Sunday, March 20, 2016

Instead of revolution: démontage

John Heartfield's Millions Stand Behind Me! (1932),
image from Matthew Gale's Dada & Surrealism;
Jean-Michel Basquiat's Five Thousand Dollars (1982),
image from Leonhard Emmerling's Basquiat;

***The Super-Rich and Us (Jacques Peretti, BBC);
Conversation entre Vandana Shiva et Gaël Giraud (Centre Sèvres/Facultés Jésuites, 2019);
Rutger Bregman at Davos (2019);
Alex Winter's "The Panama Papers";
Owen Jones interview Margaret Hodge: tax evasion;
Justin Pemberton Discusses Capital in the 21st Century; 
Depeche Mode's Everything Counts; 
[There was another video ici: Jeunes médecins exploités/Étudiants précarisés (Laurent Mathieu/Questions à la une, TV5), it exposed cases of European undergraduate students having to prostitute themselves in order to pay their monthly bills; they just took it away, it is not available anymore;]

" y a des règles qui sont les règles de démontage, où l'on ne sait plus très bien si la soumission ne cache pas la plus grande révolte, et si le combat n'implique pas la pire adhésion..." (Deleuze & Guattari, Pour une littérature mineure).
→ That is, la révolution doit être « permanente » (Deleuze, Logique du sens 64; cf. Derrida, Spectres de Marx 62), elle n’est pas un simple renversement ou remplacement total. Le vrai révolutionnaire n'est pas le radical, le impatient.

***The Ultra-Rich (99,9999%): "The one percent... covered a lot of people. Most were professionals and managers who lacked much power on their own. Bloomberg's new 'billionaires team' would focus only on the top 0.0001 percent, a thin slice ofo humanity whose combined wealth, at four and a half trillion dollars, could pay off the entire public debt of Germany and the UK combined" (Alex Cuadros, Brazillionaires).
- Terrorism and anti-terrorism (state of exception) strengthen the system (Fassbinder, Die Dritte Generation);
- Black bloc tactics risk pretty much to do the same: "This is the free market itself. These people are a fantasy generated by the market. They don’t exist outside the market. There is nowhere they can go to be on the outside. There is no outside"—Vija Kinski about protesters in Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis;
What about economic policies such as the ones that have been adopted by the Workers Party (PT) in Brazil? People still take for granted that—under all circumstances—it is better to give one's life for a smartphone than to die in poverty. But this is rather a false dilemma, and the right wing is not to be trusted either (Glenn Greenwald and the Intercept have shown how swinish the right wing in Brazil can be).

"... such a competition was only... a concession to that still prevailing national principle according to which mankind is a family of nations vying for excellence, or to the liberal belief that competition will automatically set up its own stabilizing predetermined limits before one competitor has liquidated all the others. This happy balance, however, had hardly been the inevitable outcome of mysterious economic laws, but had relied heavily on political, and even more on police institutions that prevented competitors from using revolvers... competition is no more a principle of politics than expansion, and needs political power just as badly for control and restraint" (Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism).
"The Banker should discover the real meaning of his existence, the real motive which led him to choose that profession. He should understand banking as a necessary factor in the economic existence of mankind, instead of as merely a business whose objects are independent of the general welfare. He should learn to distinguish false values from real, and to act not on accidental fluctuations but on considerations of essential importance" (Aleister Crowley, Magic in Theory and Practice).
"The rules of international markets should be radically reformed by establishing a minimal but efficient active regulation of these markets. Such regulation of international markets should be managed in a non-bureaucratic and accountable way and should ensure the active and democratic participation of all countries in the decision-making process and its application. In any case, the process of deregulation should comply with the environmental and social constraints that buttress the sustainability of world development" (Simone Borghesi & Alessandro Vercelli, "Susteinable Globalization").

