All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace

Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - 5:17am

I was going to call this post ‘Hopeful headlines’, but the more I dug into the topic, the less hopeful things seemed. So the title was borrowed from one of my favorite (albeit none-too-upbeat) documentary filmmakers: Adam Curtis. I have yet to watch this particular series, but plan to, as its topic has a lot of resonance in today’s world – both in the literal (perhaps unintended) sense, as well as in the sense of a societal addiction to and dependence on technology and interconnectedness:

All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace is a series about how humans have been colonised by the machines they have built — “Although we don’t realise it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers.” […]

Part one explores the dream that rose up in the 1990s that computers could create a new kind of stable world. They would bring about a new kind global capitalism free of all risk and without the boom and bust of the past. […] Part two shows how our modern scientific idea of nature, the self-regulating ecosystem, is actually a machine fantasy. It has little to do with the real complexity of nature. [… The final] episode looks at why popular culture finds this machine vision so beguiling. The film argues it is because all political dreams of changing the world for the better seem to have failed, meaning the retreat into machine-fantasies that say we have no control over our actions because they excuse our failure.” – Thought Maybe -- also hosting all other Adam Curtis films, as well as a wide selection of other interesting documentaries. Highly recommended for browsing.

EDIT: The title was originally from a Richard Brautigan poem of the same name, you can find the full piece here. It seem Mr. Curtis himself borrowed it to begin with. Thanks, WhyMeLord.

The above is just historical perspective and background – I wanted to highlight a few angles of the ongoing eavesdropping/surveillance/data collection ‘controversy’ – then meander over to the subject of misinformation and subterfuge.

Russia is quite likely getting chuckles (if not guffaws) from being able to be part of ‘inspiring’ mass demonstrations in D.C. for a change, rather than being on the receiving end of what they like to call US-funded internal destabilization operations (the US, of course calls it 'democracy-building'):

We've learned that the U.S. intelligence community secretly built a system of pervasive surveillance. Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA's hands. Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They're wrong.

Now it's time for the government to learn from us. On Saturday, the ACLU, EFF, and the rest of the StopWatching.Us coalition are going to D.C. Join us in sending the message: Stop Watching Us.” – Ed Snowden via the ACLU, calling on folks to attend the rally at Union Station in Washington, DC on Saturday, October 26, at 12:00pm local time.

If you (or people you know) are planning on attending this (or any other) demonstrations, there is an interesting Rolling Stone piece detailing the ever-encroaching reach and scope of surveillance society:

Promotional materials for private spy companies show that mass surveillance technology is being sold to police departments as a way to monitor dissent […]While the specifics of which police departments utilize what surveillance technologies is often unclear, there is evidence to suggest that use of mass surveillance against individuals not under direct investigation is common. "The default is mass surveillance, the same as NSA's 'collect it all' mindset," says King. "There's not a single company that if you installed their product, [it] would comply with what anyone without a security clearance would think is appropriate, lawful use."

Another possible step in the right direction, from (Google-funded) Mozilla (hopefully not a Trojan honeypot):

"Users who activate Lightbeam will be able to see a real-time visualisation of every site they visit and every third-party that is active on those sites, including commercial organisations which might potentially be sharing your data.

Mozilla wants users who install the Lightbeam add-on to Firefox, to crowd-source their data, to produce the first “big picture” view of web tracking, revealing which third-parties are most active.

Lightbeam promises a “Wizard of Oz” moment for the web, “where users collectively provide a way to pull back the curtains to see its inner workings,” Mozilla claimed. " -- The Independent

Unfortunately, many of our fellow denizens of Earth are pursuing other priorities – when presented with a chance to be on a closed express train with Michael Hayden (who happens to be giving 'off the record interviews' in the seat in front of him), this guy goes straight for the jugular: posing for a photo with the ex-spookchief -- to be transmitted immediately to his (presumably fawning) followers on Twitter. At least he shared some vague outline of what he overheard...

