Category Archives: The Integrity of the Internet

Core Belief 10: The Integrity of the Internet – Any and all regulation of the Internet which will respect and support its independence, transparency and integrity, for the greater empowerment and liberation of humanity.

The Age of Snowden

“WHEN YOU FIRST go on duty at CIA headquarters, you raise your hand and swear an oath — not to government, not to the agency, not to secrecy. You swear an oath to the Constitution. So there’s this friction, this emerging contest between the obligations and values that the government asks you to uphold, and the actual activities that you’re asked to participate in”.

(Extract from a recent article by Edward Snowden – The full article is available here )

It becomes blatantly clear from this insight into the previous world of Edward Snowden what values he operates from and how those values provided the conflict of interest he tussled with before making his world shattering revelations.

His first loyalty, at the behest of his employers, was to the American Constitution. This mighty document was conceived and implemented by the Founding Fathers, to give their new country and its people a set of values to live by. Over the centuries, this document has been amended, in line with the evolution of the country, to ensure its values reflect changes to Society.

You could almost say that the Constitution is ‘America set in stone’. It was obviously seen this way by the security services who employed Snowden, because they demanded his oath of allegiance to those values, not them or the current government.

Therefore, this places Snowden and his work above his employers and his government, to ensure abuse of the Constitution, by the greedy and powerful, can be recognised and dealt with.

If you read the above article you will see that his employers were aware of abuses to the people by the powerful and how the system to deal with such abuses was simply ignored. In the end Snowden had no option than to ‘go public’ with his fears and concerns and the rest is history.

What interests me in all of this is that element of human nature, which is in all of us at varying levels and pushed him finally to do what he did, knowing full well the consequences of his actions included possible lifetime incarceration or death.

Deep within all of us is a sense of right and wrong. It can’t be defined and is not set out in any statutes. Whilst religious teachings give guidelines, our sense of right and wrong can vary from one person to the next and is often the source of conflict, particularly where politics is involved.

Whatever these differences there is one common denominator that triggers this human reaction and that is dishonesty that leads to distrust.

Unjust behaviour can manifest in discrimination, political deviance or corporate abuse. In Snowden’s case it was the unjust nature of the use of surveillance upon the public at large, accepted as normal by his employers, in spite of violating the Constitution they had all sworn allegiance to.

As a species we can only function at our best if our perception of the truth is not violated. That perception may come from false information and propaganda that supports vested interest but until that vested interest is made public we are happy to go along with what we are told.

However, when that trust is violated, as was the case with what Snowden revealed, the credibility of those in charge is destroyed. There is no doubt that, with our newfound technology, we have entered a new age where our perception of the truth is changing dramatically, as secrets of centuries are now coming to light and reshaping Society . . . A Snowden Age.

As our traditional institutions become less credible and are seen for the manipulative bodies they have always been, so our scepticism evolves new services to meet the demand for truth. We are all aware of WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning and many others who have been motivated by right over wrong and how the establishment has reacted with outrage and suppression, not only to subdue the perpetrators but also to try and frighten off further acts of this nature.

Sadly, our leaders have not recognised what they are dealing with, because they are bereft of it themselves. We are talking here about integrity, which has vanished from the face of global leadership and which many would laugh at, unable to see how critical it is to how we live our lives.

Honesty is the only means by which to build anything lasting, be it government, commerce or personal friendships. Trust is implicit in all of these human interactions and when it is ignored or flouted there is a breaking down of the status quo.

I believe we are now seeing a breaking down of our global institutions from the disclosures of whistleblowers like Snowden, as we become more aware of how they operate. They cannot survive with such distrust, although they are blindly trying to bluff their way through their constant abuses by secrecy, manipulation of the media and anything else that might support their cause.

Nowhere is this now more evident than in the UK with the forthcoming Referendum and is responsible for new services springing up designed to get at the truth:

Full Fact  whose purpose they state as Factchecking isn’t just about writing articles. It’s also about correcting misinformation, and stopping it from spreading in public debate.

The BBC has also jumped on the bandwagon with its new service, ‘Reality Check

Their need becomes obvious today, if this – one of many – recent whistleblower reports, is anything to go by.

(David Cameron’s former director of strategy recently accused the Treasury of “making up numbers” for its dossier alleging economic disaster if Britain leaves the EU. Steve Hilton said they were “phoney figures” and were cooked up with the Treasury in the same way as the Tories’ famous 1992 campaign that claimed a Labour Tax Bombshell would cost every family £1,250 more.)

That democracy has come to such a low ebb is a sure sign of the growing decadence of Society, something repeated throughout history.

As a further sign of how lost meaningful values have now become The New York Times reported that:

‘Nobel Peace Prize Winning President Obama Has Been At War Longer Than Any Other American President’, (approving $200 Billion in Arms Deals Since 2009 when he received the prize).

When that prestigious prize is taken away from Obama and given to Edward Snowden I think we will be headed towards a meaningful world where integrity is at long last being valued.

