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TBR News January 28, 2020

Jan 28 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. January 28, 2020:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose

Commentary for January 28: There is a growing problem here in Wshington. The grow behavior of government agencies and individuals has created an atmosphere that hss produced legions of outraged whistleblowers who have been filching secret files, cpying them and sending them around to bloggers, inside and outside the United States. There is no way for the government to stop them and there are frantic searches currently underway to find at least one whistleblower and make a public display of them before a sympathetic tool of a Federal judge sentences them to weekends in the gas chamber.”

Trump’s Approval/Disapproval rating January 28 reporting

Source                      Approve   Disapprove
_________________________________________
Morning Consult           40%     55%

The Table of Contents
• Key Republicans signal openness to Bolton testimony in impeachment trial
• One of the CIA’s waterboarding torturers called himself “The Preacher” and shouted religious nonsense while performing executions
• Chilling role of ‘the Preacher’ confirmed at CIA waterboarding hearing in Guantánamo
• The Rise of Smart Camera Networks, and Why We Should Ban Them
• The Season of Evil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Key Republicans signal openness to Bolton testimony in impeachment trial
After the revelation that the ex-national security adviser’s book implicates Trump, senators Romney and Collins spoke out
January 27, 2020
by Daniel Strauss in Washington
The Guardian

After a bombshell report about John Bolton’s forthcoming book, key Republican senators moved on Monday towards supporting testimony from the former national security adviser in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
On Sunday night, the New York Times reported that the manuscript version of Bolton’s memoir, The Room Where It Happened, contains the claim that the president told Bolton in August 2019 to keep withholding nearly $400m of security aid to Ukraine, until officials in Kyiv helped investigate Trump’s political rivals.
Trump’s attempts to have Ukraine investigate his rivals form the basis of the first article of impeachment, that he abused his power. The second article charges that he obstructed Congress as it attempted to investigate.
At the start of a week in which Trump’s defense team will lay out their full argument, news of Bolton’s claim conclusively scrambled the calculus among lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Republican Senate leaders have been attempting to conduct Trump’s trial – and to acquit him and keep him in office – swiftly and without calling further witnesses.
But on Monday key Republican senators indicated that the new allegation underscored the importance of Bolton testifying in the impeachment trial.
“I think that the story that came out yesterday it’s increasingly apparent that it would be important to hear from John Bolton,” Utah senator Mitt Romney, the party’s nominee for president in 2012, told reporters.
“I of course will make a final decision on witnesses after we’ve heard from not only the prosecution but also the defense. But at this stage I think it’s fair to say that John Bolton has a relevant testimony to provide to those of us who are sitting in impartial justice.”
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a key Trump ally, expressed openness to having Bolton testify. But he said others, including the former vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden – whose links to Ukraine partly motivated Trump’s push for investigations – should also testify.
In a statement, Susan Collins of Maine said: “reports about John Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues”.
Other Republicans said that the manuscript did not change anything and that Bolton’s allegation was simply motivated by his desire to sell his book.
The Democratic Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, called the revelations reported by the Times “stunning” and added: “It goes right to the heart of the charges against the president.
“Ambassador Bolton essentially confirms the president committed the offenses charged in the first article of impeachment,” Schumer said at a press conference, asking: “How can Senate Republicans not vote to call that witness and request his documents?”
The question of witnesses in the Senate trial has been an ongoing flashpoint in the impeachment proceedings. House Democrats wanted Bolton to testify as part of their investigation into Trump’s approaches to Ukraine but Bolton successfully avoided that request.
Democrats hope the new allegations will sway at least the four Republicans they will need to pass a motion to call witnesses in the Senate.
“I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton,” Romney said. “Whether there are other witnesses or documents that’s another matter. I think John Bolton’s relevance to our decision has become increasingly clear.”
Romney declined to name which of his Republican colleagues, other than fellow moderate Collins, might be swayed.
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, another senator viewed as a possible swing vote, told reporters on Monday: “I worked with my colleagues to make sure we have a chance after we’ve heard the arguments, after we’ve asked our questions, to decide if we need additional evidence and I’ll decide that at that time.”
If witnesses do testify, the impeachment process could go on for longer than wished by senior Republicans. Under the leadership of Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the party has indicated a desire to acquit Trump before his State of the Union address, which is due next Tuesday, 4 February.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Trump claimed Bolton’s allegation was false and added that he had not seen the manuscript. How much the White House communications team knew about the manuscript remains unclear.
Books by former White House officials usually go through a review process to check for potentially sensitive or classified information.
A National Security Council spokesman, John Ullyot, said on Monday: “Ambassador Bolton’s manuscript was submitted to the NSC for pre-publication review and has been under initial review by the NSC. No White House personnel outside NSC have reviewed the manuscript.”
Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, said on Sunday the manuscript was submitted in the belief it contained no classified information. Cooper also said it was clear that there were holes in the review process, as proven by the Times obtaining the manuscript.
“It is clear, regrettably, from the New York Times article, that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,” Cooper said in a statement.
On Monday, Bolton, his literary agency and his publisher said in a statement: “There was absolutely no coordination with the New York Times or anyone else regarding the appearance of information about his book.”

