Monday, February 27, 2017

U.S. Marshals Scan Passenger Retinas to Board Flight: “Like Everyone Else, I Complied”

SHTF Plan | Feb 27, 2017 | Mac Slavo

During the war on terrorism, Americans compromised their liberties to fight for freedom. Now, during the war on immigration, Americans will again be compelled to sacrifice liberties for American sovereignty.

In the name of security, anywhere, anytime. All measures will be justified, everyone will be authorized and the population will be controlled.

That is the moment we have arrived at in America.

A combination of policies that President Obama put into place, as well as fresh executive orders put in place by President Trump’s executive orders, have created a new front in the world of national security. They are now using biometrics to verify passport and identity, in the name of cracking down on immigration.

Additional scrutiny, and an over-bearing scent of gestapo is again cropping up in airports, as yet another layer of surveillance is added to the line up.

Here’s a look at one version of the machines now being tested and phased in at airports and other checkpoints:

Both visitors from abroad, and American citizens alike have now been required to submit to biometric iris scans in order to board a flight. Wow.

via Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation of Economic Education:
For some 15 years, airport security has become steadily more invasive. There are ever more checkpoints, ever more requests for documents as you make your way from the airport entrance to the airplane. Passengers adapt to the new changes as they come. But my latest flight to Mexico, originating in Atlanta, presented all passengers with something I had never seen before.

We had already been through boarding pass checks, passport checks, scanners, and pat downs. At the gate, each passenger had already had their tickets scanned and we were all walking on the jet bridge to board. It’s at this point that most people assume that it is all done: finally we can enjoy some sense of normalcy.

This time was different. Halfway down the jetbridge, there was a new layer of security. Two US Marshals, heavily armed and dressed in dystopian-style black regalia, stood next to an upright machine with a glowing green eye. Every passenger, one by one, was told to step on a mat and look into the green scanner. It was scanning our eyes and matching that scan with the passport, which was also scanned (yet again).

Like everyone else, I complied. What was my choice? I guess I could have turned back at the point, decline to take the flight I had paid for, but it would be unclear what would then happen. After standing there for perhaps 8 seconds, the machine gave the go signal and I boarded.
I talked to a few passengers about this and others were just as shaken by the experience. They were reticent even to talk about it, as people tend to be when confronted with something like this.

I couldn’t find anyone who had ever seen something like this before. I wrote friends who travel internationally and none said they had ever seen anything like this.

I will tell you how it made me feel: like a prisoner in my own country. It’s one thing to control who comes into a country. But surveilling and permissioning American citizens as they leave their own country, even as they are about to board, is something else.
This isn’t required for all flights, yet.

This writer encountered a Homeland Security / U.S. Customs and Border Protection test at select airports… they are still working out the kinks.

But the question is, after all the frustrations that Americans had with flying after 9/11, and watching their liberties sacrificed at the alter security, after dealing with ridiculously long lines – are Americans now willing sacrifice even more liberties and submit their biometric scans?

Unfortunately, they may be.

As a general mass, Americans have proved underwhelming in their opposition to invasions of privacy on the part of private corporations, especially those online and in computing and communication devices. They have also shrugged off and become immune to fifteen years of airport harassment and additional checks and scans.

Now, iris scans might even one day make security faster – but it’s a devilish tradeoff, and an enormous trust of power an agency that was created into existence out of the 9/11 emergency atmosphere, and which grows only when feeding the machine fear and terror.
Update: a reader has pointed me to this page at Homeland Security:

As part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) border security mission, the agency is deploying new technologies to verify travelers’ identities – both when they arrive and when they leave the United States – by matching a traveler to the document they are presenting. CBP’s goal is to enhance national security and protect a traveler’s identity against theft through the use of biometrics.

Biometric information (such as finger, face, or iris) measures a person’s unique physical characteristics. CBP incorporated fingerprints for biometric identification and verification in 2004, and is now testing facial and iris imaging capabilities to help improve travelers’ identity protection, the integrity of our immigration system, and our national security.

I happened to be on the “one daily flight” that gets exit scanned.


What people don’t often consider is that every rule that pertains to immigration ultimately applies to emigration as well. Every rule that government has to treat immigrants a certain way also necessarily applies to citizens as well.

