Could the Elite Survive Without Terrorism?


I’ve been long struck by a comment attributed to Adolph Hitler: “If there were no Jews, we’d have to invent them.”((Which it seems he did say, though in a slightly different form.)) This callous sentiment lies at the heart of rulership, including the rulers of our day. Power needs a frightening enemy. The systems that be, after all, are wholly organized around our fears. Without something to be terribly afraid of, the core justification for rulership fails.

Think of it this way: If we didn’t have scary things to fear – if politics operated on reason – our overlords couldn’t get half the compliance they get now. That’s why they market everything that matters to them through fear. Because, as I’ve been saying over and over, fear makes humans behave stupidly; and in particular, it makes them comply with ridiculous things without reason.

If you actually examine it, the saying, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” it’s just another way of saying, “Get the suckers to go along with you while they’re still afraid.”

To put it simply: Nothing bigger than a barebones government could survive if people made the decision to accept or reject policies based upon reason rather than fear.

Adios USSR; Hola Terrorista

When I was a boy, we were taught to hide under our desks for fear of Russian bombs. And while it’s true the USSR was an evil empire, it wasn’t true they wanted to nuke my home town. Yet that fear remained and was stoked, because it worked.

But the evil empire went away, and the fear of nuclear incineration with it. Partly as a result, we were told by our 1990s figurehead, “The era of big government is over.” Mindless sacrifice in fear of the nuking Russians was gone, and public rhetoric had to be pulled back.

But then, a scant 10 years later, a new fear came screaming across our TV screens. However it came about, 9-11 restored fear to the Western mind. And with fear came another wave of unreasoned compliance. If people had been thinking, they would have made counter-arguments like this one:

Wait… We’ve been spending hundreds of billions of dollars to prevent just this sort of thing, and it failed spectacularly. Shall we now simply reward and expand the system that failed?

Or like this:

We’re told that the various protector agencies knew about this plan shaping up, but they didn’t share information with each other… something they were already required to do. So, the answer is to create another agency? Is there any sane reason to think that they won’t exhibit the same bureaucratic disease?

I could go on, but you get the idea. The vile PATRIOT Act was hustled into effect while the masses were afraid. After that, they had either to defend it or admit they got suckered. And so, since most people hate admitting their errors, they’d defended it.

So, we lost the Soviets, but the overlords replaced them with terrorists. The actual threat level represented by terrorism is much, much lower than that presented by the USSR, but we have much better fear delivery systems these days. So the stupidity remains and accomplishes its necessary service to rulership.

The Foundation of Our World

Please consider this statement carefully:

The world we now live in is arranged around our fears and not around our abilities.

I devoted an entire issue of my subscription newsletter to this issue (#74), and I lack space here. But one of the points I made in that issue was this:

The dominant systems in our world are built upon primitive and low aspects of human nature. They are incarnations of fear and took their shape by about 4000 BC. It’s ridiculous to organize ourselves the same way as people who used stone tools.

So, Could the Elites Survive?

In a word, no. The elites who rule our world from behind the scenes couldn’t continue as they are, without terrorism or some equally telegenic replacement. They must keep fear alive.

And please remember this: Any time someone tries to make you afraid, they’re hacking your brain.

We can do better.

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Paul Rosenberg

The Triviality of Terrorism


In the general scheme of manmade disasters, terrorism is trivial. That’s not even debatable, as I’ll itemize below. Westerners who’ve been consuming televised fears for 15 years straight may object, but fear has nothing to do with truth… and very much the opposite.

And I’ll skip through the obvious fact that I’m opposed to people being murdered by maniacs and the equally obvious acknowledgment that terrorism is a very big thing to the people involved.

The Facts

When deciding whether a statement is true or false, facts should decide. If we let ourselves imagine that fear makes something true, we doom ourselves to lives of abuse.

So, let’s take a look at the facts.

To address this question directly, I decided to take facts from just the past hundred years or so and to stick to the large powers. My apologies to those associated with events I left out; I do not mean to minimize them.

