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 sorted by relevance for query drones. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query drones. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Drones, And Rumours of Drones


Residents concerned as FAA investigates mystery Colorado drones (31 December 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

It's like a scene from a 1970s' Spielberg film: Internet chatter among Youtubers indicates that since the third week of December 2019, fleets of drones have been flying at night in "research grid formation" in the United States, "[o]ut west. Colorado, Nebraska, Idaho, Wyoming." Some of these drones have wingspans of six feet and have hovered for hours over small towns. This has provoked a storm of discussion on the legality of drone invasion of airspace over, and even inside, private homes, about which I previously blogged, here.

FAA, other agencies investigating mysterious Colorado drone sightings; remote ID rule proposed (31 December 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Drone Precedents: Point and Click


The unmanned drone MQ-9 Reaper, made by General Atomics, designed in 2001, first introduced into use by the US Air Force in 2007. This photo is from Afghanistan. Image Source: US Air Force via Defense Update.

This is the third in three posts on discrepancies between declared meaning and hard reality and the problems those gaps cause in emerging Millennial history. Today's post focuses on warfare. The 2014 documentary Drone, directed by Norwegian director Tonje Hessen Schei, summarized the change from a critical perspective. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom reviewed the film in 2015:
"The international community has stressed that drone strikes involve killings without due process that are violating international law and human rights, most importantly the right to life. There have been strong concerns that drone operations do not gather sufficient information to establish legal targets, resulting in indiscriminate killings. The precision of drones, so fondly asserted by their supporters, is a myth.

Someone who knows all about this crude reality is Brandon Bryant, a former US Air Force drone operator diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, who is now speaking out to the world on what he experienced during his time flying drones. In the documentary, he describes the light-hearted, often nonchalant, atmosphere in the control room, half a world away from the people they were targeting, and how he himself grew more and more jaded for each strike."
The documentary (available at time of writing, here) sounds an alarm on drone development; the film regards drones as an international, not purely American, problem; and it criticizes the Republicans and especially the Democrats for their endorsement of the drone programme. The narration opens with an interview with Brandon Bryant, as he reflected on how drone operation dehumanized him:
"I didn't really understand what it meant to kill at first. It was horrible. Sometimes it plays itself over and over again in your head, so much that you, you just imagine who these people were. We sat in a box for nearly twelve hour shifts. I [was] typically on the night shift. It was quieter. All the lights were usually off, except for the light coming from the monitors. It was so weird just being able to watch people's lives. ... I remember watching a wedding. I mean, these were people enjoying themselves. These were people celebrating, like, a wedding. You know? Like - but someone in that wedding was a bad person, and at that moment, they were celebrating. It's just weird, like, I'm watching this person, and this person has no clue. We're the ultimate voyeurs, the ultimate Peeping Toms. No one's going to catch us, and we're getting orders to take these people's lives. It was just - point and click."
Bryant claimed most of his fellow drone pilots did not view their operations that way, and some threatened him when he came forward to criticize drones. At the other end of engagement, civilians sitting under drone attacks regard them as despicable and illegal. Lawyers in Pakistan have taken drone attack cases before their courts as criminal extrajudicial killings. But the paper trail disappears when it reaches the American government's doorstep, due to the confidentiality of unidentified authorities and top secret status of intelligence officers. In 2015, The Guardian called "Obama's drone panopticon" a "secret machine with no accountability." In the old military system, information can pinpoint those who violate military laws and court martial them. In the new military system, information disappears.




The verdict on conventional warfare from 2001 to 2008: Abu Ghraib prison torture in 2003 Image Source: Progressive Charlestown. The Senate committee report on torture was published on 30 December 2014. Image Source: Christian Science Monitor. Wife at the grave of an American soldier. Image Source: The Daily Call. Approximately half of veterans (over 1 million former military personnel) returned home to suffer PTSD, drug problems, convoluted governmental support, unemployment in the Great Recession, and other difficulties. A homeless veteran in Houston, Texas. Image Source: IFTBQP. Wiki: "In 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that covered suicides from 1999 to 2010, which showed that roughly 22 veterans were committing suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes."

Barack Obama's drone programme grew out of a catastrophic evaluation of George W. Bush's conventional wars. The Americans faced huge criticism and problems over their handling of the War in Afghanistan (2001-2014) and the Iraq War (2003-present). Abu Ghraib prison, torture, and Guantanamo Bay became ugly mirrors which the big media held up to show a proud nation its shameful inhumanity. The media and experts challenged the justifications and WMD premises for the war. Bush's conventional war was also astronomically expensive. In 2004, Osama bin Laden stated that one of al-Qaeda's aims was to provoke the USA into military conflict to the point of bankruptcy. He almost succeeded. Critics blamed the 2008 meltdown partly on the cost of war. In 2013, Reuters reported that the Iraq War and its related aftermath could cost USD $6 trillion over the next four decades, including interest.

