Fullerton: Video of Kelly Thomas Beating Death Released Reply

cryptogon.com
Via: pixq:

The city surveillance video that shows a group of Fullerton police officers beating a homeless mentally ill man to death last year was finally released today, laying to rest any argument that Kelly Thomas was a threat to officers.

The shocking video, which was combined with an audio recorder worn by one of the police officers on the night of July 5, 2011, was shown in court today, then later released to the media.

“Now you see my fists?” Fullerton police officer Manny Ramos asked Thomas while slipping on a pair of latex gloves.

“Yeah, what about them?” Thomas responded.

“They are getting ready to fuck you up,” said Ramos, a burly cop who appears to outweigh Thomas by 100 pounds.

Last year, Ron Thomas, a retired Orange County Sheriff’s deputy, said the City of Fullerton offered him $900,000 to just go away, which would have allowed the two cops to remain on the force unpunished for killing his son.

Thomas was pronounced dead on July 10, five days after the beating that left him in a coma.

Beware of System Libertarians Reply

Article by John Glaser.

I knew what Johnson was about years ago when as governor of New Mexico he said he opposed the drug war but refused to grant pardons to drug war prisoners because “they broke the law” or some such nonsense.

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In an interview with the Daily Caller, presumptive Libertarian Party nominee for president Gary Johnson tries heartily to describe his foreign policy…or at least a foreign policy. Plainly put, the man is confused.

He says he supports U.S. military intervention in Uganda to root out the Lords Resistance Army and kill its leader, Joseph Kony. He thinks the drone war in Pakistan and Yemen creates more enemies than it eliminates, but doesn’t want to take drone strikes off the proverbial “table.” He wants to “completely withdraw our military presence” from Afghanistan, but wants to keep our military bases there. In fact, U.S. military bases should be maintained throughout the Middle East, he says, even though America faces “no military threats.” He supports “humanitarian intervention.” He wants to cut military and defense budgets by 43 percent, but only reduce national security spending to 2003 levels, “and just wring out the excess.”

Johnson is putting forth an image of himself of a former New Mexico governor who is outside the political establishment and serious about cutting spending. But evidently, the man hasn’t a clue what he is talking about with regards to foreign policy. His musings about war and intervention are little more than guesswork, wading his way through what he supposes is the libertarian position, while making clear he is no non-interventionist.

There is a strange habit the public and the reporting politicos perform when it comes to presidential candidates. They seem to assume that, since candidate X is running for president, surely he has studied the issues carefully. They don’t question candidates on their knowledge, only their “positions” (assuming they have been formed more than a millisecond before the question was asked). This was evident with Herman Cain’s blank-slate talk of “trusting the generals” and his embarrassing reveries about how to pronounce Uzbekistan. Mitt Romney has similarly shown himself cutely untaught on foreign policy issues by claiming Russia is America’s greatest foe, apparently never before hearing of the MeK, and doing a bit of guesswork of his own on Iran. But it seems Johnson has spent too much time on his 43-percent-spending-reduction talking points and far too little gaining any knowledge or developing any principled position whatsoever on foreign policy.

Responding to the Daily Caller interview, Brian Doherty at Reason’s Hit & Run wrote “he seems to lack either the systematic thinking or moral fervor that makes me trust him to reliably come to truly libertarian conclusions on many issues.” Ah, “systematic thinking” …such a lost art.

Can Liberalism Tolerate Islam? 1

Article by Abdal-Hakim Murad.

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Must one be liberal to belong to the West? For all the polite multiculturalist denials, this question is being put to us more and more insistently. The European Union, as it struggles to articulate a common cultural as well as economic vision, regularly toys with grand statements about Europe as a vision of human community, whose success underpins the universal model now being urged upon the rest of humanity. European liberals, with their Enlightenment, civil society, democratic institutions, and human rights codes, sometimes seem to self-define as a secular Messiah, willing and ready to save the world. To resist is, by implication, to align oneself with an unregenerate, sinful humanity.

Yet we Europeans are in fact in the middle of a difficult argument. We are constantly quarrelling with ourselves over definitions of belonging. We can unite to build an Airbus, but will we really unite around a moral or cultural ideal? What, after all, are the exact historic grounds for European cultural unity? And – this now looks like the continent’s greatest concern – how can Muslims fit in?

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The Therapeutic State Targets the L.A. Porn Industry 1

From Reason.Com.

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OK boys, strap on your rubbers, it’s raining nonsense.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 9-1 to require male porn actors to wrap their rascals and wear condoms when they’re shooting. And when they’re filming.

The move is being closely watched by other filth hamlets looking to “protect” their citizenry from disease, pregnancy, and profit, and will ultimately force this long-standing pillar of entertainment away from L.A.’s safe and welcoming bosom.

Pornography is not real life. It’s neither instructional nor realistic and neither end has ever been the purpose of good buggery videos. Porn is supposed to transport you to a naughty, secret garden where your privates are free to do as they wish in the confines of your own sinful clutches. You should be free from moral distraction when you’ve got a fistful of the one you love.

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The New Free Speech Wars 1

Article by Jared Taylor.

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Most Americans have a vague sense that the First Amendment means we can gather just about anywhere and say just about anything so long as we don’t break the law. But that’s not how it works. It is increasingly common for fanatics to shut down meetings held by people with whom they disagree.

It’s not very hard to stop a public meeting. If your political enemy has rented a meeting room in a hotel, the hotel will cancel if you scare it enough. Many managers will panic if you threaten to hold a mass protest in their parking lot.

