Saturday, July 23, 2016

Of Pokemon, Mirage Men and Manchurian Candidates

The Pokemon Go madness continues. Related items of interest include multiple shootings and a couple kids who inadvertently - and illegally - crossed the U.S. border into Canada before being picked up by authorities. To top it off, Hollywood icon Oliver Stone called the app indicative of totalitarianism and surveillance capitalism.

According to Stone, as quoted by Fortune at San Diego Comic Con:
They’re data mining every single person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what you like, above all, your behavior.
So Pok√©mon Go kicks into that. It’s everywhere. It’s what some people call surveillance capitalism—it’s the newest stage. It’s not for profit at the beginning, but it becomes for profit in the end. Because it creates its own awareness, and it gets into everywhere in the world, until it manipulates our behavior, and we start to act like that, which has happened already quite a bit on the internet.
But you’ll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society, where they will know how you want to behave and they will make the mockup that matches how you behave, and lead you into another form of behavior.
It’s what they call totalitarianism.
I'd agree the intelligence community is on this evolving technology like a dirty shirt. 

Meanwhile...

The Operative Word Being "Facts"

Image from the Billy Meier collection
 posted by Tom DeLonge on Instagram along with his
 message of taking pride in the activities of the CIA
Enigmatic former front man of Blink-182 Tom DeLonge has published yet another UFO disclosure tease. This time, he explained on Instagram that a trailer will soon be released of his forthcoming documentary. He added that his work included spending hours with two CIA scientists and "a very high-level person from the Defense Department," who apparently informed him the U.S. "has been doing incredible things in relation to this topic."

"Every decision they made," DeLonge continued, "as hard as it is to comprehend now, really was in our best interest. At first, your instinct is to be angry because you feel like you were lied to, left out of something important... But once you know the facts, you'll be proud of what our country did. Very proud."

Hail to the chief.

If DeLonge is sincerely as enthusiastic as he keeps claiming, I might end up feeling a little sorry for him. He wouldn't be the first who went over the top with a passionate interest before finding experience and wisdom are rewards of a marathon, not a sprint.

Is DeLonge scamming, being taken for a ride by Mirage Men, or something else?

Which brings us to...

Manchurian Candidates Plus 50 Years

It's now been well over half a century since the CIA first sought to produce Manchurian Candidates. The experiments attempted to covertly condition, or brainwash, involuntary research subjects to carry out missions against their will and previously held morals. 

Psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Kaye has conducted an ongoing study of declassified CIA documents on the Agency's much more recent torture program executed at black sites and Guantanamo Bay, dubbed "America's Battle Lab" by key base personnel. Kaye and other researchers showed direct links between Cold War mind control projects and recently used "enhanced interrogation techniques," including the use of certain specific drug classifications, torture methods, training manuals cited by intelligence personnel, and CIA divisions which developed the programs and materials. Kaye is among those who have conclusively demonstrated the EITs and related programs went beyond attempts to obtain working intelligence and consisted of experimentation.

His latest efforts include considering documents and circumstances cited in a recent Wa Po article. From Kaye's July 14 post, Bandura, Mitchell and CIA's research on torture to produce double agents
Greg Miller's new article at The Washington Post, How a modest contract for ‘applied research’ morphed into the CIA’s brutal interrogation program, and its associated documentation (see end of this post below), reveal aspects of James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen and the CIA's torture program that I and others have long insisted rested on an illegal program of human experimentation.
[...]
When the CIA emphasized they want to "Adapt and modify the Bandura social cognitive theory for application in operational settings" and "Refine variables of interest to assess in order to apply [this] model to specific individuals", I believe they are talking about interrogating and torturing "war on terror" prisoners -- whether they are actual terrorists or not -- to become double agents working for the CIA, Department of Defense, or other U.S. intelligence agencies.
[...]
What is important is that we now have direct evidence that the CIA's torture program, and likely that of DoD as well, was not largely about gathering workable intelligence for the safety and operations of U.S. personnel or the U.S. population as a whole, but to recruit double agents for counterintelligence and operations purposes, i.e., for sabotage, assassination, and general espionage. These latter may have had the aim of protecting the "homeland," but at the cost of a "moral disengagement" and level of illegality (kidnapping, torture) that is startling.
Such research likely continues to shed light on why so few charges have been leveled at Gitmo prisoners who the American public was told were "the worst of the worst." The claim has long been questioned, including by writer/researcher Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman who authored the nonfiction book Murder at Camp Delta about his service in the 629th Military Intelligence Battalion at Gitmo. Hickman was also a co-author of a Seton Hall University School of Law paper that established torture and human experimentation conducted at Guantanamo Bay.

