TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label 9/11. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 9/11. Show all posts

Friday, January 4, 2019

Your Friends, The Dark Overlord


If you want to see the Dark Overlord files, go here. Image Source: Time.

A group called the Dark Overlord claimed responsibility for the 2017 Netflix hacks. They have also lately hacked London Bridge plastic surgery clinic and released celebrities' medical files onto the Web. On 31 December 2018, they rang in the New Year with the announcement that they had breached a law firm and stolen 10 Gigabytes (18,000 documents) of legal papers, video, and audio files relating to 9/11 insurance claims with Hiscox Group. The trolls at 4chan were unimpressed:
"Q: who did 9/11 in your opinion based on the docs?

A: We don't really give a fuck. We want internet money.

We've already released a select few documents to serve as proof of our claims. We're about to change the fucking world. Edward Snowden's NSA leak will be pale in comparison."
And:
"We are all broke and also we don't feel like going to jail as we are all just 16yo virgin keyboard worriers. How come you couldn't find someone to give you a suitcase of money?"
And:
"Q: Hi, thedarkoverlord, Have you considered that information may well be used crash the monetary system you hope to be compensated in?

A: Fantastic question, mate. We're not concerned about that as we receive our payments only in internet money like Bitcoin. The monetary crash will be your problem. We always advise our clients to diversify and acquire different convertible currencies."
Some trolls were less skeptical. After viewing the document below, which was released on 4chan, one noted that 'Iron Mountain' documents had been shredded:
"HEY GUYS THIS IS SOMETHING!!!!

Flight 93 was shot down by National Guard because it was heading to Iron mountain, a military base.

Shredding documents related to that seems like a crime/treason!"


In fact, Iron Mountain is a Boston-based data management company; their history is here. But the company has also partnered with the US government and maintains an underground data storage facility called Iron Mountain in Pennsylvania, USA. They have a staff of 2,700 and they do hold Flight 93 evidence.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11 Anniversary: A Late Witness


9/11 - The Smoking Gun Interview - Barry Jennings (23 August 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

September 11, 2001 is a date in history that I wish had never happened. The world felt more bleak, empty and harsh after this watershed and it has never recovered. This disaster transformed the global political atmosphere.

I don't subscribe to 9/11 truther conspiracy theories, which now form an enormous subculture on the Internet. For truthers, 9/11 is the final Red Pill you need to swallow to see the world for what it really is. There are thousands of rabbit holes there, but I prefer not to fetishize a tragedy with alt-research to confirm what I already know: this nightmare-made-real made everything worse - and it is an intrinsic part of everything else that made everything worse.

Although these videos are widely shared on truther channels, I am posting this interview today to remember 9/11.

These are the testimonies of Barry Jennings, Deputy Director of Emergency Services Department (New York City Housing Authority). He was interviewed on 11 September 2001 by local ABC news, and years later by government officials. He was then tracked down in June 2007 by Loose Change (2007) documentary filmmakers Jason Bermas and Dylan Avery; the video below provides extended material.

Two Barry Jennings Interviews (WABC-TV, 2001 / LTW, 2007) (23 August 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Barry Jennings died on 19 August 2008, two days before the release of the draft of the Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 (20 November 2008), which does not mention his comments. There is a Website (here) dedicated to Jennings's testimonies and death.

Jennings vividly described the destruction of World Trade Center Building 7, which he entered at 9 a.m. that horrible morning. With the help of New York firefighters, he emerged from the building's rubble, a survivor climbing over dead bodies, some four hours later. The FDNY halted work in the building at 3:30 p.m. Jennings had been rescued four hours before WTC 7 collapsed at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11.

WTC 7 was rebuilt and reopened on 23 May 2006 (architect: David M. Childs). The Twin Towers were replaced by One World Trade Center (architects: David M. Childs and Daniel Libeskind), which was fully completed on 29 May 2015.

Image Source: Eddy Cards.

One World Trade Center aka the Freedom Tower (2015). Image Source: Getty Images/USA Today.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Remembering September Tenth


9/10 The Final Hours (2014). Video Source: Youtube.

9/10 The Final Hours is a 2014 documentary which shows footage from and interviews with people who were active around the Twin Towers on 10 September 2001. From the tourists who visited the World Trade Center on 10 September, to the DJ and artists who left the towers in the early hours before the planes hit in on 11 September, this National Geographic special recalls the last day of pre-9/11 New York. The film conveys the before and after, a movement around a pivot in history.

Sunset on 10 September 2001. Image Source: Studd Blog.

September 11th 2001 In Real Time (FAA/NORAD Audio). Full transcript at Rutgers Law Review. Video Source: Youtube.

