Liberty Links 10/27/18 – The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s Yemen War

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The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s Yemen War (Gut wrenching article on Yemen’s starving children, The New York Times)

Saudis’ Image Makers: A Troll Army and a Twitter Insider (Very good article. Saudi government trolls are rampant on Twitter, The New York Times)

Some Researchers Think Putting Lithium in Our Water Could Save Lives (Doesn’t get much creepier than this, Vox, of course)

How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the ‘Father of Android’ (The New York Times)

Tech Talent Balks at Government Work (The Hill)

European Court Upholds Prosecution Of Woman For Comparing Muhammad’s Marriage To A Six-Year-Old Girl To Pedophilia (Total insanity, Jonathan Turley)

CIA Director Briefs President on Audio Purportedly Capturing the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi (The Washington Post)

Britain Has Sold Its Soul to the House of Saud. Shame on Us (Good links and stats in here, The Guardian)

The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War? (Must read piece from 2015, The Atlantic)

U.S. News/Politics

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U.S. Media Refuses to Inform the Public When Its Commentators and Pundits are Paid Foreign Agents

Unbelievably – Rothkopf has the audacity to criticize Trump for having “repeatedly shown great fondness for foreign leaders—even despots and known murderers, human rights abusers and criminals”, while Rothkopf himself is literally a paid agent working to disseminating propaganda for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet, one that does much of the Saudis’ dirty work for it in Washington. And the fact that the Daily Beast makes no disclosure of any of this is what makes this practice – having paid lobbyists and consultants for foreign regimes and corporations masquerade as objective and neutral analysts of the news – such a massive journalistic scandal and fraud.

– From today’s Intercept article: MSNBC and Daily Beast Feature UAE Lobbyist David Rothkopf With No Disclosure: a Scandalous Media-Wide Practice

Much of the American public despises mainstream corporate media, but rather than engage in some self-reflection and admit failure they just complain about Trump. It’s critical we recognize that mass media in the U.S. is very much part of the very same discredited establishment it’s supposed to report on, thus its response to justified criticism is likewise establishment-esque. Blame the readers, blame Trump, blame anyone but themselves.

This is why mass media’s gotten even worse since Trump was elected — not an easy feat. It’s been obsessed with a Russia-Trump collusion tale that appears to be going nowhere, while simultaneously cheering on Trump’s worst instincts such as when he bombs Syria. Moreover, one thing the U.S. media definitely seems to have no interest in doing is disclosing when its commentators and pundits are paid shills for foreign governments, defense contractors and other unmentionable interests.

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Liberty Links 10/20/18 – Saudi Account of Khashoggi Killing Is Widely Denounced

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Saudi Account of Khashoggi Killing Is Widely Denounced (Three weeks and this is the best lie they could come up with? NBC)

Mueller Report PSA: Prepare for Disappointment (Shocked, shocked I tell you, Politico)

After UAE ‘Murder Squad’ Revelations, How Many More Private U.S. Hit Teams Are Under Gulf Regimes? (Truly despicable, Zerohedge)

Saudis Stonewall on Khashoggi but Pressure Will Increase (One of the best takes I’ve read, Moon of Alabama)

The Arabian Game of Thrones Heats Up (Strategic Culture Foundation)

Intel: Can the Khashoggi Case Really Spell the End of MBS? (Al-Monitor)

State Department Provided ‘Clearly False’ Statements to Derail Requests for Clinton Docs, ‘Shocked’ Federal Judge Says (Fox News)

Top Afghan Police Chief Killed in Shooting, U.S. General Unhurt (No end in sight for America’s longest war, Reuters)

The Evolution of Digital Cash (Fidelity taking a big step into Bitcoin and crypto assets, Medium)

Owen Jones Leaves a Telegraph Editor with so Little Credibility, the Guy Deletes His Twitter Account (Amazing, The Canary)

Enough with the ICO-Me-So-Horny-Get-Rich-Quick-Lambo Crypto (Cypherpunk legend Tim May on the state of crypto currency, Coindesk)

What Is the ‘NPC’ Meme? Liberals Rage at Cartoons Mocking Their Scripted Thoughts (The meme wars continue, Breitbart)

Antiwar Movement Spreads among Tech Workers (Need more of this, Scientific American)