Apparently, the international tensions and universal anger over US intel policies are growing, if one is to believe reports:

Brazil and Germany today joined forces to press for the adoption of a U.N. General Resolution that promotes the right of privacy on the internet, marking the first major international effort to restrain the National Security Agency's intrusions into the online communications of foreigners, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the push.” – Foreign Policy

There are some who think otherwise:

I think especially with Germany and France, of course, they are very familiar with U.S. signals intelligence, which is the technical term for eavesdropping…We use a lot of signals intelligence, we share it with our allies. And they spy on us too. France is one of the most aggressive collectors of intelligence. So what you are seeing is a bit of kabuki theater that will probably blow over before too long.” -- Christian Whiton, former senior advisor at the U.S. State Department, talking to CNN

Of course, talking heads trotted out to do damage control spin are dime a dozen – Christian certainly seems to be heavily vested with the status quo (just like another Christian we know…).

It is fascinating to look for the reflections of truth among the lies and the misdirection. Could it be that the ‘outrage’ over spying really IS just theater – but for an altogether different reason? Rather than to ‘appease home audiences’, let alone to truly try to restore rule of law and privacy, the controversy is convenient smokescreen to mask European (as well as LatAm) realignment eastward? The distancing from the US we are seeing around the world must be done as carefully as possible, a cornered, wounded giant can be extremely dangerous. Pretexts and excuses must be found to slowly, gradually gain distance (before breaking into a full evasive sprint). Of course, it is easy to fall prey to paranoid speculation, and always difficult to try to unravel who is spinning which yarn, and why.

Take the following news as another example:

Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief has said the kingdom will make a "major shift" in dealings with the US in protest at perceived American inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.

The source said that Prince Bandar bin Sultan had told European diplomats that Washington had failed to act effectively on the Syria crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed a 2011 anti-government revolt.

In an unprecedented move last week, Saudi Arabia rejected its first offer of a seat on the UN security council and denounced the UN for failing to resolve world conflicts. The move appeared largely directed at the US.

"The shift away from the US is a major one," the source said on Tuesday. "Saudi doesn't want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent. -- Guardian

If one ignores the filler material and focuses just on the highlighted segments, it might lead one to believe that Kingdom of SA is positioning itself to go with the flow of a future without the petrodollar, with a world order and hierarchy different than the one currently enshrined in the UNSC, and is seeking new protectors. In case you haven’t caught it, ZH has a piece on the same topic.

Of course, it seems a bit unusual that 'Bandar Bush' would so hastily bare fangs at the hand that has so long ‘fed’ his family's regime. While Saudi Press Agency releases certainly imply that King Abdullah is no longer ‘resting’ (as per JW), it does seem curious to me that it is the head of Saudi intelligence that would be the one to deliver such momentous news.

The recent visit by the Turkish PM to reaffirm an historic and strategic alliance with the House of Saud followed on the heels of royal visits from another King Abdullah (II), from Jordan and a Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (UAE) . I may be reading too much into this, state visits happen all the time, but if one WERE considering a large-scale realignment in terms of the way oil is traded, these would be the kind of meetings one might have.

Lest anyone think I am shirking my duties, and not being skeptical enough (would any of you believe the man in those pictures above is 89 years old?), here’s an interesting little snippet:

A large audience packing a stadium for a football match in Saudi Arabia stampeded to take a close look at King Abdullah before realizing they made a mistake. As they tried to push their way through, they were told the man who is sitting near the main podium in the stadium in Riyadh was a Syrian expatriate who resembles the 90-year-old King. Yet they kept pushing to have a photograph with the man, in his 50s.Emirates 24/7

Getting back to the matter at hand, remember this story from August?

Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria

“Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria. […]

As-Safir said Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord. “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” he allegedly said.”

Imagine, just for the sake of argument, that all of these issues WERE, in fact discussed. I think it likely that they WERE – just not in the context, and with the outcomes reported.