CNN Live Coverage - (08:48am-10:53am) - 11 September 2001. Video Source: CNN via Youtube.

Rescue workers at Ground Zero (13 September 2001). Image Source: Evanshine.

ADDENDUM (11 September 2017):



Thursday, June 22, 2017

New UK Export: Police State Tools


How BAE sold cyber-surveillance tools to Arab states - BBC News (20 June 2017). Video Source: BBC via Youtube.

NSA in a box: on 20 June 2017, BBC reported that a UK firm, BAE systems, exported nation-wide surveillance and decryption tools to Arab states, notably the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco. The BBC reporter found that this exported technology will potentially be used against the UK. Takeaway quote: "You'd be able to intercept any Internet traffic. If you wanted to do a whole country - go ahead!"

Image Source: BAE Systems.

The 52nd International Paris Air Show is on now from 19 to 25 June 2017, with reps talking about everything from commercial jets to quantum entanglement. The aerospace industry increasingly considers military applications in space. Jane's reported that BAE is there, seeking to expand its custom for fighter jets in Belgium and Finland. Despite political tensions between Trump's America and a liberal Europe, on 18 June 2017 Defense News stated that US military industry reps were sanguine: it's "full speed ahead" between Europe and the USA when it comes to aerospace and arms deals. While the event is on, you can watch a livestream from the Paris Air Show here.

Le Bourget roundup Day 1 (20 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Crisis in a Box


This image circulates on truther sites. I have not confirmed its origin or supposed associated terror event. Image Sources: here and here.

This summer's blog posts assess how weaponized propaganda in the media and on the Internet is affecting behaviour and perception. I have never seen so much chaotic, dangerous and disturbing information and disinformation.

The problem has arisen in an already uncertain environment. The Internet is culturally anti-statist, an attitude reinforced by leaks, hacks and whistle-blowing. Although leaks and whistle-blowing were and are intended to make the establishment more transparent and less corrupt, revelations also destabilize society. Some quarters now exploit the credibility of whistle-blown information, so that 'real truths' become vectors of disinformation. As a result, no one knows what to believe.

In a climate of disillusionment, everything, including real facts, is disbelieved. On the Internet, all authorities are suspect. Truth in international affairs has become a question of atomized subjective belief, confirmation bias, and personal preference. Trust, rather than rationalism, drives the information sphere. The mainstream and alt-media compete for credibility and dominance in the fight to win the public's trust.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Stargate Tweets, Mysteries and Rumours


A Stargate? Image Source: Twitter / iReport/CNN.

At present, there is a very strange dis/information eruption on Twitter, coming from a single account, KibBitzLaw. Whoever is running this account is mingling a giant conspiracy theory with current affairs at breakneck pace (hat tip: The Outer Light). This person is threatening top level officials with information leaks of the most outlandish kind. WikiLeaks is mentioned, as is Chelsea / Bradley Manning. The Tweeter also apparently visited 4chan today, archived here, and stated: "This is not a joke." Tonight's tweets were dedicated to Seth Rich, the murdered Democratic National Committee staffer.


There are weirdos all over the Internet, so one more ranting conspiracy theorist should not matter. The only problem is that this account - which was created in March, 2009 - for some time had, as its first and only follower, former president Barack Obama. The account was previously followed by members of the mainstream media and Democrats running for Congress. It lay quiet for some time, with some tweets during the US election in 2016, and suddenly exploded with activity this month. The account was mentioned today (14 May 2017) on Reddit, here.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Memes in the Chaos: The Plastic Landscape of Reality Journalism



One of the hotbeds where a new technological ideology is forming is alt-journalism. Alt-journalists operate with a post-tabloid, kinetic style which exploits that consciousness and assaults the senses. This blowhard style - exemplified by pro-Trump Periscoper and Youtuber Mike Cernovich - wins alt-journalists popularity among their Youtube, Reddit, Twitter, Gab, and 4chan fans. Cernovich sure doesn't have any fans at liberal outlet Media Matters! You can read their coverage of his work here; and similar hatred for him is here and here. When attacked, Cernovich gives as good as he gets.

In a 2 April article and 3 April 2017 videoCernovich asserted that Susan Rice was at the centre of the Russian-Trump wire-tapping intelligence scandal. It was Cernovich's scoop, not because others did not also have the information, but because others in the MSM chose not to report it.