And if you can get a few hotheads to phone in death threats, you can be nearly certain of ruining someone’s event. Death threats are illegal, but phone calls are hard to trace—apparently: at any rate, law enforcement officials have totally failed to trace the reported death threat that, among other factors,  helped derail twosuccessive American Renaissance conferences.

This gives me what could be called a professional interest in the problem.

It does no good to appeal to the First Amendment, because it doesn’t apply to private citizens, like hoteliers. No one has an obligation to rent you a ballroom, print your articles, accept your radio ads, or listen to you. If no Internet Service Provider is willing to give you space on his server you can’t even set up a website. If your political opponents are powerful enough, they can pretty well silence you—unless you own your own hotel, newspaper, or radio station.

The First Amendment does apply to government at all levels. But as we will see, even governments can sometimes wriggle out of their obligations.

Most people don’t care about this because they have never thought or said anything controversial. But as soon as you say something that might “offend” someone—that is to say, if you say something free-speech laws were meant to protect—you could be squelched.

Not surprisingly, “diversity” of the kind we are supposed to be celebrating brings more competing interests and more private attempts at censorship. The rise of Islam in the United States, for example, has touched off something like a religious war. Muslims and their critics both try to wreck each other’s events. So far the Muslims are coming out slightly ahead.

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Indiana House Approves Bill That Allows Homeowners To Kill Police Officers 2

Article by Stephen D. Foster.

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Republicans in Indiana are taking self-defense too far. In a move supported by the National Rifle Association, the Indiana House passed Senate Bill 1, which allows homeowners to shoot and kill police officers they believe are unlawfully on their property or in their homes. The bill could also extend to federal law enforcement officials.

According to the Evansville Courier Press, the bill is a response to a decision made by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2011. “The court ruled that homeowners do not have the right to use force against law enforcement officials who they believe are illegally entering their homes. That decision came in the case of Richard Barnes, who filed a lawsuit against police who followed him into his house while they were responding to a domestic dispute Barnes had with his wife.”

The key word there, is ‘believe.’ People have different beliefs when it comes to the police. Most people respect the boys in blue and understand that they are just trying to do a dangerous job that doesn’t exactly pay well. Some, on the other hand, have no respect at all for police and believe them to be the enemy at all time, whether they have a warrant or not. But it’s a particularly risky situation that Republicans are putting police officers in, because in some situations police officers enter homes when they have sufficient reason to believe that a crime is taking place. For example, if a police officer is walking by a home and a woman screams because her husband is beating her mercilessly, there isn’t time to wait for a court approved warrant to enter the home. Under Senate Bill 1, which passed by a 74-24 vote, the husband could shoot and kill the officer for entering his home and get away with it. And there are many other situations where police may deem it necessary to enter a home, such as the situation in which the Indiana Court ruled.

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FREE FRED REIO! Police arrest young African over Facebook and music video Reply

From UhuruNews. Com.

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On February 7, police in riot gear came to arrest Fred Reio and said the “probable cause” was the music video here was the reason they locked him up. The guns in the video are just props and ain’t even real. They also had been following him on Facebook (his profile has a picture of an African being lynched by an American flag).

The unit that committed this violation of Fred’s right to free speech is called Career Offender Tracking Apprehension (COTA). They’re a unit of the St. Petersburg Police Department who has been constantly terrorizing the African community in St. Petersburg, mainly through its Street Crimes Unit (modeled after the unit from the NYPD that murdered Amadou Diallo and sodomized Abner Louima).

Join the fight to free Fred Reio! We can’t allow them to use movies, music videos or facebook pics to lock people up!

Write letters, send emails, and make calls to the Pinellas County State Attorney demanding:
· Free Fred immediately!
· Reparations to Fred Reio!
· Disband COTA and the Street Crimes Units that terrorize the African community!
· A Justice Department investigation into the civil rights violations committed by COTA and the Street Crimes Unit!

Send them to Attn:Pinellas County State Attorney, Bernie McCabe
P.O. Box 5028
Clearwater, Fla. 33758
(727)464-6221
email- Public Information Officer, Ron Stuart for the 6th Judicial Circuit at: rstuart@jud6.org

Nazi Exceptionalism; or, How Godwin’s Law Gets It Backward 2

Article by Kevin Carson.

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Most participants in online debates are familiar with Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” The implicit corollary, of course, is that the first person to descend to such a comparison automatically forfeits the debate. Oddly enough, though, I don’t remember electing anyone named Godwin to legislate for me. And more importantly, that corollary is — or can be — quite stupid.

Godwin’s Law, by treating Nazi Germany as some sort of unique, metaphysical evil in human history, essentially nullifies its practical lessons for people in other times and places. Although Nazi precedents are now used as symbols of ultimate evil — just look at Darth Vader — they didn’t seem anywhere so dramatic to the German people at the time they were happening.

Nazi repression came about incrementally, in the background, as people lived their ordinary daily lives.  Each new upward ratcheting of the security state was justified as something not all that novel or unprecedented, just a common sense measure undertaken from practical concerns for “security.”

After all, the bulk of Hitler’s emergency powers were granted by the Reichstag after a terrorist attack (blamed at the time on communists), a fire which destroyed the seat of Germany’s parliament. Any parallels to 9/11 and USA PATRIOT are, of course, purely accidental. Each new security clampdown, after an initial flurry of discussion, was quickly accepted as normal because it didn’t affect the daily lives of most ordinary people. And of course, those ordinary people had nothing to fear, because they’d done nothing wrong!