Chandran Kukathas is right when he says that “controlling immigration means controlling everyone.” (source)
It looks like their tests have so far met with very little resistance, and all signs green, as support for Trump’s new order of police, border, military and security agencies are given new mandates to enforce laws, and take necessary measures to control borders, verify individuals and protect the country. That’s the narrative, and Americans are cheering it on with very little forethought about the consequences it could hold.

For now, Americans are willing to accept new controls.

That is, if nobody reawakens to the massive civil liberties issue that is going on.

Welcome Aboard, But First US Marshals Will Scan Your Retina,BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT FREE

Fake Organics Flooding US Market

Alliance for Natural Health | Feb 21, 2017

The feds are definitely aware of the problem, but they aren’t doing a thing about it. Action Alert!

Organic corn exports from Turkey to the US have exploded. Compared to the same six-month time period in 2015, the dollar value of organic corn imports from Turkey during the first six months of 2016 increased by 500%. Organic soy imports from Turkey in the same period increased by an astounding 3600%.

Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that these millions of bushels of corn and soy aren’t actually organic at all, and federal regulators—unlike their counterparts in other countries—do not seem concerned in the least.

Turkey’s organic industry has major problems. Between 2012 and 2015, several reports—from respected bodies such as the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Eurofins Scientific, and our friends at the Cornucopia Institute—found widespread fraud and unapproved production methods in organic products, either directly from Turkey, or perhaps routed through Turkey after originating elsewhere.

One Turkish certifier of organic products, ETKO, has been singled out by some countries, notably Canada and the European Union, for its fraudulent certifications, and has “decertified” the organization—meaning that ETKO-certified organic products are no longer accepted as organic.

Why are these regulators acting while US regulators do nothing?

There are reports that the measures taken by the EU and others have simply led some exporters to ship to markets that are more likely to accept their products—like the US. The USDA’s Organic Integrity Database includes four pages of ETKO-certified operations, with no mention of their decertified status in other countries.

The USDA knows full well that there is a big problem with organic products coming from Turkey. A 2016 USDA report lays out the problem:
As organic production and consumption in Turkey grow, so too do the concerns about fraudulent organic products and lack of inspections. According to a EUROPOL report, some Turkish companies have been involved in relabeling or repackaging products as organic and bringing the counterfeit products into the European Union, even though the products do not meet the organic standards.
Since they acknowledge knowing about the problem, why is the USDA so unconcerned about the threat of boatloads of fake organic grain coming into the US, which will disrupt, displace, and may even bankrupt US organic producers? This could be more crony gamesmanship: we know that federal regulators tend to favor large producers, and are often indifferent to the effect of their actions on small producers. There is no evidence that the USDA even likes the idea of organic food!

Whatever the reason, this is unacceptable. If the USDA won’t do its job, we must embarrass them into doing it.

Action Alert! Write to the USDA and tell them to investigate the supposedly “organic” grain coming from certifiers who are known to be fraudulent, and from major exporters like Ukraine and Turkey that are suspected of widespread fraud. Please send your message immediately. A copy will be sent to both Congress and the White House.

'White Helmets helping rebrand terror groups to create Syrian no-fly zones' - Vanessa Beeley

RT | Feb 27, 2017 | Vanesa Beeley

© Goran Tomasevic / Reuters
Increased terrorist attacks during the peace talks put pressure on the US to divide the militant factions inside Syria to determine who are terrorists and who are not. A terrorist rebranding process comes into play at that point, says researcher Vanessa Beeley.

A spokesman for the terror group which claimed responsibility for Saturday's deadly attack on military facilities in the Syrian city of Homs has appeared on the Al Jazeera TV channel.

The attacks happened at the same time as Syria peace talks were underway in Geneva. During the broadcast, the terrorist claimed the attack was planned well in advance and wasn't aimed at disrupting the talks.

Tahrir al-Sham is an Al-Qaeda-linked terror group, formed in January. The majority of its members were part of a group widely known as al-Nusra.

RT: What do you think about Al Jazeera giving a platform to a terrorist?