In appealing to his youthful audience, Cernovich made much of both points. His message: watch him to get the lowdown first on what is happening; and watch him because he has the guts to tell you what others won't. He also builds his brand through bragging, bluster, and brawling with other social media personalities in ways that wear down resistance to him as an unknown quantity:
"I'm starting to like this mythos created about me. The media has turned me into this James Bond villain who has connections to Russian hackers and foreign governments, and can lead hacking campaigns across the world and influence elections. I'm not even going to argue with that shit. I'm going to be like, 'Yeah, you caught me. You're right. I'm a fucking James Bond villain, you know? Thank God.'" 
He introduces his audience to his wife and daughter, and discusses random topics on Friday evening Youtube cigar nights from his patio. Compare this to Anderson Cooper at CNN or Stephen Sackur at the BBC, and you see Mike Cernovich - a late Gen Xer - operates in a Brave New World.

A caveat: my discussion of controversial symbols and ideas in this post in no way indicates my personal belief in, or endorsement of, those symbols and themes. This is an apolitical blog, and my intent in the current series of posts is to uncover the nature of an emerging technological ideology, not to take sides in political debates or support offensive content.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Aleppo's Disinfo D-Day


Umayyad mosque photographed on 12 March 2009 and 17 December 2016. Image Source: The Atlantic.

The Guardian has today published photographs showing Aleppo, Syria as it appeared before the civil war started on 15 March 2011 and how it appears now. Photo credits: The Guardian/ Omar Sanadiki / Khalil Ashawi / Reuters.

The old city photographed on 13 December 2016.

The courtyard of al-Sheebani school photographed on 17 December 2016.

Blame over Syria's devastation intensifies after the murder of the Russian ambassador, Andrey Karlov, on 19 December 2016 at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey. You can see the terrible, raw video, here. The Double-007-type assassin, Mevlut Mert Altıntas, was Aleppo's self-styled avenger. The Telegraph asserted the assassin was an élite policeman who had guarded President ErdoğanKremlin-sourced online rumour mongers believe the killer was an anti-Russian NATO agent. Raw Story:
"The footage also shows the assassin saying a religious verse in Arabic: a pledge for jihad for Muhammed moments after the attack. He also said in Turkish: 'Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria. Until our towns are safe, you will not taste safety. Only death will take me away from here. Everyone who played a role in this cruelty will pay.'"
Several western MSM sources are accusing Syria, Russia and Iran of war crimes for bombarding civilians during a truce to evacuate the formerly-rebel-held city. You can see details at Human Rights Watch, hereWashington Times:
"Iran’s brutal Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force has played an extensive role in the rape of Aleppo, building a network of bases around the Syrian city and directing militiamen from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan to do the killing, an Iranian opposition group says in a new intelligence report. 
'The fact is that Aleppo has been occupied by the IRGC and its mercenaries,' says the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, or MEK, the largest opposition group to the Islamic mullahs who rule Iran. 'Mass executions, preventing the transfer of the civilians, including women and children, [and] attacking the civilians has all been done by the forces of the mullahs' regime.'"
Heart-rending photograph of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh from Aleppo (August 2016). Image Source: CNN.

Smoke and mirrors: it is difficult to determine the nature of American and Russian involvement in Syria and the way ISIS was sponsored to destroy Assad's government. It is clear that ISIS got out of control.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shamans, Scandals and Post-Truth Totalitarianism


Image Source: Korean Exposé.

Three gigantic scandals currently challenge propriety and public service in politics. They raise the question of how the Internet is transforming government and the exercise of power. They also confirm a theme which I have considered here, namely, that futuristic technology is breathing life into old, mythical traditions, and not all of those traditions are nice or easy to manage. At the heart of all three scandals sits WikiLeaks, demonstrating that Julian Assange is a shaman in his own right. This post does not speculate on the truth of the scandals, but assesses what they mean for what is left of civil society and government. Warning: read no further if you are a minor or if you want to avoid offensive content.

Monday, November 7, 2016

World War III Projections 1: The Worm That Sleeps in the Wild


The Clutch album, Psychic Warfare, released 2 October 2015 by Weathermaker Music (for a taster, go here). Image Source: Jeff  Draws.

Like religions, wars are indices of technology. Henry David Thoreau said: "What is human warfare but just this; an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party." War also involves a psychological marshaling of forces as well as catharses. It permits a descent into savagery, and paradoxically produces efficient organization which rewards strategists. Brutal and logical, unbridled and innovative, war turns the unthinkable into reality.

Future of robotics - Boston Dynamics.
Future of robotics - Boston Dynamics.
Posted by Arch2O.com on Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Although there is a popular belief that we will regress to sticks and stones, conflicts serve jumps in innovation. When radical testing is needed to assimilate knowledge secretly, war can enable unspeakable experiments beyond the usual subterfuges. The first use of airplanes in war occurred in 1911, in a conflict between Italy and Libya - one of several engagements fought around the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

This fact should inspire concern in a time when the tech industry is developing new capabilities ever more quickly, compulsively upgrading for the sake hyper-innovation. Technology departs the realm of engineers as mechanical capabilities intensify and deepen; tech is becoming more organic, intimate, integrated, more moral or spiritual than ever before. It is altering our behaviour; how we think; and what we think. Gadget designs are on the verge of becoming physically invasive.

