Tag Archives: USA

Writers, Surveillance, and Self-Censorship

“Writers are reluctant to speak about, write about, or conduct research on topics that they think may draw government scrutiny. This has a devastating impact on freedom of information as well: If writers avoid exploring topics for fear of possible retribution, the material available to readers—particularly those seeking to understand the most controversial and challenging issues facing the world today—may be greatly impoverished.”

… “according to the survey, writers living in countries defined as “Free” by U.S.-based NGO watchdog Freedom House expressed an almost equal level of concern about surveillance as those living in countries defined as “Not Free” (75% and 80%, respectively), prompting notable levels of self-censorship.

“The levels of self-censorship reported by writers living in liberal democracies are astonishing, and demonstrate that mass surveillance programs conducted by democracies are chilling freedom of expression among writers,” the report notes. According to the survey, 34 percent of writers living in liberal democracies admitted to self-censoring, compared with 61 percent of writers living in authoritarian countries, and 44 percent in semi-democratic countries.”

From: commondreams.org/news/2015/01/05/fear-government-spying-chilling-writers-speech-worldwide

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Cold War and the Battle of the Pens

“Were there similarities between the literature on both sides of the Iron Curtain?”

“Definitely. And the phrase itself is an interesting place to start. It is commonly assumed that the term was first used by Winston Churchill in a speech in Fulton, Missouri on March 5th 1946, but in Patrick Wright’s book “Iron Curtain” (2009) he traces the origin to 18th-century theatre. The iron curtain was a safety curtain that came down between the stage and the audience in case of fire. It was the divide between stage and audience and the whole political rhetoric of cold-war literature and its narrative discourse was marked by this profound opposition between self and other, good and evil, democracy and tyranny.”

“The idea of theatricality was the very essence of cold-war literature and discourse—the manipulation of language and information, the difference between appearance and reality, and the way the information was projected to the audience didn’t necessarily have roots in reality.”

[…]

“There wasn’t a definitive “end of cold war” response in Soviet literature because the dissident literature, samizdat (self-published) and tamizdat (published over there), proliferated gradually. In the 1980s the Western spy novels all featured good guys from the West and bad guys from the East and they were still very popular. Margaret Thatcher read Frederick Forsyth’s “The Fourth Protocol” (1984) four times. But by this time there was also a huge influx of “real” fiction, serious literature reflecting on the reasons for the cold war and near nuclear disaster, the metaphysical opposition of East and West—post-modernism. This was a natural response to the cold-war situation, given the manipulation of language and the pervading atmosphere of counter-intelligence.”

Read More: http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2014/03/quick-study-olga-sobolev-cold-war-literature

“Reading is not necessary”

From the Conservative corner:

“Last week from another quarter came what may be the final solution to the schools’ reading problems. According to Dr. Juanita Chambers, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta, reading isn’t even necessary.”

“As technology advances, Dr. Chambers says, people can get along very well without reading. If you are just digesting information, you don’t need to read. After all, that’s what television, radio, and tape recorders are for. “Perhaps literacy is not the only form of education,” she says. “It could be something that will be eventually left to scholars.””

“What is ever so much more important than reading books, in her view, is learning how to “read people.” ”

“High-priced, incandescent nonsense has its effect. Today a sizeable segment of the American population has regressed to the Pre-Phoenician stage. According to a study recently released by the National Science Foundation, over 25% of Americans are Pre -Copernican, believing that the sun goes around the earth, less than half 48%, are aware that humans evolved from early species, 42% believe that astrology is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific,” in sharp contrast to a study in China where 92 per cent of people there believe horoscopes are unscientific.”

Read More: http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/03/14/forty-years-plus-of-confusion-complacence-and-incompetence-in-albert-schools/

Writers in a Surveillance State

Writers are ducking their calling in Surveillance State Amerika:

“A new report from the PEN Center and the FDR Group entitled “Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor” finds that 85 percent of surveyed writers are worried about government surveillance of Americans, and nearly three-quarters (73 percent) “have never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today.”

“Sixteen percent of writers have avoided writing or speaking about certain topics due to threatening privacy concerns, and an additional 11 percent have seriously considered such avoidance.”

“Nearly a quarter of the writers surveyed (24 percent) reported deliberately avoiding certain topics in phone or email conversations, and an additional 9 percent have seriously considered such action. A small portion of respondents said they had even declined opportunities to meet with people deemed “security threats by the government” because of privacy fears.”

From: washington.cbslocal.com

Read the report: http://www.google.com/gwt/x?wsc=bf&u=http://www.pen.org/sites/default/files/Chilling%2520Effects_PEN%2520American.pdf&ei=zxCEUq2HF4PSwAKGpYDIBQ

Dumbing down literature

“From Reader’s Digest to Cliff’s Notes to No Fear Shakespeare, simplified novels have infiltrated American society over generations. They seem innocent enough, flaunting an “easy to read” nature meant to appeal to those less versed in complex literature and language. However, while these watered down novels may be convenient for the busy, story-oriented adult reader, they are hardly appropriate for a class focused on critical reading. They’re a skewed kind of censorship that removes students from the benefits of difficult, close reading and dumbs down the English classroom.

Words are taken out that set the entire mood of the piece; phrases that define the moment and add depth to the author’s style are taken out. Removing these aspects eliminates the experience of analyzing the author’s intent and figuring out why that phrase or scene was deemed necessary.”

