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Al-Qaeda's Wet Dream

Freaking Heck's picture




 

Originally posted at: CapitalistExploits.at

Imagine for a second you're a terrorist intent on inflicting unimaginable harm on your enemy. Now let's further imagine that your enemy is the United States...

The sun rises over your holy mother land, a land now inhabited by the infidels. You don your Kalishnikov, climb out of your cave, scan the skies searching for drones. Stroking your beard you wonder what the virgins do with their time between incoming martyrs. Then you contemplate how you might go about your Jihadist day, seeking (un)holy vengeance against the great Satan?

You pose a grave danger to the citizens of the United States - their government tells you so - you've seen it on CNN (satellite dish in the cave, of course). This brings you immense satisfaction and pride.

As you survey some stray goats wandering the barren hillside you're troubled as to how this can be so. Your options appear severely limited.

  1. You could capture a passing, stray American NGO, decapitate them on video and post it for the world to see - along with a mouth frothing, unintelligible rant in a language few understand. Impact negligible...and lots of time spent stalking, capturing, struggling with your victim, etc. Then there's the whole decapitation thing...messy, very messy. Best to go back inside the cave and smoke your fine Afghan Hashish.
  2. You consider another popular option. You could find yourself a locale full of infidels, oh say maybe a heavily-fortified US military base, strap a bomb to your ass and rush the gates. Impact better...however this one takes a bit of planning - gotta make sure not to blow the bomb in any practice runs. Then of course there's the nagging question as to whether the virgins really exist. Maybe a rethink is in order.

Sitting comfortably back in your cave you fire up the satellite dish and tune in to watch Wolf. To your amazement you find that you don't actually have to do anything! Your wildest fantasies are coming true...OK, not all; the virgins remain as elusive as ever.

What you find is that your enemy is being dealt some terrible blows without your having to do much more than smoke, herd and stare at your sandals - which you realise really do need replacing.

The damage is being done not by swish bang fighter jets from an invading army, not by any Jihadist bombers with scant regard for their innards, nor from any of your fellow sky-gazing, bearded, cave-dwelling brethren.

No, instead these blows come from none other than your enemies very own National Security Agency. The very chaps entrusted to protect the citizens of the great Satan!

To understand how this works, lets take a step back and consider what has allowed America to become so powerful.

In a phrase, "economic dominance". It is how the United States won the cold war and how it grew to be the greatest nation on earth. Capitalism was allowed to do what it inevitably does...create wealth. Sadly enough
capitalism (now cronyized), economic and personal freedom are undergoing exponential decay.

It costs money to become a military power. $695.7 billion at last count. More than any other nation on earth. A truly astonishingly, grotesque amount of waste to be sure. Pretty sure we could have eradicated poverty and disease with that "war chest" by now!

Financing this military machine, and indeed the entire government structure has to come from somewhere. Debt is one avenue, and whooboy are they using that particular lever. In the long run this will destroy the ability to wage wars. Hope springs eternal...

But let's look at what effect the NSA's forcing of US companies to corrupt their systems and provide illegal spying capabilities is now doing to America.

The US technology industry is by far the biggest in the world. However, consumers both in the US and especially outside its borders are beginning to realise what Ladar Levison, the founder of Lavabit meant when he said:

"This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a
strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States."

I thought about these comments when talking with a businessman in Asia yesterday. He said to me:

“Chris, we simply can't take the risk of our proprietary business intelligence getting into competitors/American businesses hands. We're looking at moving everything, our hardware, operating systems and we've already ditched all Microsoft software. Our business depends on our IP and proprietary information.”

Petrobras was spied on. Visa has a back door...as does SWIFT. Forget Skype, Facebook, Twitter, even the sacred Apple has been complicit!

Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's President cancelled a trip to the US until Mr. Obama can give her a satisfactory answer as to why a country that is supposedly a "friend" of the US is being spied on. According to the BBC:

"Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has called off a state visit to Washington next month in a row over allegations of US espionage."

Oooooh, someone is in trouble!

So, what do you do if you're a businessman with proprietary information that needs to be stored and shared? Parchment and quills won't work. You're still going to have to use technology, the only question is what technology and from where.

US technology companies that deal with data, Internet, etc, just like the US government, are increasingly being viewed as something that nobody in their right mind wants anything to do with. Pariahs, really.

While I don't personally use it, I would now never even consider using any Microsoft software. I'm even thinking of ditching my Mac. I don't use a smartphone - never have. Why take the risk?

Convenience? Hmmmm, how convenient is a tax audit or a crazy stalker? Wait, those are the same thing, right?

In regards to using Windows for example...there are a myriad of competing options, many of them superior in quality. Not to mention, I don't want to reward a company that treats me with disrespect, lies to me and steals my private information...allegedly of course. I'm their customer, yet they abuse me? No thank you.

From a macro perspective this has the potential to be far bigger than most realise, and I'm seeing the repercussions begin to unfold as normal, everyday people come to understand what exactly the threats are, and what they mean!

The danger of a government spying on you does not stop at simply analysing your spending habits and sharing that information with the tax department, who then cross check it with your tax bill, though this IS happening.

The risks run deep my friends, and even though the cat is out of the bag, it seems a non-event to the NSA and the US government. It's business as usual. I don't believe history is going to look back on these shenanigans kindly.

This is a trend worth following because fortunes are going to be lost - and made - as this continues to play itself out.

On a more personal level we can and must take steps NOW to protect ourselves. This involves carefully chosen hardware, software and understanding what our "digital self" looks like and how to go about protecting it.

Our friend and colleague “John”, an anarchocryptologist (is that a word?) by his own admission, has kindly put together a two-part report on laying the ground work for protecting your "digital self." Part I was released on Tuesday, and the ink has just dried on Part 2.

You can get a copy of both parts by clicking here

So, if you, like us believe that our privacy is worth protecting, that spying governments are not as benign as they suggest, then I encourage you to read it. It's FREE, unlike most of us any longer.

If not, then feel free to go back to the Kardashians and your bag of Cheetos, while updating your Facebook status and Instagram'ing the world a picture of your double bacon burger...with cheese.

You'll be just fine...really.

- Chris

"Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men." - Ayn Rand

 

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