In what is one of the more frightening uses of cloud computing, big data, data science, and data analysis, China has been working on what can only be described as the gamification of consent (a twist on the title of Edward Bernay’s book The Engineering of Consent). Via a new social media scoring system that rates your submission to the party line (though currently only running in numerous pilotprojects), the communist government will give incentive rewards for “appropriate” behavior in the light thereof, and take those rewards away for a dissenting score. This has huge implications as it relates to the study of mass psychology and the use by governments of tools like this to manipulate and coerce their populations into submission.
For a few years now, I’ve had a thought going that counters what we’re told in the media concerning the “war on terror,” including that which is put out by FOX News and other neo-conservative outlets: the real geo-political battle we face and have always faced is two major empires battling it out for resources, land, and economic superiority. That battle is East versus West and more specifically, the Western empire, consisting of the US and Europe as well as Australia, versus the Eastern empire consisting of Russia, China, Iran, Syria and a few other smaller nations. We are now seeing signs that these theories are proving to be true. I don’t mean to say I have exclusively thought of these things, because I haven’t. There are a number of commentators who have made similar calls long before I have.
After the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a political and economic restructuring they had to go through. This took time and it took a while to get on their feet again after such a great fall. But it’s been two decades now. They never lost their nuclear status and have maintained some semblance of a core infrastructure from which to build upon. On top of that, China has risen strong and mighty, a nuclear power, extremely technological, and innovative themselves (or at least really good with corporate and military espionage in the West). Iran is still peeved at us for our CIA’s 1953 coup d’etat. And Syria just thumbs their noses at us and calls on Russia to bow up to us, especially in the wake of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would expect more to join this Eastern bloc in the near future.
We have a very strong staging area in the Middle East now, but for what? Looking back over the past 15 years, reading over information even before 9/11 occurred, we had the Middle East in our sights all along. 9/11 sped that process up, whatever the causes and forces were that brought that event about. The Iraqi invasion was planned in the late 1990’s. The Patriot act had also been written in the same time frame, before 9/11. Yeah, I was shocked to find these things out too. There are a number of other things I won’t go into. But long story short, we have bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel of course, UAE, Kuwait, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and I’m sure I’m missing some. On top of this, we are setting up even more missiles pointed in an offensive posture toward Russia in Eastern Europe and a number of other places. So militarily we have them surrounded to some degree. We’re at the very least lining Russia’s southern and western borders.
Now with all of that said and barring the lack of humanity the Syrian government has toward its own people and the authoritarian nature of that state, how ironic it is for Krauthammer, on FOX News tonight, to get so agitated and offended that Putin would bow up to the US and essentially say, “Syria is ours.” This is exactly what we’ve been doing throughout the Middle East for more than a decade! And even before that, it’s the very thing we tried to do in Iran in 1953, which back-fired in 1979 (or what the CIA calls “blowback”), and to this day is one of the reasons they hate us, cited even by Ahmadinejad! Of course, when it’s us doing the empire and resource building for our own interests, it’s right, right? Iraq and Afghanistan then become “humanitarian” missions or “freedom” missions for the “cause of liberty,” PR and marketing designed to persuade the masses into acquiescing to whatever our elite, empire-building leaders want. “You love this country don’t you? Then you’ll see the necessity of war and spreading democracy. And support the troops in our endeavor! If you don’t you must not love this country.”
Al Qaeda is a pawn in our chess game with the other rising super powers who are consolidating power. When it suits us, we buddy up with Al Qaeda and use them as tools (like in Egypt and Libya over the past year), who we essentially created, trained and funded beginning in the 1980’s to fight (oddly enough in this discussion) the Soviet Union. There again, when it suits us we attack Al Qaeda when we need to gain more ground “for the cause of liberty,” aka empire-building and creating a defensive posture toward the Eastern bloc of power.
Why do we Americans think we’re somehow any different as an empire than other empires that have come and gone throughout history? Granted, we have had a great thing going with our Republic in its Constitutional form, but we’re quickly losing that. What remains then? Power, exerted by forces outside of democratic control.
Cold War Redux http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iIgesHH9fg (New Russian ICBM test-fired) … I mean there are more spies in this country now than at the height of the Cold War after all http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57431837/more-spies-in-u.s-than-ever-says-ex-cia-officer/ … sending a message to the US/European/NATO alliance? Still makes me wonder if the real geo-political chess battle is merely East versus West and the Middle East has always just been caught in the middle. We have a NATO missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, we have bases in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey(?) to the south of Russia. Iran, China and Russia are regularly meeting, trading arms, having joint governmental conferences. Russia has been doing war games exercises near the arctic circle recently. Two Russian subs were spotted off the Atlantic coast last year doing reconnaissance. It has been reported that Russia is sending arms to Syria. If you want to see what is really going on in the world, you forget what the leaders say and watch what they do.
Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful “deal” so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen.
China’s strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world’s poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait. The failure was “the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility”, said Christian Aid. “Rich countries have bullied developing nations,” fumed Friends of the Earth International.
Copenhagen was much worse than just another bad deal, because it illustrated a profound shift in global geopolitics. This is fast becoming China’s century, yet its leadership has displayed that multilateral environmental governance is not only not a priority, but is viewed as a hindrance to the new superpower’s freedom of action.
All in all, China doesn’t give one rip what the West thinks or does, especially if what we are proposing threatens their dominance. Not only that, but they were even so bold as to exert the fact that the West has no control over what they do. This is all very concerning in light of the fact that China owns a great deal of our debt and has a large reserve of dollars they might be willing to dump if it goes down too much in value. Very interesting.
Well, many of the conspiracy theorists have been right, I hate to say. Except in this instance, these aren’t conspiracies at all. They are just openly talking about their ideas.
Follow me here on the logic train concerning CO2 output and climate change: if global warming due to human interference is a frightening reality, then logically, what is the biggest step that needs to be taken by governments and people around the world to reduce carbon output, if we really want to make an impact at lightening speed? Well, you reduce the number of people. Makes sense right?
That is exactly what is being proposed at the Copenhagen climate change conference in Denmark. China has made a strong case for it, citing their policies as an example. In addition, the Canadian national newspaper is calling for a worldwide one child policy. On a practical level, these are the very things I’ve feared coming as a result of the global warming fear mongering: policies that go way beyond the environment.
China has now become the biggest risk to the world economy – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, (bracketed insertions and emphasis mine)
These are headlines you won’t ever read, that to me are worthy of true news alerts.
“By holding the yuan to 6.83 to the dollar to boost exports, Beijing is dumping its unemployment abroad – ‘stealing American jobs’, says Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. As long as China does it, other tigers must do it too.
Western capitalists are complicit, of course. They rent cheap workers and cheap plant in Guangdong, then lobby Capitol Hill to prevent Congress doing anything about it. This is labour arbitrage.
At some point, American workers will rebel. US unemployment is already 17.5pc under the broad ‘U6‘ gauge followed by Barack Obama [the same gauge used to determine unemployment during the Great Depression if that is any indicator of where things actually stand]. Realty Track said that 332,000 properties were foreclosed in October alone. More Americans have lost their homes this year than during the entire decade of the Great Depression. A backlog of 7m homes is awaiting likely seizure by lenders. If you are not paying attention to this political time-bomb, perhaps you should.”
It’s worth noting that Evans-Pritchard is known for making overstatements, though he has been right most of the time to be sure. However, these numbers are not overstatements.
From the Independent: The demise of the dollar:
“In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.
“Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.
“‘These plans will change the face of international financial transactions,’ one Chinese banker said. ‘America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate.'”
I don’t normally read RollingStone Magazine, but I stumbled across a link to an article while on Bruce Schneier’s security blog. In short, China is performing a social/spying experiment upon a city called Shenzhen. Every spy toy imaginable is being employed in the service of watching and controlling every movement its citizens make. This is 1984 stuff here. And one of the interesting comments in the article is that U.S. corporations are some of the largest financiers of this endeavor. Also, just like everything in China, it will be exported to a “neighborhood near you,” as it says in the article. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true and maybe a bit alarmist. But it is odd to me the U.S. seems to have such a vested interest in this. Also, at the very least, the technology could be quickly exported to current oppressive governments for the controlling of their people. Here are some quotes from the article:
“As China prepares to showcase its economic advances during the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, Shenzhen is once again serving as a laboratory, a testing ground for the next phase of this vast social experiment. Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts. The closed-circuit TV cameras will soon be connected to a single, nationwide network, an all-seeing system that will be capable of tracking and identifying anyone who comes within its range — a project driven in part by U.S. technology and investment. Over the next three years, Chinese security executives predict they will install as many as 2 million CCTVs in Shenzhen, which would make it the most watched city in the world. (Security-crazy London boasts only half a million surveillance cameras.)”
“This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the ‘Great Firewall.’ Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder’s personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.”
“One Shenzhen-based company, China Security & Surveillance Technology, has developed software to enable the cameras to alert police when an unusual number of people begin to gather at any given location.”
“Shenzhen is the place where the shield has received its most extensive fortifications — the place where all the spy toys are being hooked together and tested to see what they can do. ‘The central government eventually wants to have city-by-city surveillance, so they could just sit and monitor one city and its surveillance system as a whole,’ Zhang says. ‘It’s all part of that bigger project. Once the tests are done and it’s proven, they will be spreading from the big province to the cities, even to the rural farmland.’
In fact, the rollout of the high-tech shield is already well under way.”