Enter the drone, a comparatively cheap, recessionary weapon. In 2015, The Daily Dot reported that Obama requested roughly USD $561 billion in defense spending for the following year, with a growing portion devoted to drones or drone research, to around USD $5 billion by 2016. This was the projected cost of 'soft defense' with a 'small footprint': "While controversial for a variety of reasons, the drone program was supposed to usher in the era of a slimmer, smarter military for the U.S." Bard College has a Center for the Study of the Drone, which broke down America's annual drone budget for 2016 (here) and 2017 (here). According to one PBS opinion piece, the Democrats paid for the drones by printing money, as part of recessionary quantitative easing.

So, Obama declared: war is peace. Drone technology effectively continued Bush's Middle Eastern military policy in a different style. Single, targeted drone attacks became more widespread, akin to drone bombing. The Intercept dug through leaked classified drone papers, especially those for Operation Haymaker in Afghanistan in 2012-2013, and found large numbers of civilian casualties. For all the earlier concerns in Iraq and Afghanistan, this was a troubling shift in operational perspective. The Democrats' policy obscured reality, and was conceptually, politically and philosophically dislocated from the reality it created. This war continued mostly out of the public eye, behind a façade of peace. The film Drone maintains that the sympathetic Democratic rhetoric of humanitarianism and frugal economy held the moral high ground over the sabre-rattling of hawkish Republicans. However, the Democrats' withdrawal of troops and peaceable rhetoric cynically, strategically - and progressively - continued the war with drone technology and mercenaries, who replaced American soldiers on the ground.


Blackwater gained public attention when four of their mercenaries were ambushed, killed and burned on a bridge in Fallujah, Iraq, on 31 March 2004. It took two military battles for the Americans to take the city. After the victory in December 2004, the Marines signed the bridge with their Latin motto. In the photo above, 3/5 is the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment of the Marines, also known as the Darkhorse. From 2005 to 2011, investigative reports linked birth defects in Fallujah to the US Army's use of white phosphorous. The incident showed how unconventional mercenaries and weapons overlapped with conventional forces and the media. Images Sources: Mount Holyoke University; flickr.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton condemned the Bush State Department's employment of the military contractor Blackwater. But a 2014 HuffPo investigation found that shortly thereafter, Clinton's State Department stepped up hiring of private armies; her office promised Blackwater (now known as Academi) USD $500 million in mercenary contracts. In 2010, Wired reported that Clinton's State Department signed a five-year contract worth over USD $10 billion with a mercenary umbrella group called, 'International Development Solutions,' which included Academi-formerly-known-as-Blackwater. In 2014, there were rumours that Academi and an affiliated, Barbados-based company, Greystone, were active in the Ukraine. Other Blackwater shell companies, like Paravant, have grimly ironic names (a paravent is a portable bedroom privacy screen). According to Wired, here are a few other names Blackwater, its subsidiaries, or related merc companies have taken on to shed baggage:
  • Total Intelligence Solutions
  • Technical Defense Inc.
  • Apex Management Solutions LLC
  • Aviation Worldwide Services LLC
  • Air Quest Inc.
  • Presidential Airways Inc.
  • EP Aviation LLC
  • Backup Training LLC
  • Terrorism Research Center
  • Xe Services LLC
  • Worldwide Protective Services
  • AAR Corp.
The employer-reviews Website, Glassdoor, has employees' reviews of International Development Solutions; one reads: "Great pay. Travel is awesome. [But y]ou're away from home quite often." Darker parts of the story emerged in 2016 about an embryonic private air force (here and here), while ex-Blackwater CEO Erik Prince aided in China's quiet imperial conquest of Africa. One blog devoted to overseas military contractors calls them "the best kept secret of the wars." Contractors and drones allowed war to disappear (largely) from the media; conflict faded into the background behind the term, 'deniability.' Regardless of the winner in the American presidential race, this approach will continue. The current foreign policy advisor to Donald Trump is Joseph Schmitz, a former Blackwater executive.

Even more than before, politicians separated cause from effect and meaning from reality. This policy created two contemporary historical narratives, the politicized metahistory, and the factual course of events. The misleading image of a kinder, gentler government became easier to cultivate, because warfare was conducted through several degrees of separation and obscured political responsibility. Drone argues that Obama disapproved of Guantanamo Bay, so he solved that problem by killing suspects with drones, thereby avoiding the public relations mess of capturing, incarcerating them and facing scrutiny over that process. Critics in Drone maintain that this policy by-passed international and national legal systems (as opposed to violating them, as the Bush administration had). Other critics assert that the same policy encouraged the rise of ISIS. Drones are one of the reasons why ISIS are so keen to provoke the Americans back into boots-on-the ground, hand-to-hand combat in the Middle East. In their eyes, a bloody human clash is the true contest between societies, and remote-piloted drones are the weapons of cowards.