This is the first of a series of posts which will ask what World War III would, or will, be like in an age of global communications. Given the way it is administered, the Internet as we know it would break down. But several systems would replace it.

Because currencies collapse in war zones, I wanted to know what would happen with gold and Bitcoin. It is a vast topic, so I will reserve gold and war for a future post. However, my first search on recent disappearances of large amounts of gold brought up a curious conspiracy theory that USD $740 million of gold and other precious metals disappeared from a two storey vault under the World Trade Center complex after 9/11.

Bitcoin, the currency of the Internet, could gain in value in a time of war; or perhaps the damage to the existing Internet would render Bitcoin worthless. There are two pages on page on Reddit where people have discussed this:
  • "In WW3 we all die. The only working currencies are ammo and iodine. But when people come out of the bunkers and restart civilization - there is a chance that one of them is a bitcoiner. Anyways bitcoin could be the currency for exchanging value between nations that hate one-another."
  • "How do you think the existing financial system works ... beads and shells? If WW3 kicks off this will be the least of our worries. However seen as you have asked I would imagine due to its inherent decentralization bitcoin would be extremely resilient. What other ledger of account is self propagating and distributed across 1000s of nodes? It may even be in space before long."
  • "Every soldier will get a 20 satoshi ration (worth $20 in 2026)"
  • "It will become completely worthless as well as fiat money will become worthless. The Blockchain will simply freeze because you need more energy then a coal plant generates to find new blocks at a reasonable time ... Nobody would be able to effort so much energy just to keep the Blockchain alive."
  • "Dont you think developers could Manually adjust difficulty?"
  • "Assuming there are developers with electricity and a computer, with an uplink? There is a fair probability that for at least the first while, they will have more important things on their mind than getting the blockchain running again. After that, a Hard Fork could be pushed to adjust difficulty, but at that point you'd have an interesting time pushing it."
  • "And whoever was pushing it would be effectively campaigning for election to run a gasp central bank."
  • "I was entertaining the thought of a 51% attack. Same concept, but whoever can get the ball rolling would be in control. Of course, it doesn't even begin to get into how war time inflation works, and how bartering winds up being used because the currencies can't keep up value-wise. A full blown world war would decimate bitcoin for a while I think, even if people somewhere were working on preserving it."
  • "The worst part of the war will be fought electronically. Governments will 'hack' each others systems to cause financial ruin. Grids will go down, markets will loose all information, treatment plants will go offline. Any server that can be pinpointed will be vulnerable. Most of all credit will stop causing most to fend for themselves. How this affects Bitcoin is that it runs on servers. I would think in the early stages of full scale mobilization people will flock to it but if the war drags on into most systems being taken off line it would probably become pretty useless. If things got to that point though currency would be the least of your problems. Most likely we would be forced to live under a feudal system where each ruler that can protect his population would seek to get back online and communicate with the rest of the world. In that case the original blockchain would most likely be lost and a new one would be started. But Im just guessing."
  • "Depends on how bad things get. The blockchain ledger would still exist in multiple states, I'm sure someone would've made a backup of it. However, screwing with the blockchain ledger would get significantly easier. With a lot less mining nodes around, reaching that 51% of hashing power would be more feasible. If you still had internet. If you still had power. But honestly, if WW3 happens and you somehow survive, I don't think the loss of your bitcoins will be your real problem. Finding things like food and shelter and clothing would be your real priority, and then if you somehow managed to get electricity flowing again, and jerry rigged an intarweb connection, then you'd be worried about recovering from backups (you did make backups, right) and seeing what's left of your BTC stash. Even gold would be more or less useless in a Mad Max screnario for the most part. Personally, I'm anticipating a Weimar type hyperinflation, where the phones and power all worked. Maybe I'm being too optimistic about the future? We'll see. You can tell me you told me so, if I'm wrong :)"
  • "I would be more concerned with forks in the blockchain when nations isolate themselves (internet wise) due to the embargoes (digital and otherwise) that would result. The fork would cause real problems for Bitcoin after the reconciliation of warring nation states. Let's hope this never happens."
  • "I actually think that gold and silver would quickly re-establish as money in a post-apocalyptic world. Basically I think civilization would revert to a historical model appropriate to whatever infrastructure and technology remain. Even if that meant returning to a lifestyle like ancient Rome, there would be local strongmen with armies and headquarters, there would be farms and protection money paid to operate them, there would be something very much like taxation, and there would be a need for a medium of exchange with all the classic properties of money ... just like there has been in every place and time, all throughout history. In the first few weeks after the bombs fall, food, water, and ammunition will reign supreme; but in the months and years after that, gold and silver will revert to their historic role."
  • "What? You mean that all these bottle caps I have been collecting in case of a post-apocalyptic scenario was for nothing? In all seriousness, I agree that we would either go back to the gold/silver/copper standard. A digital currency wouldn't be of much use with no internet."
Those chatting on Reddit did not consider that Bitcoin is entangled with the development of cyberwarfare. Just as Bitcoin challenges the power of central state banks, on this developing front of cyberwarfare, the full computing might of nation-states is brought to bear against that of state and non-state actors. In 2016, there were reports that ISIS had been attacked through cyberwarfare. In terms of politics, technological evolution during World War III will be tied to the evolution of the nation-state.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2016: Clown Detour