This list shows how many deaths are attributable to each. These figures are from Wikipedia, and if there was a range, I took the middle of it.

World War II:    75,000,000
Great Leap Forward (China): 32,000,000
World War I:  18,000,000
Russian Civil War:    7,000,000
Ukrainian Genocide (Holodomor): 5,300,000
Killing Fields (Cambodia):  2,000,000
Korean War: 2,500,000
Vietnam War:  1,900,000
Great Purge (USSR): 1,000,000
Gulf War II (Iraq):      700,000
Gulf War I: 130,000
Mexican Drug War:     107,000
Afghan War: 85,000

Now, would you like to know how many people have died at the hands of terrorists? Here are the numbers, over more years and a larger area:

1900–1929: 520
1930–1949: 1,088
1950–1969: 283
1970–1979: 1,523
1980–1989: 3,401
1990–1999: 2,203
2000–2009: 6,625
2010–2015: 3,470

Terrorism numbers are difficult to define post-2000, because every minor skirmish is now called “terrorism.” So, the numbers above exclude many attacks on government facilities and uniformed government employees. Civil wars aren’t terrorism; attacks on churches, buses, and markets are terrorism.

All told, this comes to 19,113 deaths over 116 years. Compared to the almost 146,000,000 deaths listed above, terrorism amounts to one one-hundredth of one percent: 0.013% to be precise.

Compared to Rudolph Rummel’s data showing 262 million “deaths by government” over the 20th century, terrorism stands at a statistically insignificant 0.0073%

A few more comparisons:

  • Since 1970, terrorism world-wide has claimed considerably less than 18,000 lives. Over those same years, the War on Drugs has claimed seven times as many in Mexico alone.

  • In the worst year of terrorism (2001), less than 4,000 died. In just one battle of World War I (Verdun), more than 300,000 died – 75 times as many.

  • On the worst day of terrorism (Sept. 11, 2001), less than 3,000 died. In one day of World War II (June 6, 1944), only in Normandy and only on the winning side, there were 4,413 confirmed dead.

Our Feelings Are Wrong

To most of us, war feels a lot less scary than terrorism. And the reason for that is obvious: the images that are presented to us and the attitudes of the people around us proclaim war to be normal.

War doesn’t surprise us; it doesn’t shock us. We’ve been trained to believe that wars are contained and that it’s mainly people in uniforms that are affected. The truth, however, is otherwise. Civilian deaths in World War II, for example, were double the number of soldier deaths.

Uniforms, authorizations, and official displays turn our eyes away from the massive horror of war. Everything around us supports the old saying that “one man dying is a tragedy; a million men dying is a statistic.” Everything supports fear of terror rather than fear of war.

Reality, however, is unmoved by our fears: War is death, dismemberment, and impoverishment, and it will never be anything else… just like terrorism, but much, much larger.

Our images and norms are at odds with reality. Consider this, please:

Government-waged war is hundreds of times worse than small bands of crazies. To take a ho-hum attitude toward war while remaining panicked over terrorism is wildly irrational.

When our feelings disagree with realty, it’s time to recalibrate them.

Now What?

Now, if we care about reality – if we care about our hearts and minds functioning well – we must stop accepting the massive terror of war as normal. Millions of people being killed in political disputes is beyond barbaric.

If this be normalcy, the systems that produce it must be questioned at the most basic levels and replaced. Promptly.

At the same time, we must stop living in fear. Fear makes us stupid; it makes us manipulable. Fear enslaves us.

Last Words

My point in this article is not that we should ignore the horrors of terrorism. Rather, it’s that we should see the situation as it is. And for those of us in the West, the situation is that terrorism is a political weapon, wielded by politicians in the service of what Dwight Eisenhower termed the “military-industrial complex.”

We should further understand that eliminating terrorism would deprive these people of their greatest tool. If terrorism stopped, they’d have to replace it. The Western status quo requires a frightened and confused populace.

