Monday, December 06, 2010

Wikileaks and Saddam's WMD

I remember investigating Saddam's WMD program in November of 2002. The media and Bush Administration were whipping up hysteria about Saddam's WMD, so I investigated whether it was plausible that Saddam could create weapons of mass destruction, or even chemical weapons. What I found was that Saddam's infrastructure had been bombed to rubble by Israeli, then U.S. air strikes. Iraq was operating in basically early 20th century (pre-1920) mode, with most things being done by hand, and precision manufacturing being a joke. Iraq had the technological capability to produce mustard gas, but that was about it. In the end, technology trumps all... Saddam could have wanted all the WMD in the world, but he could no more have actually had them than I can flap my wings and fly.

Yet we all know what happened in March 2003. The manufactured mass hysteria over these fictional weapons of mass destruction led to the Busheviks doing what they'd wanted to do since January 20, 2001, but hadn't figured out an excuse to do earlier -- i.e., take out Saddam and install their own puppet in charge. Said exercise which didn't quite work out the way the Busheviks expected, but, rather, turned out more like George H.W. Bush predicted in his book back in 1995... i.e., Iraq is now basically Iran West, with a President who is an Iranian agent. But that's not the point. The point is that the Busheviks wanted to invade Iraq, and so they created a manufactured mass hysteria to allow them to do so.

So now Wikileaks has released 900 heavily redacted cables out of their trove of hundreds of thousands -- the mainstream media has actually released more than Wikileaks has released -- yet we're hearing all this mass hysteria once again. Except this time it's being used to do things like ordering Amazon to cut off Wikileaks, seize domain names of web sites that threaten oligarchical profits, and otherwise do what the Department of Homeland Security has wanted to do since day one of the Obama Administration: Assert government control over the Internet.

There are two key facets to this operation. The first is centered around Verisign, owner of "the" root server, the master copy of the domain name "root" servers that are scattered around the world as its mirror. These root servers are what translate the names you type into your web browser -- such as "" -- into the binary ones and zeros that denote an actual address on the Internet. If it weren't for the root servers, you'd have to memorize numbers like "" to get to web sites. Verisign is heavily penetrated by the NSA -- for example, their CTO Ken Silva spent 10 years in the NSA and likely is still a NSA asset -- and can be considered to be an extension of the NSA and, by extension, of the U.S. Department of Defense. Through their influence over Verisign, the U.S. government recently seized close to 100 domains without any legal proceedings, simply by asking Verisign politely.

The second key facet is control over the financial system via the anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorism statutes. This allows the U.S. government to cut off funding for any web site that they dislike either explicitly via declaring them a terrorist organization, or implicitly by pressuring banks and other financial institutions with dire consequences under the money laundering treaties and statutes. Thus far Wikileaks has had over $150,000 seized this way. But more important is threats to established business like Amazon and Paypal. "Nice server farm you have here," declares the Department of Homeland Security goon. "Be a shame if we had to declare you a terrorist organization and seize all of this as well as your bank accounts."

The end result is to make it difficult to a) find on the Internet, and b) fund, a site such as Wikileaks. But control is not complete, as the hundreds of Wikileaks mirrors makes clear. For that to happen, the U.S. government will need some additional legal authorization to use to threaten those who would dare prove the oligarchs as liars... which they're working on. Thus the need for more manufactured hysteria over Wikileaks. For only if the populace is truly frightened over imaginary bad things that will happen if government control over the Internet is not fully asserted, shall the populace consent to this happening. And thus far, the oligarchy seems to have a 100% success rate when it comes to manufacturing mass hysteria over imaginary threats...

-- Badtux the Paranoid(*) Penguin
But is it paranoia if they're *really* out to get you?!


  1. Tell me Badtux...

    Why do we even bother to get up in the morning? I graduate from UIC on the eighteenth of this month and I will be attending a ceremony where some guy will ramble off the usual speech about "worlds of opportunities" opening up and all of that other drivel despite the job market being historically bad, and getting worse. I have a president who is incompetent, stupid, or complicit in regards to the whims of the teabagger army that has largely become the face of the Republican party. The neocons still are still suffering from their ten-year-long cases of priapism for an authoritarian, militaristic, national security state while banksters rob us both blind.

    Even as we speak, various health insurance companies are attempting to rollback the few positive provisions of the healthcare bill that was passed last year. The bill was basically Romneycare mark II under a different name that Obama stole from the Republicans lock stock and barrel yet even now it is being derided by the Opposition party as being "socialist". As I watch Obama cave on tax cuts for the top 2% of the wealthiest people in the nation and attempt to back away from DADT I cannot help but feel that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. There are many more unpleasant surprises up ahead.

    So, I guess the US is now in the business of blocking websites it does not like, ala China. If corporate-based encroachments on net neutrality was not bad enough we will now have to pick from a list of pre-approved websites that are deemed not to contain any sensitive material or unpatriotic opinions. Is there even a point for the US to hold up the pretenses of the constitution anymore?

    Hell, why do I even bother running a blog on nuclear energy when the US has not been an innovator in technological research for quite some time? You can forget about building new reactors in a country who's economy and political system will soon mirror that of The People's Republic of Congo. I suppose I might as well keep it going for the same reason that the musicians in Titanic continued to play as the ship went down.

    I apologize for the angsty comment Badtux but it was cathartic for me. I have noticed that your posts within the past few weeks have taken the same tone as well. I suppose it really is all over for the American citizenry but most of us are too stupid to realize it.

    USA! USA!

  2. the last link didn't work for me.