One of the CIA’s waterboarding torturers called himself “The Preacher” and shouted religious nonsense while performing executions
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More word from the ongoing attempt to bring the people responsible for years of CIA torture to justice: one of the three waterboarding specialists at Guantanamo was called “The Preacher” because while he was drowning suspects to the point of near death, he “would at random times put one hand on the forehead of a detainee, raise the other high in the air, and in a deep Southern drawl say things like, ‘Can you feel it, son? Can you feel the spirit moving down my arm, into your body?'”
The sadistic torturer’s real name isn’t known. He was codenamed NZ7.
Tales of The Preacher’s behavior first surfaced in “Enhanced Interrogation,” the torture apologia penned by James Mitchell, the rogue psychologist who designed the CIA’s torture program (his company was paid $80m for this work, which also included instructions for anal rape, freezing people to death, and shoving hummus and nuts up men’s asses).
Mitchell testified again about The Preacher this week during a pre-trial hearing for five of the men charged with planning and abetting the 9/11 attacks.
Mitchell’s testimony paints him as a moderate torturer who was locked in internecine struggle with the CIA’s in-house “interrogation chief,” codenamed NX2 and believed to be Charlie Wise, a notorious torturer who practiced his craft in Nicaragua for the Contras (Wise died in 2003).
Mitchell describes how, on his tours of CIA torture sites, he would express concern that the techniques employed would maim the victims, and was silenced and even effectively incarcerated — confined to an overseas base with no contact with the outside world. He said he was only released because the “tension” was “damaging morale.”
CIA Director Gina Haspel was complicit in both torture and the subsequent coverup. In May, 2018, she was confirmed as Trump’s CIA chief. Six Democrat Senators voted to confirm her: Joe Manchin [WV], Heidi Heitkamp [ND], Joe Donnelly [IN], Bill Nelson [FL], Mark Warner [VA] and Jeanne Shahee [NH].
When the senior officials flew in, on 17 August, he waterboarded Abu Zubaydah even though he was quite sure the detainee had no actionable intelligence to surrender. It was done purely as a demonstration for the agency VIPs. And he applied the technique to the maximum extent allowed, pouring water on to a cloth on the prisoner’s face for 20 seconds and then a full 40 seconds. According to a CIA cable describing the event, Abu Zubaydah went into spasm.
“I was tearful, but I cry at dog food commercials,” Mitchell claimed. The psychologist’s eyes did indeed well up on a few occasions during his testimony this week, but the tears came when he was describing what he saw as his personal sacrifices. In contrast, he described waterboarding dispassionately, characterising it as “temporary discomfort”.
The visitors were stunned. “Some of the folks were tearful,” Mitchell said

Chilling role of ‘the Preacher’ confirmed at CIA waterboarding hearing in Guantánamo
Two contractors give evidence of ‘The Preacher’, one of three authorised to carry out torture method, who has still not been identified after 17 years
January 25, 2020
by Julian Borger in Guantánamo Bay
The Guardian
There were three men authorised by the CIA to carry out waterboarding on detainees in America’s “war on terror”. Two of them were contractors who are in Guantánamo Bay this week to give evidence. The third has still not been identified 17 years after the torture was committed.
In the courtroom of the military commission, the CIA officer was referred to only by three-digit code NZ7, or simply as “the Preacher” – a nickname he was given because of his peculiar way of terrorising detainees.
According to James Mitchell, a psychologist on contract to the CIA who helped draft and apply their “enhanced interrogation techniques”, the Preacher “would at random times put one hand on the forehead of a detainee, raise the other high in the air, and in a deep Southern drawl say things like, ‘Can you feel it, son? Can you feel the spirit moving down my arm, into your body?’”
Mitchell gave that chilling description in his memoir, Enhanced Interrogation, and on the witness stand on Thursday, he confirmed the Preacher’s role at the CIA black sites. He was giving evidence at a pre-trial hearing in the case against five defendants charged for the 9/11 al-Qaida attacks, including the self-styled mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Mitchell, together with his friend and business partner, Bruce Jessen – who is due to testify next week – have been the public face of the US torture programme for five years, settling out of court in 2017 in a civil suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three prisoners.
Almost everyone else involved in the extensive programme, involving a network of black sites around the world, has remained in the shadows. In terms of legality, it is still the dark side of the moon.
Defence lawyers at the Guantánamo military commission hearings have asked to examine 52 witnesses. They have so far been permitted to question only two, Mitchell and Jessen.
James Connell, representing defendant Ammar al-Baluchi, lost his patience on Thursday when prosecutors objected that he was asking Mitchell about events he had not directly witnessed.
“He’s the only witness we’ve got. The government has blocked all the CIA witnesses,” Connell complained.
Four days before the current pre-trial hearing, the 40th in eight years of legal skirmishes, the prosecution changed the classification rules, and amended them again on Monday on the evening before the first open session. As a result, some facts that were previously unclassified, in published books for example, were reclassified, sending defence attorneys scrambling to reframe their planned line of questioning.
The longer the hearings have continued, the clearer it has become that the Mitchell and Jessen partnership was just a small part of the infrastructure of torture, with its own bureaucracy and personal rivalries. In his testimony, Mitchell railed repeatedly against the “middle management” who he believed was plotting against him.
Mitchell became embroiled in a vicious turf war with a rival, the CIA chief of interrogations, for mastery of the “enhanced programme”. Each sought to use their links to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to get the other removed from their post. In that struggle the detainees were used as bargaining counters. The two men had them tortured for training or demonstration purposes.