Terrorism is a deadly reminder of just how deceived humans can become. Eliminating it will be awfully hard if we remain terrified and deceived ourselves.

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Paul Rosenberg

The Hidden Payoff in the Brussels and Paris Attacks


I don’t have any more secret information than you do. I don’t have access to any of the backrooms that matter, and I don’t get leaks from “informed sources.” I do, however, have experience with protecting data and with a variety of things “crypto.”

So, what I’m telling you now isn’t verifiable… but it’s very close to accurate.

The Missing Piece

When looking at the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels, we are impelled to look for explanations. And to do this, we generally rely on stories we get from mass-media corporations. We all know the news is worked over before it reaches us, but it’s really almost all we have, and the live video they show is probably actual live video. From these minimal facts, we fill in the gaps as best we can.

Some of us are quick to attribute these evils to our favorite secret cabal. Others blame government policies, clashes of cultures, and so on. None of these are necessarily wrong, but neither are they automatically right. To be believed, a theory needs evidence.

And in this particular puzzle, there is a missing piece. It doesn’t explain why the attacks happened (Muslim crazies, false flags, two more intel failures, whatever), but it explains a good deal of what’s happened from the moment of the attacks onward.

This missing piece happens to be something that Jonathan Logan, my associate at Cryptohippie, dubbed “Descartes’s Demon,” an automated manipulation system based on the combination of universal surveillance and big data. I explained the current state of this technology in issue #59 of my subscription newsletter and examined its implications in The Breaking Dawn. But I don’t have space to recap all of that here. So, at the risk of self-promotion, I really do suggest you read those publications.

As I’ve been warning for almost a decade now, this system is taking shape and will have massive effects. But more than that, Descartes’s Demon – this surveillance-and-big data-empowered manipulation system – is an intelligence agency’s grandest dream. With it, they can not only find their adversaries’ secrets, but they can misguide their opponents.

These systems of automated manipulation are true power in an intelligence environment. Therefore, we can be certain that all the big intel agencies want them and will use all their tricks to get them.

Furthermore, the difference between winning and losing in a competition between such systems is probably in the range of a few percent. And that injects a serious level of desperation into these agencies.

Put together, these facts lead to just one place: an arms race. And yes, by that I mean intel agencies scrambling to get the best system and the best data.

That’s why, in the aftermath of the recent attacks, we find the friends of intel agencies pushing for the things that support these systems. In France, we saw instant martial law, which involves a remarshaling of government assets. Again, I don’t have any backroom info, but I’d bet that a whole lot of French assets are moving toward mass surveillance and big data just now.

We see it again in the aftermath of Brussels. Here’s a comment (and there were many others like it) from a British journalist named Max Hastings, just two days after:

Our tolerance of electronic surveillance, subject to legal and parliamentary oversight, seems a small price to pay for some measure of security against threats that nobody  – today of all days – can doubt are real.

As any manipulator of humans knows, you get what you want by striking when the fear is hot, because when people are frightened, their brains skip right past reason. Fear works.

Why It Will Happen Again

The tactic of throwing oceans of money at intelligence agencies is never publicly questioned, no matter how many “freedoms” it shreds. Most people pre-endorsed anything the security state wants years ago, and many would defend that choice to any length, no matter how blind and stupid. The alternative would be to admit they were wrong… and they don’t have that kind of courage.

So, since “give up your rights for a promise of protection” is facing no pressure, things will continue more or less as they are. The mad bombers won’t have to give up their strategies, and the oceans of money pouring into the intel agencies will only get deeper.

Here’s who wins from this:

  • The intel agencies, who will receive yet more funding to build bigger and better manipulation systems.

  • The mad bombers, who can continue to strike fear in their enemies’ hearts.

  • The news corps., who get a huge ratings boost every time a bomb goes off.

  • The politicians, who can pose before cameras as agents of righteousness and salvation.

  • The police, who will get still bigger and nastier toys.

  • Hollywood, who can keep recycling the same old cop shows.