The part I am having trouble with is that such an incredibly detailed transcript of such an incredibly momentous meeting could be fortuitously leaked to As-Safir, a Lebanese newspaper with a circulation of 50K. The story is then translated by Al Monitor, and is promptly picked up by the Telegraph. Incidentally, Al Monitor’s contact address is -- I kid you not: K St NW, Washington, D.C. As always, the question is -- who benefits from creating/leaking such a story?

The spin presented by RT has a slightly different focus, and claims that Reuters was the source of the story:

"Bandar offered to intensify energy, military and economic cooperation with Moscow," a senior Syrian opposition figure told Reuters.

"Bandar sought to allay two main Russian fears: that Islamist extremists will replace Assad, and that Syria would become a conduit for Gulf, mainly Qatari, gas at the expense of Russia.
" -- Russia Today -- follow-up story on rejection of Saudi offer here

Again, is this extremely visible, very image-damaging conflict for real? Or is it just another part of the dance necessary to maintain appearances? If two of the largest producers of oil were to try to seek a path towards new alliance and alignment that directly violates the existing 'world order' (such as it is), would they simply state they are sitting down to hammer out the details of the deal? Would we see a summit with lofty platitudes, handshakes and photo ops, when what is being discussed is the dismantling of the petrodollar? I really don't think so.

As always, DYODD. Just never, and I do mean NEVER EVER trust any single source or explanation as the SOLE truth of any matter – and try to take an extra step or two to look behind the motivation and background of the outlet. While it seems the world as we know it will survive yet another week, the web of holograms being spun all about us seems to me to be more intricate, desperate and implausible by the day. From Seal Team 6’s fate, to the ‘other’ Chechen connection – the list goes on. The spin/PR/propaganda machines are providing the input, the surveillance/SigInt/dragnet data collection machines are monitoring the output.

The good news is… well, it’s Friday, isn’t it? Focus on things that are truly and directly important, and have a great weekend.

PS: If instead of being sensible and going out to enjoy nature/family/food/libations, you are interested in more on the topic of misinformation and tinfoil hattery - take a look at these:

KGB defector explains (in mid-1980's) how his former employers plan to destabilize Western societies (one in particular) -- eerie echoes with current day (full hour-plus lecture here)

G. Edward Griffin interviews Bezmenov on his career and perspectives (full hour-plus version here)

Lots more rabbit holes here.

About the Author


Oct 25, 2013 - 5:22am


why am I up so early

Oct 25, 2013 - 5:36am


why? it's almost noon and I have to go now and pick the little one up from school. Good morning America!

Oct 25, 2013 - 6:01am


Why am I up so late

Oct 25, 2013 - 6:55am

JY896 - Adam Curtis

His documentaries are excellent. I posted some up here, including "All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace" last year. All his work is relevant to what's being exposed now. He was ahead of his time. (I could only find this version - with subtitles)

I recommend "The Trap", "The Mayfair Set", "25 Million Pounds" and "The Way Of All Flesh" - these are all great documentaries.

(edit: ah, I see that you link to the docs - I missed that)

transplanted baby
Oct 25, 2013 - 6:55am

I saw the chance so

I'll take the fifth.

Oct 25, 2013 - 6:56am


The demise of the petro dollar is accelerating. I explained the ramifications of that loss plus the loss of the reserve currency status in a presentation to our County board two months ago and was met with extreme skepticism. I was offered a seat on the board when the rep from our district passed on. Normally I shy away from government but after thinking about it for a few days I made the decision to take the position. I wanted to see what went on in our County gov. After 2.5 years I must admit I am appalled at the lack of knowledge by this body of decision makers. These people either don't get it or don't want to get it. I've just about given up trying. Thank you for another excellent article.

Mr. Fix
Oct 25, 2013 - 7:46am


Good morning!

Oct 25, 2013 - 8:31am


the square root of sixty nine is eight something...

if we're going to live in a marxist state, i vote for groucho over karl.

Oct 25, 2013 - 8:39am

Perfect JY896

just perfect.