Image Source: Instagram/Vin Innocente via HuffPo / Café Mom.

In March 2014, a person dressed as a clown terrified citizens of the New York borough of Staten Island. The clown stole around the streets at night and lurked near train stations. HuffPo:
"A mysterious clown has been roaming the streets of Staten Island and freaking out local residents.

Staten Islanders have been posting pictures and videos on social media of a person dressed up like a clown wearing a yellow outfit, red shoes and a mask while holding balloons and waving to the cameras, the Staten Island Advance reported.

The clown has been spotted at night near the Richmond Valley and Grasmere train stations and in front of a Chinese restaurant during the day on Richmond Avenue, according to the Advance and online posts.

'I wish I was joking dude, it scared the heck out of me,' Michael Levy posted on his Instagram photo of the clown behind a tree at night. 'I thought it was like some dummy or cardboard standup thing at first until he pointed at me.'"
Image Source: Instagram/Robert Privitera via HuffPo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A New Lament Configuration



It is odd that an architect, much less an American Gen X architect, commissioned to do a World Trade Center design, would not check the cultural message associated with his design at such a sensitive site. From Inhabitat, the new renderings of the Ronald O. Perelman World Trade Center Performing Arts Center released this week show a glowing, lantern-like cube:
"According to the architect, Joshua Prince-Ramus, the rooms and halls will all feature moveable walls that will create up to 11 configurations. ... Designed by REX, the building will be made out of translucent, veined marble and glass, which will give it dull sheen during the day."
I cannot believe that the REX lead architect does not know about Clive Barker's horror puzzle box, also known as the Lament Configuration, which opened gateways to hell in all the Hellraiser films. Youtubers recognized it immediately: "It's the cube from Hellraiser!" This is not the way to quell 9/11 conspiracy theories. The WTC Twin Towers appeared in Hellraiser 3 (1992); you can see the scene here. That flim ended with the box being hidden in the soft cement of a skyscraper foundation in Manhattan, which influenced its subsequent design. In Hellraiser 4 (1996), the skycraper and architect become the epicentre of another battle with demons.

Video Source: The Real Deal via Youtube.

The REX WTC Performing Arts Center design (September 2016). Image Source: yimby.

The conclusion of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992). Image Source: Edge of the Fringe.

The Hellraiser III promotional poster featured the Twin Towers. Image Source: Subscene.

See my previous post on Hellraiser 3, here.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Anniversaries: 11 September 2001


Image Source: TheoPol.

On 15 July 2016, newly declassified information appeared to confirm the Saudi government's larger role in 9/11 than previously publicly known. You can see footage of World Trade Center Building 7 burning, released in October 2011 here on Live Leak via the Freedom of Information Act, which disputed conspiracy theorists' claims about controlled demolitions.

I visited Ground Zero in spring 2002; the scorch marks in the surrounding area were still visible. In particular, one neighbouring skyscraper looked as though a gigantic piece of charcoal had drawn a line up one whole side. Just that scorch mark, six months after the event, looked like a physical manifestation of a scream in an unbelievable fire. I will never forget it.

Image Source: Creeping Sharia.

On 24 August 2015, Marcy Borders, a Bank of America worker who was captured in an iconic 'dust lady' photograph on 9/11, died after battling years of depression, post-traumatic stress, illness and finally stomach cancer. She was 28 years old on 9/11 and died at age 42, likely due to the toxic contaminants she inhaled that day.

Video Source: Youtube.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saudi Arabia in the Age of Open Information


Video Source: Youtube.