In the courtroom this week, the interrogations chief has been referred to by the code NX2. Mitchell calls him the “new sheriff”, but it has been reported his real name was Charlie Wise, who had honed his craft carrying out interrogations for the Contra rebels in Nicaragua in the 1980s. He apparently died of a heart attack in 2003, just weeks after being dismissed.
According to declassified cables and courtroom testimony, Wise set up his own training programme, and took his students to a black site in Afghanistan, codenamed Cobalt, to practise their techniques on Ammar al-Baluchi and other prisoners. During that training, Baluchi was repeatedly slammed against a wall, suffering brain trauma as a result.
“Looks like they used your client as a training prop,” Mitchell told Connell. A newly declassified paragraph in a secret CIA inspector general report quotes one of the students as saying the site was used for “on-the-job training”. Trainees had to use each of their techniques on Baluchi and other inmates in order to earn certification.
An unsanctioned, improvised waterboard was also set up at the Cobalt site, according to defence lawyers. It does not seem to have been part of the training, but it was used on at least one detainee.
The CIA was forced to close down its first main interrogation centre in Thailand in late 2002 when its existence was discovered by the New York Times. The “high value detainees” were transferred by rendition flights to a new site in Poland, codenamed Blue, which was run by Wise.
Mitchell visited Blue shortly before Christmas in 2002, and testified he witnessed at least two extreme techniques that had not been approved by the CIA or the justice department. In one, a piece of wooden dowel was put behind the knees of a detainee who was made to kneel and then had his back forced back “until his shoulder blades were touching the floor”.
In another, the prisoner’s elbows were strapped together with a strap behind his back and his hands were raised above his head. Fearing the torture would cause permanent injury, Mitchell said he tried to stop it but was told “it was none of my fucking business”.
When the contractor declared he wanted to return to the US, Wise told him he was not allowed to leave, Mitchell claimed. Nor could Mitchell contact the outside world as all communications equipment at the site were locked up. For a week he was a prisoner of his rival, he said.
Mitchell said he was finally permitted to go home because the tension inside the site began damaging morale. On his return he said he complained to the CIA leadership but to no avail. Wise stayed in his job and Mitchell found he was giving courses at headquarters including the banned techniques more than four months later. The chief of interrogation was only fired that summer.
Throughout his testimony this week, Mitchell has portrayed himself as a moderate who stuck to the rules and only used extreme measures when he felt he had no choice.
He tried to halt waterboarding of the first major detainee, Abu Zubaydah, in August 2002, arguing that the prisoner was fully cooperating, but his superiors in Langley ordered told him and his team in the original black site in Thailand to “stay the course”.
In an effort to win the argument, he said he persuaded the head CIA officer in the country to witness a waterboarding for himself.
“I wanted the chief of station to experience what we were experiencing,” Mitchell said. “It didn’t smell pleasant. It smelled like sweat – kinda musky.”
He also conceded he and Jessen were beginning to feel a bit exposed. They realised they were the only ones in the interrogation room not wearing a mask, and the torture was being videoed.
“I wanted [the station chief] on tape,” Mitchell said. “My mental calculus was that Dr Jessen and I were the only ones on that tape.”
The station chief turned up to watching Abu Zubaydah being waterboarded, but dressed as a guard, his face covered
When his superiors insisted he persevere in Thailand, he told them to send a delegation to witness the simulated drowning.
“Buddy – you want it,” Mitchell told them. “Bring your rubber boots and come on down.”
When the senior officials flew in, on 17 August, he waterboarded Abu Zubaydah even though he was quite sure the detainee had no actionable intelligence to surrender. It was done purely as a demonstration for the agency VIPs. And he applied the technique to the maximum extent allowed, pouring water on to a cloth on the prisoner’s face for 20 seconds and then a full 40 seconds. According to a CIA cable describing the event, Abu Zubaydah went into spasm.
The visitors were stunned. “Some of the folks were tearful,” Mitchell said.
“I was tearful, but I cry at dog food commercials,” Mitchell claimed. The psychologist’s eyes did indeed well up on a few occasions during his testimony this week, but the tears came when he was describing what he saw as his personal sacrifices. In contrast, he described waterboarding dispassionately, characterising it as “temporary discomfort”.
“Does he care more about dog food commercials than he cares about human beings?” asked Terry Rockefeller, who was watching Mitchell’s testimony this week from the military commission’s public gallery on the other side of a reinforced glass partition.
Her sister, Laura, was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Centre. She was an actress who just happened to be working in the twin towers in New York on September 11, 2001, on a day job hosting a business seminar on risk assessment.
Terry is a member of a relatives’ group called September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, which is seeking justice for the attacks but opposes the use of the death penalty.
“The fact that he can talk about something like waterboarding in such clinical terms … That’s just crushing to me, because my country did it and because I feel a great loss,” Rockefeller said, pointing out that the use of torture against the defendants has vastly complicated the process of putting them on trial.
“I do think that everyone involved in the … enhanced interrogation programmes is probably going to die [before the legal process ends] – everyone who suffered from it; everyone who was complicit in it – and there will be this eternally lost opportunity to reckon with it,” she said.
Comment: Apparently someone in the CIA headquarters at Langley discovered the actual identities of their torturers and, putting them on a computer disc, sent the disc around to a number of interested parties. It is assumed that the names, and addresses, will soon find publicity the CIA would not enjoy. Ed