The “American Exceptionalism” that people like Sarah Palin appeal to is just the converse of the Nazi Exceptionalism implied by Godwin’s law. “American Exceptionalism” is a stupid ideology. It demands from its adherents a belief that the American people — and the American government — represent some special race of creatures who couldn’t possibly behave the same way normal, run-of-the-mill human beings have behaved throughout history.

The American response to the post-9/11 security state really isn’t all that different from that of the German people in the 1930s. Every expansion of the surveillance state meets widespread responses like “I have nothing to hide.” The TSA’s de facto internal passport system for air travel is defended by many people in these words: “If you don’t like it, don’t fly. If it saves one life, the inconvenience is worth it.”

A friend recently told me of being asked by a fairly “liberal” family member, in response to her complaints about the NDAA’s provisions for indefinite detention of “terror suspects” without criminal charges: “Why should someone like me who’s not doing anything wrong be afraid of it?” The common response, just as with the Nazis, is to take the government’s justifications at face value and accept that they mean well. Take off your tinfoil hat — after all, we were attacked!

The American people, like the Germans, generally also take at face value the “defensive” nature of the American state’s foreign policy. I remember seeing a Democratic Congressman on C-SPAN, defending Clinton’s Balkan adventures in the ’90s, say “I was taught in school that America has never gone to war for a square foot of land or a dollar of treasure.” Using Chomsky’s “person from Mars” thought experiment — looking at the role of the United States in the world as an alien would, judging the actions of the United States by the same standards one would use to judge comparable actions by any other country — is labeled “Blame America First.”

The tenor of CNN’s coverage of Russia’s “aggression” against Georgia in August 2008 was hardly different from that of the German press in response to Poland’s alleged aggression against ethnic Germans in Danzig in 1939. And if the United States attacks Iran based on a recycled version of the Iraqi WMD lies of nine years ago, you can be absolutely certain the major news networks will dust off the red-white-and-blue bunting and the Wall of Heroes, reporting America’s “defensive” action against the “Iranian threat” as straight news. After all, things like the Diem overthrow and the Tonkin Gulf Incident have nothing at all in common with the SS black flag operation in Danzig.

People are people, and the lessons of history apply to all of us. If you kid yourself otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a fall.

When Democracy Murders Liberty Reply

Article by Paul Gottfried. 

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In a recent interview with the German weekly Junge Freiheit, popular satirist and onetime fixture of the left Eckhard Henscheid explained why he had moved toward the libertarian right and was fighting censorship in his “democratic” society. Junge Freiheit had been kept from exhibiting its products at the Leipzig Book Fair and for years has been under investigation by a government organization, the Verfassungsschutz, which goes after what are seen as “fascist” or “far rightist” dangers to German democracy. Although the paper’s editors have been accused of “Holocaust denial,” the newspaper has repeatedly featured articles detailing the Nazi regime’s hideous deeds. Its real sin seems to be operating as an old-fashioned (in the European sense) liberal publication, which calls attention to the outrageous abuses of liberty committed by German antifascists and their collaborators in the government.

Henscheid contrasts the fierce opposition to freedom of thought (Denkfreiheit) among German educators, the German media, and throughout the conformist political class to the far milder censorship in an older and supposedly “authoritarian” German society. In the early nineteenth century, German principalities censored subversive works but with few exceptions did so in a bumbling, halfhearted fashion. These clearly undemocratic regimes retained censors who were supposed to examine publications of a certain page length. If the texts appeared to advocate the government’s overthrow or might produce civil unrest, the authors were prohibited from distributing them in their original form. In some cases, the author could amend the text to remove the offending passages. With sufficient influence in the right quarters, they might even be able to bribe the censors to let their works through.

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Railroaded for Self-Defense Reply

This seems to be a genuine self-defense case.

Issues of cultural/racial/sexual identity or political ideology shouldn’t enter into cases like this. The only question should be, “Who is the aggressor and who is the victim?”

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An important case demands our support. Crishaun “CeCe” McDonald, a young Black transgender woman faces two counts of second degree murder for defending her friends and herself from physical attacks by a group shouting ugly racist and homophobic insults.

Please contact the Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman and demand he drop the charges against CeCe:

612-348-5540 fax * 612-348-2042 * citizeninfo@co.hennepin.mn.us

Please bring this case before local GLBTQ groups, Black Community organizations, Unions and community groups, Occupy assemblies and anywhere people are struggling for freedom and justice. An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

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Don’t Worry, The Federal Reserve Just Wants To Be Your “Online Friend” Reply

From The American Dream.

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According to CNBC, the Federal Reserve “is planning on monitoring what you say about it on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook”.  Apparently we are not supposed to be alarmed though, because as the CNBC headline states, the Federal Reserve just “wants to be your Facebook friend“.  In fact, the CNBC article says that anyone that feels threatened by the fact that the Federal Reserve will be monitoring what we say on Facebook and Twitter is just “paranoid“.  Well, if it came out that Barack Obama was setting up a system that would identify “key bloggers” and monitor “billions of conversations” on the Internet to see what was being said about him, wouldn’t there be thousands of articles expressing outrage?  Sure there would be.  The Federal Reserve is supposed to be an independent central bank that is above politics.  So why in the world would they need to perform “sentiment analysis” on what is being said about them on “Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube“?  The Federal Reserve obviously intends to identify the negative things that are being said about it and the specific people that are saying those things.  So is it really being “paranoid” to point out that all of this is more than a little bit creepy?

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How Fascism and Multiculturalism Reinforce One Another Reply

See Singapore. A timely article from Colin Liddell.