And let’s be honest my friends, it is the only means by which we can deal with the challenges we now face for our very survival.

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Our Toxic Financial System – Part 3 of 3

Nathan Rothschild

In Part 1 http://tinyurl.com/z3x2yzb I justified my use of the word ‘toxic’ in the title from the dictionary, which described it “Causing social harm or unpleasantness” – The Free Dictionary by Farlex. In this final part I would like to offer examples of how the biggest global monopoly in our history is now consolidating its vast powers and whether they are of benefit to Society or not.

In Part 2 http://tinyurl.com/j3xu9uq I alluded to how money comes into being. Monopoly allows them to simply create loans on a balance sheet and bring money into existence (out of thin air) for the duration of the loan and on which we pay interest.

This monopoly to supply our money no longer needs to hold reserves of tangible assets – like gold – to support the value of that money. Indeed, to protect this monopoly they actively work against any country looking to bring its own currency into existence. Recently (and quietly) disclosed in Hilary Clinton emails), it was confirmed that Gaddafi was looking to introduce a gold backed currency into Africa and never quite made it.

With no control over how much cash is circulated into Society, because it is no longer controlled by how much gold reserves the banks have to hold, we have seen a printing bonanza since 2008, as money is flooded into the economy to stave off what should have been an economic collapse and recession.

These vast amounts of money were supposed to be put out into Society to spend on goods and services, thereby stimulating the economy back into a healthy position. A monopoly however, allowed banks to hold on to the money to boost their own severely strained reserves (they were all technically bankrupt after 2008). They also gave cheap loans to the corporate world. These were used to buy out the competition and buy back their own shares, thereby artificially holding up their share prices, in an era of falling sales.

This stimulated the growing gap between rich and poor, as the banks directed their money in just one direction – the corporate world. Like a gardener directing his hosepipe to water just a part of the garden, those plants that received it flourished and the remainder withered.

In spite of all the reassurances from the experts, like the Federal Reserve, that ‘QE’ would sort the problem of growing unemployment and economic slowdown, it didn’t. In addition, these private banks have continued to merge risky investment banking with their consumer banking, the very problems that heralded the collapse of 2008.

Because of their monopolistic position the banks are again looking to the public to bail them out, by taking current account money and savings next time. (Don’t raise the fact that we have a government protection scheme to reimburse us in this event . . . that is our taxpayer money again that will support this second grand theft!!)

As we become aware of what is happening the astute will take their money out of the banks and hoard it under the bed, as we have done for eons when distrust of the banks sets in. This time, because they are so fragile, the banks want to pre-empt our astuteness by getting rid of cash, something already under way in – Canada, Denmark, France, India, Israel, Norway and Sweden, to name but a few.

If we are restricted to plastic, (which ordinarily need not present a problem, if properly overseen) our money is no longer in tangible form as notes and coins but simply numbers on a computer screen and their monopoly will allow them to deny us access at will. Their monopoly control then becomes absolute. Their reasoning is that it will enable them to crack down on money laundering and tax evasion.

Indeed, only in the last year or so Switzerland has been under attack from US agencies to make public the many corporations who deposit funds in secret bank accounts to avoid tax. Having done the gentlemanly thing and given in, Switzerland is now seeing this money transferred to Reno, Nevada in the US, where that same privileged tax status is available to those same corporations!

Debt obligation is underwriting the flourishing of this financial monopoly and as with all monopolies, Society is the poorer for it. We have absolutely no control over current financial abuse and our governments seem to be helpless because of their debt obligations to theses very banks.

Private banking has its place in Society, I believe, as a provider of services to the corporate world. What current banking practice has established is that we need a separate ‘public banking’ system, for the private individual and accountable to those very people, as both customers and taxpayers.

Here there is a ray of light in no less a place than Switzerland, the home of global banking. This country operates both public and private banking services, the former of which provides the citizens with one of the best health services in the world. Now there is a move to demand that government, not the private banks, has the exclusive power to create the country’s money.

The reasoning for this is summed up as follows:

  1. Currently money is created as debt, resulting in severe malfunctions.
  2. The country’s money supply is under private control and therefore a monopoly.
  3. Bank deposits are not secure.
  4. Money supply rises and falls in line with banking profitability, not social need.
  5. The money supply fosters inflation.
  6. Debt issued money is only a benefit to banks and not to Society.

Interestingly this has not been widely covered by global media and left to the specialist publications and social networking to be heard. (Another ray of light in our rapidly changing world!) It is early days but here, at its very centre, is evidence of awareness on the injustices of debt driven monopoly banking.

We have a new, plain speaking breed of political leader emerging and showing integrity and a desire to break from the current world order of unelected corporate rule . . . like Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Saunders in the US.

They can’t do it on their own, as Gaddafi, Lincoln and JFK have previously demonstrated but in league with like-minded politicos we could see real progress to a less abusive monetary system . . . and so much more.

Awareness breeds understanding and understanding breeds change

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes