#Restorethe4th EPIC Thread

Here’s my EPIC thread contribution to the #Restorethe4th protest.


I’ve been following the EPIC NSA leak story since it broke out. I have woven three EPIC threads in the process. For those who are on Facebook check out the following links:

EPIC Thread #1: Orwell is right

EPIC Thread #2: Edward Snowden: Badass Hero

EPIC Thread #3: Glenn Greenwald: Badass

As of this writing the NSA leak scandal has turned into an action-packed International Chess game at the Casino Royale. This story is (and has always been) bigger than Snowden or any other personality. This story is even bigger than the NSA. This story is about the leviathan power structure of global surveillance–the center of it is the U.S. National Security State.  This has happened before, and it will happen again. Here’s my bottom line take on this issue.


The Idealist in me is hoping that a sweeping reform of the Global Intelligence Community will be a result of the fallout of the Snowden NSA/GCHQ leaks.

BUT the Cynical Realist in me doesn’t see any reform or progress in the foreseeable future.

We’ve been here before since the revelation of ECHELON and numerous whistleblowers who had exposed the dirty secrets of the National Security/Surveillance State. Yet nothing has changed. Actually, there were changes, big technological changes which further improved the capability and efficiency of global snooping between nations directed at their citizens.

Orwell was right. The Powers That Be will continue to stamp their boots on our collective faces as technology exponentially advances. That’s the nature of the Power Structure. It is what it is: A hydra-like leviathan; slay one head and out pops another — stronger, fiercer, bigger, angrier.

If you think I’m being uber-cynical, I hope you’re right. But history gives me a license to be bitter and hopeless. (See article by William Blum below for context.)

When all is said and done, we’re better off working on our own personal salvation, or just continue to wallow in blissful ignorance, all the while loving and serving one another with the best of intentions, as much as we can.

William Blum on Edward Snowden and ECHELON

Eavesdropping on the planet

The above is the title of an essay that I wrote in 2000 that appeared as a chapter in my book Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. Here are some excerpts that may help to put the current revelations surrounding Edward Snowden into perspective …

Can people in the 21st century imagine a greater invasion of privacy on all of earth, in all of history? If so, they merely have to wait for technology to catch up with their imagination.

~ http://williamblum.org/aer/read/118


That’s all for now. Have a Happy Fourth of July.

The Psi Wars Just Went Nuclear on TED

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been following the TED saga on the Sheldrake and Hancock TEDx controversy. For the most part I’ve been harsh on TED’s knee-jerk decision to pull out Sheldrake and Hancock’s talks and their lame and unsubstantiated justification for doing so. But in fairness to TED, I think they have every right to filter the talks that get published on their official distribution channel. TED has a tough job of protecting its brand from being diluted by nonsensical ideas masquerading as science. And even Rupert Sheldrake sympathizes with TED. As Sheldrake has eloquently said in his response to the controversy:

There’s a lot of rubbish and there has to be some kind of filter. So I’m not against the idea of a filter but what I am against is the idea of applying the filter in a very partial kind of way.

So it’s not the filtering per se that got me disappointed with TED but the manner in which they have done the filtering and the sloppy justification after the fact.

But just when I thought that the Sheldrake-Hancock TED controversy was about to die down, TED made another douchey move when it revoked TEDxWestHollywood’s license because their program was unscientific. According to TED’s email to TEDxWestHollywood event organizer, Suzanne Taylor:

We disallow speakers who use the language of science to claim they have proven the truth of ideas that are speculative and which have failed to gain significant scientific acceptance.

Then TED named names with the word “pseudoscience” in the same paragraph.

We will be especially interested to hear about the ideas that  Marianne Williamson, Russell Targ, Larry Dossey, Paul Nugent, and Marilyn Schlitz will be presenting.We feel that the pseudoscience struggle is an important one. TED and TEDx cannot be platforms that give undo legitimacy to false evidence and selective logic — regardless of brilliant packaging.

I’m familiar with most of the names mentioned above but I don’t know enough details about their work to agree or disagree with TED’s assessment.  However, I strongly object to lumping Russell Targ into the category of “pseudoscience.” The fact that TED has pointed a finger to Russell Targ leads me to speculate that the TED staff are ignorant (or maybe just dismissive) of the Remote viewing literature. I don’t claim expertise on the subject of remote viewing but I’ve been familiar with the literature for more than two decades now.

