• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Futility of Typewriters

Last year, in the wake of the the Snowden disclosures, Russia announced that it was reverting to typewriters for its most sensitive communications. "The most primitive method is preferred: a human hand with a pen or a typewriter,” said a spokesman for the Federal Security Service.

Oh, how the world turns. It sounded all rather like Général Joffre ensconcing himself in the Chateau de Chantilly and communicating with his GHC via carrier pigeon, while the Battle of the Marne raged.

But now Germany is following suit. According to Die Welt,

“... people [in government] are trying to stay away from technology whenever they can. Those concerned talk less on the phone, prefer to meet in person. More coffees are being drunk and lunches eaten together. Even the walk in the park is increasingly enjoying a revival"

Walks-in-the-park brought to mind another memory.

I had a professor who had fled the Nazis shortly after they came to power.  Every year, for incoming Sophomores, he held a two or three session class to explain how and why the Nazis had come to power.

The official line at the time — believe it or not — was that a megalomaniac with a clownish mustache had begun ranting and salivating on a podium and a whole nation murderously followed.  Our professor aimed to provide a more adult account.

I recall someone asking, what was the worst thing about living under the Nazis.  Our professor thought a moment a replied, 

“Probably the fact that you didn’t know whom you could trust or where you were safe.  People met secretly in cars or on walks in the park where they couldn’t be overhead.  You never said anything important over the phone.”
Joffre’s penchant for secrecy has been ridiculed for the French reverses in the early stages of the Great War.  But if there was a problem it was in the “ensconcing” not in the “pigeon.”  After all, pigeons can be used to spy from the sky as well as to deliver secret messages.

It is obvious that the more complex anything is the more weak points it has.  Less, as they say, is more. 

The converse is also true, as I have fruitless tried to explain to people many times.  The more you securitize something the more you slow it down and ultimately “lock it up.”  And engine that gets locked up, doesn’t work.

However, the real issue doesn’t concern mechanical causes but political ones. Just as the problem with Joffre was his self-imposed isolation, the real problem at hand is the NSA’s self-ordained spying.  Both are responses drawn from the same psychosis.  Finding itself at war, Joffre looked with suspicion on anything outside his secure castle even "friendly wires."   Secured in their exceptionalist isolation, the NSA considers the whole world to be hostile territory.

Over ten years ago, when the descent into darkness began, this blog warned  that the "war on terrorism" meant that

“. . . the Government will have to presume is that everyone is at least a potential terrorist. In the most fundamental sense that is a presumption which is entirely antithetical to the concept of civil friendship, i.e., societas." (Woodchip Gazette, 010915)
The United States Government has become inimical not only to freedom but to civil society itself. It has injected fear and distrust into the body politic like a metastizing cancer or an auto-immune virus.

Resorting to typewriters, solitary walks (under surveillance cameras) and carrier pigeons are futile medicines against a mortal disease.

Researchers have isolated the civil deficiency virus.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rambo's Global Rampage

Germany has expelled the CIA bureau chief in Berlin after it was revealed that it had “turned” a second German security official into a U.S. spy.

The events in Germany follow upon last week's decision by the United States to punish France’s BNP Paribas with a $9 billion fine  and a one yearn ban on dollar-trades for helping counties like Iran, Sudan, and Cuba process $30 billion in transactions which are illegal under U.S. law. 

As if that were not draconian enough, President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of seeking to blackmail France into scrapping a contract to sell Mistral warships to Russia by offering to cut a record  fine against BNP.   Since France did not cancel the sale the fine was imposed.  [1]

French banks are not the only victims of Unilateral States justice. The U.S. is  also fining major European banks in Switzerland,  Germany and the UK for violating U.S. law, as if sovereign nations were mere ordinary schmucks under the U.S. boot.   [ 2 ]

This has led the French government to call for breaking the monopoly the dollar has on international transactions.   Michel Sapin, the French finance minister,  called for a “rebalancing” of the currencies used for global payments, saying the BNP Paribas case should “make us realize the necessity of using a variety of currencies.”  Sapin said,  "We [Europeans] are selling to ourselves in dollars, ... Is that necessary? I don’t think so."  [ 3 ]

It is hardly news that the United States is intoxicated with its own power.  How could it be otherwise since the assertion, a decade ago, of the unilateral right to preemptively attack anyone anywhere?  The almost daily reports of some domestic or international, military or economic excess has become monotonously tiresome.  What is surprising is that it has taken European nations so long to wake up and that they finally do appear to be waking up to the fact that the U.S. is insane.

"Dans un monde où la nouvelle économie américaine s’est construite sur le pillage, par les Etats-Unis, des droits incorporels et des données personnelles en Europe et où l’antienne n’était pas ennemie de pratiques corruptives, les Etats-Unis de la manifest destiny (« destinée manifeste » qui prête une mission civilisatrice à l’Amérique) et du puritanisme (cette version anglo-saxonne du protestantisme revu par les hommes de loi), prodiguent les sanctions aux entreprises européennes d’une façon de plus en plus effrénée."  [4]

Et je m’en fous si vous ne le comprenez pas.