Vanessa Beeley: This is not that unusual for Al Jazeera in the sense that although they have not overtly given a platform to terrorists throughout their reporting on the NATO and Gulf State war that is being waged against a sovereign nation, Syria, we’ve seen them consistently produce reports from terrorist affiliates, particularly during the time of the Al-Nusra Front-led occupation of East Aleppo.

We saw them allegedly broadcast from East Aleppo via citizen journalists and activists that we’ve later discovered have clear affiliations to extremist groups, like Nour al-Din al-Zenki, like Nusra Front themselves, for example, Lina al-Shami and other such affiliates who were embedded inside East Aleppo and were producing the NATO-aligned narrative and propaganda to ensure the continued incarceration of the civilians in East Aleppo.

So, this is not unusual for Al Jazeera to be giving a platform so to speak to terrorist organizations, to terrorist operatives. And again, this renaming of Tahrir al-Sham is another rebranding process that is becoming very familiar now.

RT: The militants are rebranding themselves quite often. What's the purpose of this?

VB: I think they have two aspects to this. I think you have the aspect that we have now gangs and counter-gangs throughout Syria – we see splinter groups upon splinter groups particularly in Idlib, we are seeing them fighting among themselves, the various extremist and militant factions. But as regards Nusra Front – we had it already – the last name was Fateh al-Sham, it is a little hard to keep up with it and in fact, I think, the US administration, both under Obama and under Trump, is struggling to keep up with their own rebranding process of Al-Qaeda in Syria.

And what I think we are really seeing is an intensification of that during peace talks when, of course, there is going to be pressure upon the US administration to basically segregate the militant factions inside Syria and to determine those that are terrorists and those that are not. And we always see this rebranding process coming into play at that point.

RT: The group denies the attack on the Syrian military facilities in Homs was designed to disrupt the Geneva peace talks. Do you believe the timing is just a coincidence?

VB: I think the timing is far from a coincidence. I don’t think any of these attacks are ever coincidental, particularly when they come in parallel with the various peace talks that have been held over the last few years. But this one in particular, what is very important to know that for the last four days to a week there has been an intensification of the Syrian Arab Army campaigns against the terrorist factions in Homs and in the surrounding countryside.

What I did notice, which was very interesting, is in the corporate media reporting of this incident, we saw the appearance of actually the White Helmets and their video footage was used by the majority of corporate media. This is interesting because it is one of the few times that I have seen them actually inside Homs and filming a terrorist operation, so to me this demonstrates the fact that the White Helmets will be used alongside with the rebranding of this terrorist group to basically protect the terrorist group by calling in for the ‘no-fly zone’ and in an attempt to derail the Syrian Arab Army activity that is effectively to cleanse the area of the terrorist factions.

RT: What are your thoughts about the documentary on the White Helmets having been nominated for an Oscar? 

VB: I think it will be a victory for propaganda, basically. They should be congratulated maybe on their acting skills rather than their humanitarian skills. Myself, and actually Lizzie Phelan of RT were actually in East Aleppo at pretty much the same time during its liberation from Nusra Front-led occupation. And afterward for the many celebrations of liberation leading up to Christmas. And both of us independently in different districts of East Aleppo, as they were being liberated, were speaking to civilians as they were emerging from four and a half years of imprisonment, we were both asking these civilians what they knew of the White Helmets. Now the first point to make was, when I used the term the White Helmets, which is the label that is given to them by their marketing campaign managers and by the corporate media in the West, most of the civilians didn’t have a clue who we were talking about. When we then expanded on the theme, we mentioned that they were civil defense, then almost immediately, the response was: “Oh, you mean Nusra Front civil defense.” And that was entirely unprompted by these Syrian civilians, literally as they were leaving the liberated districts. We also accrued a number of testimonies that basically attested to the fact that they worked alongside the terrorist organizations inside East Aleppo, they worked in facilitating and sometimes even participating in the various terrorist atrocities that were carried out both at East Aleppo and in the Aleppo countryside and then in Idlib…

