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Atheism – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Feb 072016
 

Atheism is rejecting belief that there is a god.[1][2] It is the opposite of theism, which is the belief that at least one god exists. A person who rejects belief in gods is called an atheist.

Atheism is not the same as agnosticism. Agnostics say that there is no way to know whether gods exist or not.[3] Being an agnostic does not have to mean a person rejects or believes in god. Some agnostics are theists, believing in god. The theologian Kierkegaard is an example. Other agnostics are atheists.

Atheists often give reasons why they do not believe in a god or gods. Three of the reasons that they often give are the problem of evil, the argument from inconsistent revelations, and the argument from nonbelief. Not all atheists think these reasons provide complete proof that gods cannot exist, but they are reasons given to support rejecting belief that gods exist. Some atheists think there is no evidence for any god or gods and goddesses so believing any type of theism means believing unproved assumptions. These atheists think a simpler explanation for everything is methodological naturalism which means that only natural things exist. Occam’s razor shows simple explanations without many unproved guesses are more likely to be true.[4]

The word atheism comes from the Greek language. It can be divided into a- (), a Greek prefix meaning “without”, and theos (), meaning “god”, and recombined to form “without gods”[6] or “godless”. In Ancient Greece it also meant “impious”.

Starting in about the 5th century BC, the word came to describe people who were “severing relations with the gods” or “denying the gods”. Before then, the meaning had been closer to “impious”. There is also the abstract noun, (atheots), “atheism”.

Cicero transliterated the Greek word into the Latin atheos. This word was often used in the debate between early Christians and Hellenists. Each side used it to label the other, in a bad way.[7]

Karen Armstrong writes that “During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the word ‘atheist’ was still reserved exclusively for polemic … The term ‘atheist’ was an insult. Nobody would have dreamed of calling himself an atheist.”[8]Atheism was first used to describe an openly positive belief in late 18th-century Europe, meaning disbelief in the monotheistic Abrahamic god.[9] The 20th century saw the term expand to refer to disbelief in all deities. However, it is still common in Western society to describe atheism as simply “disbelief in God”.[10]

In many places, it is (or was) a crime to be make public the idea of atheism. Examples would be to claim the Bible or Qur’an could not be true, or to speak or write that there is no god.[11]

Muslim apostasy, that is becoming an atheist or believing in a god other than Allah, may be a dangerous act in places with many conservative Muslim people. Many religious courts have punished and some still punish this act with the death penalty. Many countries still have laws against atheism.[12][13][14]

Atheism is becoming more common,[15] mainly in South America, North America, Oceania and Europe (by percentage of people that had a religion before and started to be atheist).

In many countries, mainly in the Western world, there are laws that protect atheists’ right to express their atheistic belief (freedom of speech). This means that atheists have the same rights under the law as everyone else. Freedom of religion in international law and treaties includes the freedom to not have a religion.

Today, about 2.3% of the world’s population describes itself as atheist. About 11.9% is described as nontheist.[16] Between 64% and 65% of Japanese describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, or non-believers,[17][18] and up to 48% in Russia.[17] The percentage of such people in European Union member states ranges between 6% (Italy) and 85% (Sweden).[17]

People disagree about what atheism means. They disagree on when to call certain people atheists or not.

Atheism has sometimes been described as someone not believing in God. This is very general. It includes people who have never heard about God, but would believe in God if they did learn about God.

George H. Smith created the expressions “implicit atheism” and “explicit atheism” to describe the difference between different types of Atheism. Implicit Atheism is when you do not believe in God because you do not know about God. Explicit Atheism is when you do not believe in God after learning about God.

In 1772, Baron d’Holbach said that “All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God”.[19]

In 1979 George H. Smith said that: “The man who is unacquainted with theism is an atheist because he does not believe in a god. This category would also include the child [who is able to] grasp the issues involved, but who is still unaware of those issues. The fact that this child does not believe in god qualifies him as an atheist”.[20]

These two quotes describe Implicit Atheism.

Ernest Nagel disagrees with Smith’s definition of atheism as an “absence of theism”, saying only explicit atheism is true atheism.[21] This means that Nagel believes that to be an Atheist, a person needs to know about God and then reject the idea of God.

Philosophers like Antony Flew,[22] Michael Martin,[10] and William L. Rowe[23] have looked at strong (sometimes called positive) atheism against weak (sometimes called negative) atheism. According to this idea, anyone who does not believe in a god or gods is either a weak or a strong atheist.[24]

Strong Atheism is the certain belief that no god exists. An older way of saying Strong Atheism is to say “Positive Atheism” Weak atheism is all other forms of not believing in a god or gods. An older way of saying Weak Atheism is to say “Negative Atheism” These terms have been used more in philosophical writing[22] and in Catholic beliefs.[25] since at least 1813.[26][27] Under this definition of atheism, most Agnostics are Weak Atheists.

Michael Martin says that agnosticism includes weak atheism.[10] Some agnostics, including Anthony Kenny, disagree. They think being an agnostic is different from being an atheist. They think atheism is no different from believing in a god, because both require belief. This overlooks the reality that agnostics also have their own belief or “claim to knowledge” [28]

Agnostics say that it cannot be known if a god or gods exist. In their view, strong atheism requires a leap of faith. The mathematician W. K. Clifford wrote an essay called The Ethics of Belief.[29] In this essay, Clifford shows some examples how people can believe in things which go against what they see or feel. One of these examples is a story of a ship captain who transports immigrants. The immigrants have to pay to be able to go on the ship. The ship is old and needs to be fixed badly. The captain thought about fixing the ship, but then decided not to. The captain told himself that the ship has safely made many trips and survived many storms before. The captain thought the ship would be okay without being fixed, so he had no need to be scared. Unfortunately the ship sinks, and all die. The shipowner is greedy and takes the money the insurance pays for the ship. According to Clifford, the captain did something that is wrong. When he made himself believe there were no problems with the ship, he did this because he is greedy. Even if the ship had made its trip safely, the captain would have done something that is wrong. According to Clifford, it is always wrong to believe something without enough reasons.[3]

Atheists usually respond by saying that there is no difference between an idea about religion with no proof, and an idea about other things[30] The lack of proof that god does not exist does not mean that there is no god, but it also does not mean that there is a god.[31] Scottish philosopher J. J. C. Smart says that “sometimes a person who is really an atheist may describe herself, even passionately, as an agnostic because of unreasonable generalised philosophical skepticism which would preclude us from saying that we know anything whatever, except perhaps the truths of mathematics and formal logic.”[32] So, some popular atheist authors such as Richard Dawkins like to show the difference between theist, agnostic and atheist positions by the probability assigned to the statement “God exists”.[33]

In everyday life, many people define natural phenomena without the need of a god or gods. They do not deny the existence of one or more gods, they simply say that this existence is not necessary. Gods do not provide a purpose to life, nor influence it, according to this view.[34] Many scientists practice what they call methodological naturalism. They silently adopt philosophical naturalism and use the scientific method. Their belief in a god does not affect their results.[35]

Practical atheism can take different forms:

Theoretic atheism tries to find arguments against the existence of god, and to disprove the arguments of Theism, such as the argument from design or Pascal’s Wager. These theoretical reasons have many forms, most of them are ontological or epistemological. Some rely on psychology or sociology.

According to Immanuel Kant, there can be no proof of a supreme being that is made using reason. In his work, “Critique of pure reason”, he tries to show that all attempts of either proving the existence of God, or disproving it, end in a logical contradictions. Kant says that it is impossible to know whether there are any higher beings. This makes him an agnostic.

Ludwig Feuerbach published The Essence of Christianity in 1841.[37] In his work he postulates the following:

The following phrases sum up Feuerbach’s writing:

Read more:

Atheism – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The International Offshore Banking Guide – 2015 edition

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Jan 262016
 

Protect Yourself From The Ongoing Banking Crisis

Dont just Survive it … Thrive from it!

Karl Marx once infamously said, that … Religion is the Opium of the People

Today it seems that those who believe the current Banking & Financial system has gone back to normal, are just equally as hooked on a drug.

It is a drug thats now vital to the survival of the system, and hence perhaps even more addictive and persistent than religion itself.

That drug is commonly referred to as … Hope-ium.

The term Hope-ium was first coined in the 1870s, and is probably best defined as:

“The irrational belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, things will turn out for the best”

Its also known in simpler terms as being delusional … and surely fits the put all your eggs in one basket approach that so many people employ with regard to how they bank and arrange their financial affairs.

In the wake of the recent rise in stock markets, a near universal state of psychological denial seems to permeate at least part of the psyche of those who invest in, and benefit most from, the current deeply flawed Banking & Financial system.

The denial is the refusal to see that the recovery from the Great Recession that began in 2008, has been anything other than an artificially contrived one.

Because of such denial then, the recent Hope-ium-fuelled Recovery has become infinitely more fabricated & fragile than most in the past, and hence infinitely more dangerous and misleading.

The wholly contrived economic Recovery has spurred on many savvy investors to diversify and protect themselves.

One of the tools that they have been using comes in the form of a Banking Guide that was first published back in 2007, before the 2008 Crash.

Value $197 Today Only $97

As you will soon see, this Guide is an invaluable route-map that has proven itself to be a cant do without for many of the most switched-on investors in the world.

The chart below amply demonstrates why the Guide is so crucial.

The chart graphically demonstrates the accelerating fragility and volatility, of the recent major crashes in the global economy.

Of course very few outside the core coterie of Central Bankers can predict with any degree of certainty exactly when the next bust will come, but, savvy observers and Central Banking watchers, recognize 2008 for what it was; a true watershed moment in financial history.

What marks the 2008-2015 recovery cycle out as being beyond interesting, is the forces that didnt so much allow it to happen naturally, but that created it extremely unnaturally!

And it is precisely because of the forced and unnatural conditions of the 2008-2015 Recovery, that discerning investors, entrepreneurs, and Central Banking watchers alike, became increasingly suspicious and were driven to action.

The seemingly blind believers in the system, on the other hand, appear completely oblivious to the dangers, despite knowing that their system only survived by the skin of its teeth, due to the injection of massive doses of yet another drug, the life support drug otherwise known as … Quantitative Easing.

That QE drug then, along with their own addiction to the drug of Hope-ium, are what has both inflated and sustained the 2009-2015 (and counting) Recovery Bull Run.

What well-informed group investors realise is that the can of the economic problem, was really only kicked down the road, ready to explode sometime later.

Of course, any success in the markets, however fabricated and short-sighted it may be, always has investors coming back for just one more fix as if nothing extraordinary had happened!

But we all know deep down inside that something extraordinary DID happen back in 2008, that despite mere appearances, the real economy, outside the Ivory Towers of Wall Street, is far from being out of the woods, almost 7 years later.

Despite the all clear being sounded by multiple talking heads on TV, the alarm bells are ringing louder than ever, with an increasing number of veteran investors, like Stanley Druckenmiller, George Soros, Ray Dalio, Jeremy Grantham, and Bill Gross, all warning that the Supercycle Bull Run is in dire jeopardy.

Discerning investors then instinctively know that a fundamental change occurred back in 2008 and ever since, they have been putting their insurance – and their escape plans – firmly in place.

The purpose of what follows then, is to introduce to you the most practical Banking Report that you will find, anywhere. It is a Report that will arm you with all you need to know in order to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your assets from potential harm.

Make no mistake, what happened from 2008 onwards represents possibly the biggest financial paradigm changing event that any of us will ever experience; one that savvy investors ever since then, have been quietly shifting their assets in order to take advantage of, as well as remain protected from.

The nature of the financial paradigm shift that is going on in front of our very eyes then, is perhaps best illustrated by looking at the following flat lining graph.

The graph represents a 7-year phenomenon that is without either parallel or precedent in all of modern financial history.

It is a shift that has truly broken the mould of 20th century economics, one that means we are currently in uncharted and inherently dangerous waters.

What it has meant too, is that the smart money has been preparing accordingly ever since.

We would urge everyone then, to join them, by getting yourself a copy of …

The Practical International Banking Guide

Value $197 Today Only $97

The Guide, now in its 8th Edition, has proven its worth many times over the years and has a core of avid readers who wait for every updated edition, and who truly understand its value.

As the name suggests, the 90+ page Guide is first of all practical, providing an extensive detailed resource list and database of direct contacts to banks and facilitators, who can help you to arrange your financial affairs in such a way as to shield yourself from the worst affects of the next, inevitable, Bust in the economic cycle.

The longer that the flat lining interest Rate trend is forced to continue, the more it becomes obvious that Central Banks are hamstrung and that what has always worked in the past, is simply no longer effective.

Whats worse, is not simply that Interest Rate Cuts may no longer be effective, but that they may no longer even be possible without tipping the entire economy into full blown depression and chaos. Such is the Catch 22 situation that Central Bankers, and by extension, every one of us, undeniably face.

The very Old Rules then, that traditional free market economics have always claimed to operate under, have been fundamentally challenged and changed.

We are now in a full blown financial world of contrived Artificial Reality, one dominated by High Speed Trading algorithms that literally fix and rig the markets, and of course, one of unlimited injections of fabricated money, supplied by increasingly desperate Central Banks.

Even The Don of Central Banking himself, Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, fully reversed what by then was over 40 years of his own understanding of the markets, when, in October 2008, right after the Crash, he made the following astonishing, and all too late, admission :

I had been going for 40 years or more, with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well …

And what Im saying to you is, yes, I found a flaw … … a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure, that defines how the world works, so to speak.”

Now that is well worth reading again…..

What hes talking about here remember, is literally … How The World Works!

Over 40 years of accumulated market wisdom about how the very world itself works, and suddenly Greenspan admits to a flaw in his assumptions; a flaw so critical that he is forced to make an admission like that?

Rest assured then, Greenspans admission ranks as the most astonishing climb downs by any economist, in history, especially coming from one in a position of such unbridled power: power that by his own admission, means that the Federal Reserve Chairman is in a position that is beyond oversight even by the elected President of The United States himself!

About a year before the 2008 Crash, the looming sub-Prime crisis was well understood, although it had not yet exploded into a full blown crisis that it was to become.

In the September of 2007, a full year before that 2008 Crash, a still bullish and not yet chastened & contrite Alan Greenspan, was asked the following question by PBS anchor, Jim Lehrer :

What should be the proper relationship be, between a Chairman of the Fed and a President of the United States?

His reply, was illuminating to say the least. He said the following….

Well first of all, the Federal Reserve is an independent agency, and that means basically, that there is no other agency of government which can overrule actions that we take. So long as that is in place … then what the relationships are, don’t frankly matter.

So make no mistake, the Central Banking power of a Chairman of the Federal Reserve knows no bounds, is not even challenged by purportedly most powerful man in the world, The U.S. President. Such is the unheralded power that Central Banking possesses at its finger tips.

Clearly, Alan Greenspan knew even back then, that the interest Rate chart above would develop as it did, and he knew too, that the worn out tool and blunt instrument of mere Interest Rate Cuts, was never ever going to be enough to combat the consequences of his flaw.

And sure enough, even flat lining, near 0% Interest Rates proved to be as good as useless, in reviving the patient.

As Greenspan and other Central Bankers have since readily admitted … … Economics had changed forever.

If such slashed to the bone interest rates (which constituted virtually free money for banks) were still not enough, then what else could be done?

Remember, that on top of those virtually 0% rates, Central Bankers had already secured a TARP bail out that they had originally promised would be limited to an already eye-watering sum of $700 BILLION dollars in relief funding!

But of course, as we now know, that sum rapidly morphed and mutated into an out of control and unimaginable sum of over $25 TRILLION DOLLARS, all being made available to Banks to mop up their toxic bets and gambling debts and not just banks from the U.S.A. either, but from all around the world too.

Such already unprecedented interventions and over-rides of the so-called free market then, made the lack of movement in the real economy (rather than the manufactured micro-bubble of Wall Street) even more inexplicable.

Remember too, that those TRILLIONS of dollars of Bail Out money werent just sitting idly in some Rainy Day Fund in the basement of the Fed!

That money was essentially extorted from (and charged down to) the future earnings capacity of millions of as yet unborn tax payers in the future!

Central Bankers then, were clearly panicked by the total lack of response from this DOUBLE injection of life support drugs … and in desperation, they knew that they had no choice … they simply had to resort to the unthinkable.

And so it was, that the decision was made to once again, fire up the printing presses, and start printing literally tens of billions of dollars … every month!

All in order to keep the charade going for a little longer.

They even coined a new phrase to deflect attention away from such naked printing of money; they dubbed the furious printing that they were suddenly engaging in, Quantitative Easing.

It sounded almost benign, but make no mistake, what they were doing amounted to :

1. Blatant counterfeiting and currency debasement

2. An embarrassing admission of the failure of the old order of Economics

This THIRD overt and sustained injection of artificial QE life support into the Banking system did the trick and the stock exchanges at last had the funding necessary to recover and shoot for the stars.

But it was still a trick nonetheless … and a trick it surely remains.

Dont be fooled by the temporary lull in the U.S. Version of QE either.

QE continues, only in a different guise and through a different source.

Japan and the EU are currently filling the void, with the Mario Draghi of The European Central Bank, as recently as January 2015, announcing that they will pump 1.1 TRILLION EUROS … at a rate of 60bn a month (?!) … into European financial markets, until September 2016!

And whod bet against QE2, QE3, and on and on? Not many!

All of this of course, is an attempt to prevent the fragile Eurozone economy from grinding to a complete halt!

With youth unemployment still languishing at rates in excess of 50% in some Southern European countries, such financial artificial life support drugs are surely needed.

Historic 10-Year Treasury Bond Yields, 1870 – 2010. Notice Black Tuesday 1929, and Black Monday, 1987

The fact that such unprecedented measures have been needed, in order to reanimate the corpse of the global village economy, ought to have awakened everyone by now, to the illusory nature of the so-called safety of Western Banking and financial markets.

According to the Old Rules of free market economics, such unprecedented flat-lining Interest Rates alone ought to have been more than enough to jump start the economy.

But it wasnt enough. Far from it.

But the measures did serve one extremely useful purpose.

They provided savvy Central Bank watchers with all the data they needed to finally know that something was very wrong and uniquely different about the Bust of 2008.

What logically follows then is that the subsequent Post-Crash Boom in the Stock Markets must also be regarded as being equally suspect, fragile and fabricated.

So, while many savvy investors and readers of The Practical International Banking Guide have been happy enough to ride the wave up they are also well informed enough, and switched on enough to never have been fooled by the Smoke & Mirrors and Sleight of Hand that the Money Magicians of Central Banking have doled out.