Purported drone killing (12 November 2015) of 'Jihadi John' aka Mohammed Emwazi (born Muhammad Jassim Abdulkarim Olayan al-Dhafiri), a Londoner who beheaded several high-profile western captives for ISIS, including American journalist James Foley on 19 August 2014 (see my post on Foley's beheading here). ISIS confirmed Emwazi's death in January 2016. The gamer who posted this video on 13 November 2015 rejoices in the killing. This is likely the wrong footage, revealing public difficulty in confirming the details of drone warfare. According to the Daily Mail, Emwazi was killed on a street while talking on his cell phone. Video Source: Youtube

The psychological orientation of drone battle is different from conventional warfare. One army sits, thousands of miles away from the arena of action. Their engagement is virtual, disconnected from direct combat, and they target enemies dispersed among a civilian population. The documentary observes that human operators of drones will soon be replaced by computer algorithms, thus making the targeting of undesirable individuals in the world nearly fully automated. Proponents of algorithmic pilots argue that an algorithm is more objective than human drone operators. At present, the human decision to assassinate an individual or group depends on intelligence analysis and a chain of command. The intelligence is gathered through governmental monitoring of private citizens' information, combined with international intelligence tips - including, the film asserts - from the European Union, whose governments have not criticized Obama's policy on drones.

In DroneColonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005, remarked that the advent of drones changes the legal connotations of war, and positions the soldier as more murderer than defender of his or her society. Drone operations demand a different kind of recruit, from soldiers who are physically, organizationally and strategically trained for combat, to soldiers who are computer gamers. The US military has developed unmanned airplane computer games to ferret out and attract drone pilot recruits at as early an age as possible. From Wilkerson in Drone:
"It's a very different youth group that we're dealing with, that we're forcing into this environment of killing. And it's a very different form of killing, when you're in Nevada and the people you're killing are ten thousand miles away. We have something in the armed forces that we call the 'warrior ethos.' You destroy that when you go out and kill people and you're totally invulnerable. I think the drone business, the distance imposed, amplifies this a hundredfold. And the distinction between killing for state purposes under just war theory and killing for state purposes with no vulnerability is, I think, the difference between killing in a way that is recognized and legalized, even, and murder. How did we get to the point where we're no longer warriors, we're murderers for the state?"

Friday, August 2, 2013

World Wildlife Federation Uses Drones to Protect Animals from Poachers


Confiscated rhino horns. Image Source: One More Generation.

The rising new middle classes in Asia are pumping up the demand for ivory and other endangered species' animal parts, which are used in medicines, charms and food. Slate interviewed a World Wildlife Federation spokesperson about how the WWF is using drones to safeguard animals in an increasingly high tech battle with poachers; the money for the drones came from search engine giant Google in 2012:
Ariel Bogle: In recent months, the WWF began trials of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) where wildlife poaching is occurring. How did this come about?

Carter Roberts: In the early 2000s, we thought we had generally solved the wildlife trade. There were only 20 or so rhinos poached a year in South Africa. Then about five years ago, rhino poaching in that country jumped from 20 to 150 animals, to 350, to 450. This year, it’s expected to surpass 650, and last year we estimate that we lost 30,000 elephants.

Increasingly, we’re learning that this is not your father’s wildlife trade. It used to be for traditional uses, but now it’s the demands of a growing middle class in China, Thailand, Vietnam, and even here in the United States. Very sophisticated crime syndicates are involved, and there’s evidence that these groups are using the proceeds to finance their other activities. They have night-vision goggles, helicopters, and advanced weaponry.

We need to acquire better, real-time information. That’s what led us to experiment with using UAVS to track poachers. Poachers often operate at night, and UAVs do a great job at tracking because of their infrared capabilities. A guy in the middle of a big park stands out like a sore thumb when you’re using infrared imagery. The ability to get that information and connect it to people on the ground means you can begin to track the poachers.

Bogle: Where have you tested UAVS?

Carter: We’ve undertaken trials in Namibia and Nepal. We’re trying to find the sweet spot. UAVs are not going to work in the field if you require a Ph.D. and a military background to operate them. You need simple technology that can be repeated and repaired by people on the ground.

We wanted to experiment in places where we controlled more of the variables and then begin trials in areas where the conflict is hotter, where we’re losing the most animals. But we need to make sure we have the infrastructure ready.

Bogle: Is there concern about using this technology where the political situation may not be stable? Is there sufficient oversight?