Oct 25, 2013 - 9:02am

Posted this in the newsticker

Posted this in the newsticker on frivolity forum but post the Q and A part here as Evelyn Rothschild asks a aquestion

overview of speech

Carney's new message to finance

full speech

Lionel Barber talks to Mark Carney
Oct 25, 2013 - 9:21am


I'm running out of superlatives and I'm not sure what to say,thanks!

"The year is 2029..."

Oct 25, 2013 - 9:26am


On a Friday even! Hammer you post come through funny! The video links look very small.

Oct 25, 2013 - 9:26am


Those local gooberment meetings can be real boring shit, blank stares, eyes rolling, eyes glazed over, sighs of ok, will get back to ya, yadda yadda, myself included a long long time ago I was one of them, it took a regular daily drip and intrusion of information before I began to wake up to understand many falsehoods, fabrications, and misdirection that tptb play everyday. A couple eye openers for me were Aaron Russo interviews, JFK's secret service bumper guards called off the rear guard seconds before the shots and watching building 7 fall.

Oct 25, 2013 - 9:51am

tyberious, click em - it's

tyberious, click em - it's magic :)

Oct 25, 2013 - 9:54am

The times they are a changing

Yes, if it can be taken as presented, the USA appears to have a crisis in status in the playground. Perhaps the awe of the bully is no more? The USD being FIAT then it rests entirely on confidence. Interesting.

Oct 25, 2013 - 10:04am


I like magic!

Oct 25, 2013 - 10:14am

Goodbye pertodollar

Hello inflation.

I suppose the sooner we get past the dollar demise, the sooner we can begin rebuilding our nation. But such things can be painfully slow. It like when you are working a big construction job, making good money, but seeing the finishing touches beginning and knowing your final days are drawing closer and you will be laid off and the future work prospects look dim. Nobody talks about it, many tradesmen quit in advance if they can find other work. It casts a silent shadow that affects morale.

So I am just waiting, stacking, trying to pretend life is normal, just in case this demise drags out for several more years. I don't want to miss life in the meantime.

We watched a family movie last night with our adult college aged children: Dead Poets Society. Heard some good reminders about passion, about living life to the fullest, about seizing the moment, about what it really means to be human.

Enjoy your weekend, my friends.

Oct 25, 2013 - 10:17am


Confidence is key. Maguire attack lowers confidence. Willie statements - Vatican Gold - and people's interpretations cause loss of confidence. Do we know Willies beliefs? I do not know specifics. Kitco psy ops cause loss of confidence. A few days ago they posted a video claiming gold hits its bottom in Novembers! Then they post an attack on Maguire. So it is a war. "For the hearts and minds" - of course, bullshit baffels brains, same old rubbish to try and take gold down.

Oct 25, 2013 - 10:58am

@Dr Jerome

Re Dead poets society. So, you will recognize my avatar then? Probably my favorite movie of all time.

Oct 25, 2013 - 10:59am


Simply outstanding. Thank you.

Oct 25, 2013 - 11:16am

as good prediction as any I've read

AGXIIK says: October 25, 2013 at 1:47 AM The Chinese are sniffing something and getting as much of their USD holdings out of their pockets, back to the US dealer banks through indirect exchange and buying every bit of gold and silver they can. I surmise, and it’s just a weak guess, that there are factors they see clearly that we refuse to see. I also say with complete candor that I do not like to post this nor do I want to stir up fear or be seen as a fear monger. My concern is real at this time. So many factors are pointing to something that is being presently discussed on the periphery but providing some clues as to what might be happening and the reasons why. Just guesses and dots at this time (mine). 1. This debt ceiling debacle is a start of our inability to fund our internal obligations–or willingness to 1A China’s rating service downgraded us to A minus. All other rating services are muzzled 1B National debt is not being counted for the next few months until January 2014 2 Obamacare is symptomatic of this funding crisis but is a distraction and a real threat, depending on if it is implemented or not. 2A Never doubt the ability or willingnss of POTUS to do something incredibly stupid to distract from his epic failures. 3. SNAP and EBT payments are being curtailed by up to $40 per month in November. That will hurt those least able to buy food 4. More importantly, JPM (soon other banks) stopping outgoing wires, ringfencing domestic (our) funds (see prior articles on that) 5. This will apply to foreign account holders of bonds, stocks and liquidity–they will not be able to transfer funds > USA 6. Fed Res. states that big banks MUST have 30 days of liquidity on hand 6A ATMS are being stuffed with cash 7. Small banks must have 21 days of liquidity on hand ATMs ditto. 8 B of A two years ago offloaded their $70 trillion derivatives book to FDIC and Fed backed accounts. Story buried except here. 9. JPM offloaded their $65 trillion in derivatives to same just recently 10. Derivative accounts insured by FDIC have super priority over regular accounts, just like the derivatives on Detroit debt. 11. Pension funds are $19 trillion of available capital to take if needed 12. Bail-ins would be required to pay derivatives first. 13. BIS and IMF are behind all of these actions. 14. TBTF banks like JPM, B of A, WFB and the like are desperately trying to hold cash for liquidity purposes on Fed orders 15. When the rats know the ship is sinking they get on the life boats first. Dimon knows. JPM hit with $20 billion in fines All the other drama about web site problems, immigration, Syria and the World Series are side shows. The new $100 bills, I call NewScrip (NS) replacess older $100 bills I call OldScrip (OS). It will be possible to devalue OS if needed, thus destroying the value of OS left in the peoples hands, foreign and domestic. Something big is looming. The Fed is scared, FDIC is scared, my banker is scared, the Treasury is scared. Their fear is showing through major capital fines and extractions from the big banks while forcing the shoring up liquidity which is, in my opinion, our deposits—or the deposits of businesses, non profits, pension funds and foreign investments Cyprus was a 30 billion Euro theft with only the Russian Oligarchs being forewarned. Maybe some in the US are being tipped off. Maybe they are buying PMs big time (that is true) Relative to the deposit and asset base of the American public, businesses and others, this could be a $30 trillion bail-in, 1,000 times the size of Cyprus. China is just trying to exit as much of their $2 trillion in direct and indirect US holdings, buying anything of value before the USD and our banks have a major reset When will this happen? Maybe 3-6 months with something tangible acting as a flash point noted above or just a herd reflex that causes panic and a huge stampede. Who will be burt? Everyone in stocks, bonds, bank accounts and unprepared for what might happen if the financial system shuts down for 2-3 weeks. Ok now, feel free to shred these ideas and this post. I’ve been wrong dozens of times on this site. Just read my ‘best of’ I would like see if my dots and contentions are wrong. I hope they are because I have the willies right now over this. My banker was frightened when he talked to me today. And he would not talk to me inside the bank. Very telling.

Urban Roman
Oct 25, 2013 - 11:30am

Used Cisco routing equipment

Used Cisco routing equipment -- Coming soon to craigslist in Germany, Brazil, France, and a number of other places. Price will be a very small fraction of new!

Oct 25, 2013 - 11:39am

Dr. Jerome

I won't go as far as Bugzy and say Dead Poets Society was my favorite of all time, but it was my favorite movie in High School. Good Will Hunting is my favorite movie of all time. My Red Sox let one get away last night. JY, outstanding! The King Abdullah story reminded me of this for some reason from our friends at the onion

Oct 25, 2013 - 12:09pm

Dead Poets

Bugzy! I see it now! I had not noticed your avatar before because it has been so many years since watching that movie. That is the beauty of being older and a somewhat absent minded professor. My wife and I can watch the old movies again and not even remember details or how they end. Great film--especially if you have teenagers.

I was particularly struck by the parents reaction at the suicide scene. My son has been cynical and depressed. I immediately put myself in their place and felt the anguish. I sensed how empty our remaining years would become if my wife and I lost our only son.

It made me ask why I do what I do.