Capitalism, Finance & Covid-19: 
"Now, as countries are reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns, they must avoid making the same mistake. In the months after the virus first surfaced, governments stepped in to address the concomitant economic and health crises, rolling out stimulus packages to protect jobs, issuing rules to slow the spread of the disease, and investing in the research and development of treatments and vaccines. These rescue efforts are necessary. But it is not enough for governments to simply intervene as the spender of last resort when markets fail or crises occur. They should actively shape markets so that they deliver the kind of long-term outcomes that benefit everyone."
"Advanced economies had been suffering from major structural flaws well before COVID-19 hit. For one thing, finance is financing itself, thus eroding the foundation of long-term growth. Most of the financial sector’s profits are reinvested back into finance—banks, insurance companies, and real estate—rather than put toward productive uses such as infrastructure or innovation. Only ten percent of all British bank lending, for example, supports nonfinancial firms, with the rest going to real estate and financial assets. In advanced economies, real estate lending constituted about  35 percent of all bank lending in 1970; by 2007, it had risen to about 60 percent. The current structure of finance thus fuels a debt-driven system and speculative bubbles, which, when they burst, bring banks and others begging for government bailouts," "Capitalism After the Pandemic: Getting the Recovery Right" (Mariana Mazzucato/Foreign Affairs);

Patriotic Millionaires (Abigail Disney, Erica Payne, Moby, Ben Cohen, Chuck Collins/heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune, Roberta Kaplan/civil-rights lawyer, Jeffrey Gural/real-estate investor, George Zimmer/founder of Men’s Wearhouse...):
"... the group’s mission was initially a simple idea endorsed by a half-dozen rich people: “Please raise our taxes.” The members now have the broader goal of pressuring their wealthy peers to confront what they believe are the destructive effects of trickle-down economics—the idea, which has driven U.S. policy decisions for several decades and has largely been debunked, that reducing taxes on businesses and the wealthy will benefit low- and middle-income workers."
"When I asked Payne how hard it was to persuade rich people to join, she said, “I think the last time I checked there were about three hundred and seventy-five thousand taxpayers in the country who make a million dollars a year in income”—there are now almost half a million—“and we have a couple hundred members.” She laughed. “If you ever needed a back-of-the-envelope calculation of how many of America’s élite are concerned about the basic well-being of their fellow-citizens, that should give you a rough estimate.” Members include Chuck Collins, the heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune; Roberta Kaplan, the civil-rights lawyer; Jeffrey Gural, the real-estate investor; and George Zimmer, the founder of Men’s Wearhouse," "The Ultra-Wealthy Who Argue That They Should Be Paying Higher Taxes" (Sheela Kolhatkar/The New Yorker);

Les “gilets jaunes”, c'est nous»:
"Juliette Binoche, Emmanuelle Béart, Edouard Louis, Alain Damasio... Autant de personnalités qui apportent leur soutien à un mouvement «sans précédent dans l’histoire». Un mouvement qui représente tous les métiers de la culture. Un mouvement que le pouvoir cherche à discréditer et réprime sévèrement alors que la violence la plus menaçante est économique et sociale... Un mouvement qui réclame des choses essentielles : une démocratie plus directe, une plus grande justice sociale et fiscale, des mesures radicales face à l’état d’urgence écologique... Le bilan de la répression s’aggrave chaque semaine. Au 19 avril, on recensait 1 décès, 248 blessé·e·s à la tête, 23 éborgné·e·s, 5 mains arrachées chez les manifestant·e·s. C’est indigne de notre République. Et nous ne sommes pas les premier·e·s à le dénoncer : Amnesty International, la Ligue des droits de l’homme, l’ONU, l’Union européenne, le Défenseur des droits, tou·te·s condamnent les violences poli­cières sur les gilets jaunes en France," "Gilets jaunes : nous ne sommes pas dupes!"(Liberation 04/05/2019);

James Joyce, Ulysses:
" — But what Shakespeare say? Put but money in thy purse.
— Iago, Stephen murmured."
"I want to see, concluded Bloom, all creeds and classes pro rata having a comfortable tidysized income... That's the vital issue at stake and it's feasible..."

Ezra Pound (from Canto XLV):
"Usura slayeth the child in the womb
It stayeth the young man's courting
It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
between the young bride and her bridegroom
They have brought whores for Eleusis
Corpses are set to banquet
at behest of usura."

e. e. cummings:
" ...(and if
he she it or everybody gets a
bellyful without
lifting my finger i say to hell
with that i
say that doesn't matter) but
if somebody
or you are beautiful or
deep or generous what
i say is
whistle that
sing that yell that spell
that out big (bigger than cosmic 
rays war earthquakes famine..."