From: http://tigernewspaper.com/wordpress/2013/03/14/the-dangers-of-watering-down-literature/

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:


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The Dirty “S” Word

The dirty S word is back, and gaining popularity. Young Americans (ages 18 -29) are growing disillusioned with the capitalist system post 2008 crash, and look more favorably upon… socialism. The ideas put forward by Karl Marx are back in mainstream. Listen to podcast: http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/shows/2013/02/24/is-marxism-facing-a-rebirth/

The survey by Pew Research indicates shift in perception on social policies, despite decades long propaganda war of vilification:

“powerful and wealthy private interests and special interest groups have taken almost full control of most democracies, their money and influence increasingly dictating the political and social agendas for these nations, agendas beneficial to them alone.

All democratic governments to some extent, but again primarily the US, have essentially abandoned their responsibility as “managers” of their nations and societies, have lost the thread of “management for the people”, and instead have relegated their nations to a condition of “management for the benefit of private interests”. …

The management of these nations for the benefit of special interest groups has become so embedded that ‘socialism’, which is nothing more than a concern for the overall welfare of the nation and its people, has become a dirty word.

As evidence, most Americans are energetically, and sometimes almost violently, opposed to socialism though few appear to have any understanding of the term’s actual meaning.

Socialism – caring about the people of a nation and about their welfare, is equated in the American mind to a hateful dictatorship with no rights or freedoms – in fact, to the precise opposite of the term’s real meaning. Such is the power of propaganda.” From: http://www.spyghana.com/democracy-and-income-inequality-america-the-worlds-richest-banana-republic/

Tampering with Nature as weapon

“That iconic atomic bomb mushroom cloud image could have been a towering tsunami wave. According to archival military records uncovered by author and filmmaker Ray Waru, a 1944 top-secret operation, code-named Project Seal, planned to hijack nature’s wrath by creating 33-foot tsunami waves capable of destroying coastal cities. How? Simply detonate 2 million tons of explosives as a series of 10 blasts about five miles from shore. “If the atomic bomb had not worked as well as it did, we might have been tsunami-ing people,” says Waru. But while a tsunami bomb was deemed totally feasible after about 3,700 bombs were exploded off New Caledonia and near Auckland, plans for a pseudo-natural doomsday device were abandoned in 1945.”

More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/newzealand/9774217/Tsunami-bomb-tested-off-New-Zealand-coast.html

http://m.now.msn.com/tsunami-weapon-tests-carried-out-in-wwii

SpyWriter Jack King “A new King of thrillers on the horizon” http://www.SpyWriter.com

The subtle difference between a “spy” and an “intelligence agent”

Q: “What exactly were you doing in the U.S.? What is it called? Spying?”

A: “It’s the same thing the American special services are doing in Russia. The English word “spy” may refer to what the Russians call “spy” or “intelligence agent.” It depends on how you look at it. It’s no accident that, in the Soviet Union, the good guys were called “intelligence agents” and the enemies were called “spies.” …

“intelligence does not work against specific people. It’s not permanent and assignments can change. As a secret agent, you work for the good of your country. Crimes may be committed against specific people, but intelligence is a patriotic business.”

More: http://indrus.in/articles/2012/10/19/russian_spy_reveals_his_secrets_18485.html

Leftist beliefs cause cancer (with a little help from the CIA)


“The gun fired a frozen liquid poison-tipped dart, the width of a human
hair and a quarter of an inch long, that could penetrate clothing, was
almost undetectable and left no trace in a victim’s body.”

“It was a case destined for the X-Files and conspiracy theorists alike, when Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez speculated that the US might have developed a way to weaponise cancer, after several Latin American leaders were diagnosed with the disease. The list includes former Argentine president, Nestor Kirchner (colon cancer) Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff (lymphoma cancer), her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (throat cancer), Chavez (undisclosed), former Cuban president Fidel Castro (stomach cancer) Bolivian president, Evo Morales (nasal cancer) and Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo (lymphoma cancer). What do they have in common besides cancer? All of them are left-wing leaders. Coincidence? In his December 28, 2011 end-of-year address to the Venezuelan military, Chavez hinted that the US might have found a way to give Latin American leaders cancer.
 
“Would it be so strange that they’ve invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” Chavez asked. “It is very hard to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some leaders in Latin America. It’s at the very least strange,” he said. Chavez said he received warning from Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro, who has survived hundreds of unsuccessful assassination attempts. “Fidel always told me, ‘Chavez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what’,” he said.”

More: http://www.guardian.co.tt/lifestyle/2012-02-27/cancer-secret-weapon

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The absurd world of espionage

“From propaganda catapults to exploding seashells, why do “intelligence” services come up with so many bad, and often absurd, ideas?

Well, maybe they aren’t coming up with all that many stupid ideas: maybe they come up with exactly as many stupid ideas as, say, the U.S. House of Representatives, but we pay more attention to the CIA’s nonsense because we’re more surprised by it. After all, these people, at least, are supposed to have some idea of what they’re doing.

But reading through some of these stories, you start to wonder if there might be another explanation. The CIA’s looniest notions, after all, bear remarkable resemblance to the loony ideas that seem to constantly pour out of totalitarian dictatorships, including current ones such as that of North Korea. Maybe it’s the very fact of brainstorming behind closed doors — six guys in a room trying to figure out a way to do whatever currently seems impossible — that encourages it. Desperation plus not having anyone to laugh at you (whether because of secrecy or, in the case of North Korea, because you’ve got the entire country in a headlock) must be a pretty potent combination.”

More: http://m.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/02/spy-agencies-have-had-some-very-dumb-ideas-new-documents-reveal/253238/

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