Failure Is Success: How American Intelligence Works in the Twenty-First Century

514zcaXr01LTom Engelhardt’s new book “Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World” is now out!

via Tom Dispatch:

What are the odds? You put about $68 billion annually into a maze of 17 major intelligence outfits. You build them glorious headquarters.  You create a global surveillance state for the ages. You listen in on your citizenry and gather their communications in staggering quantities.  Your employees even morph into avatars and enter video-game landscapes, lest any Americans betray a penchant for evil deeds while in entertainment mode. You collect information on visits to porn sites just in case, one day, blackmail might be useful. You pass around naked photos of them just for… well, the salacious hell of it.  Your employees even use aspects of the system you’ve created to stalk former lovers and, within your arcane world, that act of “spycraft” gains its own name: LOVEINT.

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Espionage Threatened the Manhattan Project, Declassified Report Says

Manhattan Project Site -- '109 East Palace Avenue Santa Fe (NM)' 2013 by Ron Cogswell via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Manhattan Project Site — ’109 East Palace Avenue Santa Fe (NM)’ 2013 by Ron Cogswell via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

via NYTimes:

In December 1945, four months after atomic bombs brought an end to World War II, the United States Army published a secret report on security surrounding the Manhattan Project, the vast government effort that developed them.

Finally declassified last month by the Department of Energy, the report concludes that the project was “more drastically guarded than any other highly secret war development.”

But it also makes clear that the effort was dogged by leaks and espionage, and it reveals a huge blind spot on the government’s part: a lack of awareness that a wartime ally, the Soviet Union, was bent on stealing Manhattan Project secrets and developing its own nuclear bombs.

From 1943 through 1945, investigators cataloged 1,500 leaks, 200 acts of sabotage and 100 confirmed cases of espionage, but maintained that their diligence “prevented the passing of any substantial amount of project information.”

Some of the episodes were serious.

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When Nitrous Tears a Rift Into the Sex Dimension

youbelongtothecity4Due to illness, your psychoactive sermon on Occult alien contact will air next week. In the interim, I thought I’d run this fun anecdote about unintentionally tearing a hole through the subjective time space continuum by means of nitrous inhalation. Why am I posting this?

Well for one, my new book is basically my magickal origin story/journal and this happened long before I ever started trying to do this sort of thing on purpose. Two, a couple of people have asked me about the use of nitrous in magickal work in the past and it’s not something I’ve put a ton of effort into (have maybe done it 4 times in the past decade), but I certainly have some odd stories from my hard partying past. The fact that buying nitrous is legal by some odd technicality in the drug war goes well beyond being slightly nutter. Any 18 year old kid can get this shit, we used to at the mall.… Read the rest

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5am Film Series: The Missing Scarf

The Missing Scarf from Eoin Duffy on Vimeo.

 

The Missing Scarf was recommended to me via Disinfo tips.

“One of the year’s most successful short films is now available online. The animated dark-comedy, masquerading as a classic kid-friendly morality-tale, has racked up 16 international awards, including honours from the San Francisco Film Festival, Savannah Film Festival, Valladolid Film Festival and others, as well as a nomination for the upcoming European Film Awards. The project’s biggest triumph of the year has been landing a place on the Academy Awards shortlist. The film was then selected to participate in the Oscar theatrical release, screening in more than 300 theatres throughout N.America. The film was directed by Eoin Duffy and produced by Jamie Hogan in conjunction with Belly Creative Ltd., The Irish Film Board, RTE and The Arts Council, along with narration by pop culture icon George Takei.”

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Politics of Social Media: Where You’re Likely to Find Conservatives and Liberals

via Mediaite:

Politically inactive conservatives generally populate Pinterest, while politically inactive liberals tend to use Instagram. Them’s the facts, according to new data revealed by audience measurement service Quantcast this month.

As the helpful chart below demonstrates, Facebook is the most politically balanced platform (likely because it has so many users), while the majority of social media “skew Democrat and [politically] inactive”:

Comparing-Social-Platforms1

A few other noticeable details:

1) Pinterest is the most conservative social media outlet, thus confirming existing stereotypes about the site being used by older, wealthy women from the midwest states.

2) Disqus is the most politically active social media outlet. Anyone surprised? It also skews conservative, which explains a lot. (But that’s also somewhat surprising, as we’ve noticed at Mediaite that articles about conservatives doing silly things tend to have lots of liberal comments, and vice versa.)

3) Twitter apparently leans the furthest left among all social media.

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Circle of Abstract Ritual

Circle of Abstract Ritual from Jeff Frost on Vimeo.

“This film took 300,000 photos, riots, wildfires, paintings in abandoned houses, two years and zero graphics to make. It changed my entire life.” – Jeff Frost

Circle of Abstract Ritual

Circle of Abstract Ritual began as an exploration of the idea that creation and destruction might be the same thing. The destruction end of that thought began in earnest when riots broke out in my neighborhood in Anaheim, California, 2012. I immediately climbed onto my landlord’s roof without asking and began recording the unfolding events. The news agencies I contacted had no idea what to do with time lapse footage of riots, which was okay with me because I had been thinking about recontextualizing news as art for some time. After that I got the bug. I chased down wildfires, walked down storm drains on the L.A. River and found abandoned houses where I could set up elaborate optical illusion paintings.

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First US Ebola Case Diagnosed in Dallas

Inevitably, Ebola has jumped across the Atlantic Ocean and a patient in Dallas, Texas has been diagnosed with the virus, reports CBS DFW:

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control have confirmed that a person in Dallas definitely has the Ebola virus. Tuesday’s official determination makes the Dallas patient the first diagnosed Ebola case in the United States.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are holding a press conference at 4:30 p.m.

It was late on the evening of September 29 that CBS 11 News learned a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas was feared to have been exposed to the Ebola virus.

Health officials said given the information that the unnamed patient had been in the West Africa area where the Ebola virus exists and the type of symptoms they were exhibiting, testing was being performed.

After the information was related to the CDC the health institute sent a team to North Texas just in case the patient was infected with Ebola.

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