"Mais que seraient les Lumières sans le marché?"
Jacques Derrida
"... to use a term introduced by Braudel, capitalism has always been an 'antimarket'"
Manuel De Landa (paper)
"Modern society... sacrificed private property whenever it came into conflict with the accumulation of wealth... Proudhon presents property in its 'egoist, satanic nature' as the 'most efficient means to resist despotism...'"
Hannah Arendt
"... making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."
"What's great about this country is that... President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke... A Coke is a Coke and no money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking... when Queen Elizabeth came here and President Eisenhower bought her a hot dog I'm sure he felt confident that she couldn't have had delivered to Buckingham Palace a better hot dog than that one he bought her for maybe twenty cents at the ballpark... Sometimes you fantasize that people who are really up-there and rich and living it up have something you don't have, that their things must be better than your things because they have more money than you. But they drink the same Cokes and eat the same hot dogs and wear the same ILGWU clothes and see the same TV shows... All this is really American. The idea of America is so wonderful because the more equal something is, the more American it is... a lot of places give you special treatment when you're famous, but that's not really American. Wherever it's possible, you should try to pay people in measurements that are the most suitable for their talent or job."
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
"So my relation to the Sex Pistols was a direct link to that existential angst-ridden early motive... By the dawn of the seventies, the philosophy was that you couldn't do anything without a lot of money. So my philosophy was back to, 'Fuck you, we don't care if we can't play and don't have very good instruments, we're still doing it because we think you're all a bunch of cunts. I think that's what really created the anger—the anger was simply about money, that the culture had become corporate, that we no longer owned it and everybody was desperate to fucking get it back."
Malcolm McLaren (Please Kill Me)

"...pues cree que esa liquidación será una mera sustitución..."
Morelli/Julio Cortázar
"Qu'est-ce qu'un art révolutionnaire? à quelle époque cesse sa révolution?"
"Le surréalisme doit être conçu comme une dynamique dont aujourd'hui le vecteur n'est pas à chercher dans la Révolution surréaliste, mais dans la Brèche..." 
Breton ("Perspective Cavalier," 1963).
"... proliferation not only immediately precedes revolutions, but it is there all the time..."
Paul Feyerabend, Consolations for the Specialist
"... on ne saurait sortir de cette conception négative de l'efficacité sans remettre en question ce qui risque de toucher à son principe même: non seulement le rapport moyens-fin, son aspect à la fois instrumental et ponctuel (celui des mesures individuelles), mais aussi son caractère aléatoire (réussir ou non: moment crucial et tragique) et son implication d'effort (en fonction de tâches qu'on s'est fixées comme moyen pour réussir)."
François Jullien (Traité de l'efficacité)