Carter: We’re working on safeguards and filters to make sure that all the information we’re gathering on animals doesn’t fall into the wrong hands and become a guide for poachers. But you can’t use this technology without grounding it in the customs and the laws of the local country. It’s too sensitive. ...

Bogle: What other technologies are the WWF considering?
Carter: As part of our partnership with Google [the WWF is a recipient of its Global Impact Awards], we want look into how to use tagging and cellphone technology to track animals, employ UAVs to track poachers, and also find software that can put the data together in real time. A “brain” that would allow us to collate information on animals and poachers, so that we can deploy people quickly in the field.
The collar we currently put on a rhino costs about $10,000. Imagine being able to use animal tracking chips and UAVs to download that information regularly, and cheaply, without satellites. Being able to gather this information systematically and on a local basis is just common sense.
"A few endangered species owe Google a thank you note. The search engine just gave $5 million (UK£3.1 million, AUD$4.77 million) to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for unmanned aircraft and other tech to help protect tigers, elephants and rhinos from poachers." The money will go toward high tech and drones like the one above, so that the WWF can locate animals before they are killed and protect them from poachers in Asia and Africa. Image Source: Tech Radar.

Image Source: The Epoch Times.

Elephant poaching. Image Source: Karl Ammann via the Center for Conservation Biology, University of Washington.

"The carcass of Khadija, a mature female elephant killed by poachers near Kenya's Samburu National Reserve." Image Source: Save the Elephants via National Geographic.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Up Next: 3-D Printed Drones


2SEAS UAV Project, University of Southampton. Image Source: Popsci.

Popsci reports on drones with 3-D printed parts which will scan for drug trafficking from the skies:
At first glance, it looks like someone forgot to put the cockpit on a plane. Twin engines give the 2Seas Project unmanned aerial vehicle speed and power, but between them, where a normal airplane would put a pilot, there is instead just a camera, attached beneath the wing and always facing forward. This drone, made mostly of 3-D printed parts, could as soon as 2015 use that camera to hunt drug traffickers in Europe's North Sea.
2SEAS is the younger cousin of SULSA, the first 3-D printed drone, which premiered in 2011. Both drones were made in the United Kingdom by University of Southampton researchers. With a lattice-like, geodesic-reinforced frames, the aircraft are both strong and light.
There are two main differences between the 3-D printed aircraft. The SULSA is entirely 3-D printed, with the exception of its electric engine. This is possible at its small size. 2SEAS, by contrast, has a wingspan more than twice that of the SULSA, which meant the wings and tail were too big to be printed. Instead, they were constructed out of carbon fiber. 2SEAS's main body, the part that houses fuel, surveillance equipment, and engine mountings, is 3-D printed. The other major difference is power—the SULSA uses a single electric engine to power its one propeller, while the 2SEAS has a gasoline engine.
SULSA can fly for 40 minutes on electric power. 2SEAS, with its larger wingspan, twin propellers, and gasoline engine, has a flight time of six hours, cruises at 55 mph (just fast enough to follow a smuggler's speed boat), and can carry more sensors than the SULSA.
  

Monday, January 6, 2020

Intermission


Image Source: Harald Hund.

It is time for an intermission. I have called the 2010s a 'decade of disillusionment,' when many of us lost our faith in authoritative realities, due to revelations of corruption, violence, mass manipulation, and exploitation. It is hard to know what to believe as we leave those years behind.

Supposedly normal. Image Source: Oprah Winfrey Instagram via reddit and 4chan.

I miss the days before that decade, when I believed in official reality. I miss the days when I thought that Kevin Spacey was just a great actor and Tom Hanks played a nice Boomer Everyman. Now we live in an alternate reality where Spacey kills people with kindness. And Hanks publishes creepy photos of lost gloves and baby shoes, whether they are on streets, parks, or abandoned in the desert. We do not have to look very far before we encounter photos like the one above - freely posted by the celebrities themselves! This is no whistle-blower's work. This is symbolism, rubbed in the faces of the uninitiated mob. But it is so blatant that even the uninitiated know there is something twisted, ugly, and wrong about it.

It's time for a breather from the theatrics in which the mass media, political media, and social media are weaponized against audience populations. It is time to collect ourselves and get our bearings. It is time for an intermission.

Intermission (elevator music) (5 June 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Amazon Delivers What You Will Buy Before You Order It


Coming soon. Image Source: Amazon via the Daily Mail.