"[Why] were men of little or no value kept under these conditions, and even repeatedly interrogated, months or years after they'd been taken into custody?" Hickman encouraged readers to consider in Murder at Camp Delta. "Even if they'd had any intelligence when they came in, what relevance would it have years later? ...One answer seemed to lie in the description that Major Generals Dunlavey and Miller both applied to Gitmo. They called it 'America's battle lab.'"

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pokemon Go: Considering the Possibilities

The television may no longer hold the distinction as the most effective mind control device ever invented. If any doubt remained that smart phones were making a serious challenge to the title, the recently released Pokemon Go app seems to have come along and knocked the TV right off its perch once and for all. It has mobilized the previously stagnant screen-staring masses, and the implications are profound for industries ranging from marketing analysis to global intelligence.

Chasing Pokemon

Early one evening last week I took a walk through Altamonte Springs, Florida. As I approached a park, I saw dozens and dozens of people flocking to the area. At first I thought perhaps there was a music event or some kind of festival. As I got closer, I realized they were all staring at their phones. All of them. 

They were chasing Pokemon.   

The scene was extremely surreal in a futuristic, sci-fi kind of way. The normally sleepy park, usually reserved for a few ambitious joggers and a dog walker or two, was filled with hundreds of people. Some were sitting, staring in silence at phones, as if perplexed, defeated, exhausted, or all three. 

Most were briskly roaming about. They stared at their phones with excitement and anticipation.

Anxiety seemed palpable, and I had a strange sensation of invisibility. They didn't see me. 

They ran past me. They walked past me. They sat silently, but none of them looked at me. They didn't care, not about me, not about each other, not about the beautiful scene of the sun setting over the lake, or anything else. They were chasing Pokemon. 


Vid uploaded to YouTube by user ampedin,
showing Pokemon hunters in Washington

"It connects us to our childhoods," explained someone I approached who identified them self as a 28-year-old corporate worker. They told me they grew up playing the game, and supposed people enjoyed its link to their younger years.

"I just got off work about an hour ago, and here I am," they added with what I interpreted to be more than a bit of remorse. 

Implications

Not surprisingly, the origins have been explored of the latest incarnation of Pokemon, and it's less than a few degrees of separation from In-Q-Tel, an "innovation technology solutions" arm of the CIA. In a manner of speaking, it really doesn't even matter who develops such habit-forming technology, at least not initially, because its existence is extremely relevant one way or the other. As a matter of fact, it's potentially game changing.

The implications cannot be overstated. We are witnessing the implementation of an app that potentially accesses personal data, reveals location, and provides a virtual image of surroundings, all while rendering its user just this side of oblivious. 

Such apps offer much food for thought to capitalists and marketing professionals as well. You can potentially bring a Pokecrowd to the parking lot of your business, supposing you'd want to, and presidential candidates have staffers on top of it already. It should also come as no surprise that accidents and public nuisances have been attributed to the craze.  

It is truly remarkable that such an idea as a Pokemon program could move masses of people to change their routines and descend upon areas as instructed - in a fever pitch, no less. The intelligence community is destined to explore the virtually unlimited possibilities. Initial interests might include influencing players to unknowingly conduct activities for advantageous purposes, as well as rendering metropolitan areas inaccessible and lawless due to an unforeseen influx of large mobs of people. Traffic jams, utility overloads - all kinds of burdens on public services and related possibilities stand to loom on the horizon. 


YouTube user The Culture shares footage 
of the Pokemon hunt in Central Park