"sang frais et français"
Marcel Duchamp
"... on en voulut moins au bloc national quand on vit tout d'un coup les victimes du bolchevisme, des grandes-duchesses en haillons, dont on avait assassiné les maris dans une brouette, les fils en jetant des pierres dessus après les avoir laissé sans manger..."
Marcel Proust (le narrateur)
"Résultat en Russie: On rit du fanatisme religieux, mais on se met à genoux devant Sainte-Dynamo, j'exagère à peine. Vraiment c'est moins con de faire de Jeanne d'Arc une bienheureuse, de croire à la patrie, d'adorer Wottan ou d'aimer sa femme et ses enfants."
André Masson (Lettre a Georges Bataille, 6 octobre 1935)
"When you set up a revolution... the neuro chemistry runs the show and eventually, you end with the Mafia."
David Bohm (interview)
"When the revolutionary exploits men's urge to downward self-transcendence, he exploits it to the frantic and demoniac limit."
A. Huxley
"Some maudlin citizens will think they can send something edifying, not realizing that sending is evil... Poverty, hatred, war, police-criminals, bureaucracy, insanity, all symptoms of The Human Virus."
William S. Burroughs
"... a new era may perfectly naturally arrive in which the St. Vitus' dance of money-making and ambition will cease to be the chief end of existence..."
Edward Carpenter
"... it is not necessary or even desirable to seek to "overthrow capitalism," as protestors often suggest..."
Colin Tudge (the World Food Club)
"Violence plays into the hands of the status quo elites. They will use even a hint of violence as an excuse to unleash greater oppression of the people."
Rex Weyler/Greenpeace (Why Civil Disobedience Works)
"... a analogia entre as razões que os comunistas dão para justificarem seu desejo de destruir sem remorso a ordem capitalista, e os argumentos que aquele estudante de Crime e Castigo invocou na taverna para confessar o assassínio da velha dona da casa de penhores."
Érico Veríssimo/Tio Bicho
"Les crimes et autres passages à l'acte plus ou moins agressifs ne sont que des ratages du symbole, ils signent un échec du matricide imaginaire qui, seul, ouvre la voie à la pensée."
J. Kristeva
"On ne saurait trop insister sur le point suivant: combien les notions de lutte, de guerre, de rivalité ou même de comparaison sont étrangères à Nietzsche et à sa conception de la volonté de puissance."
G. Deleuze
"... la monstruosité intégrale ne peut justement se réaliser ailleurs qu'à l'intérieur des conditions qui rendent le sadisme possible, à l'intérieur d'un espace que composent des obstacles, soit dans le langage logiquement structuré des normes et des institutions. L'absence de structure logique ne se peut vérifier que par la logique donnée, quand même celle-ci serait fausse, laquelle, en refusant la monstruosité, la provoque."
Pierre Klossowski
"Hier redet kein 'Prophet', keiner jener schauerlichen Zwitter von Krankheit und Willen zur Macht, die man Religionsstifter nennt."
"Vorsicht selbst vor jedem großen Worte, jeder großen Attitüde! Lauter Gefahren, daß der Instinkt zu früh 'sie versteht'. — Inzwischen wächst und wächst die organisirende, die zur Herrschaft berufene 'Idee' in der Tiefe, — sie beginnt zu befehlen, sie leitet langsam aus Nebenwegen und Abwegen zurück, sie bereitet einzelne Qualitäten und Tüchtigkeiten vor, die einmal als Mittel zum Ganzen sich unentbehrlich erweisen werden, — sie bildet der Reihe nach alle dienenden Vermögen aus, bevor sie irgend Etwas von der dominirenden Aufgabe, von 'Ziel', 'Zweck', 'Sinn' verlauten läßt."
"Die Krankheit löste mich langsam heraus: sie ersparte mir jeden Bruch, jeden gewaltthätigen und anstössigen Schritt. Ich habe kein Wohlwollen damals eingebüßt und viel noch hinzugewonnen. Die Krankheit... erlaubte, sie gebot mir Vergessen; sie beschenkte mich mit der Nöthigung zum Stillliegen, zum Müßiggang, zum Warten und Geduldigsein... Aber das heißt ja denken!"
Nietzsche, Ecce Homo

"... d'une économie politique tyrannique... la administration de la peur publique se déplaçant du champ de bataille du passé en direction du marché, autrement dit d'une vie quotidienne bientôt rendue impossible..."
Paul Virilio
"The present way of running the economy on neo-liberal principles is a sure recipe for disaster."
Edy Korthals Altes (The Present Economic Order)
"Felicità Eterna is a resplendently beautiful, blonde young woman whose nudity denotes her contempt for perishable earthly things... Felicità Breve is a lady whose dress yellow and white signifies satisfaction. She is adorned with precious stones and holding a vessel full of gold and gems."
"... all the one-dimensional people with their one-dimensional possessions were lined up along this single dimension like long, thin beads strung out along a thread..."
Lisa Randall
"Cash makes the world go round
Cash makes your girl get down"
Tommy Cash

Films related:
- Capital in the 21st Century (Justin Pemberton, 2019);
The Panama Papers (Alex Winters, 2018);
I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, 2016)
The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015);
Um Sonho Intenso (José Mariani, 2014);
The Wolf of Wall Street (Scorsese, 2013);
Le Capital (Costa-Gravas, 2012);
Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, 2010);
- El método (Marcelo Piñeyro, 2005);