The Rise of Smart Camera Networks, and Why We Should Ban Them
January 27 2020
by Michael Kwet
The Intercept
There’s widespread concern that video cameras will use facial recognition software to track our every public move. Far less remarked upon — but every bit as alarming — is the exponential expansion of “smart” video surveillance networks.
Private businesses and homes are starting to plug their cameras into police networks, and rapid advances in artificial intelligence are investing closed-circuit television, or CCTV, networks with the power for total public surveillance. In the not-so-distant future, police forces, stores, and city administrators hope to film your every move — and interpret it using video analytics.
The rise of all-seeing smart camera networks is an alarming development that threatens civil rights and liberties throughout the world. Law enforcement agencies have a long history of using surveillance against marginalized communities, and studies show surveillance chills freedom of expression — ill effects that could spread as camera networks grow larger and more sophisticated.
To understand the situation we’re facing, we have to understand the rise of the video surveillance industrial complex — its history, its power players, and its future trajectory. It begins with the proliferation of cameras for police and security, and ends with a powerful new industry imperative: complete visual surveillance of public space.
Video Management Systems and Plug-in Surveillance Networks
In their first decades of existence, CCTV cameras were low-resolution analog devices that recorded onto tapes. Businesses or city authorities deployed them to film a small area of interest. Few cameras were placed in pubic, and the power to track people was limited: If police wanted to pursue a person of interest, they had to spend hours collecting footage by foot from nearby locations.
In the late 1990s, video surveillance became more advanced. A company called Axis Communications invented the first internet-enabled surveillance camera, which converted moving images to digital data. New businesses like Milestone Systems built Video Management Systems, or VMS, to organize video information into databases. VMS providers created new features like motion sensor technology that alerted guards when a person was caught on camera in a restricted area.
As time marched on, video surveillance spread. On one account, about 50 years ago, the United Kingdom had somewhere north of 60 permanent CCTV cameras installed nationwide. Today, the U.K. has over 6 million such devices, while the U.S. has tens of millions. According to marketing firm IHS Markit, 1 billion cameras will be watching the world by the end of 2021, with the United States rivaling China’s per person camera penetration rate. Police can now track people across multiple cameras from a command-and-control center, desktop, or smartphone.
While it is possible to link thousands of cameras in a VMS, it is also expensive. To increase the amount of CCTVs available, cities recently came up with a clever hack: encouraging businesses and residents to place privately owned cameras on their police network — what I call “plug-in surveillance networks.”
By pooling city-owned cameras with privately owned cameras, policing experts say an agency in a typical large city may amass hundreds of thousands of video feeds in just a few years.
Detroit has popularized plug-in surveillance networks through its controversial Project Green Light program. With Project Green Light, businesses can purchase CCTV cameras and connect them to police headquarters. They can also place a bright green light next to the cameras to indicate they are part of the police network. The project claims to deter crime by signaling to residents: The police are watching you.
Detroit is not alone. Chicago, New Orleans, New York, and Atlanta have also deployed plug-in surveillance networks. In these cities, private businesses and/or homes provide feeds that are integrated into crime centers so that police can access live streams and recorded footage. The police department in New Haven, Connecticut, told me they are looking into plug-in surveillance, and others are likely considering it.
The number of cameras on police networks now range from tens of thousands (Chicago) to several hundred (New Orleans). With so many cameras in place, and only a small team of officers to watch them, law enforcement agencies face a new challenge: How do you make sense of all that footage?
The answer is video analytics.
Video Analytics Takes Off
Around 2006, a young Israeli woman was recording family videos every weekend, but as a student and parent, she didn’t have time to watch them. A computer scientist at her university, Professor Shmuel Peleg, told me he tried to create a solution for her: He would take a long video and condense the interesting activity into a short video clip.
His solution failed: It only worked on stationary cameras, and the student’s video camera was moving when she filmed her family.
Peleg soon found another use case in the surveillance industry, which relies on stationary cameras. His solution became BriefCam, a video analytics firm that can summarize video footage from a scene across time so that investigators can view all relevant footage in a short space of time.
Using a feature called Video Synopsis, BriefCam overlays footage of events happening at different times as if they are appearing simultaneously. For example, if several people walked past a camera at 12:30 p.m., 12:40 p.m., and 12:50 p.m., BriefCam will aggregate their images into a single scene. Investigators can view all footage of interest from a given day in minutes instead of hours.
Thanks to rapid advances in artificial intelligence, summarization is just one feature in BriefCam’s product line and the rapidly expanding video analytics industry.
Behavior recognition includes video analytics capabilities like fight detection, emotion recognition, fall detection, loitering, dog walking, jaywalking, toll fare evasion, and even lie detection.
Object recognition can recognize faces, animals, cars, weapons, fires, and other things, as well as human characteristics like gender, age, and hair color.
Anomalous or unusual behavior detection works by recording a fixed area for a period of time — say, 30 days — and determining “normal” behavior for that scene. If the camera sees something unusual — say, a person running down a street at 3:00 a.m. — it will flag the incident for attention.
Video analytics systems can analyze and search across real-time streams or recorded footage. They can also isolate individuals or objects as they traverse a smart camera network.
Chicago; New Orleans; Detroit; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Hartford, Connecticut, are some of the cities currently using BriefCam for policing.
To Search and Surveil
With city spaces blanketed in cameras, and video analytics to make sense of them, law enforcement agencies gain the capacity to record and analyze everything, all the time. This provides authorities the power to index and search a vast database of objects, behaviors, and anomalous activity.
In Connecticut, police have used video analytics to identify or monitor known or suspected drug dealers. Sergeant Johnmichael O’Hare, former Director of the Hartford Real-Time Crime Center, recently demonstrated how BriefCam helped Hartford police reveal “where people go the most” in the space of 24 hours by viewing footage condensed and summarized in just nine minutes. Using a feature called “pathways,” he discovered hundreds of people visiting just two houses on the street and secured a search warrant to verify that they were drug houses.
Video analytics startup Voxel51 is also adding more sophisticated searching to the mix. Co-founded by Jason Corso, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, the company offers a platform for video processing and understanding.
Corso told me his company hopes to offer the first system where people can “search based on semantic content about their data, such as, ‘I want to find all the video clips that have more than 3-way intersections … with at least 20 vehicles during daylight.’” Voxel51 “tries to make that possible” by taking video footage and “turning it into structured searchable data across different types of platforms.”
Unlike BriefCam, which analyzes video using nothing but its own software, Voxel51 offers an open platform which allows third parties to add their own analytics models. If the platform succeeds, it will supercharge the ability to search and surveil public spaces.
Corso told me his company is working on a pilot project with the Baltimore police for their CitiWatch surveillance program and plans to trial the software with the Houston Police Department.
As cities start deploying a wide range of monitoring devices from the so-called internet of things, researchers are also developing a technique known as video analytics and sensor fusion, or VA/SF, for police intelligence. With VA/SF, multiple streams from sensors are combined with video analytics to reduce uncertainties and make inferences about complex situations. As one example, Peleg told me BriefCam is developing in-camera audio analytics that uses microphones to discern actions that may confuse AI systems, such as whether people are fighting or dancing.
VMSs also offer smart integration across technologies. Former New Haven Chief of Police Anthony Campbell told me how ShotSpotters, controversial devices that listen for gunshots, integrate with specialized software so when a gun is fired, nearby swivel cameras instantly alter their direction to the location of the weapons discharge.
Officers can also use software to lock building doors from a control center, and companies are developing analytics to alert security if one car is being followed by another.
Toward a “Minority Report” World
Video analytics captures a wide variety of data about the areas covered by smart camera networks. Not surprisingly, the information captured is now being proposed for predictive policing: the use of data to predict and police crime before it happens.
In 2002, the dystopian film “Minority Report” depicted a society using “pre-crime” analytics for police to intervene in lawbreaking before it occurs. In the end, the officers in charge tried to manipulate the system for their own interests.
