overcome the overwhelming nationalism and other group affiliations that still makes some voices far more equal than others. As we have seen repeatedly, people are valued more as they are seen more. Getting media to show atrocities being committed is less necessary (or reliable) for verification than it is for generating an emotional response and a direct human bond from other people. Everyone needs direct amplification when needed, not as props for western saviours or products to promote NGOs but to tell their own stories and establish their own direct support networks. We need to continue the fight against communication blackouts, not just by Internet shutdowns but also by refusal of Internet access to prisoners and others and by our own nationalism and other group affiliations refusing to amplify all voices equally. It is absurd to feel that someone you don’t know dying is vastly more important than someone else you don’t know dying. The focus on some lives as more important than others greatly benefits corporations and governments who do not want any coverage of their activities outside their home base.
Equality for all has been held up as one of the fundamental truisms and virtues of just governance since the widespread rejection of Patriarcha and the divine right to rule. This concept was conflated after the French and US revolutions to imply all had equal ability to survive in a trade economy. How an idea so manifestly false and impossible ever became lauded as a truism must be found in its expedience and convenience in furthering the objectives of its promoters.
Equality was espoused by a homogeneous group of male caucasian slave owners and enablers. John Locke was both a major investor in slavery and an important contributor to the laws enabling the trade. Thomas Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves. When these men spoke of equality they naturally were not including anyone but themselves in the concept, rhetoric notwithstanding. Babies, children, women, slaves, indigenous people and anyone less able were obviously not their equals and were never intended to be. As covered previously in Binding Chaos: Out of Robert Filmer’s frying pan, into John Locke’s fire, this libertarian concept of trade equality was meant to enable decentralized patriarchy, not remove patriarchy. Why an assumption of equal worth to a trade economy is in no way just is covered in Binding Chaos: An economy for all.
The concept of equality as an economic virtue has been extremely successful in justifying and continuing rule and unbalanced privilege by this same group of people, spreading initially from France and the US where Locke’s writings were most influential. In every tyranny there must be a rational justification of it. The divine right of kings was usually successful in protecting a monarch’s head as few wished to act against god’s will. A secular age must appeal to a sense of fairness which most people are born with. The idea that this one group of people are more worthy as they are more able to take control must be instilled and reinforced constantly, as it is.
The only reason equality in a trade economy is considered a virtue is to allow rule by right of virtue for the fraternity, the libertarian ideal of meritocracy.
In 1792 Mary Wollstonecraft stated the root flaw in every governance algorithm used in the past or present, “Where there is justice there is no need for charity.” Her view has been overlooked by all and the image of a just society is consistently one which has evolved to be charitable. There have been societies that were ruled by justice regardless of ability but they were always few, and since the notion of equality for all under a trade economy became widely lauded as both an ideal and a truism they exist almost nowhere.
If you hear the cry for equality under a trade economy ask: But what of those who are not equal? If the orator accuses you of bigotry for denying what is obviously false you are already dealing with a tyrant. If the orator speaks of giving and brotherly love, run. The equality mantra is the worm at the root of all trade economy systems today and any trade economy based on an ideal of equality will produce the same result, as we have seen. Equality comes from an economic system in which an infant or other dependencies have an inherent right to be included without reliance on charity.
When an ideology decrees that people governed under it will behave in a certain manner it is necessary to look for any reason to believe they will. Among proponents of trade equality as a virtue the best reply thrown at those who point out that people are demonstrably not equal was framed by Marx when he decreed distribution would be “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” This is not effectively different than the answer given in different terms by other ideologies such as the tacked on welfare systems common in most capitalist societies. In all cases Marx’s stated outcome is certainly not inherent in the system and must be enforced by hierarchical coercion. We can see what that looks like every day as the powerful torment the poor, the victimized and the disadvantaged to test their ability and need.
Every political ideology named as one must have defining characteristics. Proponents of ideologies have a habit of stuffing rainbows and unicorns under their umbrellas but when the virtues being attributed are in no way inherent under the defined characteristics there is no reason to expect they will be present when the system is implemented.
Democracy is ridiculously conflated with human rights. If human rights exist under a democracy it is only by virtue of separate bill of rights, constitutions and other documents tacked onto the democracy as appendages. A democracy such as Burma can openly conduct genocide simply by having the majority rule the minority no longer have rights. Democracy is a system of voting, representative or direct, and there is no reason to assume that goals such as human rights or freedom of speech will result from it.
Peer-to-peer is an idea adapted from network architecture. In a p2p network, nodes supply and consume resources to and from each other in a structure for sharing among equals. As network architecture it works beautifully. It does not work for people because people are not peers. All you need to do is picture an infant attached to this network to see the obvious failure in p2p’s “assumed equipotency” of all participants which will result in a need for charity.
The defining principle of direct trade (reciprocal sharing is trade) among equals has absolutely nothing to do with the commons, free software, permaculture, 3D printers or any of the myriad rainbows and unicorns currently being herded under the umbrella. P2P governance is just a hacker-ish name for libertarian. Modern libertarianism can use new technology and other capabilities but there is no underlying philosophical difference. John Locke could point to magnanimous powerful men who gave charitably to their neighbours just as p2p points to free software giving charitably to a non-contributing public, but neither charitable neighbours nor free software are a natural result of the idea of trade among equals. To see what p2p governance would look like simply look at the completely homogeneous list of 26 men (no women) listed as “notable figures“.
We now have no choice but to move beyond the age of equality among young, able, caucasian, educated men from privileged families and start including the entire world. The entire world is now an unstoppable collaborative force and they will no longer tolerate rule by the fraternity of peers.
Occupy, Anonymous and each of the 2011 uprisings were many things but the one thing they were not is p2p. The endless assembleas and communication networks set up by M15 and the gatherings of the Day of Rages were a genuine attempt to hear the voices of the unequal. The Hope Riders, Jasmine Revolution, Occupy and others fought very hard to recognize and support diverse roles and unequal ability. Anonymous is the roar of those omitted from the fraternity, the raw voice of the voiceless unpackaged and sanitized by NGOs and polite representatives. Every revolution the world has ever seen has started with that roar and every revolution the world has ever seen has been co-opted by the fraternity of peers.
We can tell the revolution has failed every time we look around and see the fraternity sitting astride the ideals of the voiceless and promising to ride them to a different place this time. When the hopes and creations of the people once again become rainbows and unicorns to sell a platform for the fraternity to gain power we have failed.
If we are to proceed past the never-ending cycles of revolution and arrive at a system of peaceful evolution we need a completely different system of change. Probably writing that next.