U.S. News/Politics

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Saudi Arabia Considers Itself Untouchable Due to Oil and Money

The roots of that lobby’s rise to prominence in Washington lie in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As you may remember, with 15 of those 19 suicidal hijackers being citizens of Saudi Arabia, it was hardly surprising that American public opinion had soured on the Kingdom. In response, the worried Saudi royals spent around $100 million over the next decade to improve such public perceptions and retain their influence in the U.S. capital. That lobbying facelift proved a success until, in 2015, relations soured with the Obama administration over the Iran nuclear deal. Once Donald Trump won the presidency, however, the Saudis saw an unparalleled opportunity and launched the equivalent of a full-court press, an aggressive campaign to woo the newly elected president and the Republican-led Congress, which, of course, cost real money.

As a result, the growth of Saudi lobbying operations would prove extraordinary. In 2016, according to FARA records, they reported spending just under $10 million on lobbying firms; in 2017, that number had nearly tripled to $27.3 million. And that’s just a baseline figure for a far larger operation to buy influence in Washington, since it doesn’t include considerable sums given to elite universities or think tanks like the Arab Gulf States Institute, the Middle East Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (to mention just a few of them).

– From the must read piece: The Saudi Lobby Juggernaut

It appears Saudi Arabia’s preparing to spin a tale about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi for the purpose of providing Donald Trump with cover to pretend nothing happened and get back to business as usual. Apparently, the Saudis plan to claim he was killed by rogue agents in a botched interrogation. No word about why it took them two weeks to admit this, why they blatantly lied about him leaving consulate and whether or not the body was hacked into pieces with a bone saw.

It’s been clear from the beginning that Trump would like this to go away as quickly as possible in order to keep the money flowing to defense contractors, as you can see from the clip below.

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Liberty Links 10/14/18 – Turks Tell U.S. Officials They Have Audio and Video Recordings That Support Conclusion Khashoggi Was Killed

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Turks Tell U.S. Officials They Have Audio and Video Recordings That Support Conclusion Khashoggi Was Killed (The Washington Post)

The Saudi Lobby Juggernaut (Must read article on Saudi bribery in the U.S., TomDispatch)

Jamie Dimon, Steve Mnuchin And Wall Street CEOs Set To Attend Saudi Conference Despite Journalist’s Disappearance (HuffPost)

Saudi Dissident’s Disappearance Casts Shadow on Riyadh Conference (Variety)

Mainstream Journos Pissed As Saudi Clown Prince Nabs One Of Their Own (Moon of Alabama)

Saudi Arabia Says Will Retaliate Against Any Sanctions over Khashoggi Case (Shameless, Reuters)

Facebook, Twitter Purge More Dissident Media Pages In Latest Escalation (Caitlin Johnstone, Medium)

The Dollar and its Discontents (Project-Syndicate)

Why Charter Cities Won’t Lead To Decentralized Government (Lots to think about, Palladium)

U.S. News/Politics

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Americans are Stuck in Abusive Relationships with Power

And we recently discovered, if it was not known before, that no amount of power can withstand the hatred of the many.

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

Americans are brought up to believe all sorts of myths about the country we call home. We’re told our economy is a free market meritocracy governed by the rule of law. We’re told our civil liberties, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, are inviolable and protected by the most powerful military in the world. A fighting force entrusted with the admirable and monumental task of defending freedoms at home, and democracy and human rights abroad. We’re told we exist in a system of self-government, in which our votes matter and our voices heard. In practice, none of this is true.

The fact of the matter is American citizens in 2018 are just a nuisance for the real power players. Useful as consumers, but increasingly problematic as larger numbers start to ask questions about how things really work. For far too long, we’ve been ignorant and willing accomplices in our own bondage. This allowed the concentrated and unaccountable power that really calls the shots to go for broke in recent decades, with unsurprisingly tragic results.

Only recently have things started to shift. Increased levels of barbarism abroad and corruption at home during the 21st century — under both Republican and Democratic administrations — have shaken many Americans from a long stupor. Irrespective of where you sit on the political spectrum, most people know something’s not right. People don’t agree on the details of what’s wrong, and there’s certainly no consensus on solutions, but increasing numbers of us know something’s very broken.