In this Blog, see also: 
Inside Job
El Estudiante
Godard's Sympathy for the Devil
Pier Paolo Pasolini
American "Liberal" Hell;
right truths to slay the enemy
Environmental Issue (Brazil);
Blue Crab/ Siri Azul (Torres, Brazil, Jan 2019);
Who Wants to Be the World's 5th Largest Economy?
Banality of Evil in Brazil;
Brazil after Rousseff's Impeachment;
A Place Where Everything Is Permitted;
List of Infamous Brazilian Esquerdofrênicos;
Humanitarian Rhetoric;

Panama Papers:
"The System is Rigged," Salon
article par Eva Joly dans Le Monde Diplomatique

'“Capital in the 21st Century” is based on the bestselling 2013 book by Thomas Piketty, a French economist. The film, directed by Justin Pemberton, undermines that core power of the world’s elites — shaping how we think — in a particularly wise, sneaky way... “Nationalism is often used by elites to make people forget class conflict and instead focus on national identity” [says Piketty]. It can be debated the degree to which berserk nationalism was consciously stoked by Europe’s rulers to distract from their failures,' "Capital in the 21st Century: Finally, a movie that tells the history of how we got into this mess" (Jon Schwarz/The Intercept);
- '“The fact that houses are too expensive is not only to do with too few being built. There is a lot of capital flowing around the world trying to find an investment, and right now real estate is seen as the best way to invest, so that drives up prices”' [Amsterdam's Deputy Major/Marieke van Doorninck]  Amsterdam to embrace 'doughnut' model to mend post-coronavirus economy (The Guardian);
- '... the urgent task that democrats and liberals must embrace is this: bursting the bubbles we live in... Data collected in France and Germany reveals that the reason why citizens who are drawn to populist parties hold grudges against the “media and politics”, is because they adopt an “agenda” that doesn’t at all fit their concerns. Those main concerns are “precarious working conditions, worries about money and declining social infrastructure,”' Can Emmanuel Macron’s ‘great national debate’ save his presidency? (The Guardian);
What Does Greta Thunberg's Call for Equity Means? (Climate Home News)
1000 milliards d'euros : le coût de l'évasion fiscale (La Tribune);
Raghuram Rajan says capitalism is únder serious threat' (BBC News)
'This is about saving capitalism': the Dutch historian who savaged Davos elite (The Guardian);
David Attenborough tells Davos: ‘The Garden of Eden is no more’ (The Guardian);
Gilets jaunes: are nationalists infiltrating the yellow vests? (BBC);
A Giant Pile of Money (The Intercept);
Elizabeth Warren. v. the District of Corruption (The Intercept)
Myths of the 1 Percent (The New York Times);
What are the Paradise Papers and what do they tell us? (The Guardian)
Why we are shining a light on the world of tax heavens again (The Guardian)
IMF: higher taxes for rich will cut inequality without hitting growth (The Guardian)
Power, Ilness, Homelessness: McDonald's UK Workers are going to strike (The Guardian);  
America's geography of wealth: the shrinking urban middle class visualised (The Guardian);  
America has become so anti-innovation, it is economic suicide (The Guardian)
World's eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50% (The Guardian)
Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries (The Guardian)
The art and science of economics at Cambridge (The Economist);
Roberto Saviano: London is heart of global financial corruption (The Guardian);
It is time to junk the flawed economic models (The Guardian);
Neoliberalism: the ideology at the root of all our problems (The Guardian);
Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'? (The Guardian);
Dívida Pública: o veículo para roubo de recursos públicos;
Sobre a ideia brilhante de suspensão da dívida como política anticíclica (José Luis Oreiro);
- The death of neoliberalism (The Guardian);
The great Greek bank robery (Yanis Varoufakis);