Left-Libertines take note:

Singapore is not riven by potential class conflict – everybody here is just keen to make money to the best of their differing abilities. No! The real danger in a place of this nature, with Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Arabs, all living cheek by jowl, is racial conflict. That’s where our movement, with its ethos of suppressing group conflicts, really comes into its own! Our fellow Westerners are always sniffy about the strict censorship here, the lack of pornography, the draconian anti-litter laws, the birching, et cetra, as if they were referring to the quaint conservatism of a childishly backward Asian state. They don’t realize that this is their own future. Each of these measures reflects the central goal of avoiding mass, brutal, and bloody race riots. Just imagine a Malay reading a pornographic magazine featuring a Chinese girl on a train, or an Arab spitting out chewing gum in front of a Hindu temple, and you will understand why Singapore has to be the way it is; and the rest of the world, too, as each country gradually becomes more and more ethnically diverse and more crowded. Singapore is a rather upmarket version of how the rest of the world will ultimately become, and it will be a world ruled by the spirit of F…

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Whatever Happened to Our Old Friend?A million miles from Cable Street

Here in the bars, bazaars, and dens of iniquity that make up the ex-pat Far East, you run into your fair share of cads, chancers, and rum fellows – the sort of chaps whose eccentricities and slight quirks go unnoticed amid the teeming masses of Asia. The broad-minded and perpetually distracted Oriental, it seems, has a nasty habit of lumping all White men in together and glossing over the subtle codes and hierarchies by which we define ourselves.

It was no surprise, therefore, when on a recent trip to Singapore, I ran into an old European acquaintance, whom, I had been reliably informed, had died and been buried a long time ago back in his native Europe, a place where he had never really fitted in, leading, on occasion, to unfortunate excesses of behaviour that saw him blackballed from most of polite society.

As he pressed me for news from home over cocktails at the Raffles, I could see that he had done extremely well for himself out here, and seemed far, far younger than he had any right to be.

The bartender and waiters were clearly in awe of him; while, from across the room, came the deferential glances of the city’s movers and shakers, and the realization that I myself could not be a complete nobody to be in such exalted company.

“It’s really all down to my old chum, Lee Kuan Yew,” he told me warmed by his fifth daiquiri. “Without Harry’s help, god knows what I’d be doing.”

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Interview with Arundhati Roy Reply

From the New Internationalist.

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Arundhati Roy is probably the most ‘do something’ public intellectual of our time. In her interview with New Internationalist she offers her take on market-friendly democracy, people power and the wealth that is fed by people’s lives.

Your writings have grappled with ruthless state violence which is often at the behest of corporate interests. Much of the corporate-owned media in India shies away from covering the civil war-like conditions in many parts of the country. The establishment tends to brand anyone who attempts to present the other side’s points of view as having seditious intent. Where is the democratic space?

You’ve partially answered your own question – newspapers and television channels do not make their money from subscriptions or viewership; in fact, corporate advertisements actually subsidize TV viewership and newspaper and magazine readership, so in effect, the mass media is run with corporate money. Some media houses are directly owned by corporations, some indirectly by majority share-holdings. Some media houses in, say, Central India, have a direct interest in mining and infrastructure projects, so they have a vested interest in the push to displace people in the huge, ongoing land-grab in which land and resources are forcibly taken from the poor and given to the rich – a process which goes by the name of ‘development’. It would be foolish to expect objective reporting: not because the journalists are bad people, but because of the economic structure of the organizations they work for. In fact, what is surprising is that despite all of this, occasionally there is some very good reporting. But overall we either have silence, or a completely distorted picture, in which those resisting their impoverishment are being labelled ‘terrorists’ – and these are not just the Maoist rebels who have taken to arms, but others who are involved in unarmed, but militant, struggles against the government. A climate has been created which criminalizes dissent of all kinds.

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The Clockwork Orange Dilemma! Riots, Reflections and Ramifications… Reply

Article by MRDA. The best analysis yet of the London riots.

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When folk get angry, why do they always piss on their own doorstep? Westminster is only a bus ride away.
– Tunnocks, Guardian Reader.

But this I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful…And when they  call themselves the good and the just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had—power.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

image

It took only two bullets to rupture the relative calm of a whole country…

…and,more than three weeks later, the wound remains sore and exposed.

However I won’t delve too deeply into the circumstances surrounding Mark Duggan’s fatal shooting by the Boys in Blue; nor those of the ensuing protest, two days later. Much remains to be clarified over those two occurrences: did Duggan unwittingly commit “suicide-by-cop”, or receive a summary execution ala Jean Charles de Menezes?  Did the police go on to batter a peaceful protestor, or a pugilist?  The little that has come to light hardly sheds any in return.

Still, I will spout off a few paragraphs concerning the now-infamous riots that springboarded off of those events…

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Curfews, Lies, Racism and America’s War on Black Kids Reply

From Infoshop.Org.

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I am going to start this off by saying I am a white guy and I am opposed to me getting beat up just because of it (even if I can come up with reasons why).  That said, here we go.

The article you will find posted below pertains largely to Philadelphia, but what I am writing about pertains largely to Kansas City, Missouri, which is where I live.

Just yesterday the city, my city, adopted a 9PM curfew on youth similar to the one in Philadelphia.  The curfew came in response to “large crowds of  (black) youth and acts of violence” on the Country Club Plaza.  The Country Club Plaza is the city’s premier outdoor  shopping and entertainment district.  It was designed and built long ago and resembles a Spanish town.  It is also a prime tourist destination (for the few tourists who come to our city).  It is privately owned and features numerous upscale stores, restaurants, bars and is surrounded by hotels and high-rise condos.  A waterway runs along one side.