I understand the remote viewing protocol — it’s double-blind. The late Ingo Swann was instrumental in designing the protocol. Then it was taught to a few intelligence personnels in the military (one of them is remote viewer #001 Joe McMoneagle). I’ve always focused my attention to the original people who started it all because they did solid research on the phenomenon and they’re the ones who designed the original protocol. Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff had a deal with the CIA and the Defense Department that in return for funding they helped the military with intelligence work (e.g. locating people and cites of interests). Another condition was that Targ and Puthoff were given free rein by the military to publish their work in scientific journals. The classified project — Stargate Project —  lasted for more than two decades. I don’t know about you but I don’t think Targ/Puthoff/Swann could’ve hoax the Defense Department, CIA, FBI, and even NASA for a long time, especially when millions of money were involved. The Defense Department might be wasteful in their spending but I don’t think the people running it were that stupid to be fooled for two decades without them getting valuable results.  Continue reading >

The TED Saga Continues on the Sheldrake and Hancock Debates (and TEDxWestHollywood)

I’ve been following the latest TED saga since Day One. (See my post here, here, here, my EPIC thread on Facebook, and my posts on TED Conversations.) Readers of this blog and my Facebook friends are probably tired and nauseated by the attention I’ve given on this issue. I think it’s unfortunate that this issue didn’t catch the attention of mainstream news and popular tech blogs the way the Nick Hanauer’s TED controversy did. So far I’ve only seen a few fringe blogs and alternative news sites that jumped on this story. I actually submitted this story to Boing Boing but maybe my submission was buried in the avalanche of submissions or that the editors think that this story is not important or interesting enough to spread to the interwebs.

I’m disappointed that this latest TED fiasco didn’t go viral, but I’m hardly surprised. This issue is not for mainstream consumption. This issue is political but not the typical political issue that you’ll see in the mainstream media circus. This issue boils down to “War of the Worldviews” (to borrow the term from Mlodinow and Chopra’s book collaboration). A couple of bloggers who have been following this story calls it “The Psi wars Come to TED” (see Craig Weiler) and “Materialists vs. Idealists” (see Markus Anthony). I agree. In fact, that was the precisely the essence of Sheldrake and Hancock’s talks — Scientific (materialism) Dogmas and “War on Consciousness“. Knowingly or unknowingly, TED essentially proved Sheldrake’s and Hancock’s points when TED “censored” (ok, fine, “suppressed”) their talks.  Continue reading >

TEDxWhitechapel Calls Out TED to Reinstate Sheldrake and Hancock’s Talks

I’ve been following the latest TED shenanigan since Day One. It gets more interesting day by day. See my post here and here.

After almost a week since TED “censored” Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock’s TEDx talks, the organizers of the TEDxWhitechapel finally responded to its parent organization with a very eloquent Open Letter. It’s posted on the TEDxWhitechapel Facebook page but I’m also posting it here for everyone to see. Read below.

***OUR OPEN LETTER TO TED*** Please join our call to TED to reinstate Rupert & Graham’s talks onto TEDxyoutube and TED.com

Dear Chris, Lara, and the TED team

We, the TEDxWhitechapel team – the initiators and co-curators of the event – have deeply reflected on your actions to remove the talks of two of our speakers Rupert Sheldrake and Graham’s Hancock from the official TEDx Youtube channel. We wish to clearly and openly express our views on the matter with the intention of constructively contributing to the discussion as well as to highlight potential pathways for moving forward which are mutually beneficial to all parties involved; our speakers, the TED corporation, and the TED community.

We want to begin by sharing what TED means to us.

We have been genuinely transformed through many of the inspiring TEDTalks; they have profoundly challenged our perceptions of and assumptions about the world, opening us up to new perspectives outside of the established mainstream thinking. Moreover, we really believe TED to be an ingenious medium to spread ideas across the globe. As such, TED represents the free and open flow and exchange of ideas globally, enriching and empowering an increasingly connected global community.

And it is with this passion that we decided to host a TEDx event with the theme “Visions for Transition: Challenging Existing Paradigms and Redefining Values (for a more beautiful world)’. We believe that in order to deal with the diverse and complex crises converging on our planet, we need to challenge the dominant thought paradigms and radically reassess the values which govern our world. In line with Einsteins wisdom “problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them” we saw TED as a truly special platform.

Continue reading >

Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock: TED Ideas Not Worth Spreading – A Fresh Take

This is a continuation of my previous post on the latest TED fiasco.

I’ve read thoroughly and carefully TED’s more nuanced “fresh take”. Below is my reaction. I posted it as a comment on the TED Blog.

1) Props to TED for making this discussion transparent, posting Sheldrake and Hancock’s responses, and for listening to the deluge of passionate voices who rattled the TED Blog (present company included). as someone who has an experience working as a social media community moderator, I understand the challenges of balancing the platform content while maintaining a brand. You can’t make everyone 100% happy 100% of the time. You have to walk the fine line of freedom of speech, censorship, as well as the legalities.

2) TED is now a global brand. For it to be continually successful it has to be pro-establishment and stay within the bounds of the status quo. In the domain of science, which is currently dominated by the materialistic paradigm, TED cannot afford to be too radical. Since TED’s “Science Board” is comprised of anonymous scientists, I can only speculate that many, if not most, of them are deep into the materialistic paradigm (hence the knee-jerk reaction to Sheldrake’s presentation). For those in the know, it’s no secret that Rupert Sheldrake is a very divisive figure in the scientific community, precisely because his theories and research challenge the very fabric of establishment (materialistic) science.  Continue reading >