Ralph Nader on the Democratic Party (2020's Election):
"They have to stop Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren because their hegemony is over if one of those people gets elected, and they want to continue dialing for corporate dollars. They want to continue Obama’s record setting fundraising from Wall Street which exceeded his Republican opponents. Imagine, he got more money from Wall Street than John McCain in 2008. That’s the internal struggle. This business about socialism, that’s just a cover but they’re willing to emulate themselves this year, and let Trump win by basically stereotyping any kind of progressive legislation as socialism."
"They like people like Joe Biden, you know, he comes out of the corporate stake, out of the Obama world, out of the Clarence Thomas, enabler chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and mistreating Anita Hill and, and he comes out of that. They like him and if he falters, they’ll go for Bloomberg, because they know he’s got a lot of money to go up against the Republicans. It’s just redux. Its corporate state Democrat redux. That is they’re almost identical in military and foreign policy with the Republicans. They’re almost identical and booming, bigger military budgets and lathering the military industrial complex with whatever they want. They’re almost identical with avoiding applying law enforcement to Wall Street. All that is deliberate. All that is part of the Rep/Dem consensus, the two party duopoly that stereotypes third parties, and when they start seeing an insurgence in their own party, they go to work on it behind the scenes, tipping close primary elections."
"How can anybody running for president against this relentless savage sexual predator, this constant liar on matters of serious import to the American people — separating millions of people from reality into his commercialized fantasy, this person who’s a bigot and a racist and he follows up with actions reflecting that — how can the Democrats even raise the issue of trying to find a candidate who’s electable against this person? That’s just a technique to marginalize progressive candidates — and they use the words moderate and centrist and leftist and extremist to pursue the same strategy — to mainstream their corporate Democratic primary candidates."
"For example, Joe Biden is called a moderate. Joe Biden, for example, has supported wars abroad that are unconstitutional. Why is that a moderate? Joe Biden has been to toady the big banks. Why is that a moderate? Why is it considered leftist to support universal health insurance and a living wage and cracking down on corporate crime? Those received enormous results in the polls. Left, right support, 65, 70, 75, 80, 90 percent."
"So this is really Armageddon time for the Democratic Party. They’ve been losing and losing to the worst Republican Party in history, the stupidity, the ignorance, the bigotry, the corporatism, the self-serving enrichments, etc. They’re a mirror of Trump. If the Democrats lose this one, there’s going to be a lot of fissure and a lot of splits," "It is Armageddon time for the Democratic Party" (Jeremy Scahill/The Intercept);

Paul Krugman: 
"That was mostly — so, my book is Arguing with Zombies. And one of the zombies is this obsession with public debt and the belief that we should be terribly scared of government debt, and we can’t do anything because of deficits. Eek! And that’s the way Buttigieg talks now, at that very moment when mainstream economics, if you like, centrist economics, has concluded, “Hey, these debt worries were way overblown.” You know, the president of the American Economic Association gave this presidential address saying debt is just not nearly the problem people think it is, and it’s not a constraint. And, of course, Republicans have pulled one of the greatest acts of policy hypocrisy in history. You know, deficits were an existential threat as long as Obama was in office; they don’t matter as soon as Trump is in office. So, I really don’t want to see — I mean, if we did get a Democratic centrist who bought into this deficit scaremongering, that would be a really bad thing. That would block any kind of initiative," "Sanders & Socialism: Debate Between Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman & Socialist Economist Richard Wolff" (Democracy Now)

On Mass Surveillance: 
"The NSA and GCHQ, whose collaboration is at the heart of the US and British "special relationship", have been central to that for decades. Their global eavesdropping role is the cornerstone of the 'five eyes' alliance of anglophone states (including Australia, Canada and New Zealand) which underpins US-dominated western global power. Both agencies were founded to spy on the rest of the world, but ended up also targeting their own people."
"Corporations have long been hand in glove with the secret state, working with the security services to this day to blacklist trade unionists and funding covert labour movement organisations during the cold war. What's changed is that communication is in the hands of the corporations. And the companies whose servers are vacuumed up by Prism are a roll call of US internet giants, from Google to YouTube."
"The leaked NSA documents say the companies collaborate, which they deny. But any idea that these tax-dodging behemoths represent a new form of libertarian democratic cool has now been comprehensively exposed as yesterday's marketing guff."
"... the NSA and GCHQ, along with their sister spying outfits, are fuelling as much as fighting terrorism. It is they who provide the intelligence for drone attacks that have killed thousands of civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. A Pakistani man is currently taking a case to the court of appeal against GCHQ for allegedly providing the "intelligence" for a CIA drone strike that killed his father."
"And it's the same US and British intelligence services that have been involved in widespread torture, kidnapping and other crimes in the past decade – as well as scandalous intelligence manipulation over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction – who now claim to be protecting us from some of the consequences."
"At home, GCHQ and the NSA were mobilised to conduct spying and dirty tricks operations against the 1980s British miners'strike, while in the 1970s the US Senate Church committee exposed systematic abuse of US eavesdropping powers against civil rights and anti-war activists (along with assassination abroad)," "NSA and GCHQ: mass surveillance is about power as much as privacy" (Seumas Milne, The Guardian, 06/11/2013);