Readers of the Banking Guide long ago saw the writing on the wall and have been quietly preparing themselves accordingly, ever since.

So we would again urge you to follow their example!

Prepare for and protect yourself against, what increasingly shows all the signs of being a massive shift away from the forced and contrived dominance, enjoyed by Western banking for centuries now.

So, while many savvy investors and readers of The Practical International Banking Guide have been happy enough to ride the wave up they are also well informed enough, and switched on enough to never have been fooled by the Smoke & Mirrors and Sleight of Hand that the Money Magicians of Central Banking have doled out.

It is a case of WHEN, not IF, such a turnaround comes

Dont get caught out

It is a trade that we simply cannot afford to be late getting into

The one common denominator realization that binds this small group of well informed people together then, is that they realise that the incoming financial hurricane is bound to make land fall with the most devastating impact, in the heart of the current Western financial capitals.

That is why, for years now, they have been quietly diversifying and moving their assets out of these seemingly invincible, but ultimately extremely vulnerable, jurisdictions.

They have instead, been moving them into safer, calmer waters of international jurisdictions where privacy and the rule of law still mean something, and where they are still relatively respected.

That is why we are proud to encourage you to access the latest, fully updated, 2015 Edition of

The Practical International Banking Guide – 2015 edition

The rest is here:
The International Offshore Banking Guide – 2015 edition

 Posted by at 11:42 pm  Tagged with:

Nihilism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Jan 202016
 

Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history. In the 20th century, nihilistic themes–epistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessness–have preoccupied artists, social critics, and philosophers. Mid-century, for example, the existentialists helped popularize tenets of nihilism in their attempts to blunt its destructive potential. By the end of the century, existential despair as a response to nihilism gave way to an attitude of indifference, often associated with antifoundationalism.

“Nihilism” comes from the Latin nihil, or nothing, which means not anything, that which does not exist. It appears in the verb “annihilate,” meaning to bring to nothing, to destroy completely. Early in the nineteenth century, Friedrich Jacobi used the word to negatively characterize transcendental idealism. It only became popularized, however, after its appearance in Ivan Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons (1862) where he used “nihilism” to describe the crude scientism espoused by his character Bazarov who preaches a creed of total negation.

In Russia, nihilism became identified with a loosely organized revolutionary movement (C.1860-1917) that rejected the authority of the state, church, and family. In his early writing, anarchist leader Mikhael Bakunin (1814-1876) composed the notorious entreaty still identified with nihilism: “Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life–the passion for destruction is also a creative passion!” (Reaction in Germany, 1842). The movement advocated a social arrangement based on rationalism and materialism as the sole source of knowledge and individual freedom as the highest goal. By rejecting man’s spiritual essence in favor of a solely materialistic one, nihilists denounced God and religious authority as antithetical to freedom. The movement eventually deteriorated into an ethos of subversion, destruction, and anarchy, and by the late 1870s, a nihilist was anyone associated with clandestine political groups advocating terrorism and assassination.

The earliest philosophical positions associated with what could be characterized as a nihilistic outlook are those of the Skeptics. Because they denied the possibility of certainty, Skeptics could denounce traditional truths as unjustifiable opinions. When Demosthenes (c.371-322 BC), for example, observes that “What he wished to believe, that is what each man believes” (Olynthiac), he posits the relational nature of knowledge. Extreme skepticism, then, is linked to epistemological nihilism which denies the possibility of knowledge and truth; this form of nihilism is currently identified with postmodern antifoundationalism. Nihilism, in fact, can be understood in several different ways. Political Nihilism, as noted, is associated with the belief that the destruction of all existing political, social, and religious order is a prerequisite for any future improvement. Ethical nihilism or moral nihilism rejects the possibility of absolute moral or ethical values. Instead, good and evil are nebulous, and values addressing such are the product of nothing more than social and emotive pressures. Existential nihilism is the notion that life has no intrinsic meaning or value, and it is, no doubt, the most commonly used and understood sense of the word today.

Max Stirner’s (1806-1856) attacks on systematic philosophy, his denial of absolutes, and his rejection of abstract concepts of any kind often places him among the first philosophical nihilists. For Stirner, achieving individual freedom is the only law; and the state, which necessarily imperils freedom, must be destroyed. Even beyond the oppression of the state, though, are the constraints imposed by others because their very existence is an obstacle compromising individual freedom. Thus Stirner argues that existence is an endless “war of each against all” (The Ego and its Own, trans. 1907).

Among philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche is most often associated with nihilism. For Nietzsche, there is no objective order or structure in the world except what we give it. Penetrating the faades buttressing convictions, the nihilist discovers that all values are baseless and that reason is impotent. “Every belief, every considering something-true,” Nietzsche writes, “is necessarily false because there is simply no true world” (Will to Power [notes from 1883-1888]). For him, nihilism requires a radical repudiation of all imposed values and meaning: “Nihilism is . . . not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts one’s shoulder to the plough; one destroys” (Will to Power).

The caustic strength of nihilism is absolute, Nietzsche argues, and under its withering scrutiny “the highest values devalue themselves. The aim is lacking, and ‘Why’ finds no answer” (Will to Power). Inevitably, nihilism will expose all cherished beliefs and sacrosanct truths as symptoms of a defective Western mythos. This collapse of meaning, relevance, and purpose will be the most destructive force in history, constituting a total assault on reality and nothing less than the greatest crisis of humanity:

What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. . . . For some time now our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end. . . . (Will to Power)

Since Nietzsche’s compelling critique, nihilistic themes–epistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessness–have preoccupied artists, social critics, and philosophers. Convinced that Nietzsche’s analysis was accurate, for example, Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West (1926) studied several cultures to confirm that patterns of nihilism were indeed a conspicuous feature of collapsing civilizations. In each of the failed cultures he examines, Spengler noticed that centuries-old religious, artistic, and political traditions were weakened and finally toppled by the insidious workings of several distinct nihilistic postures: the Faustian nihilist “shatters the ideals”; the Apollinian nihilist “watches them crumble before his eyes”; and the Indian nihilist “withdraws from their presence into himself.” Withdrawal, for instance, often identified with the negation of reality and resignation advocated by Eastern religions, is in the West associated with various versions of epicureanism and stoicism. In his study, Spengler concludes that Western civilization is already in the advanced stages of decay with all three forms of nihilism working to undermine epistemological authority and ontological grounding.

In 1927, Martin Heidegger, to cite another example, observed that nihilism in various and hidden forms was already “the normal state of man” (The Question of Being). Other philosophers’ predictions about nihilism’s impact have been dire. Outlining the symptoms of nihilism in the 20th century, Helmut Thielicke wrote that “Nihilism literally has only one truth to declare, namely, that ultimately Nothingness prevails and the world is meaningless” (Nihilism: Its Origin and Nature, with a Christian Answer, 1969). From the nihilist’s perspective, one can conclude that life is completely amoral, a conclusion, Thielicke believes, that motivates such monstrosities as the Nazi reign of terror. Gloomy predictions of nihilism’s impact are also charted in Eugene Rose’s Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age (1994). If nihilism proves victorious–and it’s well on its way, he argues–our world will become “a cold, inhuman world” where “nothingness, incoherence, and absurdity” will triumph.

While nihilism is often discussed in terms of extreme skepticism and relativism, for most of the 20th century it has been associated with the belief that life is meaningless. Existential nihilism begins with the notion that the world is without meaning or purpose. Given this circumstance, existence itself–all action, suffering, and feeling–is ultimately senseless and empty.

In The Dark Side: Thoughts on the Futility of Life (1994), Alan Pratt demonstrates that existential nihilism, in one form or another, has been a part of the Western intellectual tradition from the beginning. The Skeptic Empedocles’ observation that “the life of mortals is so mean a thing as to be virtually un-life,” for instance, embodies the same kind of extreme pessimism associated with existential nihilism. In antiquity, such profound pessimism may have reached its apex with Hegesis. Because miseries vastly outnumber pleasures, happiness is impossible, the philosopher argues, and subsequently advocates suicide. Centuries later during the Renaissance, William Shakespeare eloquently summarized the existential nihilist’s perspective when, in this famous passage near the end of Macbeth, he has Macbeth pour out his disgust for life:

Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more; it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

In the twentieth century, it’s the atheistic existentialist movement, popularized in France in the 1940s and 50s, that is responsible for the currency of existential nihilism in the popular consciousness. Jean-Paul Sartre’s (1905-1980) defining preposition for the movement, “existence precedes essence,” rules out any ground or foundation for establishing an essential self or a human nature. When we abandon illusions, life is revealed as nothing; and for the existentialists, nothingness is the source of not only absolute freedom but also existential horror and emotional anguish. Nothingness reveals each individual as an isolated being “thrown” into an alien and unresponsive universe, barred forever from knowing why yet required to invent meaning. It’s a situation that’s nothing short of absurd. Writing from the enlightened perspective of the absurd, Albert Camus (1913-1960) observed that Sisyphus’ plight, condemned to eternal, useless struggle, was a superb metaphor for human existence (The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942).

The common thread in the literature of the existentialists is coping with the emotional anguish arising from our confrontation with nothingness, and they expended great energy responding to the question of whether surviving it was possible. Their answer was a qualified “Yes,” advocating a formula of passionate commitment and impassive stoicism. In retrospect, it was an anecdote tinged with desperation because in an absurd world there are absolutely no guidelines, and any course of action is problematic. Passionate commitment, be it to conquest, creation, or whatever, is itself meaningless. Enter nihilism.

Camus, like the other existentialists, was convinced that nihilism was the most vexing problem of the twentieth century. Although he argues passionately that individuals could endure its corrosive effects, his most famous works betray the extraordinary difficulty he faced building a convincing case. In The Stranger (1942), for example, Meursault has rejected the existential suppositions on which the uninitiated and weak rely. Just moments before his execution for a gratuitous murder, he discovers that life alone is reason enough for living, a raison d’tre, however, that in context seems scarcely convincing. In Caligula (1944), the mad emperor tries to escape the human predicament by dehumanizing himself with acts of senseless violence, fails, and surreptitiously arranges his own assassination. The Plague (1947) shows the futility of doing one’s best in an absurd world. And in his last novel, the short and sardonic, The Fall (1956), Camus posits that everyone has bloody hands because we are all responsible for making a sorry state worse by our inane action and inaction alike. In these works and other works by the existentialists, one is often left with the impression that living authentically with the meaninglessness of life is impossible.

Camus was fully aware of the pitfalls of defining existence without meaning, and in his philosophical essay The Rebel (1951) he faces the problem of nihilism head-on. In it, he describes at length how metaphysical collapse often ends in total negation and the victory of nihilism, characterized by profound hatred, pathological destruction, and incalculable violence and death.

By the late 20th century, “nihilism” had assumed two different castes. In one form, “nihilist” is used to characterize the postmodern person, a dehumanized conformist, alienated, indifferent, and baffled, directing psychological energy into hedonistic narcissism or into a deep ressentiment that often explodes in violence. This perspective is derived from the existentialists’ reflections on nihilism stripped of any hopeful expectations, leaving only the experience of sickness, decay, and disintegration.

In his study of meaninglessness, Donald Crosby writes that the source of modern nihilism paradoxically stems from a commitment to honest intellectual openness. “Once set in motion, the process of questioning could come to but one end, the erosion of conviction and certitude and collapse into despair” (The Specter of the Absurd, 1988). When sincere inquiry is extended to moral convictions and social consensus, it can prove deadly, Crosby continues, promoting forces that ultimately destroy civilizations. Michael Novak’s recently revised The Experience of Nothingness (1968, 1998) tells a similar story. Both studies are responses to the existentialists’ gloomy findings from earlier in the century. And both optimistically discuss ways out of the abyss by focusing of the positive implications nothingness reveals, such as liberty, freedom, and creative possibilities. Novak, for example, describes how since WWII we have been working to “climb out of nihilism” on the way to building a new civilization.

In contrast to the efforts to overcome nihilism noted above is the uniquely postmodern response associated with the current antifoundationalists. The philosophical, ethical, and intellectual crisis of nihilism that has tormented modern philosophers for over a century has given way to mild annoyance or, more interestingly, an upbeat acceptance of meaninglessness.

French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard characterizes postmodernism as an “incredulity toward metanarratives,” those all-embracing foundations that we have relied on to make sense of the world. This extreme skepticism has undermined intellectual and moral hierarchies and made “truth” claims, transcendental or transcultural, problematic. Postmodern antifoundationalists, paradoxically grounded in relativism, dismiss knowledge as relational and “truth” as transitory, genuine only until something more palatable replaces it (reminiscent of William James’ notion of “cash value”). The critic Jacques Derrida, for example, asserts that one can never be sure that what one knows corresponds with what is. Since human beings participate in only an infinitesimal part of the whole, they are unable to grasp anything with certainty, and absolutes are merely “fictional forms.”

American antifoundationalist Richard Rorty makes a similar point: “Nothing grounds our practices, nothing legitimizes them, nothing shows them to be in touch with the way things are” (“From Logic to Language to Play,” 1986). This epistemological cul-de-sac, Rorty concludes, leads inevitably to nihilism. “Faced with the nonhuman, the nonlinguistic, we no longer have the ability to overcome contingency and pain by appropriation and transformation, but only the ability to recognize contingency and pain” (Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, 1989). In contrast to Nietzsche’s fears and the angst of the existentialists, nihilism becomes for the antifoundationalists just another aspect of our contemporary milieu, one best endured with sang-froid.

In The Banalization of Nihilism (1992) Karen Carr discusses the antifoundationalist response to nihilism. Although it still inflames a paralyzing relativism and subverts critical tools, “cheerful nihilism” carries the day, she notes, distinguished by an easy-going acceptance of meaninglessness. Such a development, Carr concludes, is alarming. If we accept that all perspectives are equally non-binding, then intellectual or moral arrogance will determine which perspective has precedence. Worse still, the banalization of nihilism creates an environment where ideas can be imposed forcibly with little resistance, raw power alone determining intellectual and moral hierarchies. It’s a conclusion that dovetails nicely with Nietzsche’s, who pointed out that all interpretations of the world are simply manifestations of will-to-power.

It has been over a century now since Nietzsche explored nihilism and its implications for civilization. As he predicted, nihilism’s impact on the culture and values of the 20th century has been pervasive, its apocalyptic tenor spawning a mood of gloom and a good deal of anxiety, anger, and terror. Interestingly, Nietzsche himself, a radical skeptic preoccupied with language, knowledge, and truth, anticipated many of the themes of postmodernity. It’s helpful to note, then, that he believed we could–at a terrible price–eventually work through nihilism. If we survived the process of destroying all interpretations of the world, we could then perhaps discover the correct course for humankind:

I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilism’s] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength. It is possible. . . . (Complete Works Vol. 13)

Alan Pratt Email: pratta@db.erau.edu Embry-Riddle University U. S. A.

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Nihilism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Atheism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Atheism  Comments Off on Atheism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jan 202016
 

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[3][4][5] Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist.[4][5][6][7] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[8][9] which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.[9][10][11]

The term “atheism” originated from the Greek (atheos), meaning “without god(s)”, used as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society.[12] With the spread of freethought, skeptical inquiry, and subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope. The first individuals to identify themselves using the word “atheist” lived in the 18th century during the Age of Enlightenment. The French Revolution, noted for its “unprecedented atheism,” witnessed the first major political movement in history to advocate for the supremacy of human reason.[14]

Arguments for atheism range from the philosophical to social and historical approaches. Rationales for not believing in deities include arguments that there is a lack of empirical evidence;[15][16] the problem of evil; the argument from inconsistent revelations; the rejection of concepts that cannot be falsified; and the argument from nonbelief.[15][17] Although some atheists have adopted secular philosophies (eg. humanism and skepticism),[18][19] there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere.[20] Many atheists hold that atheism is a more parsimonious worldview than theism and therefore that the burden of proof lies not on the atheist to disprove the existence of God but on the theist to provide a rationale for theism.[21]

Since conceptions of atheism vary, accurate estimations of current numbers of atheists are difficult.[22] Several comprehensive global polls on the subject have been conducted by Gallup International: their 2015 poll featured over 64,000 respondents and indicated that 11% were “convinced atheists” whereas an earlier 2012 poll found that 13% of respondents were “convinced atheists.”[23][24] An older survey by the BBC, in 2004, recorded atheists as comprising 8% of the world’s population.[25] Other older estimates have indicated that atheists comprise 2% of the world’s population, while the irreligious add a further 12%.[26] According to these polls, Europe and East Asia are the regions with the highest rates of atheism. In 2015, 61% of people in China reported that they were atheists.[27] The figures for a 2010 Eurobarometer survey in the European Union (EU) reported that 20% of the EU population claimed not to believe in “any sort of spirit, God or life force”.[28]

Writers disagree on how best to define and classify atheism,[29] contesting what supernatural entities it applies to, whether it is a philosophic position in its own right or merely the absence of one, and whether it requires a conscious, explicit rejection. Atheism has been regarded as compatible with agnosticism,[30][31][32][33][34][35][36] and has also been contrasted with it.[37][38][39] A variety of categories have been used to distinguish the different forms of atheism.

Some of the ambiguity and controversy involved in defining atheism arises from difficulty in reaching a consensus for the definitions of words like deity and god. The plurality of wildly different conceptions of God and deities leads to differing ideas regarding atheism’s applicability. The ancient Romans accused Christians of being atheists for not worshiping the pagan deities. Gradually, this view fell into disfavor as theism came to be understood as encompassing belief in any divinity.

With respect to the range of phenomena being rejected, atheism may counter anything from the existence of a deity, to the existence of any spiritual, supernatural, or transcendental concepts, such as those of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.[41]

Definitions of atheism also vary in the degree of consideration a person must put to the idea of gods to be considered an atheist. Atheism has sometimes been defined to include the simple absence of belief that any deities exist. This broad definition would include newborns and other people who have not been exposed to theistic ideas. As far back as 1772, Baron d’Holbach said that “All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God.”[42] Similarly, George H. Smith (1979) suggested that: “The man who is unacquainted with theism is an atheist because he does not believe in a god. This category would also include the child with the conceptual capacity to grasp the issues involved, but who is still unaware of those issues. The fact that this child does not believe in god qualifies him as an atheist.”[43] Smith coined the term implicit atheism to refer to “the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it” and explicit atheism to refer to the more common definition of conscious disbelief. Ernest Nagel contradicts Smith’s definition of atheism as merely “absence of theism”, acknowledging only explicit atheism as true “atheism”.[44]

Philosophers such as Antony Flew[45] and Michael Martin have contrasted positive (strong/hard) atheism with negative (weak/soft) atheism. Positive atheism is the explicit affirmation that gods do not exist. Negative atheism includes all other forms of non-theism. According to this categorization, anyone who is not a theist is either a negative or a positive atheist. The terms weak and strong are relatively recent, while the terms negative and positive atheism are of older origin, having been used (in slightly different ways) in the philosophical literature[45] and in Catholic apologetics.[46] Under this demarcation of atheism, most agnostics qualify as negative atheists.