I try to look at things from a big picture perspective, and from that angle I see too many people focused on the symptoms of cultural decay versus root causes. Not enough people seem to be taking a step back to see that at the core of today’s broken socioeconomic and political paradigm is an American citizenry fundamentally entangled in various abusive relationships with power. This post will highlight three of these relationships. The first with government itself, the second with central banking, and the third with the dominant political parties.

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Liberty Links 10/6/18 – The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies

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The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies (I have so many questions when it comes to the huge claims made in this article, Bloomberg)

What Businessweek Got Wrong About Apple (Apple’s denial of Bloomberg story, Apple)

Setting the Record Straight on Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Erroneous Article (Amazon’s denial of Bloomberg story, AWS)

Supply Chain Security Speculation (The Grugq, Medium)

Collusion Bombshell: DNC Lawyers Met with FBI on Russia Allegations Before Surveillance Warrant (The Hill)

Google Admits It Lets Hundreds of Other Companies Access Your Gmail Inbox (Very disturbing, The Telegraph)

“I Was Devastated”: Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets (Must read, Vanity Fair)

Exclusive: Tim Berners-Lee Tells Us His Radical New Plan to Upend the World Wide Web (Also good, Fast Company)

The Tyranny of the U.S. Dollar (Bloomberg)

What Can Be Done To Stop Amazon From Devouring Everything? (Really good read, The Gothamist)

Amazon Warehouse Workers Lose Bonuses, Stock Awards for Raises (Told ya it was a stunt, Bloomberg)

Bolton 2.0: Trump’s Tough Guy on Iran Picks His Battles (This guy is completely obsessed with Iran, The Hill)

The Myth of The Infrastructure Phase (Excellent read, Union Square Ventures)

U.S. News/Politics

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Bezos’ Decision to Rasie Wages is Largely a Machiavellian Distraction

For the many low wage Amazon workers — both full time and temporary — set to receive a raise thanks to the just announced boost in minimum pay to $15/hour, the news is certainly a big plus. It should also be noted that had Amazon not been subject to intense scrutiny and criticism from the likes of Bernie Sanders and others, Jeff Bezos never would have responded with such an aggressive move. That said, if you think a little beyond the surface level about why he’s doing this now and what his real motives are, it becomes clear nobody should take this move at face value.

Stacy Mitchell, co-director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, is someone whose work on Amazon I’ve cited on various occasions. She tweeted out an important thread this morning that helps you take a step back and not miss the forest for the trees.

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Liberty Links 9/29/18 – Big Tech Is Appealing to Congress to Get Around California’s New Online Privacy Law

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Big Tech Is Appealing to Congress to Help Get Around California’s New Online Privacy Law (Another reason we need to strongly support states rights, The Intercept)

Trump’s Phony Anti-Globalism Should Fool No-One (Michael Tracey, Spectator USA)

Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information (More shadiness from Facebook, Gizmodo)

Bezos Space Startup Blue Origin to Supply Engines for Boeing-Lockheed Rocket Venture (More evidence of the increasingly close ties between Bezos/Amazon and the U.S. military/surveillance complex, MarketWatch)

Actor James Woods Bashes Twitter After Getting Locked out (AP)

GOP Sees Highest Favorability in Seven Years (Only Democrats could be so bad they make the GOP more popular, CNN)

Why I’m Done with Chrome (Important read, Cryptographic Engineering)

Trump War Whore Celebrates Starvation Of Iranian Civilians At MEK Rally (Caitlin Johnstone, Medium)

Meanwhile, Facebook briefly blocked unfavorable stories about itself, later blaming it on algos.

https://twitter.com/emilybell/status/1045768902108737536

U.S. News/Politics 

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These Are the Times Bitcoin Was Made For

Don’t say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.

– Ralph Waldo Emmerson

This past Friday, PayPal informed Alex Jones’ Infowars it was severing ties with the website and that it had ten days to find an alternative payment processor. The news transported me back to that summer day a little over six years ago when I first acutely recognized the power and potential of Bitcoin, and then publicly decided to embrace it.

By August 2012, Wikileaks had been under a financial blockade for nearly two years. It was at this point I came across an article by Jon Matonis published in Forbes, detailing the predicament as well as the clear threat this posed to freedom of the press and free speech in general. He noted:

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