The Fourth Turning and Steve Bannon Pt. 2: Happiness, Hedonism, Horror - Repeat

SOTT | Feb 27, 2017 | Harrison Koehli

Continued from Part 1: Why He's Wrong, Even Though He's Right

I wasn't familiar with the 'fourth turning' before the Bannon media hype, but the idea didn't strike me as off the wall once I read about it. I think it's actually quite useful. And it's not really new either. Howe and Strauss seem to have built upon existing ideas of historical cycles and refined them, tying them to the biological life cycle and filling in a lot of the details. For example, Howe mentions Toynbee's idea of a "great war cycle":
And this is the old lesson of Arnold Toynbee, of what he calls the great war cycle that arose every 80 years or so: it's when the generation who doesn't remember the last great catastrophe finally become the senior leaders.
Another source is Russian sociologist Pitrim Sorokin. I'm not sure if Howe and Strauss were familiar with Sorokin's work, but these blog posts (here, here, and here) suggest that their theory at least "appears to be a clean innovation on Sorokin's work". Sorokin also identified a cycle of 80 to 100 years that ping-pongs between spiritual and materialistic mindsets, roughly corresponding to the awakening and crisis turnings. For Howe and Strauss, the second and fourth turnings - spiritual awakening and secular crisis - form the key moments in the larger cycle of cultural trends.

There's another source, however, that I think rounds out generational theory even more and provides the perspective we need in order to prevent the current crisis from progressing to a reign of terror. Readers familiar with Lobaczewski's Political Ponerology (which cites Sorokin's work as a source) know that one of main points of the book is that some psychopaths strive for political power, and create societal nightmares once they achieve it. But equally important is his focus on the historical cycles that make such a thing possible. The two are intimately tied together.

In PP, Lobaczewski describes this cycle in terms of "good times" and "bad times". Bad times contain within them the seeds of good times, because they provide the hard lessons that force people to rediscover what really matters, prompting a spiritual awakening for society to rebuild. But good times also contain the seed of bad times, because they tend to lead to hedonism, complacency, and stagnation, where past lessons are forgotten and written off as a waste of time. But the hedonistic pursuit of happiness only leads to misery, because it lacks any meaning or sense of purpose. And by ignoring the lessons learned in the past, societies open themselves up to the same "infection". They lose their "immunity". Their defenses are weakened, and another crisis becomes inevitable.

Already we see aspects of Howe and Strauss's "high" (good times), "awakening" (rediscovery of lost values), and "unraveling" (stagnation and hedonism), which lead to "crisis" (bad times).

Lobaczewski admitted that the two key "danger" phases were well recognized by historians. The first is a spiritual crisis where moral, religious, and intellectual values atrophy and cease to nourish a society. If the correct measures aren't taken, this leads to a secular crisis: economic collapse, revolution, war, the fall of empires. That's pretty standard stuff in history, but what's not understood very well are the specific dynamics that govern why and how this happens - and therefore give a clue as to how to prevent the worst from happening. Left only with Howe & Strauss's theory, we'd be in the same boat as any other generation, albeit with the advantage of knowing we're navigating a crisis. Luckily, we have PP to help us out.

As a psychologist who lived in Communist Poland and studied the Soviet system - risking his life in the process - Lobaczewski had a unique perspective, something people like Bannon could probably benefit from. He focuses in detail on two "pathological states" of societies. Think of them as mental illnesses affecting an entire society, which have specific causes, stages, symptoms, and treatments. These two societal diseases also act as distinct stages within a bigger "macrosocial disease process":
...their essence and contents appear different enough, but they can operate sequentially in such a way that the first opens the door to the second. (PP, p. 120)
I want to focus on the first: a state of heightened and pervasive societal hysteria, which can open the door to the nightmare of the second disease state, "pathocracy".

Lobaczewski fits these pathological social conditions into what he calls a "hysteroidal cycle", but I'll just refer to it as the cycle of hysteria. It's important information to have, so I'm going to summarize his ideas here and relate them to Howe and Strauss's work on the four turnings. (For those readers who have PP, the bulk of this information comes from Chapter 2.)

The Cycle of Hysteria

Lobaczewski says the cycle of hysteria repeats "not quite every two centuries". The level of social hysteria peaks around one generation before a crisis, in other words during an unraveling. If it peaks hard enough, it can lead to a reign of terror, as it has so often in the past. If Lobaczewski is right about the length of the cycle, that suggests a longer cycle - close to two of Howe and Strauss's cycles (i.e. 150 to 180 years). Civil War buffs might be able to provide some insight into this, given that the Civil War happened just over 150 years ago. Or perhaps Howe and Strauss are correct in limiting the cycle to 80 years, and the conditions that make one cycle worse than another are secondary and don't repeat like clockwork. I don't know.