A new documentary, Saudi Arabia Uncovered (2016), shows footage secretly filmed inside the kingdom, and highlights the tension between state oppression and freedom of speech embodied in global technology. The film was broadcast in Britain on ITV on 22 March 2016. You can see reports on the film herehere and here. Circulation of the film online coincides this week with a US State Department Country Report (here) damning human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. On 12 April 2016, a jailed blogger profiled in the above film, Raif Badawi, was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize, which recognizes courageous writers who defend freedom of speech. In 2013, Badawi was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for writing a liberal blog. He started a hunger strike from prison in December 2015; his sister was briefly imprisoned in January 2016. Badawi's family fled and took refuge in Canada.

"Ensaf Haidar, wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, will collect the freedom of speech award on his behalf." Image Source: Patrick Seeger/EPA via The Guardian.

The documentary is part of a flurry of negative American and UK media coverage of Saudi Arabia this spring. In March 2016, a University of Waterloo talk and a Washington DC Codepink conference revealed brewing western speculation that Saudi Arabia is not sustainable. In part, that is due to falling oil prices, and an unfolding "Shakespearean story ... over who will be the next king." There were negative reports on the kingdom in Foreign Affairs and The Atlantic in March and April 2016.

"In this lecture Bruce Riedel discusses Middle East policy with a focus on Saudi Arabia and its evolving role in the region. Riedel is director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution. ... Riedel was a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four presidents of the United States in the staff of the National Security Council at the White House." Centre for International Governance Innovation, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (31 March 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

At the centre that debate is Hillary Clinton and her American presidential bid, which should raise some red flags on the timing and tone of information releases. One Codepink conference participant reported in HuffPo last month that Clinton had overseen billions in arms deals to Saudi Arabia to enable attacks on Yemen (this was reported at The Intercept in February 2016). Saudi Arabia heavily funded Clinton's presidential campaign and Clinton Foundation donors concluded related weapons deals via the US State Department while Clinton was Secretary of State. This spring, journalists and blogs began reading Clinton's leaked, released and hacked emails. WikiLeaks released PDFs of secret Saudi diplomatic cables in November 2015 and Clinton's Secretary-of-State declassified emails on 29 February 2016. On 9 March 2016, Zero Hedge sifted through different releases of the Clinton emails and found that the 2012 Benghazi incident was funded by the Saudis:
"This means we have an e-mail from a trusted Clinton adviser that claims the Saudis funded the Benghazi attack, and not only was this not followed up on, but there is not any record of this e-mail ever existing except for the Russia Today leak."
Other conservative reports claim there is a phone conversation transcript, released 14 April 2016 (here), apparently confirming that Clinton knew that Benghazi was planned and not a spontaneous protest.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Time and Politics 18: Quid Pro Quo


Follow Your Dreams/Cancelled by Banksy (2010) on a wall in Boston's Chinatown. Image Source: Lifehack.

Do not ask if the middle class is dead and where the political blame lies. Ask how much time you have, now that they are dying or already dead. Ask what has happened in the past in other societies after a middle class has died. Most people in the middle classes are waiting for things to improve. If that does not happen, there are two modern roads out of extreme social inequality and economic disparity: revolution or a police state. This was the message, on 20 March 2016, when BBC World News broadcast a programme on the post-recession destruction of the middle classes, entitled The Super Rich and Us, hosted by Jacques Peretti.

For a time after the Second World War, the social contract became quid pro quo - meaning, 'this for that' or 'something for something.' In English-speaking countries, it is a contractual concept under the Common Law, "an item or service traded in return for something of value." The Latin expression is the source for the British slang 'quid' for the pound sterling. One would work for a certain amount of time and gain money and a livelihood in return. Now however, the social contract is increasingly just - quo.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Time and Politics 17: The Oath


Microbiologist Dr. Siouxsie Wiles brings science to the public in collaboration with artists who paint with bioluminescent bacteria: "Bioluminescent portrait of Donald Trump at the WSF Brisbane, painted by Ray Coffey. Photo by Chris Proud, Old Museum Network (Queensland Museum [Australia])." Image Source: SBS.

On 20 March 2016, Bill Maher joked on HBO (ep. 14/381) about Donald Trump's ignorance, because Trump claimed to get all his information off the Internet. Trump has also promised to shut down the Internet if he is elected. He stated he would shut down parts of the Internet domestically and internationally when necessary to restrict terror operatives. He later expanded that promise beyond terror threats. Snopes found the reports on Trump and the Internet to convey 'mixed truth'; on 7 December 2015, Trump stated in South Carolina:
"We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way ... Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people."

Monday, December 21, 2015

Awaken the Amnesiacs 3: The Hermetics


The hermetic principle of silence. Image Source: Lilipilyspirit.