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Pity the Poor, Persecuted Police Reply

Article by William Norman Grigg.

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Michael Kennedy is Chief of Police in tiny Sunriver, Oregon, an unincorporated resort village in the Beaver State’s Deschutes County. Kennedy insists that his police force has been terrorized for years by a marauder named Robert Foster.

“He breaks the law all the time,” Kennedy insisted in a June 15, 2010 sworn deposition.

“Well, have you ever arrested him?” asked Portland attorney Frank Wesson, who was representing Foster at the time.

“I have not,” admitted Kennedy.

“Has anyone in your department ever arrested him?” Wesson pressed.

Kennedy sought refuge in evasion: “Not to my knowledge, sir.”

Bear in mind that Kennedy isn’t supervising the LAPD; he heads an eight-member police force (supplemented on occasion by a 30-member volunteer citizens patrol) in a town of fewer than 1,500 permanent residents in which actual crime is all but nonexistent.

An honest answer would have been: No, Foster had never been arrested, because no evidence exists that he ever committed a crime. Honesty was not Kennedy’s first choice, however, nor does it appear to be his strong suit. He went on to list among Foster’s alleged crimes “disorderly conduct, interfering with a police officer, menacing, harassment, and stalking.”

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Libertarianism and White Racial Nationalism 30

Article by Kevin MacDonald.

This piece makes for an interesting contrast with critiques of libertarianism from leftists who often seem to regard it as a variation of Nazism: “Without the state imposing enlightened, progressive values on the wider society, racism, sexism, fascism, and capitalism will go through the roof!”

Now MacDonald makes exactly the opposite argument: “Without the state upholding white ethnic interests, society will be overrun by Jews and immigrants!”

So which is it going to be? 🙂

Pitchforks and Torches in Orlando Reply

Article by Joe Bob Briggs.

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NEW YORK—I tried. I really tried. I wanted to be the only person in America who didn’t know anything about the Caylee Anthony murder case.

I intentionally avoided it whenever it would come on cable TV. I have such an aversion to that caterwauling condescending public scold of a schoolmarm named Nancy Grace that I took Headline News Network off my remote control so that it automatically skipped to the next channel anytime I was surfing. Sometime in the past year they apparently gave Nasal Nancy a 24-hour show dedicated to the reinstatement of flesh-flaying, foot-roasting, and iron-maiden impalement for all criminal defendants. Her acolytes spread Nancy Graceisms all over the Internet through articles predicated on the idea that innocent victims’ blood has morphed into vengeance-blogging directed by the Almighty. But as I said, I managed to step aside. Whenever someone would post a photo of Casey Anthony with some slogan like, “Look at this slut partying while her baby is dead,” I would move onto the next subject or delete the email without answering.

And then when they finally got through the investigation, the arrest, the years of pre-trial hearings, the actual trial, and the verdict, I thought I was finally safe.

How wrong I was.

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Maintaining anonymity while using Bitcoins 4

Vince Rinehart
The Daily Attack

6/16/11 – Move your cash into Bitcoin while protecting your identity

The crypto-currency of the future is here: Bitcoin. As can be expected, the government has been making a huge stink about this decentralized, difficult to stop, nearly impossible to control, psuedonymous digital cash. Its an inevitability that when you give people a powerful tool for freedom, they will use it for exactly that. Silkroad, only accessible via the TOR network, using Bitcoin as its currency, has created a near bullet proof service for buying and selling illegal drugs. The site is run in the world of .onion, the unregulated shadow internet run through the TOR network, where users can browse the internet anonymously, or set up their own untraceable servers and websites. At Silkroad, a built in reputation and feedback system reminiscent of eBay ensures that most transactions go smoothly with as little fraud as possible. Mail delivery of concealed drugs appear to have a high rate of making it through the US Postal system undetected. And Bitcoin remains reasonably untraceable. Reasonably untraceable.

Bitcoin is not a truly anonymous digital currency. An example of an anonymous digital currency would be eCache. From the anonymity article at the bitcoin Wiki:

The main problem is that every transaction is publicly logged. Anyone can see the flow of Bitcoins from address to address (see first image). Alone, this information can’t identify anyone because the addresses are just random numbers. However, if any of the addresses in a transaction’s past or future can be tied to an actual identity, it might be possible to work from that point and figure out who owns all of the other addresses. This identity information might come from network analysis, surveillance, or just Googling the address.

Network analysis can reveal which exchange service you bought your bitcoins from. Those bitcoins carry the traces of your original transaction even after you have made your purchase at the Silkroad. For the average user, the problem is moving fiat currency into bitcoin using an unidentifiable method of payment, thereby breaking the link between you and whatever it is you’re using your bitcoins for. Bank wires obviously won’t work. Dwolla, Paypal, Western Union, and any other payment system that requires you to deal with a public, registered corporations will leave a paper trail. Do you think Western Union is going to stand tall and not rat you out if push came to shove? Not likely. Neither is it likely that buying an occasional 1/8th oz. of pot at Silkroad will trigger a full scale investigation into your drug consumption habits. But for those of us who are paranoid, or have some serious money to hide from the IRS, or who are just plain cautious, here are your options to move your US Dollars into bitcoins while maintaining some degree of anonymity. One quick note, unless you’re mining your own coins (hey, not a bad idea!) you will have to deal with and trust someone, somewhere, to get your bitcoins.