A real-world version of “Minority Report” is emerging through real-time crime centers used to analyze crime patterns for police. In these centers, law enforcement agencies ingest information from sources like social media networks, data brokers, public databases, criminal records, and ShotSpotters. Weather data is even included for its impact on crime (because “bad guys don’t like to get wet”).
In a 2018 document, the data storage firm Western Digital and the consultancy Accenture predicted mass smart camera networks would be deployed “across three tiers of maturity.” This multi-stage adoption, they contended, would “allow society” to gradually abandon “concerns about privacy” and instead “accept and advocate” for mass police and government surveillance in the interest of “public safety.”
Tier 1 encompasses the present where police use CCTV networks to investigate crimes after-the-fact.
By 2025, society will reach Tier 2 as municipalities transform into “smart” cities, the document said. Businesses and public institutions, like schools and hospitals, will plug camera feeds into government and law enforcement agencies to inform centralized, AI-enabled analytics systems.
Tier 3, the most predictive-oriented surveillance system, will arrive by 2035. Some residents will voluntarily donate their camera feeds, while others will be “encouraged to do so by tax-break incentives or nominal compensation.” A “public safety ecosystem” will centralize data “pulled from disparate databases such as social media, driver’s licenses, police databases, and dark data.” An AI-enabled analytics unit will let police assess “anomalies in real time and interrupt a crime before it is committed.”
That is to say, to catch pre-crime.
Rise of the Video Surveillance Industrial Complex
While CCTV surveillance began as a simple tool for criminal justice, it has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry that covers multiple industry verticals. From policing and smart cities to schools, health care facilities, and retail, society is moving toward near-complete visual surveillance of commercial and urban spaces.
Denmark-based Milestone Systems, a top VMS provider with half its revenues in the U.S., had less than 10 employees in 1999. Today they are a major corporation that claims offices in over 20 countries.
Axis Communications used to be a network printer outfit. They have since become a leading camera provider pushing over $1 billion in sales per year.
BriefCam began as a university project. Now it is among the world’s top video analytics providers, with clients, it says, spanning over 40 countries.
Over the past six years, Canon purchased all three, giving the imaging conglomerate ownership of industry giants in video management software, CCTV cameras, and video analytics. Motorola recently acquired a top VMS provider, Avigilon, for $1 billion. In turn, Avigilon and other large firms have purchased their own companies.
Familiar big tech giants are also in on the action. Lieutenant Patrick O’Donnell of the Chicago police force told me his department is working on a non-disclosure agreement with Google for a video analytics pilot project to detect people reacting to gunfire, and if they are in the prone position, so the police can receive real-time alerts. (Google did not respond to a request for comment.)
Video monitoring networks inevitably entangle and implicate a whole ecosystem of vendors, some of whom have offered, or may yet offer, services specifically targeted at such systems. Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Comcast, Verizon, and Cisco are among those enabling the networks with technologies like cloud services, broadband connectivity, or video surveillance software.
In the public sector, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is funding “public analytics” and communications networks like the First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, for real-time video and other surveillance technologies. FirstNet will cost $46.5 billion, and is being built by AT&T.
Voxel51 is another NIST-backed venture. The public is thus paying for their own high-tech surveillance three times over: first, through taxes for university research; second, through grant money for the formation of a for-profit startup (Voxel51); and third, through the purchase of Voxel51’s services by city police departments using public funds.
With the private and public sector looking to expand the presence of cameras, video surveillance has become a new cash cow. As Corso put it, “there will be something like 45 billion cameras in the world within a few decades. That’s a lot of (video) pixels. For the most part, most of those pixels go unused.” Corso’s estimate mirrors a 2017 forecast from New York venture capital firm LDV, which believes smartphones will evolve to have even more cameras than they do today, contributing to the growth.
Companies that began with markets for police and security are now diversifying their offerings to the commercial sector. BriefCam, Milestone, and Axis advertise the use of video analytics for retailers, where they can monitor foot traffic, queue length, shopping patterns, floor layouts, and conduct A/B testing. Voxel51 has an option built for the fashion industry and plans to expand across industry verticals. Motionloft offers analytics for smart cities, retailers, commercial real estate, and entertainment venues. Other examples abound.
Public and private sector actors are pressing for a world full of smart video surveillance. Peleg, for example, told me of a use case for smart cities: If you drive into the city, you could “just park and go home” without using a parking meter. The city would send a bill to your house at the end of the month. “Of course, you lose your privacy,” he added. “The question is, do you really care about Big Brother knows where you are, what you do, etc.? Some people may not like it.”
How to Rein in Smart Surveillance
Those who do not like new forms of Big Brother surveillance are presently fixated on facial recognition. Yet they have largely ignored the shift to smart camera networks — and the industrial complex driving it.
Thousands of cameras are now set to scrutinize our every move, informing city authorities whether we are walking, running, riding a bike, or doing anything “suspicious.” With video analytics, artificial intelligence is used to identify our sex, age, and type of clothes, and could potentially be used to categorize us by race or religious attire.
Such surveillance could have a severe chilling effect on our freedom of expression and association. Is this the world we want to live in?
The capacity to track individuals across smart CCTV networks can be used to target marginalized communities. The detection of “loitering” or “shoplifting” by cameras concentrated in poor neighborhoods may deepen racial bias in policing practices.
This kind of racial discrimination is already happening in South Africa, where “unusual behavior detection” has been deployed by smart camera networks for several years.
In the United States, smart camera networks are just emerging, and there is little information or transparency about their use. Nevertheless, we know surveillance has been used throughout history to target oppressed groups. In recent years, the New York Police Department secretly spied on Muslims, the FBI used surveillance aircraft to monitor Black Lives Matter protesters, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection began building a high-tech video surveillance “smart border” across the Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona.
Law enforcement agencies claim smart camera networks will reduce crime, but at what cost? If a camera could be put in every room in every house, domestic violence might go down. We could add automated “filters” that only record when a loud noise is detected, or when someone grabs a knife. Should police put smart cameras inside every living room?
The commercial sector is likewise rationalizing the advance of surveillance capitalism into the physical domain. Retailers, employers, and investors want to put us all under smart video surveillance so they can manage us with visual “intelligence.”
When asked about privacy, several major police departments told me they have the right to see and record everything you do as soon as you leave your home. Retailers, in turn, won’t even approach public disclosure: They are keeping their video analytics practices secret.
In the United States, there is generally no “reasonable expectation” of privacy in public. The Fourth Amendment encompasses the home and a few public areas we “reasonably” expect to be private, such as a phone booth. Almost everything else — our streets, our stores, our schools — is fair game.
Even if rules are updated to restrict the use of video surveillance, we cannot guarantee those rules will remain in place. With thousands of high-res cameras networked together, a dystopian surveillance state is a mouse click away. By installing cameras everywhere, we are opening a Pandora’s box.
To address the privacy threats of smart camera networks, legislators should ban plug-in surveillance networks and restrict the scope of networked CCTVs beyond the premise of a single site. They should also limit the density of camera and sensor coverage in public. These measures would block the capacity to track people across wide areas and prevent the phenomenon of constantly being watched.
The government should also ban video surveillance analytics in publicly accessible spaces, perhaps with exceptions for rare cases such as the detection of bodies on train tracks. Such a ban would disincentivize mass camera deployments because video analytics is needed to analyze large volumes of footage. Courts should urgently reconsider the scope of the Fourth Amendment and expand our right to privacy in public.
Police departments, vendors, and researchers need to disclose and publicize their projects, and engage with academics, journalists, and civil society.
It is clear we have a crisis in the works. We need to move beyond the limited conversation of facial recognition and address the broader world of video surveillance, before it is too late.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 70