As bad as the bad times are, they give purpose: for progress and the rediscovery of lost values. A close encounter with evil forces us to gather the physical and mental strength to fight not only for our lives, but also for our sanity. Even though our first response is usually to turn to violence and military might (revolution, counter-revolution, civil war), that hotheadedness falls by the wayside with time and experience. In the cauldron of suffering and chaos, frivolous emotions eventually make way for sober reflection, and we're forced to regain lost powers of thought and discernment. Society eventually regains a healthier worldview: knowledge of self and others, old virtues and values, understanding the meaning of history. All of which eventually gives us the power to actually conquer evil by creating a new order out of the chaos.

But this knowledge slowly fades. Those who benefit the most after the crisis in terms of position and wealth give birth to children who haven't known real hardship. These children learn to repress uncomfortable truths that would force them to admit that they profit from injustice (e.g., slavery, worker exploitation, corrupt business practices, imperialism, etc.). This form of denial only gets worse with each new generation. In other words, the privileged, elite establishment gradually loses touch with reality, becoming more self-serving and self-entitled with time.

This kind of comfortable life - blind to the negative underbelly - gives rise to increasing levels of self-importance and hysteria, which eventually reach a critical point. If this critical point can't be overcome, a bloody tragedy usually results within the next generation. In other words, if the disease isn't treated in its infancy, crisis is probably inevitable. How bad it is depends on how far a society has devolved morally and psychologically. Some societies survive relatively intact; some are tied to the fate of other nations; but empires can and do collapse. A crisis of hysteria is how it all happens.

So let's take a look at some of the "symptoms" of this social disease, which show up after a couple generations of living the good life. Lobaczewski gives a few specific examples of how the hysteria manifests. People tend to become overly emotional, hyper-sensitive and hyper-irritable, prone to taking offense at the drop of a hat, and unreasonably distrustful of others. In Eastern Europe, some of the older generation assumed anything anyone said to them in casual conversation was a lie. Having a conversation with such a person is not easy. They're constantly seeing something that isn't there: you lying to them. And nothing you can say or do will convince them otherwise. In other words, they're basically hallucinating.

Cognitively, critical thinking goes down the tubes, people lose their ability to reason, and cognitive dissonance reaches pandemic levels because people come to believe many things that just aren't true. When you consistently hallucinate an alternate reality that isn't actually there, naturally that alternate reality has to come face to face with actual facts. But those facts can't be accepted as true, otherwise that would mean you're wrong and you're not as smart as you think you are. Result: cognitive dissonance. And when this kind of pseudo-thinking based on "alternative facts" becomes habitual, people habitually miss the point. Lobaczewski calls it "chronic avoidance of the crux of the matter" - they simply can't see what's actually important or significant. (I'll go into this in more detail in Part 3.)

This video captures some of the above. It's also funny.

 This is bad news. When we ignore reality, or substitute facts with more comfortable alternatives, this means we can't come to correct conclusions or make effective choices. And as Dr. Jordan B. Peterson put it in one of his talks: "Every time you tell yourself a lie and every time you act out a falsehood, you distort the pristine integrity of your nervous system, and the reports it will give you about the nature of the world will be distorted." And that inevitably leads to bad results.

When these emotional and cognitive errors run rampant, they lead to a life dominated by what Lobaczewski calls the "three egos":
  • Egoism: selfishness, self-interest above all else on the personal and national levels
  • Egotism: self-importance, arrogance, boastfulness on the personal and national levels
  • Egocentrism: self-centredness, thinking only of oneself, without regard for feelings, interests, of well-being of others, on the personal and national levels
That's what happens when you hallucinate a world in which you are the best and the most important, and you ignore or reinterpret any evidence to the contrary. At the level of governmental administration, it leads to self-defeating and even disastrous domestic and foreign policy.