While Martin, for example, asserts that agnosticism entails negative atheism,[33] many agnostics see their view as distinct from atheism,[47][48] which they may consider no more justified than theism or requiring an equal conviction.[47] The assertion of unattainability of knowledge for or against the existence of gods is sometimes seen as indication that atheism requires a leap of faith.[49][50] Common atheist responses to this argument include that unproven religious propositions deserve as much disbelief as all other unproven propositions,[51] and that the unprovability of a god’s existence does not imply equal probability of either possibility.[52] Scottish philosopher J. J. C. Smart even argues that “sometimes a person who is really an atheist may describe herself, even passionately, as an agnostic because of unreasonable generalised philosophical skepticism which would preclude us from saying that we know anything whatever, except perhaps the truths of mathematics and formal logic.”[53] Consequently, some atheist authors such as Richard Dawkins prefer distinguishing theist, agnostic and atheist positions along a spectrum of theistic probabilitythe likelihood that each assigns to the statement “God exists”.

Before the 18th century, the existence of God was so accepted in the western world that even the possibility of true atheism was questioned. This is called theistic innatismthe notion that all people believe in God from birth; within this view was the connotation that atheists are simply in denial.[55]

There is also a position claiming that atheists are quick to believe in God in times of crisis, that atheists make deathbed conversions, or that “there are no atheists in foxholes”.[56] There have however been examples to the contrary, among them examples of literal “atheists in foxholes”.[57]

Some atheists have doubted the very need for the term “atheism”. In his book Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris wrote:

In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist”. We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.

The source of man’s unhappiness is his ignorance of Nature. The pertinacity with which he clings to blind opinions imbibed in his infancy, which interweave themselves with his existence, the consequent prejudice that warps his mind, that prevents its expansion, that renders him the slave of fiction, appears to doom him to continual error.

The broadest demarcation of atheistic rationale is between practical and theoretical atheism.

In practical or pragmatic atheism, also known as apatheism, individuals live as if there are no gods and explain natural phenomena without reference to any deities. The existence of gods is not rejected, but may be designated unnecessary or useless; gods neither provide purpose to life, nor influence everyday life, according to this view.[60] A form of practical atheism with implications for the scientific community is methodological naturalismthe “tacit adoption or assumption of philosophical naturalism within scientific method with or without fully accepting or believing it.”[61]

Practical atheism can take various forms:

Theoretical (or theoric) atheism explicitly posits arguments against the existence of gods, responding to common theistic arguments such as the argument from design or Pascal’s Wager. Theoretical atheism is mainly an ontology; more precisely, a physical ontology.

Epistemological atheism argues that people cannot know a God or determine the existence of a God. The foundation of epistemological atheism is agnosticism, which takes a variety of forms. In the philosophy of immanence, divinity is inseparable from the world itself, including a person’s mind, and each person’s consciousness is locked in the subject. According to this form of agnosticism, this limitation in perspective prevents any objective inference from belief in a god to assertions of its existence. The rationalistic agnosticism of Kant and the Enlightenment only accepts knowledge deduced with human rationality; this form of atheism holds that gods are not discernible as a matter of principle, and therefore cannot be known to exist. Skepticism, based on the ideas of Hume, asserts that certainty about anything is impossible, so one can never know for sure whether or not a god exists. Hume, however, held that such unobservable metaphysical concepts should be rejected as “sophistry and illusion”.[63] The allocation of agnosticism to atheism is disputed; it can also be regarded as an independent, basic worldview.[60]

Other arguments for atheism that can be classified as epistemological or ontological, including logical positivism and ignosticism, assert the meaninglessness or unintelligibility of basic terms such as “God” and statements such as “God is all-powerful.” Theological noncognitivism holds that the statement “God exists” does not express a proposition, but is nonsensical or cognitively meaningless. It has been argued both ways as to whether such individuals can be classified into some form of atheism or agnosticism. Philosophers A. J. Ayer and Theodore M. Drange reject both categories, stating that both camps accept “God exists” as a proposition; they instead place noncognitivism in its own category.[64][65]

One author writes:

“Metaphysical atheism… includes all doctrines that hold to metaphysical monism (the homogeneity of reality). Metaphysical atheism may be either: a) absolute an explicit denial of God’s existence associated with materialistic monism (all materialistic trends, both in ancient and modern times); b) relative the implicit denial of God in all philosophies that, while they accept the existence of an absolute, conceive of the absolute as not possessing any of the attributes proper to God: transcendence, a personal character or unity. Relative atheism is associated with idealistic monism (pantheism, panentheism, deism).”[66]

Logical atheism holds that the various conceptions of gods, such as the personal god of Christianity, are ascribed logically inconsistent qualities. Such atheists present deductive arguments against the existence of God, which assert the incompatibility between certain traits, such as perfection, creator-status, immutability, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, transcendence, personhood (a personal being), nonphysicality, justice, and mercy.[15]

Theodicean atheists believe that the world as they experience it cannot be reconciled with the qualities commonly ascribed to God and gods by theologians. They argue that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God is not compatible with a world where there is evil and suffering, and where divine love is hidden from many people.[17] A similar argument is attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism.[68]

Philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach[69] and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud have argued that God and other religious beliefs are human inventions, created to fulfill various psychological and emotional wants or needs. This is also a view of many Buddhists.[70]Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, influenced by the work of Feuerbach, argued that belief in God and religion are social functions, used by those in power to oppress the working class. According to Mikhail Bakunin, “the idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of mankind, in theory and practice.” He reversed Voltaire’s famous aphorism that if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him, writing instead that “if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.”[71]

Atheism is acceptable within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Syntheism, Ralism,[72] and Neopagan movements[73] such as Wicca.[74]stika schools in Hinduism hold atheism to be a valid path to moksha, but extremely difficult, for the atheist can not expect any help from the divine on their journey.[75] Jainism believes the universe is eternal and has no need for a creator deity, however Tirthankaras are revered that can transcend space and time [76] and have more power than the god Indra.[77]Secular Buddhism does not advocate belief in gods. Early Buddhism was atheistic as Gautama Buddha’s path involved no mention of gods. Later conceptions of Buddhism consider Buddha himself a god, suggest adherents can attain godhood, and revere Bodhisattvas[78] and Eternal Buddha.

Axiological, or constructive, atheism rejects the existence of gods in favor of a “higher absolute”, such as humanity. This form of atheism favors humanity as the absolute source of ethics and values, and permits individuals to resolve moral problems without resorting to God. Marx and Freud used this argument to convey messages of liberation, full-development, and unfettered happiness.[60] One of the most common criticisms of atheism has been to the contrarythat denying the existence of a god leads to moral relativism, leaving one with no moral or ethical foundation,[79] or renders life meaningless and miserable.[80]Blaise Pascal argued this view in his Penses.[81]

French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre identified himself as a representative of an “atheist existentialism” concerned less with denying the existence of God than with establishing that “man needs… to find himself again and to understand that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existence of God.” Sartre said a corollary of his atheism was that “if God does not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a being who exists before he can be defined by any concept, and… this being is man.” The practical consequence of this atheism was described by Sartre as meaning that there are no a priori rules or absolute values that can be invoked to govern human conduct, and that humans are “condemned” to invent these for themselves, making “man” absolutely “responsible for everything he does”.

Sociologist Phil Zuckerman analyzed previous social science research on secularity and non-belief, and concluded that societal well-being is positively correlated with irreligion. He found that there are much lower concentrations of atheism and secularity in poorer, less developed nations (particularly in Africa and South America) than in the richer industrialized democracies.[85][86] His findings relating specifically to atheism in the US were that compared to religious people in the US, “atheists and secular people” are less nationalistic, prejudiced, antisemitic, racist, dogmatic, ethnocentric, closed-minded, and authoritarian, and in US states with the highest percentages of atheists, the murder rate is lower than average. In the most religious states, the murder rate is higher than average.[87][88]

People who self-identify as atheists are often assumed to be irreligious, but some sects within major religions reject the existence of a personal, creator deity.[90] In recent years, certain religious denominations have accumulated a number of openly atheistic followers, such as atheistic or humanistic Judaism[91][92] and Christian atheists.[93][94][95]

The strictest sense of positive atheism does not entail any specific beliefs outside of disbelief in any deity; as such, atheists can hold any number of spiritual beliefs. For the same reason, atheists can hold a wide variety of ethical beliefs, ranging from the moral universalism of humanism, which holds that a moral code should be applied consistently to all humans, to moral nihilism, which holds that morality is meaningless.[96]

Philosophers such as Slavoj iek,[97]Alain de Botton,[98] and Alexander Bard and Jan Sderqvist,[99] have all argued that atheists should reclaim religion as an act of defiance against theism, precisely not to leave religion as an unwarranted monopoly to theists.

According to Plato’s Euthyphro dilemma, the role of the gods in determining right from wrong is either unnecessary or arbitrary. The argument that morality must be derived from God, and cannot exist without a wise creator, has been a persistent feature of political if not so much philosophical debate.[100][101][102] Moral precepts such as “murder is wrong” are seen as divine laws, requiring a divine lawmaker and judge. However, many atheists argue that treating morality legalistically involves a false analogy, and that morality does not depend on a lawmaker in the same way that laws do.[103]Friedrich Nietzsche believed in a morality independent of theistic belief, and stated that morality based upon God “has truth only if God is truthit stands or falls with faith in God.”[104][105][106]

There exist normative ethical systems that do not require principles and rules to be given by a deity. Some include virtue ethics, social contract, Kantian ethics, utilitarianism, and Objectivism. Sam Harris has proposed that moral prescription (ethical rule making) is not just an issue to be explored by philosophy, but that we can meaningfully practice a science of morality. Any such scientific system must, nevertheless, respond to the criticism embodied in the naturalistic fallacy.[107]

Philosophers Susan Neiman[108] and Julian Baggini[109] (among others) assert that behaving ethically only because of divine mandate is not true ethical behavior but merely blind obedience. Baggini argues that atheism is a superior basis for ethics, claiming that a moral basis external to religious imperatives is necessary to evaluate the morality of the imperatives themselvesto be able to discern, for example, that “thou shalt steal” is immoral even if one’s religion instructs itand that atheists, therefore, have the advantage of being more inclined to make such evaluations.[110] The contemporary British political philosopher Martin Cohen has offered the more historically telling example of Biblical injunctions in favour of torture and slavery as evidence of how religious injunctions follow political and social customs, rather than vice versa, but also noted that the same tendency seems to be true of supposedly dispassionate and objective philosophers.[111] Cohen extends this argument in more detail in Political Philosophy from Plato to Mao, where he argues that the Qur’an played a role in perpetuating social codes from the early 7th century despite changes in secular society.[112]

Some prominent atheistsmost recently Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, and following such thinkers as Bertrand Russell, Robert G. Ingersoll, Voltaire, and novelist Jos Saramagohave criticized religions, citing harmful aspects of religious practices and doctrines.[113]

The 19th-century German political theorist and sociologist Karl Marx called religion “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. He goes on to say, “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.[114]Lenin said that “every religious idea and every idea of God “is unutterable vileness… of the most dangerous kind, ‘contagion’ of the most abominable kind. Millions of sins, filthy deeds, acts of violence and physical contagions… are far less dangerous than the subtle, spiritual idea of God decked out in the smartest ideological constumes…”[115]

Sam Harris criticises Western religion’s reliance on divine authority as lending itself to authoritarianism and dogmatism. There is a correlation between religious fundamentalism and extrinsic religion (when religion is held because it serves ulterior interests)[117] and authoritarianism, dogmatism, and prejudice.[118] These argumentscombined with historical events that are argued to demonstrate the dangers of religion, such as the Crusades, inquisitions, witch trials, and terrorist attackshave been used in response to claims of beneficial effects of belief in religion.[119] Believers counter-argue that some regimes that espouse atheism, such as in Soviet Russia, have also been guilty of mass murder.[120][121] In response to those claims, atheists such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have stated that Stalin’s atrocities were influenced not by atheism but by dogmatic Marxism, and that while Stalin and Mao happened to be atheists, they did not do their deeds in the name of atheism.[123]

In early ancient Greek, the adjective theos (, from the privative – + “god”) meant “godless”. It was first used as a term of censure roughly meaning “ungodly” or “impious”. In the 5th century BCE, the word began to indicate more deliberate and active godlessness in the sense of “severing relations with the gods” or “denying the gods”. The term (asebs) then came to be applied against those who impiously denied or disrespected the local gods, even if they believed in other gods. Modern translations of classical texts sometimes render theos as “atheistic”. As an abstract noun, there was also (atheots), “atheism”. Cicero transliterated the Greek word into the Latin theos. The term found frequent use in the debate between early Christians and Hellenists, with each side attributing it, in the pejorative sense, to the other.[12]

The term atheist (from Fr. athe), in the sense of “one who… denies the existence of God or gods”,[125] predates atheism in English, being first found as early as 1566,[126] and again in 1571.[127]Atheist as a label of practical godlessness was used at least as early as 1577.[128] The term atheism was derived from the French athisme,[129] and appears in English about 1587.[130] An earlier work, from about 1534, used the term atheonism.[131][132] Related words emerged later: deist in 1621,[133]theist in 1662,[134]deism in 1675,[135] and theism in 1678.[136] At that time “deist” and “deism” already carried their modern meaning. The term theism came to be contrasted with deism.

Karen Armstrong writes that “During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the word ‘atheist’ was still reserved exclusively for polemic… The term ‘atheist’ was an insult. Nobody would have dreamed of calling himself an atheist.”

Atheism was first used to describe a self-avowed belief in late 18th-century Europe, specifically denoting disbelief in the monotheistic Abrahamic god.[137] In the 20th century, globalization contributed to the expansion of the term to refer to disbelief in all deities, though it remains common in Western society to describe atheism as simply “disbelief in God”.

While the earliest-found usage of the term atheism is in 16th-century France,[129][130] ideas that would be recognized today as atheistic are documented from the Vedic period and the classical antiquity.

Atheistic schools are found in early Indian thought and have existed from the times of the historical Vedic religion.[138] Among the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, Samkhya, the oldest philosophical school of thought, does not accept God, and the early Mimamsa also rejected the notion of God.[139] The thoroughly materialistic and anti-theistic philosophical Crvka (also called Nastika or Lokaiata) school that originated in India around the 6th century BCE is probably the most explicitly atheistic school of philosophy in India, similar to the Greek Cyrenaic school. This branch of Indian philosophy is classified as heterodox due to its rejection of the authority of Vedas and hence is not considered part of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism, but it is noteworthy as evidence of a materialistic movement within Hinduism.[140] Chatterjee and Datta explain that our understanding of Crvka philosophy is fragmentary, based largely on criticism of the ideas by other schools, and that it is not a living tradition:

“Though materialism in some form or other has always been present in India, and occasional references are found in the Vedas, the Buddhistic literature, the Epics, as well as in the later philosophical works we do not find any systematic work on materialism, nor any organized school of followers as the other philosophical schools possess. But almost every work of the other schools states, for refutation, the materialistic views. Our knowledge of Indian materialism is chiefly based on these.”[141]

Other Indian philosophies generally regarded as atheistic include Classical Samkhya and Purva Mimamsa. The rejection of a personal creator God is also seen in Jainism and Buddhism in India.[142]

Western atheism has its roots in pre-Socratic Greek philosophy, but did not emerge as a distinct world-view until the late Enlightenment.[143] The 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher Diagoras is known as the “first atheist”,[144] and is cited as such by Cicero in his De Natura Deorum.[145]Atomists such as Democritus attempted to explain the world in a purely materialistic way, without reference to the spiritual or mystical. Critias viewed religion as a human invention used to frighten people into following moral order[146] and Prodicus also appears to have made clear atheistic statements in his work. Philodemus reports that Prodicus believed that “the gods of popular belief do not exist nor do they know, but primitive man, [out of admiration, deified] the fruits of the earth and virtually everything that contributed to his existence”. Protagoras has sometimes been taken to be an atheist but rather espoused agnostic views, commenting that “Concerning the gods I am unable to discover whether they exist or not, or what they are like in form; for there are many hindrances to knowledge, the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.”[147] In the 3rd-century BCE the Greek philosophers Theodorus Cyrenaicus[145][148] and Strato of Lampsacus[149] did not believe gods exist.

Socrates (c. 470399 BCE) was associated in the Athenian public mind with the trends in pre-Socratic philosophy towards naturalistic inquiry and the rejection of divine explanations for phenomena. Although such an interpretation misrepresents his thought he was portrayed in such a way in Aristophanes’ comic play Clouds and was later to be tried and executed for impiety and corrupting the young. At his trial Socrates is reported as vehemently denying that he was an atheist and contemporary scholarship provides little reason to doubt this claim.[150][151]

Euhemerus (c. 300 BCE) published his view that the gods were only the deified rulers, conquerors and founders of the past, and that their cults and religions were in essence the continuation of vanished kingdoms and earlier political structures.[152] Although not strictly an atheist, Euhemerus was later criticized for having “spread atheism over the whole inhabited earth by obliterating the gods”.[153]

Also important in the history of atheism was Epicurus (c. 300 BCE). Drawing on the ideas of Democritus and the Atomists, he espoused a materialistic philosophy according to which the universe was governed by the laws of chance without the need for divine intervention (see scientific determinism). Although he stated that deities existed, he believed that they were uninterested in human existence. The aim of the Epicureans was to attain peace of mind and one important way of doing this was by exposing fear of divine wrath as irrational. The Epicureans also denied the existence of an afterlife and the need to fear divine punishment after death.[154]

The Roman philosopher Sextus Empiricus held that one should suspend judgment about virtually all beliefsa form of skepticism known as Pyrrhonismthat nothing was inherently evil, and that ataraxia (“peace of mind”) is attainable by withholding one’s judgment. His relatively large volume of surviving works had a lasting influence on later philosophers.[155]

The meaning of “atheist” changed over the course of classical antiquity. The early Christians were labeled atheists by non-Christians because of their disbelief in pagan gods.[156] During the Roman Empire, Christians were executed for their rejection of the Roman gods in general and Emperor-worship in particular. When Christianity became the state religion of Rome under Theodosius I in 381, heresy became a punishable offense.[157]

During the Early Middle Ages, the Islamic world underwent a Golden Age. With the associated advances in science and philosophy, Arab and Persian lands produced outspoken rationalists and atheists, including Muhammad al Warraq (fl. 7th century), Ibn al-Rawandi (827911), Al-Razi (854925), and Al-Maarri (9731058). Al-Ma’arri wrote and taught that religion itself was a “fable invented by the ancients”[158] and that humans were “of two sorts: those with brains, but no religion, and those with religion, but no brains.”[159] Despite being relatively prolific writers, nearly none of their writing survives to the modern day, most of what little remains being preserved through quotations and excerpts in later works by Muslim apologists attempting to refute them.[160] Other prominent Golden Age scholars have been associated with rationalist thought and atheism as well, although the current intellectual atmosphere in the Islamic world, and the scant evidence that survives from the era, make this point a contentious one today.