Dark days behind us: today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere (04:49 UTC). The December solstice refers to birth or rebirth of the weakened sun in northern countries, often described in allegorical terms, as one New Age writer puts it: "The sun is dawning after the increasing darkness of winter. The Winter Solstice is nature’s physical equivalent of a spiritual awakening and enlightenment." From Theosophy Northwest:
At the winter solstice the universal currents of life help human consciousness to enter divine spheres. At the same time spiritual energy can descend from higher worlds into the human arena: the gods "descend into hell" to garner experience in their underworld -- our own world -- thereby bringing inspiration and enlightenment to humanity. At this time each of us also may undergo a new birth. Nature has opened the door, and it is up to us to recognize this and take a step further.
For denizens of the New Age Internet, this solstice is the culmination of 2015's online spiritual awakening, perhaps a Fifth Great Awakening in the United States, occasioned by a proclaimed end to the war between the sexes. When combined with hermeticism, discussed in today's post, the gnostic truce between the sexes attacks all polarized categorizations of identity. Online gurus argue that only hardened egoists prosper in an environment where inflexible categorizations of identity are the norm. Spiritual commentators prefer to cultivate a continuum of identities and they expect that spectrum to expand social compassion.

The winter solstice at Stonehenge. Image Source: Stonehenge Trips.

In the aftermath of the supposed collapse of egocentric western dualism, hermeticists pick up the pieces, to recover cultural memory and allow their amnesiac followers to 'remember' earlier ways of identifying with the physical, rational, emotional and spiritual aspects of existence. The hermetic part of this phenomenon makes the now-gender-neutral collective unconscious 'conscious' in practical senses, as with the establishment of new political movements. Of course, the shift in values is not widespread or universal. Nor are gnostic-hermetic solutions necessarily good ones, whatever their devotees may expect.

One must step back from the arcane language and beliefs to observe the actual trend behind them. Online debates on these subjects in mid-late 2015 indicate a tipping point, wherein interaction in virtual reality has begun to change behaviour and awareness on deeper levels. The Internet is breaking down and synthesizing demarcated experiences, whether between mind and body, between the genders, between the individual and the collective, or between the local and global. Perhaps hermeticism and gnosticism are the most durable ideas available in western culture to describe flexible identification, as individuals find themselves simultaneously immersed in virtual reality and 'real' reality.

China's One Belt, One Road Initiative (2015). Image Source: Roman Wilhelm/MERICS/The Diplomat.

One may ask how spiritual issues pertain to hard reality. Why does the New Age Internet matter, when China is building naval bases in the South China Sea, the Red Sea, and on the west coast of Africa? These online trends matter because societies rise and fall according to their adaptability when confronted with jumps in technology, social changes, and ensuing geopolitical conflicts. World War III, when (or if) it arrives, and everything that leads up to it, will depend on global connectivity. How our brains respond to connectivity and the ideas we discover or rediscover through that response may be essential to cultural resourcefulness and survival.

To ask these questions about western values now is akin to asking how the introduction of the printing press in Germany (1439-1440) led to the Protestant Reformation (1517-1617) and the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). The spiritual and moral outlook of a society is indexed to its level of technology and prosperity. When the latter two factors change, so does the former. Anomie and aporia, experienced then as now, will lead to experiments to develop values better suited to new ways of living. But that process emerges through trial and error. Societies sometimes depend on war to determine a new dominant narrative.

My treatment of these topics comes with a caveat. While I may comment on unusual online material here, I do not personally identify with evidence I uncover. Hermetic traditions and politics can be weird, occult, radical, fringe or extremist. My comments in this series of blog posts do not constitute my endorsement of these beliefs. They are presented here as part of an examination of the cultural historical impact of the Internet on western values, under increasingly universalized, yet decentralized and chaotic conditions. I also do not personally agree with conspiracy theories mentioned here, but rather regard them as signs of contemporary mentalities.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hallowe'en Countdown 2015: Post-Apocalypse Rehab


Image Source: Archillect.

Some readers may have noticed a shift in attitudes, mood and consciousness since the summer. Several people have commented to me that they feel as though this year was split down the middle. The first half was what you thought reality was, and the second half is what reality really is. The evidence is anecdotal, but I explain that common feeling in terms of piling technological change upon global change, until what we experience does a somersault and collapses over upon itself to become something else. It is as though we became addicted in the first fifteen years of the 21st century to eradicating the 20th century. And now, after all the hammer blows, we are finally succeeding.

The 2nd century BCE Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra blown up by ISIL in July or August 2015. Image Source: Wiki.