In the end, the intel agencies win, the bombers win, the politicians win, and the corporations win. Aside from a few direct victims (like 0.003% of the Belgian populace), the primary losers are the millions of people being molded into permanently-distracted zombies: living and dying inside of an iMatrix. And they don’t care.

* * * * *

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You may never look at life the same way again.

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* * * * *


Paul Rosenberg

News Channels Are Terror Delivery Systems; Politicians Are Terror Exploitation Specialists


Terrorists need news channels and vice-versa. Politicians need terrorists and vice-versa. There’s a symbiosis between these three that works like this:

Terrorists create and feed off of fear.

News channels deliver fear to the masses.

Politicians use fear to get what they want.

Some people may object to these facts being specified, but they’re true just the same.

Private and Public Opportunism

In this symbiosis, we see the rapacious natures of both the public and private sectors. I’ll begin by picking on the private sector.

I believe deeply in free markets, but if the participants don’t bring morality and decency into their markets, plenty of ugliness will remain. Free markets, after all, are ad hoc mechanisms of interaction, and nothing more. A market contains only the morality that its participants carry into it.

Now, the truth is that mom-and-pop operations tend to be remarkably decent and moral. There are occasional exceptions, but they are exceptions.

Big commerce, however – and by that I mean the “pay politicians for laws and regulations” kind of commerce – tends to run after anything that brings in more money or pumps its stock. Such corporations seldom bring morality into their markets. And if governments try to enforce law in their markets, it’s a good bet that they can be paid off. (Where’s Jon Corzine these days?)

News channels are this second type of operation. Frightening stories are the engine of their profits. They scour the Earth for terrifying images and fearful possibilities. And then they deliver them to huge swaths of humanity, who have an innate weakness for such things. It’s like selling sugar donuts to the obese.

As for the public sector, these are the people who deliver various types of monopoly rights in return for “contributions.” Multi-billion dollar industries are devoted to this, after all.

Politicians are also the people who say, in their forthright moments, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

All of the above being so, we see this at the end of the line:

For news channels, terrorism means profits.

For politicians, terrorism means the steamrolling of dissent.

Terrorism furthers the goals of both these groups, and so they run greedily after it.

Terrorism Is Theater

As for the actual terrorists – evil, deceived beings that they are – they have learned to plan loud, flamboyant events, knowing that they’ll be broadcast all across the world. This is theater to them, you understand.

To make this point, I’ll quote from Lee Harris’s article, “Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology,” published back in 2002:

The terror attack of 9-11 was not designed to make us alter our policy, but was crafted for its effect on the terrorists themselves: It was a spectacular piece of theater. The targets were chosen by al Qaeda… entirely because they stood as symbols of American power universally recognized by the Arab street. They were gigantic props in a grandiose spectacle in which the collective fantasy of radical Islam was brought vividly to life: A mere handful of Muslims, men whose will was absolutely pure, as proven by their martyrdom, brought down the haughty towers erected by the Great Satan. What better proof could there possibly be that God was on the side of radical Islam and that the end of the reign of the Great Satan was at hand?

The bottom line is this:

Hoards of frightened infidels provide a climax to the terrorist’s drama. It’s the big payoff.

On top of that, the more intelligent terrorists know how the Western game is played, and they know what Western politicians will do with it – what they have done with it. Here are the words of Osama Bin Laden, quoted by NewsMax, February 1, 2002:

I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The US government will lead the American people, and the West in general, into an unbearable hell and a choking life.

That’s another big payoff for them.

At the End of the Day…

Both politicians and news channels have eagerly sold fear to achieve their own ends. There’s barely any way to deny that. Those who expected better from either of these groups should revisit their assumptions.

Furthermore, those who have played into the fear game need to extract themselves from it. We humans are wired to over-respond to fear, but we are also intelligent, willful beings, and we can control our own actions.

Just say no to it all. Because at the end of the day, this is also true:

As long as we keep giving our attention to news channels and politicians, terrorists will keep getting exactly what they want.

Paul Rosenberg