In Chicago, Charles Rush made a short speech to his bored guests. At least he considered it to be a short speech given that his last talk to staff members lasted three hours and had the same general effect on the company as a shot of morphine.
Collins had started drinking at ten and by midnight was talking to his lap while his equally drunken girlfriend had passed out on the bathroom floor.
At the Mitnik residence, one of his guests put a lampshade on his head, tried to perform a classic Cossack dance and managed to smash a valuable breakfront before lapsing into unconsciousness.
In Minnesota, the conversation and the wine went on for about an hour and then Gwen, who had more than she should, decided to retire and was followed decorously a few moments later by a very tired Lars.
The three left in the living room were also tired but not enough to go to bed. Chuck had finished off four glasses and, while not drunk, was in a pleasant, fuzzy mood while Claude, who had only two glasses, was being reflective. Alex, who was up well past his usual bedtime, was enjoying the company and had no interest in leaving it. He knew nothing of wine and decided that the beer had been a good deal more fun.
Chuck leaned back in his chair and made a tent of his fingers.
“The other night, Alex, I had a dream.”
Claude put his empty, sticky glass on the table next to his chair.
“So did Martin Luther King and look at what happened to him.”
“Be serious, Claude.”
“Why not? Alex, I had a really neat dream last night….”
“Be careful, Claude.” Chuck warned.
“I had a really neat dream. Do you know what I dreamed?”
“That you went to shit and the hogs ate you?”
This sally made Alex laugh until he wheezed.
“It’s not that funny, kid. Tell us, Claude, about the great dream.”
“OK, if you really want me to.”
“Jesus, just tell us.”
“Well, I dreamed I was eating this huge, white cake with a thick, creamy frosting.”
“That’s an exciting dream, don’t you think, Alex”
Alex was still trying to stop laughing but he nodded.
“Well, dudes, it was a dream but the oddest thing is that when I woke up, my pillow was gone.”
Alex resumed laughing but Chuck shook his head sadly.
“They only way we can find out if you’re telling the truth is to check your turds for feathers. Is there no dignity left anymore?”
“You told the joke about the pigs, Chuck.” Claude said reproachfully.
By now, Alex was laughing so hard that Chuck reached over and whacked him on his back several times.
It went on this way for some time and Chuck never got to relate whatever dream he had found so interesting.
Claude finally went to bed and took the tray of empty glasses back to the kitchen on his way. The bottle of champagne was in the refrigerator, tightly stoppered and waiting for the next day’s dinner.
“Well, Alexander, everyone has gone to bed but us and if we’re going to have prime rib tomorrow, I think I ought to go too. However, I don’t suppose you would like another small glass of Dom Perignon, would you?”
“No, actually I think a Coke might be better for me.”
“You only had two glasses and that was an hour ago.”
“Maybe a cup of that real good coffee.”
“I’ll make it two.”
He never bothered to get up to make the coffee and instead, he kicked off his shoes and put his feet up on the ottoman.
“I am tired tonight. I guess I’m no fun when I’m tired. You ought to go to bed and I think I’ll crash right here. Do me a favor and get a blanket for me, will you?”
Alex got up.
“No, you have to go to bed, Chuck. You shouldn’t sleep out here in your chair. I used to have to sleep in a chair and my neck always hurt in the morning. I tell you what, you can sleep in my bed because you only have to walk down the hall and I can sleep in your bed. I put clean sheets on my bed this morning.”
“Whatever. It’ll probably be quieter down there what with the storm. Are you sure you don’t mind the whistling around the shutters?”
“No, it doesn’t bother me at all. Listening to Ernie snore all night was worse, believe me. Let me get my CDs off the bed and we’re in business.”
Actually, the CDs were in a neat rack but he had to get the stuffed animal put away before anyone saw it.
Alex left his room to Chuck who simply lay down on the bed and promptly fell asleep.
Before he closed the door, Alex put a down comforter over Chuck and went out into the hall
Chuck’s suite of rooms upstairs looked like something out of a movie to Alex. He quickly stripped to his shorts, scrambled into the cold bed, turned out the lights and immediately went to sleep, regardless of the storm booming outside.
After he had been asleep for about a quarter of an hour, there was a gentle tapping on the door to the bedroom. Alex was oblivious to it and a moment later, the door opened.
“Are you awake, honey?” It was Gwen. The storm was keeping her awake and she decided to seek entertainment in Chuck’s bed.
There was no answer and she could hear the regular breathing from the bedding so she slipped out of her nightgown and slid into the large bed.
Alex woke up with a jolt to discover that someone unknown was pulling down his shorts.
Before he had the chance to react, Gwen kissed him heavily on the mouth and then said,
“My God, I’m horny tonight, Chuck. Let’s celebrate the New Year with some monumental sex. How does that sound?”
Alex was so shaken, he couldn’t answer and in a few minutes, he decided he didn’t really want to.
“You’re so quiet tonight, love. It must be the champagne, right?”
Alex made noises in his throat but Gwen had crawled under the covers and could not hear him. She stopped talking because she had good manners, after a fashion, and didn’t talk with her mouth full.