In Europe, the espousal of atheistic views was rare during the Early Middle Ages and Middle Ages (see Medieval Inquisition); metaphysics and theology were the dominant interests pertaining to religion.[161] There were, however, movements within this period that furthered heterodox conceptions of the Christian god, including differing views of the nature, transcendence, and knowability of God. Individuals and groups such as Johannes Scotus Eriugena, David of Dinant, Amalric of Bena, and the Brethren of the Free Spirit maintained Christian viewpoints with pantheistic tendencies. Nicholas of Cusa held to a form of fideism he called docta ignorantia (“learned ignorance”), asserting that God is beyond human categorization, and thus our knowledge of him is limited to conjecture. William of Ockham inspired anti-metaphysical tendencies with his nominalistic limitation of human knowledge to singular objects, and asserted that the divine essence could not be intuitively or rationally apprehended by human intellect. Followers of Ockham, such as John of Mirecourt and Nicholas of Autrecourt furthered this view. The resulting division between faith and reason influenced later radical and reformist theologians such as John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, and Martin Luther.[161]

The Renaissance did much to expand the scope of free thought and skeptical inquiry. Individuals such as Leonardo da Vinci sought experimentation as a means of explanation, and opposed arguments from religious authority. Other critics of religion and the Church during this time included Niccol Machiavelli, Bonaventure des Priers, Michel de Montaigne, and Franois Rabelais.[155]

Historian Geoffrey Blainey wrote that the Reformation had paved the way for atheists by attacking the authority of the Catholic Church, which in turn “quietly inspired other thinkers to attack the authority of the new Protestant churches”.[162]Deism gained influence in France, Prussia, and England. The philosopher Baruch Spinoza was “probably the first well known ‘semi-atheist’ to announce himself in a Christian land in the modern era”, according to Blainey. Spinoza believed that natural laws explained the workings of the universe. In 1661 he published his Short Treatise on God.[163]

Criticism of Christianity became increasingly frequent in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially in France and England, where there appears to have been a religious malaise, according to contemporary sources. Some Protestant thinkers, such as Thomas Hobbes, espoused a materialist philosophy and skepticism toward supernatural occurrences, while Spinoza rejected divine providence in favour of a panentheistic naturalism. By the late 17th century, deism came to be openly espoused by intellectuals such as John Toland who coined the term “pantheist”.[164]

The first known explicit atheist was the German critic of religion Matthias Knutzen in his three writings of 1674.[165] He was followed by two other explicit atheist writers, the Polish ex-Jesuit philosopher Kazimierz yszczyski and in the 1720s by the French priest Jean Meslier.[166] In the course of the 18th century, other openly atheistic thinkers followed, such as Baron d’Holbach, Jacques-Andr Naigeon, and other French materialists.[167]John Locke in contrast, though an advocate of tolerance, urged authorities not to tolerate atheism, believing that the denial of God’s existence would undermine the social order and lead to chaos.[168]

The philosopher David Hume developed a skeptical epistemology grounded in empiricism, and Immanuel Kant’s philosophy has strongly questioned the very possibility of a metaphysical knowledge. Both philosophers undermined the metaphysical basis of natural theology and criticized classical arguments for the existence of God.

Blainey notes that, although Voltaire is widely considered to have strongly contributed to atheistic thinking during the Revolution, he also considered fear of God to have discouraged further disorder, having said “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”[169] In Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), the philosopher Edmund Burke denounced atheism, writing of a “literary cabal” who had “some years ago formed something like a regular plan for the destruction of the Christian religion. This object they pursued with a degree of zeal which hitherto had been discovered only in the propagators of some system of piety… These atheistical fathers have a bigotry of their own…”. But, Burke asserted, “man is by his constitution a religious animal” and “atheism is against, not only our reason, but our instincts; and… it cannot prevail long”.[170]

Baron d’Holbach was a prominent figure in the French Enlightenment who is best known for his atheism and for his voluminous writings against religion, the most famous of them being The System of Nature (1770) but also Christianity Unveiled. One goal of the French Revolution was a restructuring and subordination of the clergy with respect to the state through the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Attempts to enforce it led to anti-clerical violence and the expulsion of many clergy from France, lasting until the Thermidorian Reaction. The radical Jacobins seized power in 1793, ushering in the Reign of Terror. The Jacobins were deists and introduced the Cult of the Supreme Being as a new French state religion. Some atheists surrounding Jacques Hbert instead sought to establish a Cult of Reason, a form of atheistic pseudo-religion with a goddess personifying reason. The Napoleonic era further institutionalized the secularization of French society.

In the latter half of the 19th century, atheism rose to prominence under the influence of rationalistic and freethinking philosophers. Many prominent German philosophers of this era denied the existence of deities and were critical of religion, including Ludwig Feuerbach, Arthur Schopenhauer, Max Stirner, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche.[171]

G.J. Holyoake was the last person (1842) imprisoned in Great Britain due to atheist beliefs.[172]Stephen Law states that Holyoake “first coined the term ‘secularism'”.[173]

Atheism in the 20th century, particularly in the form of practical atheism, advanced in many societies. Atheistic thought found recognition in a wide variety of other, broader philosophies, such as existentialism, objectivism, secular humanism, nihilism, anarchism, logical positivism, Marxism, feminism,[174] and the general scientific and rationalist movement.

In addition, state atheism emerged in Eastern Europe and Asia during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and in Communist China under Mao Zedong. Atheist and anti-religious policies in the Soviet Union included numerous legislative acts, the outlawing of religious instruction in the schools, and the emergence of the League of Militant Atheists.[175][176] After Mao, the Chinese Communist Party remains an atheist organization, and regulates, but does not completely forbid, the practice of religion in mainland China.[177][178][179]

While Geoffrey Blainey has written that “the most ruthless leaders in the Second World War were atheists and secularists who were intensely hostile to both Judaism and Christianity”,[180] Richard Madsen has pointed out that Hitler and Stalin each opened and closed churches as a matter of political expedience, and Stalin softened his opposition to Christianity in order to improve public acceptance of his regime during the war.[181] Blackford and Schklenk have written that “the Soviet Union was undeniably an atheist state, and the same applies to Maoist China and Pol Pot’s fanatical Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia in the 1970s. That does not, however, show that the atrocities committed by these totalitarian dictatorships were the result of atheist beliefs, carried out in the name of atheism, or caused primarily by the atheistic aspects of the relevant forms of communism.”[182]

Logical positivism and scientism paved the way for neopositivism, analytical philosophy, structuralism, and naturalism. Neopositivism and analytical philosophy discarded classical rationalism and metaphysics in favor of strict empiricism and epistemological nominalism. Proponents such as Bertrand Russell emphatically rejected belief in God. In his early work, Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to separate metaphysical and supernatural language from rational discourse. A. J. Ayer asserted the unverifiability and meaninglessness of religious statements, citing his adherence to the empirical sciences. Relatedly the applied structuralism of Lvi-Strauss sourced religious language to the human subconscious in denying its transcendental meaning. J. N. Findlay and J. J. C. Smart argued that the existence of God is not logically necessary. Naturalists and materialistic monists such as John Dewey considered the natural world to be the basis of everything, denying the existence of God or immortality.[53][183]

Other leaders like Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, a prominent atheist leader of India, fought against Hinduism and Brahmins for discriminating and dividing people in the name of caste and religion.[184] This was highlighted in 1956 when he arranged for the erection of a statue depicting a Hindu god in a humble representation and made antitheistic statements.[185]

Atheist Vashti McCollum was the plaintiff in a landmark 1948 Supreme Court case that struck down religious education in US public schools.[186]Madalyn Murray O’Hair was perhaps one of the most influential American atheists; she brought forth the 1963 Supreme Court case Murray v. Curlett which banned compulsory prayer in public schools.[187] In 1966, Time magazine asked “Is God Dead?”[188] in response to the Death of God theological movement, citing the estimation that nearly half of all people in the world lived under an anti-religious power, and millions more in Africa, Asia, and South America seemed to lack knowledge of the Christian view of theology.[189] The Freedom From Religion Foundation was co-founded by Anne Nicol Gaylor and her daughter, Annie Laurie Gaylor, in 1976 in the United States, and incorporated nationally in 1978. It promotes the separation of church and state.[190][191]

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the number of actively anti-religious regimes has reduced considerably. In 2006, Timothy Shah of the Pew Forum noted “a worldwide trend across all major religious groups, in which God-based and faith-based movements in general are experiencing increasing confidence and influence vis–vis secular movements and ideologies.”[192] However, Gregory S. Paul and Phil Zuckerman consider this a myth and suggest that the actual situation is much more complex and nuanced.[193]

A 2010 survey found that those identifying themselves as atheists or agnostics are on average more knowledgeable about religion than followers of major faiths. Nonbelievers scored better on questions about tenets central to Protestant and Catholic faiths. Only Mormon and Jewish faithful scored as well as atheists and agnostics.[194]

In 2012, the first “Women in Secularism” conference was held in Arlington, Virginia.[195] Secular Woman was organized in 2012 as a national organization focused on nonreligious women.[196] The atheist feminist movement has also become increasingly focused on fighting sexism and sexual harassment within the atheist movement itself.[197] In August 2012, Jennifer McCreight (the organizer of Boobquake) founded a movement within atheism known as Atheism Plus, or A+, that “applies skepticism to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, politics, poverty, and crime”.[198][199][200]

In 2013 the first atheist monument on American government property was unveiled at the Bradford County Courthouse in Florida: a 1,500-pound granite bench and plinth inscribed with quotes by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Madalyn Murray O’Hair.[201][202]

New Atheism is the name given to a movement among some early-21st-century atheist writers who have advocated the view that “religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises.”[203] The movement is commonly associated with Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Victor J. Stenger, and Christopher Hitchens.[204] Several best-selling books by these authors, published between 2004 and 2007, form the basis for much of the discussion of New Atheism.

These atheists generally seek to disassociate themselves from the mass political atheism that gained ascendency in various nations in the 20th century. In best selling books, the religiously motivated terrorist events of 9/11 and the partially successful attempts of the Discovery Institute to change the American science curriculum to include creationist ideas, together with support for those ideas from George W. Bush in 2005, have been cited by authors such as Harris, Dennett, Dawkins, Stenger, and Hitchens as evidence of a need to move society towards atheism.[206]

It is difficult to quantify the number of atheists in the world. Respondents to religious-belief polls may define “atheism” differently or draw different distinctions between atheism, non-religious beliefs, and non-theistic religious and spiritual beliefs.[207] A Hindu atheist would declare oneself as a Hindu, although also being an atheist at the same time.[208] A 2010 survey published in Encyclopdia Britannica found that the non-religious made up about 9.6% of the world’s population, and atheists about 2.0%, with a very large majority based in Asia. This figure did not include those who follow atheistic religions, such as some Buddhists.[209] The average annual change for atheism from 2000 to 2010 was 0.17%.[209] A broad figure estimates the number of atheists and agnostics on Earth at 1.1 billion.[210]

According to global studies done by Gallup International, 13% of respondents were “convinced atheists” in 2012 and 11% were “convinced atheists” in 2015.[24][211] As of 2012, the top ten countries with people who viewed themselves as “convinced atheists” were China (47%), Japan (31%), the Czech Republic (30%), France (29%), South Korea (15%), Germany (15%), Netherlands (14%), Austria (10%), Iceland (10%), Australia (10%), and the Republic of Ireland (10%) [212]

According to the 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, the percentage of those polled who agreed with the statement “you don’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force” varied from: France (40%), Czech Republic (37%), Sweden (34%), Netherlands (30%), and Estonia (29%), down to Poland (5%), Greece (4%), Cyprus (3%), Malta (2%), and Romania (1%), with the European Union as a whole at 20%.[28] In a 2012 Eurobarometer poll on discrimination in the European Union, 16% of those polled considered themselves non believers/agnostics and 7% considered themselves atheists.[214] According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 22% of Australians have “no religion”, a category that includes atheists.[215]

According to a Pew Research Center survey in 2012 religiously unaffiliated (including agnostics and atheists) make up about 18% of Europeans.[216] According to the same survey, the religiously unaffiliated are the majority of the population only in two European countries: Czech Republic (75%) and Estonia (60%).[216] There are another four countries where the unaffiliated make up a majority of the population: North Korea (71%), Japan (57%), Hong Kong (56%), and China (52%).[216]

In the US, there was a 1% to 5% increase in self-reported atheism from 2005 to 2012, and a larger drop in those who self-identified as “religious”, down by 13%, from 73% to 60%.[217] According to the World Values Survey, 4.4% of Americans self-identified as atheists in 2014.[218] However, the same survey showed that 11.1% of all respondents stated “no” when asked if they believed in God.[218] In 1984, these same figures were 1.1% and 2.2%, respectively. According to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, 3.1% of the US adult population identify as atheist, up from 1.6% in 2007, and within the religiously unaffiliated (or “no religion”) demographic, atheists made up 13.6%.[219] According to the 2015 General Sociological Survey the number of atheists and agnostics in the US has remained relatively flat in the past 23 years since in 1991 only 2% identified as atheist and 4% identified as agnostic and in 2014 only 3% identified as atheists and 5% identified as agnostics.[220]

A study noted positive correlations between levels of education and secularism, including atheism, in America.[87] According to evolutionary psychologist Nigel Barber, atheism blossoms in places where most people feel economically secure, particularly in the social democracies of Europe, as there is less uncertainty about the future with extensive social safety nets and better health care resulting in a greater quality of life and higher life expectancy. By contrast, in underdeveloped countries, there are virtually no atheists.[221] In a 2008 study, researchers found intelligence to be negatively related to religious belief in Europe and the United States. In a sample of 137 countries, the correlation between national IQ and disbelief in God was found to be 0.60.[222]

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Atheism (derived from the Ancient Greek atheos meaning “without gods; godless; secular; denying or disdaining the gods, especially officially sanctioned gods”[1]) is the absence or rejection of the belief that deities exist. The English term was used at least as early as the sixteenth century and atheistic ideas and their influence have a longer history. Over the centuries, atheists have supported their lack of belief in gods through a variety of avenues, including scientific, philosophical and ideological notions.

Philosophical atheist thought began to appear in Europe and Asia in the sixth or fifth century BCE. Will Durant explains that certain pygmy tribes found in Africa were observed to have no identifiable cults or rites. There were no totems, no deities, and no spirits. Their dead were buried without special ceremonies or accompanying items and received no further attention. They even appeared to lack simple superstitions, according to travelers’ reports.[citation needed] The Vedas of Ceylon[clarification needed] only admitted the possibility that deities might exist, but went no further. Neither prayers nor sacrifices were suggested in any way.[citation needed]

In the East, a contemplative life not centered on the idea of deities began in the sixth century BCE with the rise of Jainism, Buddhism, and certain sects of Hinduism in India, and of Taoism in China. These religions claim to offer a philosophic and salvific path not involving on deity worship. Deities are not seen as necessary to the salvific goal of the early Buddhist tradition, their reality is explicitly questioned and refuted there is a fundamental incompatibility between the notion of gods and basic Buddhist principles.[2]

Within the astika (“orthodox”) schools of Hindu philosophy, the Samkhya and the early Mimamsa school did not accept a creator-deity in their respective systems.

The principal text of the Samkhya school, the Samkhya Karika, was written by Ishvara Krishna in the fourth century CE, by which time it was already a dominant Hindu school. The origins of the school are much older and are lost in legend. The school was both dualistic and atheistic. They believed in a dual existence of Prakriti (“nature”) and Purusha (“spirit”) and had no place for an Ishvara (“God”) in its system, arguing that the existence of Ishvara cannot be proved and hence cannot be admitted to exist. The school dominated Hindu philosophy in its day, but declined after the tenth century, although commentaries were still being written as late as the sixteenth century.

The foundational text for the Mimamsa school is the Purva Mimamsa Sutras of Jaimini (c. third to first century BCE). The school reached its height c. 700 CE, and for some time in the Early Middle Ages exerted near-dominant influence on learned Hindu thought. The Mimamsa school saw their primary enquiry was into the nature of dharma based on close interpretation of the Vedas. Its core tenets were ritualism (orthopraxy), anti-asceticism and anti-mysticism. The early Mimamsakas believed in an adrishta (“unseen”) that is the result of performing karmas (“works”) and saw no need for an Ishvara (“God”) in their system. Mimamsa persists in some subschools of Hinduism today.

Jains see their tradition as eternal. Organized Jainism can be dated back to Parshva who lived in the ninth century BCE, and, more reliably, to Mahavira, a teacher of the sixth century BCE, and a contemporary of the Buddha. Jainism is a dualistic religion with the universe made up of matter and souls. The universe, and the matter and souls within it, is eternal and uncreated, and there is no omnipotent creator deity in Jainism. There are, however, “gods” and other spirits who exist within the universe and Jains believe that the soul can attain “godhood”, however none of these supernatural beings exercise any sort of creative activity or have the capacity or ability to intervene in answers to prayers.

The thoroughly materialistic and anti-religious philosophical Crvka school that originated in India with the Brhaspatya-stras (final centuries BCE) is probably the most explicitly atheist school of philosophy in the region. The school grew out of the generic skepticism in the Mauryan period. Already in the sixth century BCE, Ajita Kesakambalin, was quoted in Pali scriptures by the Buddhists with whom he was debating, teaching that “with the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.”[3] Crvkan philosophy is now known principally from its Astika and Buddhist opponents. The proper aim of a Crvkan, according to these sources, was to live a prosperous, happy, productive life in this world. The Tattvopaplavasimha of Jayarashi Bhatta (c. eighth century) is sometimes cited as a surviving Carvaka text. The school appears to have died out sometime around the fifteenth century.