Not so fast - the 20th century dies hard. Every attempt to erase its history promises a return of its worst excesses. Holocaust denial, 9/11 denial, this denial, that denial. This summer, ISIS beheaded Palmyra's lead archaeologist and blew up temples in Palmyra's ruins. You can see lists of cultural heritage sites destroyed by ISIS herehere and here. These sites were the pride of 20th century archaeologists and represented the common history of humanity:
In the midst of this eradication of history, deniers say: 'get informedYou need to know the real truth.' US critics claim that the American administration funded ISIS to topple the Assad régime. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has stepped forward to defend what remains of Syria's government. At the UN on 28 September 2015, Putin, KGB-turned-environmentalist-soothsayer, demanded of western leaders: "Do you realize what you've done?" It was a masterful speech, because a lot of it was true, but it was true in a way that played to competing cultures of truth. In late 2014, Putin argued that the Americans engaged in "unprofessional politics," by continuing their Middle East objectives through ISIS proxies. One cannot deny the Americans' dismal half-baked imperialism, implemented through isolationist and exceptionalist navel-gazing, but none of that makes Vladimir Putin the pacifist voice of reason. Nor does it make ISIS into the capitalist mercenaries which Putin claims them to be.

Machinations in international affairs are an odd form of denial, too. However the dominoes fall, no Realpolitik truth about ISIS brings anyone closer to preparing for the hardcore reality ISIS is conceiving, the one in which, following bloodshed across the Levant, they blow up the Egyptian pyramids, assassinate the Pope, and destroy the Vatican in RomeISIS plans to take over India by 2020 in an effort to spark a world war. One commenter below a Times of India report did not believe a word of it. Why would ISIS invade India? "They are planning to wash clothes haha."

The new media men. Image Source: Business Insider.

The ISIS reality - in which beheadings are the norm and most of Syria flees the ISIS advance, while ISIS fighters cross the Sinai Peninsula, other ISIS groups close in on Jordan and Lebanon, and the Saudis build a giant anti-ISIS wall along their border with Iraq - brings 20th century lessons back to the table. The question is not where ISIS came from, who funded them, or who can destroy or control them. The question is: what is ISIS? The Islamic State is bigger than the great power politics out of which it grows. ISIS turns the post-apocalypse into a pre-apocalypse. Their colourful armageddon includes a baby cyclops Antichrist and a Jesus who will supposedly resurrect to help them fight Israel, although the story ignores bits of Islamic prophecy they do not like. So - they are not as doctrinaire as all that. ISIS fighters represent something larger than an internal Islamic Sunni revolution. The medium is the message: their mythological doomsday brand is a perfect commodity to go viral in the market of global communications. What is ISIS? The Islamic State's media men are anti-history pioneers, who explore how far they can go, now that history - at least in the virtual realm - is dead. The Islamic State fills the gaps between the state-centric real world and virtual anti-statism.

Technology and the Internet allow any history to be rewritten, erased or disbelieved, and in the resulting environment, anyone can do anything. There are no limits. Pro-ISIS Websites dismiss reports of ISIS atrocities as online fakes. Malleable history initiates a power game around the creation of reality and enables a resurgence of violence. Malleable history awakens the shadow self in human nature.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Magic, Numerology and the IMF


Planning/Knowledge mural at Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Painting by Ben Long. Image Source: Vigilant Citizen.

What does the year 2000 mean? What did it mean? Nothing. There is no innate significance about it, other than the cultural weight associated with the calendar and religious history. In reality, the passing from one year (1999) to another (2000) meant nothing. However, symbolically speaking, the arrival of the year 2000 was imagined as a huge moment of change.

The mass media, on the Internet, in news, politics, entertainment, and tech circles, convey fake symbolic assessments about the momentous shift to a new age. Moreover, entertainment figures and historic actors blur the line between fiction and fact around this mantra all the time. Other people do it too. Just as the years 1984 and 2012 and the day 9/11 became cultural artifacts, false significance is imposed upon the year 2000. What people do in real life, how and what they create, what they perceive and express, all become narratives constructed around the new Millennium. Thus, although the year 2000 was no more a turning point than the year 1996 or the year 2004, the stubbornly-held conviction that 2000 had to be an enormous moment of change is increasingly mischievous and pernicious.

The trend is evident all over popular politics and culture. The insistence that 2000 must have 'changed everything' means that people are now doing things in large and small ways to 'change everything.' In the artificial quest to change everything, an old visual and numerological lexicon has given the quest false meanings. Throughout the mass media, above all in the entertainment industry, marketers are borrowing symbols from an occult cultural heritage. They are using these symbols like loaded guns, pointing them at the year 2000, forcing that year and subsequent decades to become what they think this time period must become.