Ultimate piece on Snowden and his ring (written by a woman):
"[In five years since Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance], we’ve learned much more about how Big Tech was not only sharing data with the NSA but collecting vast troves of information about us for its own purposes. And we’ve started to see the strategic ends to which Big Data can be put. In that sense, we’re only beginning to comprehend the full significance of Snowden’s disclosures... This is not to say that we know more today about Snowden’s motivations or aims than we did in 2013. The question of whether or not Snowden was a Russian asset all along has been raised and debated..."
"[NSA's PRISM, whose documents were leaked by Snowden and disclosed by Glenn Greenwald and Barton Gellman] secured cooperation between the Internet companies and the NSA at the point when an individual suspected of involvement in terrorism had been targeted and the NSA wished to retrieve that suspect’s messages from the companies’ servers. Many Americans will still feel that this program constituted an unwarranted breach of privacy, but what PRISM does not do is vindicate the idea of a “deep state” operating entirely independently of the rule of law. Although this might seem like a fine distinction to some, it is an extremely significant one. But the narrative of deep-state lawlessness was too appealing..."
"Assange’s allies, Milne included, have made clear that their allegiance doesn’t lie with liberal democracies and their values. They have taken sides with authoritarianism in their fight against the hypocrisy of liberal democracies... Assange, a former libertarian, has called Russia under Putin “a bulwark against Western imperialism”... For his part, Greenwald has repeatedly, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, decried as Russophobia the findings that Putin ordered interference in the 2016 US presidential election—even appearing on Fox News to do so. The very term “Russophobia” obfuscates the distinction between Vladimir Putin’s regime and Russia; the two clearly can’t be identified with one another... The distinction between left and right, he argues, will increasingly be replaced by the opposition between people who are pro-establishment and anti-establishment. But being anti-establishment is not a politics. It defends no clear set of values or principles. And it permits prevarication about the essential choice between criticizing and helping to reform liberal democracy from within or assisting in its demise. It encourages its partisans to take sides with a smaller, authoritarian state in order to check the power of the one whose establishment it opposes..."
"In their book Red Web: The Kremlin’s War on the Internet, the Russian investigative journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan recounted the experiences of human rights activists who were summoned via an email purportedly from Snowden himself, to a meeting with him at Moscow airport when he surfaced there with Sarah Harrison, to find they were joining the heads of various pro-Kremlin “human rights” groups, Vladimir Lukin, the Putin-appointed Human Rights Commissioner of Russia, and the lawyers Anatoly Kucherena and Henri Reznik. It was clear to the independent activists that Kucherena had organized the meeting..."
"So whether we trust [Snowden] matters. It matters whether we view him as a bad actor, or as a well-intentioned whistleblower who has shown bad judgment, or as someone who has allowed himself to become an unwitting pawn of the Russians... In a 2016 lecture by video-link at Fusion’s Real Future Fair, Snowden discouraged his audience from pursuing the legal and political remedies that liberal democracies offer..."
"If there’s one thing Greenwald, Assange, and their followers got right, it’s that the United States became a tremendous economic and military power over the last seven decades. When it blunders in its foreign or domestic policy, the US has the capacity to do swift and unparalleled damage. The question then is whether this awesome power is better wielded by a liberal-democratic state in an arguably hypocritical way but with some restraint, or by an authoritarian one in a nakedly avowed way and with no restraint. In the five years since Snowden’s revelations, we have seen changes, particularly the election of Donald Trump with his undisguised admiration for strongmen, that compel us to imagine a possible authoritarian future for the United States," "Edward Snowden Reconsidered" (Tamsin Shaw, The New York Review of Books, 09/13/2018);