The non-adherence[4] to the notion of a supreme deity or a prime mover is seen by many as a key distinction between Buddhism and other religions. While Buddhist traditions do not deny the existence of supernatural beings (many are discussed in Buddhist scripture), it does not ascribe powers, in the typical Western sense, for creation, salvation or judgement, to the “gods”, however, praying to enlightened deities is sometimes seen as leading to some degree of spiritual merit.

Buddhists accept the existence of beings in higher realms, known as devas, but they, like humans, are said to be suffering in samsara,[5] and not particularly wiser than we are. In fact the Buddha is often portrayed as a teacher of the deities,[6] and superior to them.[7] Despite this they do have some enlightened Devas in the path of buddhahood.

In later Mahayana literature, however, the idea of an eternal, all-pervading, all-knowing, immaculate, uncreated, and deathless Ground of Being (the dharmadhatu, inherently linked to the sattvadhatu, the realm of beings), which is the Awakened Mind (bodhicitta) or dharmakaya (“body of Truth”) of the Buddha himself, is attributed to the Buddha in a number of Mahayana sutras, and is found in various tantras as well. In some Mahayana texts, such a principle is occasionally presented as manifesting in a more personalised form as a primordial Buddha, such as Samantabhadra, Vajradhara, Vairochana, Amitabha, and Adi-Buddha, among others.

In western Classical antiquity, theism was the fundamental belief that supported the legitimacy of the state (Polis, later the Roman Empire). Historically, any person who did not believe in any deity supported by the state was fair game to accusations of atheism, a capital crime. For political reasons, Socrates in Athens (399 BCE) was accused of being atheos (“refusing to acknowledge the gods recognized by the state”). Christians in Rome were also considered subversive to the state religion and persecuted as atheists.[8] Thus, charges of atheism, meaning the subversion of religion, were often used similarly to charges of heresy and impiety as a political tool to eliminate enemies.

The roots of Western philosophy began in the Greek world in the sixth century BCE. The first Hellenic philosophers were not atheists, but they attempted to explain the world in terms of the processes of nature instead of by mythological accounts. Thus lightning was the result of “wind breaking out and parting the clouds”,[9] and earthquakes occurred when “the earth is considerably altered by heating and cooling”.[10] The early philosophers often criticised traditional religious notions. Xenophanes (sixth century BCE) famously said that if cows and horses had hands, “then horses would draw the forms of gods like horses, and cows like cows”.[11] Another philosopher, Anaxagoras (fifth century BCE), claimed that the Sun was “a fiery mass, larger than the Peloponnese”; a charge of impiety was brought against him, and he was forced to flee Athens.[12]

The first fully materialistic philosophy was produced by the atomists Leucippus and Democritus (fifth century BCE), who attempted to explain the formation and development of the world in terms of the chance movements of atoms moving in infinite space.

Euripides (480406 BCE), in his play Bellerophon, had the eponymous main character say:

Doth some one say that there be gods above? There are not; no, there are not. Let no fool, Led by the old false fable, thus deceive you.[13]

Aristophanes (ca. 448380 BCE), known for his satirical style, wrote in his play The Knights: “Shrines! Shrines! Surely you don’t believe in the gods. What’s your argument? Where’s your proof?”[14]

In the fifth century BCE the Sophists began to question many of the traditional assumptions of Greek culture. Prodicus of Ceos was said to have believed that “it was the things which were serviceable to human life that had been regarded as gods,”[15] and Protagoras stated at the beginning of a book that “With regard to the gods I am unable to say either that they exist or do not exist.”[16]

Diagoras of Melos (fifth century BCE) is known as the “first atheist”. He blasphemed by making public the Eleusinian Mysteries and discouraging people from being initiated.[17] Somewhat later (c. 300 BCE), the Cyrenaic philosopher Theodorus of Cyrene is supposed to have denied that gods exist, and wrote a book On the Gods expounding his views.

Euhemerus (c. 330260 BCE) published his view that the gods were only the deified rulers, conquerors, and founders of the past, and that their cults and religions were in essence the continuation of vanished kingdoms and earlier political structures.[18] Although Euhemerus was later criticized for having “spread atheism over the whole inhabited earth by obliterating the gods”,[19] his worldview was not atheist in a strict and theoretical sense, because he differentiated that the primordial deities were “eternal and imperishable”.[20] Some historians have argued that he merely aimed at reinventing the old religions in the light of the beginning of deification of political rulers such as Alexander the Great.[21] Euhemerus’ work was translated into Latin by Ennius, possibly to mythographically pave the way for the planned divinization of Scipio Africanus in Rome.[22]

Also important in the history of atheism was Epicurus (c. 300 BCE). Drawing on the ideas of Democritus and the Atomists, he espoused a materialistic philosophy where the universe was governed by the laws of chance without the need for divine intervention. Although he stated that deities existed, he believed that they were uninterested in human existence. The aim of the Epicureans was to attain peace of mind by exposing fear of divine wrath as irrational.

One of the most eloquent expressions of Epicurean thought is Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things (first century BCE) in which he held that gods exist but argued that religious fear was one of the chief causes of human unhappiness and that the gods did not involve themselves in the world.[23][24]

The Epicureans also denied the existence of an afterlife.[25]

Epicureans were not persecuted, but their teachings were controversial, and were harshly attacked by the mainstream schools of Stoicism and Neoplatonism. The movement remained marginal, and gradually died out at the end of the Roman Empire.

In medieval Islam, Muslim scholars recognized the idea of atheism, and frequently attacked unbelievers, although they were unable to name any atheists.[26] When individuals were accused of atheism, they were usually viewed as heretics rather than proponents of atheism.[27] However, outspoken rationalists and atheists existed, one notable figure being the ninth-century scholar Ibn al-Rawandi, who criticized the notion of religious prophecy, including that of Muhammad, and maintained that religious dogmas were not acceptable to reason and must be rejected.[28] Other critics of religion in the Islamic world include the physician and philosopher Abu Bakr al-Razi (865925), the poet Al-Maarri (9731057), and the scholar Abu Isa al-Warraq (fl. 7th century). Al-Maarri, for example, wrote and taught that religion itself was a “fable invented by the ancients”[29] and that humans were “of two sorts: those with brains, but no religion, and those with religion, but no brains.”[30]

In the European Middle Ages, no clear expression of atheism is known. The titular character of the Icelandic saga Hrafnkell, written in the late thirteenth century, says that I think it is folly to have faith in gods. After his temple to Freyr is burnt and he is enslaved, he vows never to perform another sacrifice, a position described in the sagas as golauss “godless”. Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology observes that

It is remarkable that Old Norse legend occasionally mentions certain men who, turning away in utter disgust and doubt from the heathen faith, placed their reliance on their own strength and virtue. Thus in the Slar lio 17 we read of Vbogi and Rdey sik au tru, “in themselves they trusted”,[31]

citing several other examples, including two kings.

In Christian Europe, people were persecuted for heresy, especially in countries where the Inquisition was active. Thomas Aquinas’ five proofs of God’s existence and Anselm’s ontological argument implicitly acknowledged the validity of the question about God’s existence.[original research?]Frederick Copleston, however, explains that Thomas laid out his proofs not to counter atheism, but to address certain early Christian writers such as John of Damascus, who asserted that knowledge of God’s existence was naturally innate in man, based on his natural desire for happiness.[32] Thomas stated that although there is desire for happiness which forms the basis for a proof of God’s existence in man, further reflection is required to understand that this desire is only fulfilled in God, not for example in wealth or sensual pleasure.[32]

The charge of atheism was used to attack political or religious opponents. Pope Boniface VIII, because he insisted on the political supremacy of the church, was accused by his enemies after his death of holding (unlikely) atheistic positions such as “neither believing in the immortality nor incorruptibility of the soul, nor in a life to come.”[33]

During the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation, criticism of the religious establishment became more frequent in predominantly Christian countries, but did not amount to atheism, per se.

The term athisme was coined in France in the sixteenth century. The word “atheist” appears in English books at least as early as 1566.[34] The concept of atheism re-emerged initially as a reaction to the intellectual and religious turmoil of the Age of Enlightenment and the Reformation as a charge used by those who saw the denial of god and godlessness in the controversial positions being put forward by others. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the word ‘atheist’ was used exclusively as an insult; nobody wanted to be regarded as an atheist.[35] Although one overtly atheistic compendium known as the Theophrastus redivivus was published by an anonymous author in the seventeenth century, atheism was an epithet implying a lack of moral restraint.[36]

According to Geoffrey Blainey, the Reformation in Europe had paved the way for atheists by attacking the authority of the Catholic Church, which in turn “quietly inspired other thinkers to attack the authority of the new Protestant churches”. Deism gained influence in France, Prussia and England, and proffered belief in a non-interventionist deity, but “while some deists were atheists in disguise, most were religious, and by today’s standards would be called true believers”. The scientific and mathematical discoveries of such as Copernicus, Newton and Descartes sketched a pattern of natural laws that lent weight to this new outlook[37] Blainey wrote that the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza was “probably the first well known ‘semi-atheist’ to announce himself in a Christian land in the modern era”. Spinoza had been expelled from his synagogue for his protests against the teachings of its rabbis and for failing to attend Saturday services. He believed that God did not interfere in the running of the world, but rather that natural laws explained the workings of the universe. In 1661 he published his Short Treatise on God, but he was not a popular figure for the first century following his death: “An unbeliever was expected to be a rebel in almost everything and wicked in all his ways”, wrote Blainey, “but here was a virtuous one. He lived the good life and made his living in a useful way… It took courage to be a Spinoza or even one of his supporters. If a handful of scholars agreed with his writings, they did not so say in public.”[38]

How dangerous it was to be accused of being an atheist at this time is illustrated by the examples of tienne Dolet who was strangled and burned in 1546, and Giulio Cesare Vanini who received a similar fate in 1619. In 1689 the Polish nobleman Kazimierz yszczyski, who had denied the existence of God in his philosophical treatise De non existentia Dei, was imprisoned unlawfully; despite Warsaw Confederation tradition and king Sobieski’s intercession, yszczyski was condemned to death for atheism and beheaded in Warsaw after his tongue was pulled out with a burning iron and his hands slowly burned. Similarly in 1766, the French nobleman Franois-Jean de la Barre, was tortured, beheaded, and his body burned for alleged vandalism of a crucifix, a case that became a cause clbre because Voltaire tried unsuccessfully to have the judgment reversed.

The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (15881679) was also accused of atheism, but he denied it. His theism was unusual, in that he held god to be material. Even earlier, the British playwright and poet Christopher Marlowe (15631593) was accused of atheism when a tract denying the divinity of Christ was found in his home. Before he could finish defending himself against the charge, Marlowe was murdered.

In early modern times, the first explicit atheist known by name was the German-languaged Danish critic of religion Matthias Knutzen (1646after 1674), who published three atheist writings in 1674.[39]

Kazimierz yszczyski, a Polish philosopher (executed in 1689, following a hasty and controversial trial pressed by the Catholic Church) demonstrated strong atheism in his work De non existentia Dei:

II – the Man is a creator of God, and God is a concept and creation of a Man. Hence the people are architects and engineers of God and God is not a true being, but a being existing only within mind, being chimaeric by its nature, because a God and a chimaera are the same.[40]

IV – simple folk are cheated by the more cunning with the fabrication of God for their own oppression; whereas the same oppression is shielded by the folk in a way, that if the wise attempted to free them by the truth, they would be quelled by the very people.[41][42]

While not gaining converts from large portions of the population, versions of deism became influential in certain intellectual circles. Jean Jacques Rousseau challenged the Christian notion that human beings had been tainted by sin since the Garden of Eden, and instead proposed that humans were originally good, only later to be corrupted by civilisation. The influential figure of Voltaire, spread deistic notions of to a wide audience. “After the French Revolution and its outbursts of atheism, Voltaire was widely condemned as one of the causes”, wrote Blainey, “Nonetheless, his writings did concede that fear of God was an essential policeman in a disorderly world: ‘If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him’, wrote Voltaire”.[43]

Arguably the first book in modern times solely dedicated to promoting atheism was written by French Catholic priest Jean Meslier (16641729), whose posthumously published lengthy philosophical essay (part of the original title: Thoughts and Feelings of Jean Meslier … Clear and Evident Demonstrations of the Vanity and Falsity of All the Religions of the World[44]) rejects the concept of god (both in the Christian and also in the Deistic sense), the soul, miracles and the discipline of theology.[45] Philosopher Michel Onfray states that Meslier’s work marks the beginning of “the history of true atheism”.[45]

By the 1770s, atheism in some predominantly Christian countries was ceasing to be a dangerous accusation that required denial, and was evolving into a position openly avowed by some. The first open denial of the existence of God and avowal of atheism since classical times may be that of Baron d’Holbach (17231789) in his 1770 work, The System of Nature. D’Holbach was a Parisian social figure who conducted a famous salon widely attended by many intellectual notables of the day, including Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Benjamin Franklin. Nevertheless, his book was published under a pseudonym, and was banned and publicly burned by the Executioner.[citation needed] Diderot, one of the Enlightenment’s most prominent philosophes, and editor-in-chief of the Encyclopdie, which sought to challenge religious, particularly Catholic, dogma said, “Reason is to the estimation of the philosophe what grace is to the Christian”, he wrote. “Grace determines the Christian’s action; reason the philosophe’s”.[46] Diderot was briefly imprisoned for his writing, some of which was banned and burned.[citation needed]

In Scotland, David Hume produced a six volume history of England in 1754, which gave little attention to God. He implied that if God existed he was impotent in the face of European upheaval. Hume ridiculed miracles, but walked a careful line so as to avoid being too dismissive of Christianity. With Hume’s presence, Edinburgh gained a reputation as a “haven of atheism”, alarming many ordinary Britons.[47]

The culte de la Raison developed during the uncertain period 179294 (Years I and III of the Revolution), following the September Massacres, when Revolutionary France was ripe with fears of internal and foreign enemies. Several Parisian churches were transformed into Temples of Reason, notably the Church of Saint-Paul Saint-Louis in the Marais. The churches were closed in May 1793 and more securely, 24 November 1793, when the Catholic Mass was forbidden.

Blainey wrote that “atheism seized the pedestal in revolutionary France in the 1790s. The secular symbols replaced the cross. In the cathedral of Notre Dame the altar, the holy place, was converted into a monument to Reason…” During the Terror of 1792-93, France’s Christian calendar was abolished, monasteries, convents and church properties were seized and monks and nuns expelled. Historic churches were dismantled.[48] The Cult of Reason was a creed based on atheism devised during the French Revolution by Jacques Hbert, Pierre Gaspard Chaumette, and their supporters. It was stopped by Maximilien Robespierre, a Deist, who instituted the Cult of the Supreme Being.[49] Both cults were the outcome of the “de-Christianization” of French society during the Revolution and part of the Reign of Terror.

The Cult of Reason was celebrated in a carnival atmosphere of parades, ransacking of churches, ceremonious iconoclasm, in which religious and royal images were defaced, and ceremonies which substituted the “martyrs of the Revolution” for Christian martyrs. The earliest public demonstrations took place en province, outside Paris, notably by Hbertists in Lyon, but took a further radical turn with the Fte de la Libert (“Festival of Liberty”) at Notre Dame de Paris, 10 November (20 Brumaire) 1793, in ceremonies devised and organised by Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette.

The pamphlet Answer to Dr. Priestley’s Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever (1782) is considered to be the first published declaration of atheism in Britain plausibly the first in English (as distinct from covert or cryptically atheist works). The otherwise unknown ‘William Hammon’ (possibly a pseudonym) signed the preface and postscript as editor of the work, and the anonymous main text is attributed to Matthew Turner (d. 1788?), a Liverpool physician who may have known Priestley. Historian of atheism David Berman has argued strongly for Turner’s authorship, but also suggested that there may have been two authors.[50]

The French Revolution of 1789 catapulted atheistic thought into political notability in some Western countries, and opened the way for the nineteenth century movements of Rationalism, Freethought, and Liberalism. Born in 1792, Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a child of the Age of Enlightenment, was expelled from England’s Oxford University in 1811 for submitting to the Dean an anonymous pamphlet that he wrote entitled, The Necessity of Atheism. This pamphlet is considered by scholars as the first atheistic ideas published in the English language. An early atheistic influence in Germany was The Essence of Christianity by Ludwig Feuerbach (18041872). He influenced other German nineteenth century atheistic thinkers like Karl Marx, Max Stirner, Arthur Schopenhauer (17881860), and Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900).

The freethinker Charles Bradlaugh (18331891) was repeatedly elected to the British Parliament, but was not allowed to take his seat after his request to affirm rather than take the religious oath was turned down (he then offered to take the oath, but this too was denied him). After Bradlaugh was re-elected for the fourth time, a new Speaker allowed Bradlaugh to take the oath and permitted no objections.[51] He became the first outspoken atheist to sit in Parliament, where he participated in amending the Oaths Act.[52]

In 1844, Karl Marx (18181883), an atheistic political economist, wrote in his Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Marx believed that people turn to religion in order to dull the pain caused by the reality of social situations; that is, Marx suggests religion is an attempt at transcending the material state of affairs in a society the pain of class oppression by effectively creating a dream world, rendering the religious believer amenable to social control and exploitation in this world while they hope for relief and justice in life after death. In the same essay, Marx states, “…[m]an creates religion, religion does not create man…”[53]

Friedrich Nietzsche, a prominent nineteenth century philosopher, is well known for coining the aphorism “God is dead” (German: “Gott ist tot”); incidentally the phrase was not spoken by Nietzsche directly, but was used as a dialogue for the characters in his works. Nietzsche argued that Christian theism as a belief system had been a moral foundation of the Western world, and that the rejection and collapse of this foundation as a result of modern thinking (the death of God) would naturally cause a rise in nihilism or the lack of values. While Nietzsche was staunchly atheistic, he was also concerned about the negative effects of nihilism on humanity. As such, he called for a re-evaluation of old values and a creation of new ones, hoping that in doing so humans would achieve a higher state he labeled the Overman.