On Christmas Eve of last year, Amazon filed a patent for anticipatory delivery. You can read it here. The Irish Times explains how microdata and personal branding have intersected so exactly that Amazon expects that it knows what you want before you even know you want it; it will purchase the item you want before it occurs to you to purchase it, and ship it preemptively:
The online retail giant now wants to start shipping items to customers before they have even ordered them. Taking the buying process to the next level, Amazon has developed a system that pre-emptively delivers goods to customers based on their previous purchases.
The company believes it can predict shoppers’ needs so precisely, that it wants to have a package in transit to them, before they have placed the order.
The e-commerce juggernaut has obtained a patent for what it calls “anticipatory package shipping”, a system whereby the company anticipates buying habits and sends potential purchases to the closest delivery hub, waiting for the order to arrive, or, in some cases, even shipping directly to a customer’s door.
According to the patent filing, items would be moved from Amazon’s fulfilment centre to a shipping hub close to the customer in anticipation of an eventual purchase.
“In some instances, the package may be delivered to a potentially interested customer as a gift rather than incurring the cost of returning or redirecting the package,” the patent reads.
“For example, if a given customer is particularly valued (according to past ordering history, appealing demographic profile, etc), delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill.”
Amazon says the system is designed to cut down on shipping delays, which “may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants.”
In deciding what to ship, Amazon said it may consider previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item.
See other reports here and here. As Amazon walks an insidious line between psychological intrusion and arrogant clairvoyance, not one word is said about how intrusive and manipulative this is. The patent doesn't say it, but presumably the anticipatory ordering function will also reflect Amazon processing previous buyers' personal information on social networks. Imagine if this concept, or something like it, was used by other businesses. Is a convenient service really worth so much? Why are all these initiatives accepted so passively by the public, with no regard for their larger implications?

Amazon additionally seeks to undercut the competition in shipping by setting up drone deliveries which will ship your order in 30 minutes or less. The drone program is called Amazon Prime Air. The program has a few years of R&D to go; it also has to pass Federal Aviation Authority regulations in the US. But on 7 March 2014, the Daily Mail reported that a transport judge recently dismissed a fine enforcing an FAA ban on commercial unmanned aircraft in the US.

One friend, C., on hearing this, expected that people will shoot the drones down, steal their packages and sell the contents on eBay, hence completing a near-perfect Internet Circle Of Life. In the meantime, sit tight and await the drones. Below the jump, see the drone package delivery promo video.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

See Spot Run


Mass. State Police Tested Out Boston Dynamics’ Spot The Robot Dog. (26 November 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Boston Dynamics have perfected their robot dog, Spot, which can open doors and enter homes. In April of this year, BD's CEO, Marc Raibert, announced that Spot and another robot, Handle, were coming to the commercial market in 2019.

The Best Robots on Four Legs with Marc Raibert (Boston Dynamics) (19 April 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

In September, Boston Dynamics announced they would begin leasing Spot to select organizations and individuals. The robot dogs are working with were just tested by the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad. The police used the robots in two real life incidents.

In the video below, RT commentator Michael William Lebron, aka Lionel, fears that the robots could begin operating autonomously if their AI control systems were to get out of control.

Police robots designed to be 'cute' and 'familiar' – Lionel (27 November 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: The CERN Tarot Deck and The Cybernetic Seance


The Knight of Swords in the CERN tarot deck connects early computers and the founding of IBM (originally established in Poland) to the Holocaust. Image Source: Hexen 2.0. Click to enlarge all images.

Even if you only follow the mainstream, you don't have to go very far before you come across horrors which are worse than anything found in the ancient stories. Not even Salome could ask for what passes for statecraft these days.

There are misattributed photos now circulating online of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 and came out in chopped-up pieces. The photos, posted on disreputable sites, include a skinned head, with the face spread on the floor in front of the meaty skull. Warning: the linked material is gory and linking does not imply my endorsement of values expressed in linked material.

These scenes immediately reminded me of Clive Barker's Hellraiser; Barker's horror fiction describes demons walking the earth and entering it by way of certain portals. His  famous Books of Blood from the mid-1980s opened as follows:
"The dead have highways.

They run, unerring lines of ghost-trains, of dream-carriages, across the wasteland behind our lives, bearing an endless traffic of departed souls. Their thrum and throb can be heard in the broken places in the world, through cracks made by acts of cruelty, violence and depravity. Their freight, the wandering dead, can be glimpsed when the heart is close to bursting, and sights that should be hidden come plainly into view.

They have sign-posts, these highways, and bridges and lay-bys. They have turnpikes and intersections.

It is at these intersections, where the crowds of dead mingle and cross, that this forbidden highway is most likely to spill through into our world. The traffic is heavy at the cross-roads, and the voices of the dead are at their most shrill. Here the barriers that separate one reality from the next are worn thin with the passage of innumerable feet." ("The Book of Blood" in Clive Barker's Books of Blood, vol. 1 (London: Sphere Books, 1985), p. 1.)
It is almost as though the Khashoggi case created one of those broken places in the world, a rent in the fabric of reality between the worlds of the living and the dead, created by an act of cruelty. France 24 denied the authenticity of the Khashoggi photos; its reporters found that the photos hailed from Mexico and Egypt in 2017:
"The two photos that show the arms and the legs date back to August 2017, and were taken in Giza, Egypt. These body parts belonged to a man described as 'elderly' in the Egyptian press, who report that his body parts were found scattered between two different parts of town.