What should have been the ultimate piece on Glenn Greenwald (& still much more on Assange): 
"What’s astonishing about their ascent to heroism is the breadth of their support. The embrace of the antiwar left and the libertarian right was to be expected. But effusions of praise for the leakers can also be found throughout the liberal establishment..."
"Contrary to [Snowden's] claims, he seems to have become an anti-secrecy activist only after the White House was won by a liberal Democrat who, in most ways, represented everything that a right-wing Ron Paul admirer would have detested..."
"In several cases over a five-year span, Greenwald represented Matthew Hale, the head of the Illinois-based white-supremacist World Church of the Creator, which attracted a small core of violently inclined adherents... Greenwald’s other clients included the neo-Nazi National Alliance, who were implicated in an especially horrible crime. Two white supremacists on Long Island had picked up a pair of unsuspecting Mexican day laborers, lured them into an abandoned warehouse, and then clubbed them with a crowbar and stabbed them repeatedly. The day laborers managed to escape, and when they recovered from their injuries, they sued the National Alliance and other hate groups, alleging that they had inspired the attackers. Greenwald described the suit as a dangerous attempt to suppress free speech by making holders of “unconventional” views liable for the actions of others... most of [Greenwald's] writings, his critique of America abroad was congenial both to the isolationist paleo-Right and to post–New Left anti-imperialists... Along those lines, Greenwald found common ground with the upper echelons of right-wing free-market libertarianism... When bloggers confronted Greenwald about his associations with libertarians, the darling of the netroots and MSNBC left angrily batted the claims away as distortions. He need not have reacted so forcefully. Accused of working for Cato, for example, he might simply have said that he believed in addressing any organization that wanted to hear from him and left it at that. Instead, Greenwald attacked his critics as “McCarthyite” purveyors of “falsehoods, fabrications, and lies”..."
"In 2010, Greenwald began attacking the Obama administration from the left on a variety of domestic issues, attacking Wall Street corruption, opposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and decrying inequality. Yet even as he insisted on his left liberalism, he remained a steadfast promoter of Ron Paul—“far and away the most anti-war, anti-Surveillance-State, anti-crony-capitalism, and anti-drug-war presidential candidate in either party.” (After Paul’s son, then senatorial candidate Rand Paul, questioned the Civil Rights Act, Greenwald agreed with criticism that the remark was “wacky,” but insisted that the real “crazies” in American politics were mainstream Democrats and Republicans.)... During his political pilgrimage, Greenwald became consumed: For him, the national security apparatus is not just an important issue; it is the great burning issue of our time..."
"In the wake of the WikiLeaks frenzy, Assange often tried to clarify where he stood politically. His simultaneous embrace of leftist icons such as Noam Chomsky and right-wing libertarians seemed to indicate that he was open to ideas from either end of the political spectrum, so long as they were directed against authoritarianism. Finally, in 2013, Assange proclaimed, “The only hope as far as electoral politics presently... is the libertarian section of the Republican Party”... Yet even that declaration was misleading. In practice, Assange has a history of working closely with forces far more radical than the Republican Liberty Caucus. Late in 2012, Assange announced the formation of the WikiLeaks Party in Australia. It had been expected that WikiLeaks would ultimately throw its support to the Green Party—especially after the party’s National Council voted in favor of such a move. Instead, WikiLeaks aligned with a collection of far-right parties. One was the nativist Australia First, whose most prominent figure was a former neo-Nazi previously convicted of coordinating a shotgun attack on the home of an Australian representative of Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress. Members of the WikiLeaks Party blamed the flap on an “administrative error”; mass resignations from the party’s leadership followed. Those who quit cited a lack of transparency in the party’s operations, and some pointed to remarks Assange had made blasting a Green Party proposal to reform Australia’s harsh treatment of asylum seekers..."
"Snowden, Greenwald, and Assange have largely set the terms in the debate over transparency and privacy in America. But the value of some of their revelations does not mean that they deserve the prestige and influence that has been accorded to them," "Would You Feel Differently About Snowden, Greenwald, and Assange If You Knew What They Really Thought" (Sean Wilentz, The New Republic, 19/01/2014);

Misinformation Wars: "The Seven Commandments of Fake News" (Adam B. Ellick, Adam Westbrook and Jonah M. Kessel, The New York Times):

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