Atheist feminism also began in the nineteenth century. Atheist feminism is a movement that advocates feminism within atheism.[54] Atheist feminists also oppose religion as a main source of female oppression and inequality, believing that the majority of the religions are sexist and oppressive to women.[55]

Atheism in the twentieth century found recognition in a wide variety of other, broader philosophies in the Western tradition, such as existentialism, Objectivism,[56]secular humanism, nihilism, logical positivism, Marxism, anarchism, feminism,[57] and the general scientific and rationalist movement. Neopositivism and analytical philosophy discarded classical rationalism and metaphysics in favor of strict empiricism and epistemological nominalism. Proponents such as Bertrand Russell emphatically rejected belief in God. In his early work, Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to separate metaphysical and supernatural language from rational discourse. H. L. Mencken sought to debunk both the idea that science and religion are compatible, and the idea that science is a dogmatic belief system just like any religion.[58]

A. J. Ayer asserted the unverifiability and meaninglessness of religious statements, citing his adherence to the empirical sciences. The structuralism of Lvi-Strauss sourced religious language to the human subconscious, denying its transcendental meaning. J. N. Findlay and J. J. C. Smart argued that the existence of God is not logically necessary. Naturalists and materialists such as John Dewey considered the natural world to be the basis of everything, denying the existence of God or immortality.[59][60]

The historian Geoffrey Blainey wrote that during the twentieth century, atheists in Western societies became more active and even militant, though they often “relied essentially on arguments used by numerous radical Christians since at least the eighteenth century”. They rejected the idea of an interventionist God, and said that Christianity promoted war and violence, though “the most ruthless leaders in the Second World War were atheists and secularists who were intensely hostile to both Judaism and Christianity” and “Later massive atrocities were committed in the East by those ardent atheists, Pol Pot and Mao Zedong”. Some scientists were meanwhile articulating a view that as the world becomes more educated, religion will be superseded.[61]

Often, the state’s opposition to religion took more violent forms; Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn documents widespread persecution, imprisonments and torture of believers, in his seminal work The Gulag Archipelago. Consequently, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, were among the most stringent opponents of communist regimes. In some cases, the initial strict measures of control and opposition to religious activity were gradually relaxed in communist states. Pope Pius XI followed his encyclicals challenging the new right-wing creeds of Italian Fascism, (Non abbiamo bisogno 1931); and Nazism (Mit brennender Sorge, 1937); with a denunciation of atheist Communism in Divini redemptoris (1937).[62]

The Russian Orthodox Church, for centuries the strongest of all Orthodox Churches, was suppressed by Russia’s atheists.[63] In 1922, the Soviet regime arrested the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.[64] The Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin energetically pursued the persecution of the Church through the 1920s and 1930s. Lenin wrote that every religious idea and every idea of God “is unutterable vileness… of the most dangerous kind, ‘contagion of the most abominable kind”.[65] Many priests were killed and imprisoned. Thousands of churches were closed, some turned into hospitals. In 1925 the government founded the League of Militant Atheists to intensify the persecution. The regime only relented in its persecution following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.[63] Bullock wrote that “A Marxist regime was ‘godless’ by definition, and Stalin had mocked religious belief since his days in the Tiflis seminary”. His assault on the Russian peasantry, wrote Bullock, “had been as much an attack on their traditional religion as on their individual holdings, and the defence of it had played a major part in arousing peasant resistance… “.[66] In Divini Redemptoris, Pius XI said that atheistic Communism being led by Moscow was aimed at “upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization”:[67]

The central figure in Italian Fascism was the atheist Benito Mussolini.[68] In his early career, Mussolini was a strident opponent of the Church, and the first Fascist programme, written in 1919, had called for the secularization of Church property in Italy.[69] More pragmatic than his German ally Adolf Hitler, Mussolini later moderated his stance, and in office, permitted the teaching of religion in schools and came to terms with the Papacy in the Lateran Treaty.[68] Nevertheless, Non abbiamo bisogno condemned his Fascist movement’s “pagan worship of the State” and “revolution which snatches the young from the Church and from Jesus Christ, and which inculcates in its own young people hatred, violence and irreverence.”[70]

As noted by Steigmann-Gall, in October 1928 Hitler had publicly declared: “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity … in fact our movement is Christian.”[71] In contrast to that, Richard J. Evans wrote that “Hitler emphasised again and again his belief that Nazism was a secular ideology founded on modern science. Science, he declared, would easily destroy the last remaining vestiges of superstition [-] ‘In the long run’, [Hitler] concluded in July 1941, ‘National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together’ […] The ideal solution would be to leave the religions to devour themselves, without persecutions.’ “[72][73] On Steigmann-Gall’s research, Evans says, “Far from being uniformly anti-Christian, Nazism contained a wide variety of religious beliefs, and Steigmann-Gall has performed a valuable service in providing a meticulously documented account of them in all their bizarre variety.”[71]

The majority of Nazis did not leave their churches. Evans wrote that, by 1939, 95% of Germans still called themselves Protestant or Catholic, while 3.5% were gottglubig and 1.5% atheist. Most in these latter categories were “convinced Nazis who had left their Church at the behest of the Party, which had been trying since the mid 1930s to reduce the influence of Christianity in society”.[74] The majority of the three million Nazi Party members continued to pay their church taxes and register as either Roman Catholic or Evangelical Protestant Christians.[75] “Gottglubig” (lit. “believers in god”) were a non-denominational nazified outlook on god beliefs, often described as predominantly based on creationist and deistic views.[76]Heinrich Himmler, who himself was fascinated with Germanic paganism[citation needed], was a strong promoter of the gottglubig movement and didn’t allow atheists into the SS, arguing that their “refusal to acknowledge higher powers” would be a “potential source of indiscipline”.[77]

Across Eastern Europe following World War Two, the parts of the Nazi Empire conquered by the Soviet Red Army, and Yugsolavia became one party Communist states, which, like the Soviet Union, were antipathetic to religion. Persecutions of religious leaders followed.[78][79] The Soviet Union ended its truce against the Russian Orthodox Church, and extended its persecutions to the newly Communist Eastern block: “In Poland, Hungary, Lithuania and other Eastern European countries, Catholic leaders who were unwilling to be silent were denounced, publicly humiliated or imprisoned by the Communists. Leaders of the national Orthodox Churches in Romania and Bulgaria had to be cautious and submissive”, wrote Blainey.[63] While the churches were generally not as severely treated at they had been in the USSR, nearly all their schools and many of their churches were closed, and they lost their formally prominent roles in public life. Children were taught atheism, and clergy were imprisoned by the thousands.[80]

Albania under Enver Hoxha became, in 1967, the first (and to date only) formally declared atheist state,[81] going far beyond what most other countries had attempted completely prohibiting religious observance, and systematically repressing and persecuting adherents. The right to religious practice was restored in the fall of communism in 1991.

Further post-war communist victories in the East saw religion purged by atheist regimes across China, North Korea and much of Indo-China.[80] In 1949, China became a Communist state under the leadership of Mao Zedong’s Communist Party of China. China itself had been a cradle of religious thought since ancient times, being the birthplace of Confucianism and Daoism, and Buddhists having arrived in the first century AD. Under Mao, China became officially atheist, and though some religious practices were permitted to continue under State supervision, religious groups deemed a threat to order have been suppressed – as with Tibetan Buddhism from 1959 and Falun Gong in recent years. Today around two-fifths of the population claim to be nonreligious or atheist.[82] Religious schools and social institutions were closed, foreign missionaries expelled, and local religious practices discouraged.[80] During the Cultural Revolution, Mao instigated “struggles” against the Four Olds: “old ideas, customs, culture, and habits of mind”.[83] In 1999, the Communist Party launched a three-year drive to promote atheism in Tibet, saying intensifying propaganda on atheism is “especially important for Tibet because atheism plays an extremely important role in promoting economic construction, social advancement and socialist spiritual civilization in the region”.[84]

In India, E. V. Ramasami Naicker (Periyar), a prominent atheist leader, fought against Hinduism and the Brahmins for discriminating and dividing people in the name of caste and religion.[85] This was highlighted in 1956 when he made the Hindu god Rama wear a garland made of slippers and made antitheistic statements.[86]

During this period, Christianity in the United States retained its popular appeal, and, wrote Blainey, the country “was the guardian, militarily of the “free world” and the defender of its religion in the face of militant communism”.[87] During the Cold War, wrote Thomas Aiello the United States often characterized its opponents as “godless communists”, which tended to reinforce the view that atheists were unreliable and unpatriotic.[88] Against this background, the words “under God” were inserted into the pledge of allegiance in 1954,[89] and the national motto was changed from E Pluribus Unum to In God We Trust in 1956. However, there were some prominent atheist activists active at this time. Atheist Vashti McCollum was the plaintiff in a landmark 1948 Supreme Court case (McCollum v. Board of Education) that struck down religious education in U.S. public schools.[90][91]Madalyn Murray O’Hair was perhaps one of the most influential American atheists; she brought forth the 1963 Supreme Court case Murray v. Curlett which banned compulsory prayer in public schools.[92] Also in 1963 she founded American Atheists, an organization dedicated to defending the civil liberties of atheists and advocating for the complete separation of church and state.[93][94]

The early twenty-first century has continued to see secularism and atheism promoted in the Western world, with the general consensus being that the number of people not affiliated with any particular religion has increased.[95][96] This has been assisted by non-profit organizations such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation in the United States (co-founded by Anne Nicol Gaylor and her daughter, Annie Laurie Gaylor, in 1976 and incorporated nationally in 1978, it promotes the separation of church and state[97][98]), and the Brights movement, which aims to promote public understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview.[99] In addition, a large number of accessible antitheist and secularist books, many of which have become bestsellers, have been published by authors such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Victor J. Stenger.[100][101] This period has seen the rise of the New Atheism movement, a label that has been applied, sometimes pejoratively, to outspoken critics of theism.[102] Richard Dawkins also propounds a more visible form of atheist activism which he light-heartedly describes as ‘militant atheism’.[103]

Atheist feminism has also become more prominent in the 2010s. In 2012 the first “Women in Secularism” conference was held.[104] Also, Secular Woman was founded on June 28, 2012 as the first national American organization focused on nonreligious women. The mission of Secular Woman is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women. The atheist feminist movement has also become increasingly focused on fighting sexism and sexual harassment within the atheist movement itself.

In 2013 the first atheist monument on American government property was unveiled at the Bradford County Courthouse in Florida; it is a 1,500-pound granite bench and plinth inscribed with quotes by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Madalyn Murray O’Hair.[105][106]

In 2015, Madison, Wisconsin’s common council amended their city’s equal opportunity ordinance, adding atheism as a protected class in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations.[107] This makes Madison the first city in America to pass an ordinance protecting atheists.[107]

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Rationalism (international relations) – Wikipedia, the …

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Jan 182016
 

Rationalism in politics is often seen as the midpoint in the three major political viewpoints of realism, rationalism, and internationalism. Whereas Realism and Internationalism are both on ends of the scale, rationalism tends to occupy the middle ground on most issues, and finds compromise between these two conflicting points of view.

Believers of Rationalism believe that multinational and multilateral organizations have their place in the world order, but not that a world government would be feasible. They point to current international organizations, most notably the United Nations, and point out that these organizations leave a lot to be desired and, in some cases, do more harm than good. They believe that this can be achieved through greater international law making procedures and that the use of force can be avoided in resolving disputes.[1]

Rationalists tend to see the rule of law and order as being equally important to states as it helps reduce conflicts. This in turn helps states become more willing to negotiate treaties and agreements where it best suits their interests. However, they see it as wrong for a nation to promote its own national interests, reminiscent of Internationalism, but that there is already a high level of order in the international system without a world government.[1]

Rationalists believe that states have a right to sovereignty, particularly over territory, but that this sovereignty can be violated in exceptional circumstances, such as human rights violations.

In situations such as that of Burma after Cyclone Nargis, rationalists find it acceptable for other states to violate that country’s sovereignty in order to help its people. This would be where an organisation such as the United Nations would come in and decide whether the situation is exceptional enough to warrant a violation of that state’s sovereignty.[1]

Realists believe that states act independently of each other and that states’ sovereignty is effectively sacred. Rationalists agree to a certain extent. However, as stated previously, rationalism includes sovereignty as a vital factor, but not as untouchable and ‘sacred’.

Realists also hold the Treaty of Westphalia and the international system that arose from this as the international system that prevails to this day. Rationalists acknowledge that the treaty has played an important part in shaping international relations and the world order and that certain aspects, such as sovereignty, still exist and play a vital role, but not that it has survived in its entirety. They believe that through the existence of international organisations, such as the European Union and the United Nations, the international system is less anarchic than Realists claim.[2]

Internationalists believe in a world order where an effective world government would govern the world, that sovereignty is an outdated concept and barrier to creating peace, the need for a common humanity and the need for cooperative solutions. Rationalists adhere to these beliefs to some extent. For example, with regards to the need for a common humanity and cooperative solutions, rationalists see this as being achieved without the need to abolish sovereignty and the Westphalian concept of the nation-state. The current system is seen as the example of this, as nation-states still hold their sovereignty and yet international organisations exist that potentially have the power to violate it, for the need to create peace, law and order.[1]

It is believed that the proposals for reform of the United Nations come from rationalist thoughts and points of view. This belief is held because most members of the UN agree that the UN requires reform, in the way of expanding or abolishing the Security Council and granting it more powers to violate sovereignty if necessary.[1]

Some figures who consider themselves as ‘rationalist’ include:

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U.S. National Security Agency News – The New York Times

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Jan 142016
 

National Security Agency has found way to replace program that collected Americans’ emails in bulk; it continues to analyze social links revealed by American’s email patterns, but without collecting Internet metadata within United States, and with less oversight by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. MORE

Judge Richard J Leon of United States District Court for District of Columbia orders National Security Agency to stop collecting records for an individual Verizon customer, just weeks before program is scheduled to be shut down and replaced; says program is most likely unconstitutional. MORE

European Parliament issues strongest support yet for Edward J Snowden, recognizing him as ‘whistle-blower and international human rights defender’; designation is non-binding and while former National Security Agency contractor is currently in Russia, no countries in Europe have offered Snowden permanent asylum to date. MORE

Federal appeals court allows National Security Agency bulk phone records program to continue until it will end as decreed by bill passed by Congress, thereby avoiding definitive ruling on whether program is violation of Fourth Amendment’s constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. MORE

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden opens Twitter account, garnering more than 160,000 followers in single hour; opening Tweet contains joke about NSA phone surveillance. MORE

Newly declassified report on NSA surveillance program under Pres George W Bush contextualizes clash in 2004 between Bush and his attorney general, who was hospitalized at time, over program’s scope and legality; bedside debate led to president retroactively authorizing collection of domestic phone records, which have since been deemed illegal. MORE

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rules NSA may continue collecting phone records of millions of Americans until new law set to ban practice goes into effect in late November 2015. MORE

Documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden reveal that AT&T’s collaboration with agency on Internet spying operations was far more extensive than that of other telecommunications companies; unique and especially productive partnership provided NSA with billions of emails as well as assistance in wiretapping of all Internet communications at United Nations headquarters. MORE

Release of 350 page document from 2010 sheds light on surveillance program established by Bush administration to counteract terrorism after September 11; call records of millions of Americans obtained by National Security Agency under secret interpretation of provision in Patriot Act was deemed illegal by appeals court ruling in early May. MORE

Obama administration announces that National Security Agency will no longer be permitted to keep old phone records used to analyze links between callers in search of terrorism suspects after Nov 29, 2015. MORE

National Security Agency sponsors dozens of free overnight and day camps around country that aim at introducing middle- and high-school-age students to cyber-security tools and techniques; camps are part of effort to reach out to potential recruits for next generation’s cybersecurity workforce. MORE

American Civil Liberties Union asks federal appeals court to shut down part of National Security Agency program that collects American phone records in bulk, move that may set up conflict between regular court system and secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. MORE

WikiLeaks releases American intelligence document containing telephone numbers of high-ranking German government officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkels top aides and senior figures from previous administrations; document, dating back to 1990s, adds to controversy surrounding United States intelligence service practices. MORE

Newly leaked material by Wikileaks revisits question of when and how much spying National Security Agency did on German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel; files also cover discussions about Germany’s position on Greek debt crisis. MORE

Embattled Brazilian Pres Dilma Rousseff plays down concerns about 2013 spying scandal during White House visit, saying she has accepted Pres Obama’s pledge that National Security Agency’s wiretapping has ended; Rousseff’s visit seems focused on courting American investment as she grapples with tanking economy at home. MORE

American Civil Liberties Union says it will ask United States Court of Appeals for Second Circuit to issue injunction to halt once-secret National Security Agency program in which records of domestic phone calls were collected in bulk; NSA was given go-ahead to resume program by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and ACLU request may pit two courts against one another. MORE

Mattathias Schwartz First Words column contends word ‘relevant,’ when used by National Security Agency, expands to include all information gathered in bulk collection of phone records; says use of word allows spying on citizens with impunity, since no information is irrelevant. MORE

French government reacts with modulated response to information published by WikiLeaks and media groups that United States’ National Security Agency spied on French presidents and other senior officials from 2016 to 2012. MORE

British intelligence documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden to The Guardian news media describe American drone strikes that killed Khadim Usamah, along with other such airstrikes and counter-terrorism efforts; documents raise possibility British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters aided American targeted strikes. MORE

WikiLeaks releases documents saying United States National Security Agency eavesdropped on last three French presidents, Francoise Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. MORE

Harald Range, Germany’s federal prosecutor, announces that he has dropped formal investigation of accusations that National Security Agency eavesdropped on cellphone owned by Chancellor Angela Merkel, citing lack of evidence. MORE

Classifed National Security Agency documents provided by Edward J Snowden indicate Obama administration, sans public notice, has expanded agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international internet traffic to hunt for evidence of malicious computer hacking; disclosures come at time of pernicious cyberattacks, but also of increased scrutiny of legal rights for more government surveillance. MORE

Op-Ed article by Edward J Snowden expresses satisfaction that two years after he revealed extent of National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens, there is now wide consensus that such activities were illegal and many of them have been stopped; warns that while progress has made, right to privacy is still under threat. MORE

News Analysis; Pres Obama’s revision of National Security Agency’s phone record collection program seeks to tailor program to his own competing aims of addressing privacy concerns while preserving means of monitoring terrorist activity; in so doing, Obama has solidified his ownership of controversial program begun by predecessor George W Bush. MORE

Senate passes bill scaling back federal government’s extensive surveillance of American phone records, and Pres Obama signs it; legislation signifies significant overhaul of national security policy formed after 9-11 terrorist attacks, and is rebuke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who fought forcefully against lessening government surveillance powers. MORE

Sen Rand Paul’s libertarian stance on national security issues, including his rather lonely fight against National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens, has endeared him to supporters of his father Ron Paul during former congressman’s past presidential bids; many of the elder Paul’s backers have been slow to warm to Sen Rand Paul, questioning his commitment to his father’s ultra libertarian ideals. MORE

Obama administration is pressing Senate not to substantially alter House-passed USA Freedom Act, given that authorizations for National Security Agency have lapsed and any changes to bill’s provisions would necessarily entail lengthy negotiations that could delay agency’s reinstatement. MORE