The photo showing the skull, the scalped face, the pair of eyes and the penis had already been published online back in July 2017. According to a blog specialised in Mexican drug trafficking-related crime, these body parts belonged to a police commander in Tecoman, Mexico, who was killed by a cartel."
Nevertheless, the photos are real, even if they are not part of the Khashoggi story, and the latter is bad enough without misattributed photo evidence. All of it confirms that something has gone wrong behind the façade of normal authority and current affairs.










More clues of the state of affairs come from CERN, the autonomous quantum physics research organization. It turns out that CERN has an artist's residency. This year, the artist in residence, Suzanne Treister, created a CERN tarot deck. Out of all the things Treister could have developed to describe CERN's attempt to crack the building blocks of matter, she chose magic (Hat tip: Dark Journalist; see his dedicated video on this tarot deck, here). All tarot images are © S. Treister and found here.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: Magic and the Technological Revolution


Donald Trump's uncle, John G. Trump, developed ultra-powerful X-rays. This is the historical first X-ray image, taken by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife's left hand on 22 December 1895. Image Source: National Library of Medicine / The Scientist.

The new Tech Revolution is human. The top designers in Silicon Valley plainly understand a secret which they do not share with their customers. Technology is not a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop. It's not a mechanical thing. It's not a smartwatch or a game console. It's not a Virtual Reality headset. It's not a robot, an android, or an AI entity like the HAL9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Don't look at technology as something that helps you order your Starbucks coffee. Look at it as an advanced behavioural modifier.

Technology is the human being who is transformed through interaction with a machine. The revolutionary technology is you, as your behaviour, values, beliefs - as your brain and soul - have changed while you punched keys; listened to the radio, then podcasts; stared at the TV, then videos; took selfies; talked through texts, or on the telephone, or through video calls. Technology is you as you entered the social media reality, indulged in the Internet's arcane, entertaining hivemind, and became a different person. The changed person is a type of technology. The Technological Revolution refers to an irrevocable transformation of, and assault upon, the human condition.

From my previous post on Julian Assange and his possible relationship to the Trump family: in this cinematic depiction of MK-Ultra mind control, the controllers cryptically refer to the brainwashed person, not the brainwashing itself, as a technology. The Manchurian Candidate (7/7) Movie CLIP - Decisions (2004) HD (22 November 2011) © Paramount Pictures. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

While body modifications, identity politics, and behavioural changes will be the most obvious outward signs that this process is running its course, the main assault will be waged internally, on human consciousness. In other words, technology is a state of transformed mind. The Technological Revolution implies an absolute, no-going-back overhaul and control of the human brain and the larger capabilities of the human soul.

If that doesn't terrify you, it should. Everyone must recognize and guard the weirder gray areas where technology overlaps with human mentalities, or they will relinquish sovereign control over the space inside their craniums, and they will never see it coming.

Competing factions appear to be vying for the right to dominate this process. They have different visions of what they want to achieve in terms of the revolutionized human being. This is partly why politics is becoming so urgent and divisive, and why the economy is on the verge of collapse. Both were geared toward an earlier, more human age and both are transforming to encase the new transhuman state.

Traditions of Organic Betterment

For thousands of years, there have been attempts to improve, control and alter the human being. One difference in the 21st century is the speed at which the augmentations are taking place. The other Millennial distinction is the use of gadgets as prostheses, which deceives the user into thinking that the process is in the user's control, and outside the user's existential state of being.

Greatest Martial Artists in History • Brief Martial Arts (18 December 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The 2011 documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi chronicled the extreme discipline necessary to become the top sushi chef in the world. Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Trailer (24 July 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

Unlocking Human Capability - Dr. Devi Shetty with Sadhguru (16 February 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The traditional ways people have augmented their awareness are organic. Even if they use tools, the physical and mental states are the main concerns: a karate master who smashes a stack of boards is not obsessed with the boards as his or her source of strength. These practitioners balance mind and body through well-honed methods. Disciplined study results in rational improvement of brain functions; regular physical training brings the body to peak performance; meditation and spiritual explorations challenge and awaken the soul. Each form of augmentation has resorted to techniques and aids, developed over centuries or longer.

The highest level of this augmentation builds human consciousness to a legendary moment when biochemical, magnetic and electrical brain functions become metaphysical. For a long time, the tools used to create the altered human were mystical or magical; these are ways of dealing with rare information such that those exposed to it have earned the right to engage with it and produce seemingly inexplicable, paranormal, or superhuman results of their actions. This level of activity involves a highly sophisticated interaction through the mind, body, spirit and soul with symbolic abstractions of time, matter and energy. In our era, technological gadgets are usurping the old, supra-organic, magical role of the symbol.

Are Psychic Powers and Telepathy Real? Dr. Devi Shetty with Sadhguru (30 November 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Transhumanism: Weaponized Consciousness?

Brain-to-Brain Interface: The Next Gen Social Network (7 October 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Much of the Internet believes that the CIA Project MK-Ultra was developed out of Nazi research and that the second half of the 20th century developed the technological means for psychological manipulation and spiritual instrumentalization. That research has supposedly continued to the point where its torturous, hypnotic techniques have been widely disseminated via the Internet and the Internet of Things, with the whole collective's reactions continuously monitored. This approach marks a sinister appropriation and abandonment of the old school attempts at human self-betterment, as through western magic, eastern mystics and Asian martial arts. This new path weaponizes human consciousness through propaganda, education, marketing, and insidious, invasive mental bombardments. By any standards, the potential application of MK-Ultra techniques via mass technology signifies a catastrophic turn down a dark, misguided path.

Patreon-supported alt-documentary on the history of MK-Ultra: The Minds of Men | Official Trailer | Documentary by Aaron & Melissa Dykes (16 July 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Technological gadgets are being invented to mimic or replace capabilities which have traditionally belonged to 'magic,' the human psychic realm, or if you prefer, a conscious mastery of one's unconscious to the point where it affects one's outer material existence.

There is a terrible warning here, for to use a crutch to attain a faux superlative human condition is, by definition, psychopathic. For an example of this progression, consider that some gurus believe that paranormal abilities such as telepathy exist and can be cultivated through intense and profound training. By contrast, a report from October 2018 (the 23 September 2018 scholarly publication is here) confirms that mechanical prostheses are now being built to create 'BrainNet,' a synthetic, mechanized telepathy, transmitted over the Internet. We are at a point where brain-to-tech interfaces are being used by the US military, soon to follow on social media. It's not woo. It's not a ghost story. It's real, and soon it will be at your Apple Store with a price tag on it.


Magical Technology

All of this implies that the top leaders of the Technological Revolution were and are well-versed in older techniques of achieving the superlative human, the disciplines necessary to fine-tune behaviour. In addition, they know about the mind control research and propaganda and education campaigns of the mid-to-late 20th century. And they are diverting all this knowledge into their own, hideous transhuman experiment.

In short, that means that there's some magic misapplied in the development of high technology. Officially, high tech gadgets, apps and networks are so addictive because people like the founders of Facebook embedded psychological games and tricks in their platforms. Unofficially, it is theorized the Technological Revolution was founded in dark occult mysteries and practices.

Even if you don't believe in this type of thing, others do. If Silicon Valley was founded by magicians, and its products imbued with spells, wouldn't you want to know who did this, how, and with what incantations and intentions?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Lessons from Building the Outer Brain


The NYT reported that smart assistants can be (re-)programmed by ultrasonic signals, which are inaudible to their owners. Image Source: NYT / Lynn Scurfield.

There have been several headlines about AI and robots in recent weeks. All of them involve a gap between what we want to see in technology (and in ourselves) and what we don't want to see.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Losing Our Addiction


Mark Zuckerberg in 2009: Facebook privacy is central - BBC News (21 March 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

The endgame of social media is becoming clear. The exciting 2000s and early 2010s were the heyday of the Creative Commons. A beautiful ideal established in 2001, the Creative Commons refers to the free-sharing of information, the democratization of data.

The Commons made way for cyber-variants of political ideologies, which attempted to describe and defend new virtual freedoms. Social media seemed to offer soapboxes and development venues for tech-savvy individuals. Some of these individuals became hacktivists and citizen journalists, who used search engines and video platforms like Youtube to expose the power structures of the world. They fell for the tempting promise that the little person could finally be empowered, independent, and free. Having identified themselves in the system as potential leaders, they are now being censored. Each new liberty in this testing ground has led social media users ever deeper into a matrix of control.

It is evident that early Millennial spaces of free discussion, sexual libertinism, and politically liberated behaviour, alongside honeypot offers of cheap hardware and open source toolkits, were always controlled environments. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google and even the chans! - as Petri dishes and you start to get a better idea of what has been happening. As I stated in an earlier post about the Dark Web, anonymity is a myth. These free spaces were merely opportunities to gather vast amounts of human data for future AI systems, dedicated to social control and surveillance.

"Sean Parker, 38, claims social media sites like Facebook are 'exploiting vulnerabilities in human psychology' and said social media pioneers like himself 'understood this consciously and we did it anyway.'": Facebook founder warns of social media addiction (10 November 2017). Video Source: Youtube/ABC News.