Get TOR

If you even want to access a service like Silkroad you need to be running TOR. Even if you’re not buying drugs, TOR is the tool that will anonymize all of your online activity, including setting up accounts and communicating with bitcoin exchangers. The easiest way to do this is the all in one Browser Bundle. It works right out of the box, running its own instance of Firefox. No installation necessary. While your at it, store the Browser Bundle in a Truecrypt encrypted file. TOR+Truecrypt will open you to a whole new world. Trust me.

Now that TOR is running, use it and only it while accessing any Bitcoin related service or internet site. Also open an email account. A few of the services below don’t require email communication, but at some step of the way you’ll likely need to message someone. Remember to open and access this email account only through TOR! I suggest Safe Mail. They’ll wonder why you logged in from India 15 minutes ago and now appear to be in Australia, but they won’t pry.

Get a place to store your bitcoins

You’ll need a place where you can receive, store, access and spend your bitcoins. The easiest way would be to set up an account with a service like My Bitcoin. They act as a sort of online wallet. It’s the least technical way to get going with bitcoin, but it does require that you trust a third party with your money. If you are only sending through a small amount of money at a time for occasional transactions (like for retail volumes of drugs?) then your risk exposure is pretty low.

Mixing

You could just follow the advice at the Bitcoin Wiki and use a mixing service such as Bitcoin Laundry. This requires that you already have bitcoins, acquired through some of the more anonymous methods mentioned later in this article, or by using a bank transfer or other payment method at Bitcoin Exchange, MtGox, or another such service. This is ok, since the mixing service breaks the connection between you and your bitcoins after you purchase your bitcoins.

Right now Bitcoin Laundry is in beta, and its reliability to obscure your funds is limited by how many other people are using the service. Basically, a mixing services acts like a big pot that everyone throws their cash into. The mixing service then gives the pot a good shake, pulls the cash out, and distributes it back to everyone who put their money in, minus a small commission. If you were using US Dollars, imagine throwing a twenty dollar bill in, and receiving back someone else’s random twenty dollar bill, or a ten and 2 fives.

Again, the effectiveness of this is limited, you may get some of your own bitcoins back, or there may not be enough people using the service to adequately obscure who put in what and took out how much. BitLaunder (only accessible through TOR) takes a different approach. They take your bitcoins, sell them for another currency, then use that currency to buy different bitcoins and then send them to you. I imagine the bitcoins they sent back to you would still have their trace on them, but most important, they wouldn’t be directly traced back to your original purchase of bitcoins using Dwolla or wire transfer. So you still may have an issue with acquiring the original bitcoins that you throw into the mixer. Would you rather no money transaction service or financial institution know that you are moving money into Bitcoin?

The Cash is in the Mail!

The US dollars in your wallet have served the black market well over the years. Cash is pretty darn untraceable. Estimates of the US black market put its total value at 8-10% of GDP, all traded in crisp US bills. Hey! Maybe the Feds should be trying to shut down the US dollar instead of Bitcoin! Anyway…. in an ideal world, you’d be able to anonymously mail an envelope of cash to a trusted, reputable bitcoin exchanger and instruct him where to send your bitcoins. Two examples of such a service are:

Bitcoin 4 Cash

and

Bitcoin 2 Cash

They have different methods of operation, which can make a big difference. Bitcoin 4 Cash does in and out exchanges, meaning they buy bitcoins (in exchange for pre-loaded virtual credit cards, pretty cool) and sell bitcoins for cash. The exchange rate you pay is either locked in (a 10% deposit is required) or you take whatever the going rate is for bitcoin at the time Bitcoin 4 Cash receives your payment. In the first scenario, with a locked in rate, Bitcoin 4 Cash bears the risk that Bitcoin could sky rocket in value between the time you lock in your rate and the time your cash arrives in their mail box. This exact scenario has played out recently, leading to some drama (search the bitcoin.org forum.) In the second scenario, you bear the risk that your dollars will be worth fewer bitcoins by the time they reach Bitcoin 4 Cash.

Bitcoin 2 Cash (don’t get them confused, now,) operates an exchange market that matches buyers and sellers. When you send them your cash, you aren’t actually buying bitcoins from them. Instead, you’re funding an account that you then use to buy from another account holder who is selling. The theory here is that there are enough people doing out exchanges or trading to fill demand for bitcoins. The advantage is that you can decide exactly when you want to execute your exchange, leaving out some of the guess work that comes with trying to price out your dime bag in bitcoins a week into the future given market fluctuations.

Both of these services rely on a lot of trust in the operators. I highly suggest you research the reputation of these dealers and any other such service you consider using. If you take the proper precautions in mailing your cash, the only trace back to you will be the originating zip code the envelope was mailed from, which is not a whole lot to go on. And remember to direct them to send your bitcoins to your online wallet (like at My Bitcoin) that you opened and access only through TOR!

In Person Exchanges

You might just fire up your TOR web browser and go to the bitcoin forums and try to find someone nearby who is willing to sell you bitcoins in person. If you want to go really cloak and dagger, you could arrange a drop site for your cash, but you’d be relying on the seller of bitcoins to actually transfer bitcoins after you’ve paid him. Treating it like a Craigslist transaction is probably best. Meet at a coffee shop, bring a laptop, and engage in mutually beneficial trade. Ubitex, BTC Near Me, and Bitcoin.Local all take this concept a step further by matching buyers and sellers according to geographic location. Last I checked, no one was selling in my area, though. Your mileage here may vary.