One of Alex’s few school friends, Jimmy Carver, had found an adult tape that his brother had hidden when he went to college. He used to show it to his classmates when his parents were out, charging a dollar a viewer. Alex had seen it perhaps thirty times and although he was a virgin, he remembered the tape in great detail and was able to perform various sexual acts with Gwen that she had never dreamed of.
There was oral sex, mutual oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, various forms of non-violent sadomasochism, limbs tied to portions of the bed and other such standard sexual activities.
Alex, remembering the video tape, practiced what Claude would have called the five bites, an act that drove Gwen wild and caused her to spasm very wetly and buck up and down like an epileptic having a grand mal seizure.
This bit of work consisted of taking each nipple gently between the teeth and then running the tongue very rapidly back and forth for a period of two minutes. This was repeated on the lower abdomen and then on the upper inside of each thigh.
By the time Alex had finished the legs, Gwen was whimpering and juicing like a ripe peach. It was fortunate that he had tied her hands together up over her head or she would have scratched his back raw in her passion.
While Chuck was proficient in bed, Alex was inspired and she made repeated demands on him to repeat this or that particular acrobatic act. Although Alex was thoroughly enjoying himself, he remained fairly detached from his activities and thought to himself that sex must be a religious act for Gwen because she kept panting ecstatic remarks to the Deity in a fairly loud voice. She also informed her partner that she had never had such good sex before and that she just didn’t realize what Chuck had in him.
Most of what Alex had in him had long been drained into various bodily orifices or onto the bed but he was more than willing to see what else he could put in her. Chuck’s battery-operated toothbrush came into play with spectacular pyrotechnics and when Alex put it back on the bathroom sink, he wondered if Chuck would notice the difference when he brushed his teeth at some future date.
Because of the complexity of it and the potential of flooding the floors, the water pick was not used but Alex did find an excellent use for a roll of dental floss he discovered in the medicine cabinet.
This was a special, very heavily waxed product that was designed to last for a long time and he sat on the closed lid of the toilet and wrapped a length of it around his erection, just below the tip, tied a knot in it of the type used on shoes and then trimmed off the ends. Although he did not know it, this was called the ‘Cat’s Whiskers’ and in less than three minutes of use, had reduced a panting Gwen to total incoherence and loud shrieks. Fortunately, the walls and doors in the house were very thick and no one heard them.
This frenzied activity went on, almost uninterrupted, until five in the morning, at which time, Gwen collapsed into a stuporous sleep.
As soon as she began to breathe with her mouth open, Alex managed to extract himself from her clutches and climb out of bed. Grabbing up his clothes, he left the room as quickly as he could and, stark naked, ran down the stairs to the main hall and out to the guest wing.
Chuck was sleeping heavily when Alex burst into the room. He was so upset that he put on the lights and began to shake Chuck, oblivious to his nudity.
“What in hell is going on, Alex? My God, it’s five in the morning, What are you doing running around naked?”
Alex grabbed his clothes and held them in front of himself.
“Chuck, please help me! Please!”
Chuck thought for a moment that perhaps Lars had committed some kind of an unnatural offense and he sat up.
“Calm down, lad. Just be calm. What happened?”
It all came out in ragged sentences and Chuck tried to keep from showing the mirth he felt.
The boy’s thin, pale body had more than a few hickeys spotting it and he appeared to be badly frightened.
“First, close the door. Second, put on some clothes and third, sit down here and try to be calm.”
Before he could shut the door, Claude appeared, his face emerging from sleep.
“Am I interrupting something nasty here? What’s the racket all about?”
Alex was struggling to get into his clothes, hopping around from one foot to the other.
Chuck pulled back the covers and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
“What happened, Claude, is entertaining as hell. Now you look decent, Alex so sit down in the chair there and let’s tell Uncle Claude all about your experiences tonight.”
Claude began to laugh as the various acts of the sexual circus unfolded before him.
“Jesus, kid, where did you learn how to do that? That’s called the ‘Cat’s Whiskers’ Alex and is very dangerous to use on any woman. Once you try it, she’ll follow you around like a puppy and never leave you alone. And she thinks you’re really Chuck? My God, what a gas! I mean, this is better than a French movie!”
“Claude? My dick is really sore, Has anyone got something to put on it?”
At this, both Claude and Chuck began to bellow with laughter until they realized that it might wake up the rest of the household.
“All right, troops,” Chuck said as he got up, “I better get upstairs and get back to bed. If Gwen finds out that it wasn’t me doing the mattress polka with her, there will be real shit in the morning. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as Shakespeare said. And Alex, don’t show anyone your love bites. Fortunately, they’re all on your body so just be modest like you usually are. We can talk later. And Alex…”
“Yes?”
“Good for you. I’ll give you a report later on.”
“What about the roast?”
There were to be standing ribs of roast beef for dinner.
Chuck laughed again.
“I’ll take care of it, kid. You get some sleep. And don’t worry about a sore cock. Just don’t use it for anything serious for a few days.”