  3. Neurovore, my advice to young people who are bright innovators is simple: get out. I am old, I have maybe 15 good years left, but the US is going to collapse, and collapse *hard* within the next 30 years. You simply can't run a modern nation on superstition and fear, which is all that our oligarchs are allowing to "trickle down" to us now, with education being gutted and infrastructure crumbling. The last places to collapse will be the traditional centers of innovation on the coasts, so you can start out there, but after that start planning your next move. Since you like nuclear technology, LEARN FRENCH and, if possible, Russian. Find French and Russian pen pals to converse with. Skype etc. makes it even simpler to get the ear training needed to be fluent. Then GO. Even if just to Canada. You can go on from there.

    Good luck. You'll need it. As for those of us staying, we made our luck, and it's probably right that we stay and take it.

    -Badtux the Gloomy Penguin

  4. I graduate from UIC on the eighteenth of this month

    Perhaps there is some small sliver of hope if a newly-graduated young person can write & express him/herself so eloquently. I expect most young people communicate in grunts.

    If you want to scare yourself, try this.

  5. Forgive me for feeling sorry for myself, but an old guy who is also a cripple is pretty much stuck in/with America. And I don't like what I see these days. Are you of an age at which a major move and a career change are practical? DO IT. Don't wait around for the final collapse.

  6. Thanks for validating the decision that my wife and I made back in 2004, guys! (Although I didn't physically escape until 2005. Lots of lead time needed to flee when you're bourgie like me.) Not that I needed validifying, but it's nice to see. Also saddening, because I had hoped we were just tinfoil hat malcontents.

  7. Bukko, Steve, I hate to say it, but you're right. The United States is stuck on stupid right now, and is going to stay there until imperial collapse renders it impossible to stay there, and even then it's much more likely to be a fascist dictatorship as the result than the liberal utopias that resulted when Europe's fascist empires collapsed due to imperial overstretch. France, Germany, Britain, Italy... all of them had empires. None of them do today. All of them are much better off today as social democracies (ooh, socialism!) than back in their imperial days -- but Germany had to be totally destroyed, and Italy experience much destruction, before that became true.

    Thing is, it'll take a minimum of 20 years if the rest of the world started building *today* for them to match the U.S. in force projection capabilities, and without that, U.S. fascist dictators can simply hunker down on the far side of the world's largest moats. Canada will be the new Finland, a client state adjoining a far larger dictatorship which is allowed to remain independent because it's convenient to the dictators, but there's worse situations to be in. From my perspective, the issue is whether your skills would be more useful inside or outside of the U.S. when the collapse comes and the war against the dictatorship begins, a cold war first, then eventually a hot war. Neurovore's nuclear skills will clearly be more useful outside the US. As for me... well. I'll be too old and decrepit for anybody to bother with, hopefully. Let us just say that I'm making some preparations and leave it at that. The dictatorship might want to disconnect the Internet, but will find that it cannot run a military machine without it... and as long as the Internet is up... well... heh.

    - Badtux the Subversive Penguin

  8. I could move to Canada, as I managed to claim dual-citizenship with Canada by birthright through my mother. She was born in Canada and did not move from there until she was 14. Since my mother never renounced her Canadian citizenship, I found out a few years ago that you could claim it by birthright if you were born to a Canadian citizen outside of the country. I applied a few years ago on a "what the hell" whim and got it. Now it might come in handy.

    However, things might not be that much better in Canada. Would not Canada's economy also risk going down the tubes when its wealthiest and closest trading partner implodes? The trouble with the economies of many developed countries is that they are linked. What happens to one country will affect every other country's economy in a sort of domino effect and it often takes awhile for the other countries to sort everything out.

    In regards to nuclear energy, I am merely a hobbyist, not a professional. I am actually completing a program in biomedical illustration at the moment. My interest in nuclear energy got started a few years ago when I learned how the US and other countries turned their back on it out of politics and errant fears of nuclear warfare rather than any sort of logical reason. The "waste" problem could have been solved decades ago through reprocessing, and some reactor designs such as the legendary liquid fluoride thorium reactor can use our current spent fuel stockpile as a source of fissile material in addition to a whole host of other advantages. It almost sounds too good to be true.

    However, politics have gotten in the way of nuclear technology. Anti-nuclear activists and NIMBYs are to nuclear technology that creationists are to the biological sciences. Both are dangerously misinformed and continue to spread zombie memes that continue to spread despite being disproved over and over again. Apparently, many misguided environmentalists would rather that we choke on coal ash and carbon dioxide rather than utilize a proven energy source that could last us for thousands of years.

    Nuclear energy could have given us cheap and plentiful energy in addition to ending our dependence on fossil fuels and could even have given us energy independence at the same time. The higher operating temperatures of some reactor designs such as the previously mentioned LFTR reactor could theoretically allow us to synthesize carbon-neutral liquid fuels by using the waste heat. You could use it to cheaply crack water into hydrogen and figure out how to make that into a viable fuel cell, or you could also use it to make things like synthetic gasoline, methanol, and dimethyl ether. Extracting enough atmospheric carbon dioxide on a daily basis might be difficult because of the amount of filtration involved but it might be easier to use ammonia or fossil fuels as a carbon source instead. Nuclear power plants can also be valuable chemical production centers utilizing the waste heat in addition to seawater desalinization for arid areas or possibly providing district heating in urban centers.

    The future for the US might be grim, but the future that could have been was very bright indeed, and maybe some country, somewhere will realize this and utilize nuclear energy to its full potential. Sigh.

    *puts soapbox away*


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