Conclusion

Bitcoin is not inherently as anonymous as cold, hard cash. But following the steps above can make you reasonably safe. Some would even say that taking these steps to, say, buy drugs on the Silkroad is being a little too paranoid. The rationale being that the DEA will be most interested in busting the Silkroad operators and sellers on the site, and not worry too much about the buyers. But if you’ve read this far, you want to make it as difficult as possible for the man to get his hands on your bitcoin, and you’d rather he not know about how you spend your recreational time.

Remember this formula if nothing else: TOR + TRUECRYPT + BITCOIN = REASONABLE ANONYMITY!

UPDATE – 6/17/11

Bitcoin exchanger to comply with any court sanctioned investigations

Mt. Gox has announced that they will comply with any court sanctioned investigation. Due to the fact that they are an above ground company and under the legal jurisdiction of multiple nation states, this is not surprising. Indeed they could be forced to comply and cooperate or find their bank accounts frozen and their management held in contempt of court. Protect yourself! Protect your identity! Anonymize your bitcoin transactions!

Left and Right Contrasted: A Reply to Larry Gambone 4

I recently commented on Larry Gambone’s explanation for “conservative support among ordinary people.” See the earlier post which includes a link to Larry’s initial comments. Larry’s critique of the Right provoked a lot of negative comments from our readers, even among those who lean leftward in many ways. I was actually somewhat surprised by that. Larry has since added some follow up comments to his original post, in particular a response to our colleague Quagmire. Read the thread here. Here are some observations of my own in reply to some of Larry’s arguments:

Working people have been under attack from right-wing and right-wing ideology-influenced governments for the past 30 years. Living standards and working conditions have declined because of this.

No disagreement here. Neoliberalism is a class war against the bottom layers.

Right-wingers don’t believe in freedom from the government, they are hypocrites in this regard. State capitalism is fine as long as it serves THEIR interests. The biggest aspect of out of control government spending is the military, but they are not for cutting that. The biggest form of government interference on the populace has to do with the War For Drugs, they are not for abolishing this and ceasing to treat addiction as a crime. The contrary here in Canada, they wish to do away with the previous government’s baby steps toward a rational policy re drugs.

This is certainly true of the mainstream neocon-led, Republican-oriented Right. I’ve written a substantial amount of material over the years attacking all of this. But these criticisms do not necessarily apply to all factions of the Right. There are plenty of dissident rightists-libertarians, palecons, alternative rightists-who oppose some or all of these.

The left does not wish to force people to have an abortion, or to make everyone smoke pot, nor does it try to stuff religion down everyones throat – but the right does.

I’ve encountered plenty of liberals and leftists, at least in the U.S., who support drug prohibition, though I agree such sentiments are more prevalent among “conservatives.” But it’s also true that liberals and leftists have plenty of statist preferences of their own. They may favor legal abortion, but they want to ban private firearms. Many of them wish to ban smoking in pubs and other forms of statist intrusiveness. In areas of the US that are the most leftward leaning, there have been efforts to ban foods not conforming to the therapeutic values of the Left. San Francisco tried to enact a ban on giving away toys with fast food. There are plenty of feminists who wish to censor pornography and criminalize sex workers or their clients. There are plenty of leftists who wish to ban literature or other forms of media deemed racist or sexist. In areas of the US where secularism is the strongest, children can be punished in school for saying a prayer before a meal or possessing a Bible, crucifix or other religious artifacts.

Jemmy Hope said: And they have Fox News and the rest of Murdoch’s propaganda machine to do it. What have we got? Money talks, spouts lies.

Neocon mouthpieces like FOX and talk radio are a minority  among the mainstream US media. The bulk of the American media reflects the standard corporate liberal outlook, e.g. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.

Take the economic effects of immigration – they are minimal and if people were really interested in having people stay home rather than immigrate they would be front and centre in helping to overcome the problems that cause the immigration in the first place.

If the economic effects of mass immigration are minimal, why do neoliberal mouthpieces like the Wall Street Journal push open borders so fervently? Mass immigration is about creating a helot class in North America that replaces the traditional working class in the emerging Brasillianized/McDonaldized economy. The Left goes along with this because they see immigrants as prospective political constituents and  allies in the culture/race war.

Where are the right-wingers fighting against NAFTA or the US meddling in the affairs of Mexico and Central America? No, they blame and attack the immigrants instead.

Again, that’s true of the mainstream Right, not necessarily the dissident Right. I’ve been attacking corporate imperialism and US military interventionism for twenty-five years.

As for abortion, the anti-abortion types cry copiously over a match-head size fetus, but 20,000,000 REAL children dying every year of malnutrition and lack of potable water?

That’s true of some pro-lifers, but not all. You find a greater interest in “social justice,” for lack of a better term, among younger pro-lifers and evangelical Christians, for instance.

And it IS sexism to deny a woman’s right to chose. If anti-abortionists were only against abortions for themselves, no one would complain, yet they wish to impose their views on other women. Also the anti-abortionist ideology stems from patriarchal religion, which by its very nature is misogynist.

The problem with this is that there are plenty of women, probably as many as there are men, in the pro-life movement. And conservative religious denominations, at least in the US, typically have more female participants than male ones.

In other words, even though some leftists might be a bit extreme with these claims from time to time, in general the analysis bears up, and thus the left is rational and the right based upon prejudice and fear.

That’s a fairly presumptuous statement. What about the lengthy history of bloody terrorism and repression sponsored by leftist movements and regimes?

The left has been successful in changing the language, but not necessarily the underlying feelings. At one time people were proud to declare themselves racists and spiced their conversation with racial and ethnic slurs. Same goes with women or gays. Few men would declare that women are inferior or that gays are criminal and should be persecuted.