(Continued)

This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Dutch Sheets

One of the central figures in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Dutch Sheets is an anointed and apparently re-anointed (“with a fresh impartation of Holy Spirit”) “teaching apostle”, self-appointed prophet and hardcore dominionist. Sheets is critical of the current state of American churches, claiming that they spend too much time and effort on values, creating communities and supporting families, and too little time on the church as a legislative body – as God’s government on Earth. Sheets blames Satan for the current situation, but also King James, who ostensibly used trickery to downplay the church’s dominion over the government and legislation – “kind of like our government that is trying to sell us separation of church and state,” says Sheets. Accordingly, Sheets sees it as part of his role to “raise up an army” willing to make a real effort to help the church’s in their attempt “to take over everything and rule the earth completely for the Lord,” while mocking those “little sheepies” focusing on the caring and pastoral work of the church.
And according to Sheets’s own “prophetic visions”, Jesus has called upon Christians to take over government: “Through my recent re-commissioning […] and other prophetic revelation, the Lord has confirmed to me that the door to the governmental arena – and to Washington DC, specifically – is again wide open.” For the 2012 election, Sheets accordingly expressed his support for Christian model and moral beacon Newt Gingrich. Before the 2018 midterms, Sheets reported that God told him to “war for this nation” and declared that “the kingdom of God is invading the United States of America.”
Sheets is also a firm believer in the powers of prayers. For instance, as Sheets sees things, his and NAR figure Chuck Pierce’s prayers during a tour of the country led to the capture of Saddam Hussein. Moreover, Sheets’s prayers have apparently been a primary cause of various Supreme Court vacancies. “God had assigned me to pray for the Supreme Court” and told Sheets that “the greatest stronghold of the enemy ruling our nation was in the Supreme Court” for “there is no gate that has allowed more evil to enter our nation than the Supreme Court.” Meanwhile Democrats opposed Kavanaugh because “they hate President Trump because he is helping turn around the Antichrist agenda they love.” At present, Sheets is praying for God to kill more Supreme Court judges so that Trump can fill the vacancies.
Like most other NPR prophets, Sheets’s main strategy to achieve his political goals is, as suggested, prayers, including holding prayer rallies and arranging conferences to “save America”, with names like the “Appeal to Heaven Conference” (because “America’s narcissistic independence from her Creator has left us spiritually and morally bankrupt”).
Sheets also has called President Obama a “Muslim president” and said his election is bringing the judgment of God, and that “God has now turned us over to our enemies for a season”. Prior to the 2012 election, he proclaimed that the “systems of anti-Christ” that have bound the nation would be broken – he was accordingly disappointed with what actually happened, and promptly declared that God’s wholesale judgment was about to rain down on this nation because “God has put up with all of the mocking He intends to from Barack Obama”. (As for the “mocking”: “who could ever forget the mocking spirit demonstrated by our president when he decorated the White House with rainbow colors”). The election of Trump in 2016, meanwhile, was a miracle and a sign of God’s mercy, and Sheets has a warning for those who – due to the influence of evil spirits, of course – resist Trump: “You will fail! … The Ekklesia will take you out. The outpouring of Holy Spirit will take you out. Angels will take you out.” (Sheets’s rhetoric tends to be a bit violent and bloodthirsty.) You see, Trump is apparently already chosen by God, who is soon going to give him visions like St. John of Patmos, he of the Revelations; Sheets is “confident” that this will happen because a friend of his had a dream before the 2016 election in which she saw Trump sitting in a hotel room, weeping as he read the Bible. Dreams purportedly had by unnamed friends are apparently a major source of information on the state of the world for Sheets.
America is facing divine punishment for other sins, too: for instance, God will beat up America for
the promotion of “homosexuality, abortion and socialism” and the “toleration of immorality and perversion” as well. No, Sheets was not happy with the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, which he asserted would result “in the breakdown of families, along with the devastating effect this will have on children.” (Exactlyhowallowing homosexuals to marry will lead to families breaking down is left a bit unclear, of course. As always.)
Dutch’s brother Tim Sheets is also heavily involved in the NAR. Tim Sheets is apparently an expert on angels, and has led fundies in prayers for God and his angels to take out the deep state. And like his brother, Tim Sheets regularly talks with God, though God seems to be saying some very strange things to him.
Diagnosis: So frenzied by bigotry and bloodthirst that it is often difficult for him to stay coherent. One of the most evil people in the NAR, which is, again, one of the most thoroughly evil organizations in the Western world. Extremely dangerous.

Doyel Shamley

Doyel Shamley is the president of a Nevada-based firm called Veritas Research Consulting, and part of his day job is to advise Republican politicians, including congresspeople, on land management and environmental policy – as such, he has participated in numerous fora and on several panels sponsored by conservative groups, and testified before various House committees and state assemblies.
But when his dayshift is over Doyel Shamley the consultant becomes Doyel Shamley the conspiracy theorist, who for years hosted the online radio show The Hour of the Time, where he would speculate on a range of issues, suggesting for instance that UFO sightings are a false-flag operation by the Illuminati to gain more power, and claiming that federal agents killed his friend, Christian Identity theorist William Cooper, because he was asking questions about the attacks on the World Trade Center – yes, Shamley is a 9/11 truther, and has claimed that “terrorism is really just part of a grand Hegelian dialectic scheme to bring about their desired change and the end result that the illuminati want, a New World Order.”
On the 2009 DVD “New World Order: The Battle for Your Mind and the Truth to UFOs”, he claimied that his conspiracy activism was viewed as a nuisance during his military career: “I did classes in the military on the New World Order, etc., to my troops and my platoons,” said Shamley: “Everything from the sham of fiat money and the federal reserve centralized banking system to the Illuminati to Council of [sic] Foreign Relations, Tri-Lats, all the typical subjects and me and my squad leaders, we would hand out literature and have classes in the barracks at night.” Clearly the fact that people in the military was annoyed must have been because Shamley was onto something.
Shamley does apparently distance himself from people like Alex Jones, however, whose antics he characterizes as “fearmongering” – not because there is something wrong with Jones’s integrity or critical thinking skills, but because Jones is too pessimistic. Shamley, on the other hand, thinks change is possible.
It is far from clear that his clients in politics are entirely unaware of his double life either. For instance, when Jennifer Fielder, the Montana GOP vice chair, identified Shamley as an expert in natural resources after inviting him to testify before the state’s Environmental Quality Council in 2014, she may not have mentionedhis conspiracy theory career, but Fielder herself has dabbled in sovereign citizen ideas and attended seminars with speakers (e.g. Kirk MacKenzie) who think that environmentalists are “domestic terrorists” and that cabals of international banking families are responsible for pushing environmental regulations. It is hard not to wonder.
In 2008, Shamley was elected natural resources coordinator for Apache County, a position he used to get the county to pass a pair of resolutions asserting its authority over federal lands. In 2018 he sought election to the Arizona House of Representatives to represent District 7; he was apparently unopposed in the primaries but lost the general election. Shamley has also provided training and workshops for Defend Rural America’s secessionist county organizing drive in California.
Diagnosis: It’s hard to shake the feeling that the lunatic paranoia of people like Doyel Shamley has become rather mainstreamed the last few years (though of course: that itself might sound like paranoia). And its impact is surely not benign effect. Deranged maniac.

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