Last year, VICE talked to Google ex-designer and ethicist Tristan Harris. Harris confirmed that social media platforms were deliberately designed to addict their users and employed tricks used in casinos, such as intermittent variable rewards. Social media platforms use social reciprocity, social approval, fear of missing out, and fear of social exclusion to trick users into sharing their personal data and their emotional sensibilities around that data. It's all done in a climate of fake positivity, driven by an undercurrent of addiction, social threat, and fear.

Social media platforms also employ principles of deception because they only offer users certain courses of behaviour, with few considering the choices which were not made available. You can read Harris's essays on this topic here.


Facebook's ex-president Sean Parker confirmed the founding principles of the platform in a series of interviews last year; from Slate:
"The thought process was all about, 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?', he said. 'And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever, and that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you more likes and comments. It’s a social validation feedback loop. … You’re exploiting a vulnerabilty in human psychology.'"
Parker's revelations mean that in the 2009 interview at the top of this post, Mark Zuckerberg was outright lying to the BBC about Facebook's endgame. Today's Silicon Valley marketing is reminiscent of cigarette ads from the 1950s through the 1980s, which deliberately misled consumers about the terrible health effects of smoking.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Flights of the Immortals


RTA and Volocopter operate Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) in Dubai (19 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Flying cars have arrived, so the future is officially here. The new socio-economic divide will be evident to those still stuck in ground traffic, as they gaze high above their heads. A BBC World News television interviewee stated this week that the aim for these "future mobility ecosystems" was to,
"ease us into this before we go completely pilotless."
In the United States, regulators are currently opening up lower air space to drones and air taxis. The past few years have seen American property rights activists battling for citizens to retain some control over the airspace around and above them as an extension of private property they own - and of their own individual autonomy. After all, how low is 'lower airspace' when it comes to an unmanned aircraft system that is an ultra-tiny drone smaller than a gnat? Two inches above your head? Inside your ear canal? But really, like all the rest of hyper-accelerated technology, humankind seems helpless to resist the inevitable.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Los Angeles is Burning


"A fire in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles on Wednesday [6 December 2017]." Image Source: Reed Saxon/Associated Press/NYT.

The mainstream media are reporting that several fires are devastating Southern California and are now ravaging Los Angeles, including Bel Air. This is the biggest wildfire event to threaten LA since 1961. The Getty Museum has closed to safeguard its art collections from the Skirball Fire, which is burning just west of UCLA, the Los Angeles Country Club, and Beverly Hills. The Getty announced, here, that they will reopen on 8 December. Similarly affected, UCLA will reopen on 8 December. The San Fernando Valley, including North Hollywood, is threatened by the Skirball Fire on one side, and the Creek Fire on the other. KTLA reports that for the first time, firefighters have used drones to assess where the Skirball Fire is traveling and how hot it is.


Fire has reached oceanfront homes as it moves toward the coast at San Diego and at Santa Barbara. The largest fire is the Thomas Fire, which has burned 115,000 acres, which (for comparison) is just over one quarter the size of Greater London, UK. 200,000 people have been evacuated. But the whole area under fire alert is vast, extending as far east as Tuscon, Arizona.




You can follow local fire maps, with names of highways and towns, here, here and here. You can follow CalFire on Twitter here and the LAFD here. There are lots of Instagram accounts following the fires. Here is the view from someone's bedroom.

Video by Ben Laffin on 6 December 2017. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images. Video Source: NYT.

"The remains of the Vista del Mar hospital after the Thomas wildfire swept through Ventura." Image Source: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images/ Guardian.

Man jumps out of car to rescue wild rabbit from raging Californian wildfires (7 December 2017). Video Source: Guardian via Youtube.







I have KTLA local news on my TV by satellite and they are covering the valiant efforts of firefighters in different areas of the city. You can watch their channel live stream and reports on the Internet, here. In the video directly below, you can see the city's famous skyline on the night of 6-7 December, with different fires clearly visible on three points on the horizon.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES Thousands of people have fled their homes as wildfires continue to burn (7 December 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Deadly California wildfire forces thousands to flee (5 December 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

THOMAS FIRE In Ventura County Santa Paula Ojai California - WILDFIRE Creek Brush Fire 12/5/2017!!! (5 December 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

New Fire Erupts In Bel Air As Destructive SoCal Wildfires Rage (6 December 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

LIVE ON THE SCENE: The Thomas Fire continues to burn in Ventura County, California. 12.7.17 (7 December 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Celebrities Post Video of Fires, Flee Their Homes as Los Angeles Is Engulfed in Flames (7 December 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

CALIFORNIA FIRE SCARY FOOTAGE, DAMAGE, CAUGHT ON CAMERA DECEMBER 2017 (6 December 2017). Video Source: Youtube.