Congressional Memo; Sen Mitch McConnell, after losing battle to extend National Security Agency programs, is being forced to embrace a House-passed NSA overhaul that he fears will weaken national security. MORE

News Analysis; interviews with intelligence experts suggest that there are several available workarounds as National Security Agency grapples with temporary expiration of Patriot Act provisions that allowed it to gather phone records en masse; key aspect is ‘grandfather clause’ that maintains powers for any investigation that was begun before June 1, 2015; records can also be obtained by grand jury subpoena if necessary. MORE

Provisions of Patriot Act allowing government to amass phone records temporarily expires following caustic Senate session in which Sen Rand Paul blocked extension; revised edition of law, which will curtail some bulk data collection by National Security Agency, is likely to pass in coming week; developments reflect profound shift in American attitudes toward data collection since days following Sept 11 attacks. MORE

Republican Sen Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has been shunned and mocked by colleagues in his party, succeeds in temporarily blocking vote on renewal of section of Patriot Act that gives broad surveillance authority to National Security Agency. MORE

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Obama administration is examining how expiration of three counterterrorism laws allowing government to collect telephone and other data will affect future of effort, even as bulk collection of phone records winds down; at issue is treatment of phone records already collected by government and investigations already under way; Senate remains divided on whether to continue or replace National Security Agency’s phone records program. MORE

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Former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden, facing espionage charges in United States and living in exile in Russia, is speaking by video to audiences worldwide and gaining victories both in Congress and federal court; has no apparent prospect of leaving Russia soon, as prosecutors show no inclination to offer him acceptable plea bargain. MORE

News Analysis; House vote to end and replace National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records is striking because open debate about cost of national security has been rare in 14 years since Sept 11 attacks; highlights question of where to draw line between advantages of secrecy and demands for openness in shadow of war on terror that shows no sign of abating. MORE

House of Representatives approves, 338 to 88, bill to halt National Security Agency’s collection of data related to Americans’ phone records under Patriot Act; vote places high pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring Senate, which is more divided on issue, into line with House ahead of June 1 deadline. MORE

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United States Court of Appeals rules National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ bulk phone records is illegal; three judges say Patriot Act does not cover domestic calling records; provision is set expire June 1, and ruling is liable to ratchet up Congressional tension. MORE

Editorial applauds ruling by three-judge federal appeals panel, which determined National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ phone records is illegal; holds decision is just in time as Congress is now in debate over reauthorizing section of Patriot Act that allows government to sweep records of those suspected of involvement in terrorist acts. MORE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel finds herself in midst of domestic controversy over depth and extent of country’s role in European spying; 2002 agreement on intelligence sharing between Germany and United States is under duress after reports that German intelligence agency BND indulged in spying on corporations and individuals at behest of National Security Agency. MORE

Germany’s foreign intelligence service, knows as BND, is being accused of spying on European companies, and possibly individuals; reports say monitoring was done at request of National Security Agency, which BND denies. MORE

News Analysis; proposal to limit bulk collection of domestic telephone data, centerpiece of legislation advancing in Congress, is meeting little opposition from National Security Agency itself; lack of pushback from the agency underscores just how dubious insiders were about the program from the start. MORE

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U.S. National Security Agency News – The New York Times

Regenerative Medicine Conferences | Europe | Worldwide …

 Regenerative Medicine  Comments Off on Regenerative Medicine Conferences | Europe | Worldwide …
Dec 172015
 

The 5th International Conference on Tissue Science & Regenerative Medicine which is going to be held during September 12-14, 2016 at Berlin, Germany will bring together world-class personalities working on stem cells, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to discuss materials-related strategies for disease remediation and tissue repair.

Tissue Regeneration

In the field of biology, regeneration is the progression of renewal, regeneration and growth that makes it possible for genomes, cells, organ regeneration to natural changes or events that cause damage or disturbance.This study is carried out as craniofacial tissue engineering, in-situ tissue regeneration, adipose-derived stem cells for regenerative medicine which is also a breakthrough in cell culture technology. The study is not stopped with the regeneration of tissue where it is further carried out in relation with cell signaling, morphogenetic proteins. Most of the neurological disorders occurred accidental having a scope of recovery by replacement or repair of intervertebral discs repair, spinal fusion and many more advancements. The global market for tissue engineering and regeneration products such as scaffolds, tissue implants, biomimetic materials reached $55.9 billion in 2010 and it is expected to reach $89.7 billion by 2016 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4%. It grows to $135 billion by 2024.

Related Conferences

International Conference on Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy July 28-30, 2016 Melbourne, Australia; International Conference on Molecular Biology October 13-15, 2016 Dubai, UAE; 5th International Conference on Tissue Science and Regenerative Medicine September 12-14, 2016 Berlin, Germany; 6th World Congress on Cell & Stem Cell Research February 29-March 02, 2016 Philadelphia, USA; 5th International Conference and Exhibition on Cell and Gene Therapy May 19-21, 2016 San Antonio, USA; Tissue Niches & Resident Stem Cells in Adult Epithelia Gordon Research Conference, Regulation of Tissue Homeostasis by Signaling in the Stem Cell Niche August 7-12,Hong Kong, China; 10 Years of IPSCs, Cell Symposia, September 25-27, 2016Berkeley, CA, USA; The Company of Biologists Workshops: From Stem Cells to Human Development September 25-28, 2016Southbridge, MA, USA; World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress May 18-20, 2016 London, UK; Notch Signaling in Development, Regeneration & Disease Gordon Research Conference, July 31-August 5, 2016Lewiston, ME, USA

Designs for Tissue Engineering

The developing field of tissue engineering aims to regenerate damaged tissues by combining cells from the body with bioresorbable materials, biodegradable hydrogel, biomimetic materials, nanostructures and nanomaterials, biomaterials and tissue implants which act as templates for tissue regeneration, to guide the growth of new tissue by using with the technologies. The global market for biomaterials, nanostructures and bioresorbable materials are estimated to reach $88.4 billion by 2017 from $44.0 billion in 2012 growing at a CAGR of 15%. Further the biomaterials market estimated to be worth more than 300 billion US Dollars and to be increasing 20% per year.

Related Conferences

6th World Congress on Cell & Stem Cell Research February 29-March 02, 2016 Philadelphia, USA; 5th International Conference and Exhibition on Cell and Gene Therapy May 19-21, 2016 San Antonio, USA; International Conference on Restorative Medicine October 24-26, 2016 Chicago, USA; International Conference on Molecular Biology October 13-15, 2016 Dubai, UAE; 2nd International Conference & Exhibition on Tissue preservation and Bio-banking August 18-19, 2016 Portland, USA; ISSCR 14th Annual Meeting 22-25 June, 2016San Francisco, California, USA; Keystone Cardiac Development, Regeneration and Repair (Z2) April 3 7, 2016Snowbird, Utah, USA; The Stem Cell NicheDevelopment & Disease May 22-26, 2016Hillerd, Denmark; EMBL Hematopoietic Stem Cells: From the Embryo to the Aging Organism, June 3-5, 2016Heidelberg, Germany; ISSCR Pluripotency: From basic science to therapeutic applications March 22-24, 2016 Kyoto, Japan

Organ Engineering

This interdisciplinary engineering has attracted much attention as a new therapeutic means that may overcome the drawbacks involved in the current artificial organs and organ transplantation that have been also aiming at replacing lost or severely damaged tissues or organs. Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is an exciting research area that aims at regenerative alternatives to harvested tissues for organ transplantation with soft tissues. Although significant progress has been made in the tissue engineering field, many challenges remain and further development in this area will require ongoing interactions and collaborations among the scientists from multiple disciplines, and in partnership with the regulatory and the funding agencies. As a result of the medical and market potential, there is significant academic and corporate interest in this technology.

Related Conferences

International Conference on Restorative Medicine October 24-26, 2016 Chicago, USA; 5th International Conference and Exhibition on Cell and Gene Therapy May 19-21, 2016 San Antonio, USA; 6th World Congress on Cell & Stem Cell Research February 29-March 02, 2016 Philadelphia, USA; 5th International Conference on Tissue Science and Regenerative Medicine September 12-14, 2016 Berlin, Germany;2ndInternational Conference & Exhibition on Tissue preservation and Bio-banking August 18-19, 2016 Portland, USA;Phacilitate Cell & Gene Therapy WorldJanuary 25-27, 2016Washington D.C., USA;ISSCR Stem Cell Models of Neural Degeneration and DiseaseFebruary 1-3, 2016Dresden, Germany;Craniofacial Morphogenesis & Tissue RegenerationMarch 12-18, 2016California, USA;Keystone Stem Cells and Cancer (C1)March 6-10,Colorado, USA;Keystone Stem Cells and Regeneration in the Digestive Organs (X6)March 13 17Colorado, USA

CancerStem Cells

The characterization of cancer stem cell is done by identifying the cell within a tumor that possesses the capacity to self-renew and to cause the heterogeneous lineages of cancer cells that comprise the tumor. This stem cell which acts as precursor for the cancer acts as a tool against it indulging the reconstruction of cancer stem cells, implies as the therapeutic implications and challenging the gaps globally. The global stem cell market will grow from about $5.6 billion in 2013 to nearly $10.6 billion in 2018, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6% from 2013 through 2018. The Americas is the largest region of global stem cell market, with a market share of about $2.0 billion in 2013. The region is projected to increase to nearly $3.9 billion by 2018, with a CAGR of 13.9% for the period of 2013 to 2018. Europe is the second largest segment of the global stem cell market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.4% reaching about $2.4 billion by 2018 from nearly $1.4 billion in 2013.

Related Conferences

6th World Congress on Cell & Stem Cell Research February 29-March 02, 2016 Philadelphia, USA; 5th International Conference and Exhibition on Cell and Gene Therapy May 19-21, 2016 San Antonio, USA; International Conference on Molecular Biology October 13-15, 2016 Dubai, UAE; 5th International Conference on Tissue Science and Regenerative Medicine September 12-14, 2016 Berlin, Germany;2ndInternational Conference & Exhibition on Tissue preservation and Bio-banking August 18-19, 2016 Portland, USA; Molecular and Cellular Basis of Growth and Regeneration (A3) January 10 14, 2016Colorado, USA; Phacilitate Cell & Gene Therapy World January 25-27, 2016Washington D.C., USA; ISSCR Stem Cell Models of Neural Degeneration and Disease March 13 17, 2016Dresden, Germany; Craniofacial Morphogenesis & Tissue Regeneration March 12-18, 2016California, USA; World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress May 18-20, 2016 London, UK

Bone Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering of musculoskeletal tissues, particularly bone and cartilage, is a rapidly advancing field. In bone, technology has centered on bone graft substitute materials and the development of biodegradable scaffolds. Recently, tissue engineering strategies have included cell and gene therapy. The availability of growth factors and the expanding knowledge base concerning the bone regeneration with modern techniques like recombinant signaling molecules, solid free form fabrication of scaffolds, synthetic cartilage, Electrochemical deposition, spinal fusion and ossification are new generated techniques for tissue-engineering applications. The worldwide market for bone and cartilage repairs strategies is estimated about $300 million. During the last 10/15 years, the scientific community witnessed and reported the appearance of several sources of stem cells with both osteo and chondrogenic potential.

Related Conferences

5th International Conference on Tissue Science and Regenerative Medicine September 12-14, 2016 Berlin, Germany; 6th World Congress on Cell & Stem Cell Research February 29-March 02, 2016 Philadelphia, USA; 3rd2nd International Conference & Exhibition on Tissue preservation and Bio-banking August 18-19, 2016 Portland, USA; 5th International Conference and Exhibition on Cell and Gene Therapy May 19-21, 2016 San Antonio, USA; International Conference on Restorative Medicine October 24-26, 2016 Chicago, USA;10th World Biomaterials Congress May 17-22, 2016 Quebec, Canada;2016 TERMIS-EU Conference June 28- July1, 2016 Uppsala, Sweden; 2016 TERMIS-AP Conference Tamsui Town of New Taipei CityMay 23-28, 2016;2016 TERMIS-AM Conference September 3-6, 2016, San Diego, USA; Pluripotency: From basic science to therapeutic applications 22-24 March 2016 Kyoto, Japan

Scaffolds

Scaffolds are one of the three most important elements constituting the basic concept of regenerative medicine, and are included in the core technology of regenerative medicine. Every day thousands of surgical procedures are performed to replace or repair tissue that has been damaged through disease or trauma. The developing field of tissue engineering (TE) aims to regenerate damaged tissues by combining cells from the body with highly porous scaffold biomaterials, which act as templates for tissue regeneration, to guide the growth of new tissue. Scaffolds has a prominent role in tissue regeneration the designs, fabrication, 3D models, surface ligands and molecular architecture, nanoparticle-cell interactions and porous of the scaffolds are been used in the field in attempts to regenerate different tissues and organs in the body. The world stem cell market was approximately 2.715 billion dollars in 2010, and with a growth rate of 16.8% annually, a market of 6.877 billion dollars will be formed in 2016. From 2017, the expected annual growth rate is 10.6%, which would expand the market to 11.38 billion dollars by 2021.

Related Conferences

4th International Congress on Bacteriology and Infectious Diseases May 16-18, 2016 San Antonio, USA; 2nd World Congress and Expo on Applied Microbiology October 31-November 02, 2016 Istanbul, Turkey; International Conference on Infectious Diseases & Diagnostic Microbiology Oct 3-5, 2016 Vancouver, Canada; International Conference on Water Microbiology & Novel Technologies July 18-20, 2016 Chicago, USA; 5th International Conference on Clinical Microbiology and Microbial Genomics October 24-26, 2016 Rome, Italy; Annual Meeting of the German Society for Gene Therapy 12 – 13 March 2015 Vienna, Austria; International Bone-Tissue-Engineering Congress 8 – 10 October 2015. Stuttgart, Germany; Till & McCulloch Meetings October 26-28, 2015 Toronto, Canada; 9th International Symposium on Neuroprotection and Neurorepair April 19 to April 22, 2016 Magdeburg, Germany; Craniofacial Morphogenesis & Tissue Regeneration March 12-18, 2016California, USA

Tissue Regeneration Technologies

Guided tissue regeneration is defined as procedures attempting to regenerate lost periodontal structures through differential tissue responses. Guided bone regeneration typically refers to ridge augmentation or bone regenerative procedures it typically refers to regeneration of periodontal therapy. The recent advancements and innovations in biomedical and regenerative tissue engineering techniques include the novel approach of guided tissue regeneration and combination of nanotechnology and regenerative medicine.

Related Conferences

3rd International Conference on Gynecology & Obstetrics October 17-19, 2016 Dubai, UAE; 5th International Conference on Tissue Science and Regenerative Medicine September 12-14, 2016 Berlin, Germany; 6th World Congress on Cell & Stem Cell Research February 29-March 02, 2016 Philadelphia, USA; 2nd International Conference & Exhibition on Tissue preservation and Bio-banking August 18-19, 2016 Portland, USA; International Conference on Restorative Medicine October 24-26, 2016 Chicago; 2016 Annual Convention & Exposition June 6-9, 2016 Philadelphia, USA;3rd International Conference on BioTribology – ICoBT 2016 September 11-14, 2016 London, UK; International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy – ISET February 6-10, 2016Florida, USA; International Bone Tissue Engineering Congress October 810 , 2015Stuttgart, Germany

Regeneration and Therapeutics

Regenerative medicinecan be defined as a therapeutic intervention which replaces or regenerates human cells, tissues or organs, to restore or establish normal function and deploys small molecule drugs, biologics, medical devices and cell-based therapies. It deals with the different therapeutic uses like stem cells for tissue repair, tissue injury and healing process, cardiac stem cell therapy for regeneration, functional regenerative recovery, effects of aging on tissue repair/regeneration, corneal regeneration & degeneration. The global market is expected to reach $25.5 billion by 2011 and will further grow to $36.1 billion by 2016 at a CAGR of 7.2%. It is expected to reach $65 billion mark by 2024.

Related Conferences

World Congress on Human Genetics October 31- November 02, 2016 Valencia, Spain; 5th International Conference on Tissue Science and Regenerative Medicine September 12-14, 2016 Berlin, Germany; 2nd International Conference & Exhibition on Tissue preservation and Bio-banking August 18-19, 2016 Portland, USA; European Conference on Genomics and Personalized Medicine April 25-27, 2016 Valencia, Spain; 4th International Conference on Plant Genomics July 14-15, 2016 Brisbane, Australia; World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress May 18-20, 2016 London, UK; 18th International Conference on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Applications May 12 – 13, 2016 Amsterdam, Netherlands; 18th International Conference on Bone, Muscle and Joint Diseases February 25 – 26, 2016 London, UK; 2nd Conference on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine March 18 to 20, 2016 Los Angeles, USA;

Regenerative medicine

Regenerative medicine is a branch of translational research in tissue engineering and molecular biology which deals with the process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function. The latest developments involve advances in cell and gene therapy and stem cell research, molecular therapy, dental and craniofacial regeneration. Regenerative medicines have the unique ability to repair, replace and regenerate tissues and organs, affected due to some injury, disease or due to natural aging process. These medicines are capable of restoring the functionality of cells and tissues. The global regenerative medicine market will reach $ 67.6 billion by 2020 from $16.4 billion in 2013, registering a CAGR of 23.2% during forecast period (2014 – 2020). Small molecules and biologics segment holds prominent market share in the overall regenerative medicine technology market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 18.9% during the forecast period.

Related Conferences

International Conference on Next Generation Sequencing July 21-22, 2016 Berlin, Germany; 5th International Conference on Computational Systems Biology August 22-23, 2016 Philadelphia, USA; 7th International Conference on Bioinformatics October 27-28, 2016 Chicago, USA; International Conference on Synthetic Biology September 28-30, 2015 Houston, USA; 4th International Conference on Integrative Biology July 18-20, 2016 Berlin, Germany; World Conference on Regenerative Medicine October 2123, 2015 Lepizig, Germany; World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases April 14-17 2016 Malga, Spain; Bioinspired Materials Gordon Research Conference June 5-10, 2016, Girona, Spain

Applications of Tissue Engineering

The applications of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine are innumerable as they mark the replacement of medication and organ replacement. The applications involve cell tracking and tissue imaging, cell therapy and regenerative medicine, organ harvesting, transport and transplant, the application of nanotechnology in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and bio banking. Globally the research statistics are increasing at a vast scale and many universities and companies are conducting events on the subject regenerative medicine conference like tissue implants workshops, endodontics meetings, tissue biomarkers events, tissue repair meetings, regenerative medicine conferences, tissue science conference, regenerative medicine workshop, veterinary regenerative medicine, regenerative medicine symposiums, tissue regeneration conferences, regenerative medicine congress.