So, due to all the above (emotional hysteria, cognitive dissonance, the three egos), people and nations steadily cease to see the importance of engaging in introspection and self-criticism, and acknowledging their own faults. They lose interest in gaining knowledge of life and of others. They aren't interested in understanding or acknowledging the suffering of others, here or abroad. When creature comforts and a relatively decent or exceptional standard of living are readily available, answering tough questions and acknowledging harsh realities just aren't worth the effort. What's the point when you have everything you want or need? "What's in it for me?"

Public, social and moral responsibilities take a back seat. People become self-indulgent, driven by the pursuit of pleasure, and obsessed with trivial things. Our social connections with others get weaker and weaker. We don't think seriously about the future, how to prepare for it, and what to do in order to make sure we have a future. We steadily lose basic knowledge of how our own minds work and how to interact with others in a healthy way. In a nutshell, we lose our understanding of the very things necessary for a peaceful preservation of law and order, and for social progress. And without this understanding, we can't and don't properly educate the next generation with the knowledge they need to deal successfully with the world, which only sets them up for failure.

Truth becomes an uncomfortable concept in such times; truth tellers and whistleblowers aren't treated well, lies become common currency. People in high social positions become contemptuous of their inferiors, while those "inferiors" grow resentful of those at the top. Universities, politics, and business form a united front of talentless, incompetent hacks. This leads to a paralysis of leadership. Simple problems that should have relatively common-sense and simple solutions become overwhelming. Can't get much worse, right? Wrong. Things can get much worse.

In sum, when hysteria reaches its peak, people are overwhelmingly ruled by automatic, unconscious emotional and cognitive processes. Readers should check out Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, and Timothy Wilson's Strangers To Ourselves, because they talk about these specific processes. And a little self-knowledge goes a long way. The alternative is not pretty:
Those who try to maintain common sense and proper reasoning finally wind up in the minority, feeling wronged because their human right to maintain psychological hygiene is violated by pressure from all sides. This means that unhappy times are not far away. (PP, p. 105)
So the question is this: Is America (and the rest of the world) in for some unhappy times?

In Part 3, I'll take a look at the hysterical state of American society, the implications, and what can go wrong.

Harrison Koehli co-hosts SOTT Radio Network's Truth Perspective, and is an editor for Red Pill Press. He has been interviewed on several North American radio shows about his writings on the study of ponerology. In addition to music and books, Harrison enjoys tobacco and bacon (often at the same time) and dislikes cell phones, vegetables, and fascists.

War at Any Cost: Israeli Special Forces Enter Syrian Territory to ‘Monitor’ Extremist Groups Fighting Assad

Global Research | Feb 26, 2017

Russia Insider - Israel’s decision on Wednesday to fly over ISIS strongholds in Lebanon, and then drop bombs on Syrian Army positions in Syria, was a real stroke of genius — especially considering that the airstrikes came just before peace talks in Geneva were scheduled to begin.

A real class act.

Now Israel is sending “elite intelligence units” to “monitor” fighting between Syrian forces and “moderate” rebels. Our friends at Al Masdar News report:
A video published by Channel 2 showed reporter Dani Kashmaru accompanying the soldiers in a night mission. According to the reporter, similar operations have been carried out several times in the past, stating that he, along with the Israeli soldiers, ‘could hear and see everything.’

The report disclosed that the elite unit made use of advanced and sophisticated eavesdropping devices to monitor the battles fought between the Syrian Army and hardline groups in the area. 

Israel has been providing logistic support and medical assistance to opposition forces – including Jabhet al-Nusra terror organization – fighting President Bashar Assad.

Israeli warplanes have repeatedly targeted Syrian Army positions under the pretext of preventing sophisticated weapons from reaching the Lebanese Hezbollah group.
They’re not even trying to hide their open support for extremist groups in Syria anymore.

Why isn’t this front page news? You know why.

France Blames Russia for Rise of Marine Le Pen and Nationalism

Newsbud | Feb 27, 2017

The French establishment warns Putin and the Russians will undermine their coming election. This is a repeat of what the political class and the establishment media did in the United States following the election defeat of Hillary Clinton despite a complete lack of evidence.

On this episode of The Geopolitical Report, we turn the tables on the political elite and show how the US and the CIA have specialized in undermining foreign elections through subterfuge and violence.

Show Notes