Well, nowadays people can be criminally prosecuted for criticizing Islam or homosexuality. So things have come full circle. In a nation where only 13% of the population is black, a black man was elected head of state. That would have been unthinkable back in the 1950s. The bottom line is that the culture war is over, and the Left has scored a knock out victory.

One attempts to cover ones prejudices with seeming rational or moral claims. Code words are used, such as “crime”, which refers to Blacks. It now becomes the task of the critical thinker to extricate the prejudice from within the mass of polite verbiage and supposed economic and moral reasons.

In some instances, but violent street crime among minority groups is a genuinely serious problem in US society. It’s not just racist whites who are concerned about this. Blacks and other racial minorities are among the primary victims of this kind of crime. For instance, many blacks who wish to live in a white neighborhood will cite fear of crime in black neighborhoods as their motivation.

A standard principle of conflict theory is that former outgroups become just as abusive and oppressive as whatever they replaced upon gaining power. We’re seeing that now with the Left that has gained power since the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Voting as a Sacrament in the State Religion Reply

Article by MRDA.
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For all the time Minchin spends ripping into religion, it’s tragicomic to see him endorsing one of his own; then again, it seems part and parcel of his sociopolitical outlook: supposedly irreligious Leftists haven’t disposed with God—simply replaced him. Why go to church when you can pop to the polling station, instead?

His obsession with ‘civic duty’, coupled with his evangelistic rhetoric (“Democracy require all voices.”), marks Minchin as a firm ‘n’ true believin’ democratard…

…and his enthusiastic endorsement of forcing the citizenry to the electoral Eucharist elevates (?) him to the status of democraturd.

Facebook friend, and Minchin’s fellow countryman, Schoma offers up an explanation for Tim’s turdiness…

I’ll bet his only reason is that he’s Australian, he’s grown up with compulsory voting and, just at a guess, he draws a false correlation between this country’s relatively good living standards/freedoms and compulsory voting.

…which sounds like the common fallacy amongst Western folk to equate democracy with civil liberty, even in instances where the former blatantly runs roughshod over the latter. A glance at how the non-Western world does democracy would surely be a bitchslap to their conceited conceptions; as Mupetblast said about the 2009 Iranian elections…

The vast majority of Iranian respondents, across the income spectrum (wherein higher income is associated with higher education), thought that abortion was never justifiable; that homosexuality was never justifiable; and that “men should have more right to job than women.”

In sum, what is it that Facebook fans of the Iranian uprising think will happen over there if their pleas are successful? … It seems to me that a perception that liberal, youthful, lovers of substantive freedom and a progressive ethos are up against a stodgy reactionary establishment is what motivates this enthusiasm. But if in fact the people they are supporting are even less liberal in orientation than a right-wing Republican (ooh, double shot!), and it appears that this is the case, what’s to get so excited about?

But then again, for a Western nation, Australia hasn’t been doing so well at the civil liberties itself, has it? With its overreaching defamation laws; proposed internet censorship; bans on porn, videogames, and suicide literature; and this-here elephant in the room known as compulsory voting, the nation of Oz sounds almost like an open-air version of its fictional “correctional facility” namesake.

It’s understandable how being raised in such a culture might contribute to moulding a mindset like Minchin’s…

…yet it doesn’t change the fact that ‘liberal’ remains a downright deceptive description of those who would subscribe to it.

The Consequence of Silencing White Nationalists Reply

Interesting article arguing that efforts to silence old-fashioned conservative white nationalists like American Renaissance will only strengthen the more extreme elements of the “white right.” Read the article at Alternative Right.

Firstly, the pathetically embryonic nature of any kind of White nationalist movement that the establishment seems to believe is revealed though Mr. Taylor’s American Renaissance, Mr. Irving’s contrarian history, and other, similarly small, diffuse, and poorly-funded manifestations. When one considers the tremendous asymmetry of power, ostensible presence, and communicative ability between White nationalism in its entirety (casting the net even to the most irrational extremes) and the Establishment, one can perceive the tremendous fear felt of the former by the latter. What one might feel for some creature so dangerous even in infancy that one must kill it in the womb in order to allay the danger.

Secondly, the irrationalism and religiosity of the true believers of the antifa and their ilk. This is a subject worthy of greater discourse, but the religious nature of the Secular Humanism that forms the foundation of their “thought” (I hesitate to use that word in this context, seeing as there’s not a great deal of thinking actually involved on their part) is evident in their hateful, intolerant, and violent reactions to those they perceive as heretics. Indeed, the rantings of the Marxoid dimwits who populate these infantile, militant appendages of the intellectually bankrupt Left are becoming more and more deranged and devoid of any tangible association with reality.

Thirdly, and this is the aspect I find most interesting and sad: An impartial examination of American Renaissance’s positions vis-à-vis race and especially the Jewish Question would clearly reveal that American Renaissance could, in a sane world, serve to give voice to the West’s White population in a remarkably moderate fashion. By permitting this organization to be silenced, the establishment effectively forces the evolution of nascent White nationalism and the alternative Right towards more hardened structural forms. By this I mean organizational forms that are less vulnerable to penetration, compromise, control, suppression, or co-option. Indeed, it could be said—and many would say outright—that American Renaissance was an example of an organization that, through its philosemitic positions, open and forthright behavior, and Classical Liberal political positions, required no such countermeasures (a source of criticism one finds voiced by American Renaissance’s critics from the Right quite often).