The weightiest reason that we are stacking and prepping is not just self protection, but it is for our children's future, for our extended family, nieces & nephews and in-laws who are largely clueless. Somebody in this family will have to step up and lead the rest into the future. I suppose I trust that they will wake up quickly when that day comes and be ready to join a tight community and work hard. At least the wife's sister is prepping and her brother is a stacker.

We have a bug-out location for my immediate family. But what we need is acreage where ground water is available, a place where we can build a new life with the extended family and friends in a new economy, hopefully with a fair and just government.

AG1969, I agree about Good Will Hunting. It may be next on our list. Perhaps it will inspire my daughter to use her gifted mathematical mind.

Oct 25, 2013 - 12:11pm


Yes, "dare to tread new ground" - my thoughts turn to Chile and Ecuador.

Sorry to hear about your son's depression. It can feel frustrating; we get used to "fixing" most everybody's problems, yet depression is a perplexing one.

Carpe diem

Oct 25, 2013 - 12:19pm

Dr J and Bugzy

I am a firm believer that depression is largely diet related, and it has been proven to me by someone very close to me. Here is a post from last night. I don't want to get going on food again Doc, but if you read this and want to hear my ever so subtle opinion (I'll understand if not) feel free to PM me.

Oct 25, 2013 - 1:34pm

Does Bernie Know Too Much? Is He Safe?

Madoff has insisted all along that J.P. Morgan knew about Ponzi scheme

October 25, 2013, 1:20 PM

“It was very obvious to the banks what was going on.”

Bernie Madoff has been insisting for five years that the banks knew and were complicit in his massive Ponzi scheme, that defrauded customers out of billions of dollars and left people devastated.

“With me, they turned a blind eye,” said Madoff in an in-person interview in early May, at a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.

Madoff spent much of the two hours emphatically insisting the banks on Wall Street were complicit in his Ponzi scheme, but left him alone because he was a major client for them.

“This is not a matter of taking my word for it, they (the authorities) don’t have to take my word for it,” he said.

He specifically pointed fingers at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM +0.30% as a major culprit.

J.P. Morgan is under all kinds of regulatory scrutiny and pressure to abide by the letter of the law after the London Whale scandal and is now in a new spotlight with regulators over Madoff, reported the New York Times on Thursday.

Federal authorities are considering action in a criminal investigation against the firm on charges that it turned a blind eye to Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The report says the bank may face a fine and other concessions in return for a suspended criminal charge.

In the May interview, Madoff insisted that J.P. Morgan got information from the Securities and Exchange Commission that would have showed financial reports didn’t match customer statements. Madoff’s firm, a private brokerage company that does business with the public, would have had to provide balance sheet information to regulators. J.P. Morgan could not be reached for a comment.

From my first interview to the media I have said that ‘the banks must have known,’ and were complicit and contributing to my crime,” said Madoff.

– Sital S. Patel

Oct 25, 2013 - 1:37pm
Gold Dog
Oct 25, 2013 - 1:42pm

Thanks JY!

Agree that anything other than the application of moral suasion wouldn't be done on the front page. Just got back from a walk with my wife, while cutting through the woods in my side yard the dog popped a couple of grouse....autumn has arrived in many ways! One week until silver........Doc? Your friend, Dog

Oct 25, 2013 - 1:50pm

Geopolitical realignments

Excellent piece JY. The changing geopolitical landscape in response to Snowden's revelations might have been underway in any case but Germany, for example, is not failing to take advantage of a US crisis. The Snowden affair is an outlier and could never have been anticipated. BTW I installed lightbeam this morning and since then I have visited 5 sites and have connected with 26 third party sites. This while I have ghostery installed to defeat analytics and advertising. While I'm on the subject is the worst offender. They won't display pages if ghostery is active and my all time high for widgets etc. on one of their pages is over 60. Mass surveillance needs to be discontinued before we reach "a boot stamping on a human face - forever". The way forward seems to be education using the net, VPN, PGP etc. Make it an incredibly wasteful government "service".


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