Related Conferences

World Congress on Human Genetics October 31- November 02, 2016 Valencia, Spain; 5th International Conference on Tissue Science and Regenerative Medicine September 12-14, 2016 Berlin, Germany; 2nd International Conference & Exhibition on Tissue preservation and Bio-banking August 18-19, 2016 Portland, USA; European Conference on Genomics and Personalized Medicine April 25-27, 2016 Valencia, Spain; 4th International Conference on Plant Genomics July 14-15, 2016 Brisbane, Australia; Biocatalysis (GRS) Gordon Research Seminar Jul 9-10, 2016 New England, UK; World Conference on Regenerative Medicine October 2123, 2015 Lepizig, Germany; 18thInternational Conference on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Applications May 12 – 13, 2016 Amsterdam, Netherlands; International Bone-Tissue-Engineering Congress 8 – 10 October 2015. Stuttgart, Germany; Craniofacial Morphogenesis & Tissue Regeneration March 12-18, 2016California, USA.

Market Analysis in Regenerative Medicine:

There are strong pricing pressures from public healthcare payers globally as Governments try to reduce budget deficits. Regenerative medicine could potentially save public health bodies money by reducing the need for long-term care and reducing associated disorders, with potential benefits for the world economy as a whole.The global market for tissue engineering and regeneration products reached $55.9 billion in 2010, is expected to reach $59.8 billion by 2011, and will further grow to $89.7 billion by 2016 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4%. It grows to $135 billion to 2024. The contribution of the European region was 43.3% of the market in 2010, a value of $24.2 billion. The market is expected to reach $25.5 billion by 2011 and will further grow to $36.1 billion by 2016 at a CAGR of 7.2%. It grows to $65 billion to 2024.

Related Conferences

2ndInternational Conference & Exhibition on Tissue preservation andBio-bankingAugust 18-19, 2016 Portland, USA; European Conference on Genomics andPersonalized MedicineApril 25-27, 2016 Valencia, Spain;3rdInternational Conference onGynecology& Obstetrics October 17-19, 2016 Dubai, UAE; 5thInternational Conference on Tissue Science andRegenerative MedicineSeptember 12-14, 2016 Berlin, Germany; 6thWorld Congress on Cell &Stem Cell ResearchFebruary 29-March 02, 2016 Philadelphia, USA;18thInternational Conference on Bone, Muscle andJoint DiseasesFebruary 25 – 26, 2016 London, UK; 2ndConference on Tissue Engineering andRegenerative MedicineMarch 18 to 20, 2016 Los Angeles, USA;InternationalBone-Tissue-Engineering Congress 8 – 10 October 2015. Stuttgart, Germany; CraniofacialMorphogenesis& Tissue Regeneration March 12-18, 2016California, USA.

Market Analysis Report:

Tissue engineering is an interdisciplinary field that applies the principles of engineering and life sciences toward the development of biological substitutes that restore, maintain, or improve tissue function or a whole organ. Regenerative medicine is not one discipline. It can be defined as a therapeutic intervention which replaces or regenerates human cells, tissues or organs, to restore or establish normal function and deploys small molecule drugs, biologics, medical devices and cell-based therapies

Currently it has emerged as a rapidly diversifying field with the potential to address the worldwide organ shortage issue and comprises of tissue regeneration and organ replacement. Regenerative medicine could potentially save public health bodies money by reducing the need for long-term care and reducing associated disorders, with potential benefits for the world economy as a whole.The global tissue engineering and regeneration market reached $17 billion in 2013. This market is expected to grow to nearly $20.8 billion in 2014 and $56.9 billion in 2019, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.3%. On the basis of geography, Europe holds the second place in the global market in the field of regenerative medicine & tissue engineering. In Europe countries like UK, France and Germany are possessing good market shares in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Spain and Italy are the emerging market trends for tissue engineering in Europe.

Tissue engineering is “an interdisciplinary field that applies the principles of engineering and life sciences toward the development of biological substitutes that restore, maintain, or improve tissue function or a whole organ. Currently it has emerged as a rapidly diversifying field with the potential to address the worldwide organ shortage issue and comprises of tissue regeneration and organ replacement. A novel set of tissue replacement parts and implementation strategies had shown a great revolution in this field. Cells placed on or within the tissue constructs is the most common methodology in tissue engineering.

Regenerative medicine is not one discipline. It can be defined as a therapeutic intervention which replaces or regenerates human cells, tissues or organs, to restore or establish normal function and deploys small molecule drugs, biologics, medical devices and cell-based therapies

This field continues to evolve. In addition to medical applications, non-therapeutic applications include using tissues as biosensors to detect biological or chemical threat agents, and tissue chips that can be used to test the toxicity of an experimental medication. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine is the major field in Medicine, which is still under research and the advancements are maximizing day to day.

Regenerative Medicine-2015 is an engrossed a vicinity of cognizant discussions on novel subjects like Tissue Regeneration, Materials & Designs for Tissue Engineering, Stem CellTools to Battle Cancer, Bioreactors in Tissue Engineering, Regeneration & Therapeutics, Cord Blood & Regenerative Medicine and Clinical Medicine, to mention a few. The three days event implants a firm relation of upcoming strategies in the field of Tissue Science & Regenerative Medicine with the scientific community. The conceptual and applicable knowledge shared, will also foster organizational collaborations to nurture scientific accelerations.We bring together business, creative, and technology leaders from the tissue engineering, marketing, and research industry for the most current and relevant.

Berlin is one of the largest and most diverse science regions in Europe. Roughly 200,000 people from around the world teach, research, work and study here. Approximately 17 percent of all students come from abroad, most of them from China, Russia and the USA. Many cooperative programs link Berlins institutes of higher education with partner institutes around the world. Berlin is a city of science at the heart of Europe a city whose history of scientific excellence stems from its many important research institutions and its long track record of scientific breakthroughs. Berlin has numerous modern Technology Centers. Their science-oriented infrastructure makes them attractive locations for young, technology-oriented companies.

Germany places great emphasis on globally networked research cooperation. Many organizations support international researchers and academics: Today more than 32,000 are being supported with scholarships. Besides this, research funding in Germany has the goal of financing the development of new ideas and technologies. The range covers everything from basic research in natural sciences, new technologies to structural research funding at institutions of higher education. On the basis of geography, the regenerative medicine bone and joint market Europe hold the second place in the global market in the field of regenerative medicine & tissue engineering. The market growth is expected to reach $65 billion by 2024 in Europe. In Europe countries like UK, France, and Germany are possessing good market share in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Spain and Italy are the emerging market trends for tissue engineering in Europe. As per the scope and emerging market for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine Berlin has been selected as Venue for the 5th International Conference on Tissue Science and Regenerative Medicine.

Meet Your Target MarketWith members from around the world focused on learning about Advertising and marketing, this is the single best opportunity to reach the largest assemblage of participants from the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine community. The meeting engrossed a vicinity of cognizant discussions on novel subjects like Tissue Regeneration, Materials & Designs for Tissue Engineering, Stem CellTools to Battle Cancer, Bioreactors in Tissue Engineering, Regeneration & Therapeutics, Cord Blood & Regenerative Medicine and Clinical Medicine, to mention a few. The three days event implants a firm relation of upcoming strategies in the field of Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine with the scientific community. The conceptual and applicable knowledge shared, will also foster organizational collaborations to nurture scientific accelerations.Conduct demonstrations, distribute information, meet with current and potential customers, make a splash with a new product line, and receive name recognition.

International Stem Cell Forum (ISCF)

International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)

UK Medical Research Council (MRC)

Australian Stem Cell Center

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Euro Stem Cell (ACR)

Center for Stem Cell Biology

Stem Cell Research Singapore

UK National Stem Cell Network

Spain Mobile Marketing Association

European Marketing Confederation (EMC)

European Letterbox Marketing Association(ELMA)

European Sales & Marketing Association (ESMA)

The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA Europe)

European Marketing Academy

Figure 1: Statistical Analysis of Societies and Associations

Source: Reference7

Presidents or Vice Presidents/ Directors of Associations and Societies, CEOs of the companies associated with regenerative medicine and tissue engineering Consumer Products. Retailers, Marketing, Advertising and Promotion Agency Executives, Solution Providers (digital and mobile technology, P-O-P design, retail design, and retail execution), Professors and Students from Academia in the study of Marketing and Advertising filed.

Industry 40%

Academia 50%

Others 10%

Figure 2: Target Audience

Technische University Munchen

University of Wrzburg

University Medical Center

University of Tubingen

Universittsklinikum Mnster

Technische Universitt Dresden

Leipzig University

University Medicine of Rostock

Institut fur Humangenetik und Anthropologie der Universitat

Otto-von-Guericke University

Hannover Medical School

Max Planck Institute

Figure 3: Top Universities in Germany

There are strong pricing pressures from public healthcare payers globally as Governments try to reduce budget deficits. Regenerative medicine could potentially save public health bodies money by reducing the need for long-term care and reducing associated disorders, with potential benefits for the world economy as a whole.The global market for tissue engineering and regeneration products reached $55.9 billion in 2010, is expected to reach $59.8 billion by 2011, and will further grow to $89.7 billion by 2016 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4%. It grows to $135 billion to 2024

The contribution of the European region was 43.3% of the market in 2010, a value of $24.2 billion. The market is expected to reach $25.5 billion by 2011 and will further grow to $36.1 billion by 2016 at a CAGR of 7.2%. It grows to $65 billion to 2024. [Source: Reference2]

Figure 4: Global Market Growth of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Figure 5: Industries associated with Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

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Regenerative Medicine Conferences | Europe | Worldwide …

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10 Different Types of Libertarianism

 Misc  Comments Off on 10 Different Types of Libertarianism
Dec 172015
 

By Tom Head

Anarcho-Capitalism:

Anarcho-capitalists believe that governments monopolize services that would be better left to corporations, and should be abolished entirely in favor of a system in which corporations provide services we associate with the government. The popular sci-fi novel Jennifer Government describes a system that is very close to anarcho-capitalist.

Civil Libertarianism:

Civil libertarians believe that the government should not pass laws that restrict, oppress, or selectively fail to protect people in their day-to-day lives.

Their position can best be summed up by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ statement that “a man’s right to swing his fist ends where my nose begins.” In the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union represents the interests of civil libertarians. Civil libertarians may or may not also be fiscal libertarians.

Classical Liberalism:

Classical liberals agree with the words of the Declaration of Independence: That all people have basic human rights, and that the sole legitimate function of government is to protect those rights. Most of the Founding Fathers, and most of the European philosophers who influenced them, were classical liberals.

Fiscal Libertarianism:

Fiscal libertarians (also referred to as laissez-faire capitalists) believe in free trade, low (or nonexistent) taxes, and minimal (or nonexistent) corporate regulation. Most traditional Republicans are moderate fiscal libertarians.

Geolibertarianism:

Geolibertarians (also called “one-taxers”) are fiscal libertarians who believe that land can never be owned, but may be rented. They generally propose the abolition of all income and sales taxes in favor of a single land rental tax, with the revenue used to support collective interests (such as military defense) as determined through a democratic process.

Libertarian Socialism:

Libertarian socialists agree with anarcho-capitalists that government is a monopoly and should be abolished, but they believe that nations should be ruled instead by work-share cooperatives or labor unions instead of corporations. The philosopher Noam Chomsky is the best known American libertarian socialist.

Minarchism:

Like anarcho-capitalists and libertarian socialists, minarchists believe that most functions currently served by the government should be served by smaller, non-government groups–but they believe that a government is still needed to serve a few collective needs, such as military defense.

Neolibertarianism:

Neolibertarians are fiscal libertarians who support a strong military, and believe that the U.S. government should use that military to overthrow dangerous and oppressive regimes. It is their emphasis on military intervention that distinguishes them from paleolibertarians (see below), and gives them reason to make common cause with neoconservatives.

Objectivism:

The Objectivist movement was founded by the Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand (1905-1982), author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, who incorporated fiscal libertarianism into a broader philosophy emphasizing rugged individualism and what she called “the virtue of selfishness.”

Paleolibertarianism:

Paleolibertarians differ from neolibertarians (see above) in that they are isolationists who do not believe that the United States should become entangled in international affairs. They also tend to be suspicious of international coalitions such as the United Nations, liberal immigration policies, and other potential threats to cultural stability.

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10 Different Types of Libertarianism

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Nov 012015
 

The National Security Agency (NSA) is an intelligence organization of the United States government, responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). NSA is concurrently charged with protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare.[8][9] Although many of NSA’s programs rely on “passive” electronic collection, the agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through active clandestine means,[10] among which are physically bugging electronic systems[11] and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.[12][13] Moreover, NSA maintains physical presence in a large number of countries across the globe, where its Special Collection Service (SCS) inserts eavesdropping devices in difficult-to-reach places. SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering”.[14][15]

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, NSA does not unilaterally conduct human-source intelligence gathering, despite often being portrayed so in popular culture. Instead, NSA is entrusted with assistance to and coordination of SIGINT elements at other government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary.[16] As part of these streamlining responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service (CSS), which was created to facilitate cooperation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis components. Additionally, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest of U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget,[6][17] operating as part of the Department of Defense and simultaneously reporting to the Director of National Intelligence.

NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on anti-Vietnam war leaders or economic espionage. In 2013, the extent of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts the communications of over a billion people worldwide and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.[18]

The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau and Military Intelligence Branch, Section 8 (MI-8). It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy’s cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and MI-8 moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.[19][20]

MI-8 also operated the so-called “Black Chamber”.[22] The Black Chamber was located on East 37th Street in Manhattan. Its purpose was to crack the communications codes of foreign governments. Jointly supported by the State Department and the War Department, the chamber persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company, to allow government officials to monitor private communications passing through the company’s wires.[23]

Other “Black Chambers” were also found in Europe. They were established by the French and British governments to read the letters of targeted individuals, employing a variety of techniques to surreptitiously open, copy, and reseal correspondence before forwarding it to unsuspecting recipients.[24]

Despite the American Black Chamber’s initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”.[21]

During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[25] When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[25]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[25] This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[26] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[26] However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[26] In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.[27]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[28] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[28] the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as “No Such Agency”.[29]

In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding America’s commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USSMaddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[30]

A secret operation code-named “MINARET” was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[31] However the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was “disreputable if not outright illegal.”[31]

In the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church[32] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[33] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[34] Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,[34] such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[35] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[36]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[34]

In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided “irrefutable” evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.[37][38]

In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA’s role in economic espionage in a report entitled ‘Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information’.[39] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[40] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[40] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[40]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a ‘privacy mechanism’; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread’s privacy system.[42]

Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002. SAIC, Boeing, CSC, IBM, and Litton worked on it. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004; it was late, over budget, and didn’t do what it was supposed to do. The Baltimore Sun ran articles about this in 200607. The government then raided the whistleblowers’ houses. One of them, Thomas Drake, was charged with violating 18 U.S.C.793(e) in 2010 in an unusual use of espionage law. He and his defenders claim that he was actually being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project. In 2011, all 10 original charges against Drake were dropped.[43][44]

Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive ‘test’ pieces rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer.[44] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[45]

The massive extent of the NSA’s spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

It was revealed that the NSA intercepts telephone and internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on terrorism as well as foreign politics, economics[46] and “commercial secrets”.[47] In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted “alert list” from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring.[48][49][50] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion”(RAS).[48][51]

A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[52] The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.[53][54]

The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing them to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[55] It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[56] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[57] It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies), so that the majority of Internet privacy is now vulnerable to the NSA and other attackers.[58][59]

Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls,[60] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers[61] as well as internet communications,[56] relying on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism.[62] The NSA supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to “recreate” the investigative trail via parallel construction.[63]

The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed “radical” by the NSA.[64]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information furnished by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, message texts, and online accounts, that support the claim.[65]

Despite President Obama’s claims that these programs have congressional oversight, members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them.[66] Obama has also claimed that there are legal checks in place to prevent inappropriate access of data and that there have been no examples of abuse;[67] however, the secret FISC court charged with regulating the NSA’s activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules.[68] It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions;[69] and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests.[70] The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[71] A March 2009 opinion of the FISC court, released by court order, states that protocols restricting data queries had been “so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively.”[72][73] In 2011 the same court noted that the “volume and nature” of the NSA’s bulk foreign internet intercepts was “fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.[71] Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.[57]

Legal opinions on the NSA’s bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the “almost-Orwellian” program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”[74]

Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, “a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data” and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.[75]

An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.[76]

On March 20, 2013 the Director of National Intelligence, Lieutenant General James Clapper, testified before Congress that the NSA does not wittingly collect any kind of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, but he retracted this in June after details of the PRISM program were published, and stated instead that meta-data of phone and internet traffic are collected, but no actual message contents.[77] This was corroborated by the NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, before it was revealed that the XKeyscore program collects the contents of millions of emails from US citizens without warrant, as well as “nearly everything a user does on the Internet”. Alexander later admitted that “content” is collected, but stated that it is simply stored and never analyzed or searched unless there is “a nexus to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups”.[67]

Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA’s bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist “events”, including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to “unravel the threat stream”.[78] On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were “close” to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.[79][80][81]

The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance.[82][83] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[84][85] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[86]

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).[87]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:

Each of these directorates consisted of several groups or elements, designated by a letter. There were for example the A Group, which was responsible for all SIGINT operations against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and G Group, which was responsible for SIGINT related to all non-communist countries. These groups were divided in units designated by an additional number, like unit A5 for breaking Soviet codes, and G6, being the office for the Middle East, North Africa, Cuba, Central and South America.[89][90]

As of 2013[update], NSA has about a dozen directorates, which are designated by a letter, although not all of them are publicly known. The directorates are divided in divisions and units starting with the letter of the parent directorate, followed by a number for the division, the sub-unit or a sub-sub-unit.

The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:[91]

In the year 2000, a leadership team was formed, consisting of the Director, the Deputy Director and the Directors of the Signals Intelligence (SID), the Information Assurance (IAD) and the Technical Directorate (TD). The chiefs of other main NSA divisions became associate directors of the senior leadership team.[99]

After president George W. Bush initiated the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) in 2001, the NSA created a 24-hour Metadata Analysis Center (MAC), followed in 2004 by the Advanced Analysis Division (AAD), with the mission of analyzing content, internet metadata and telephone metadata. Both units were part of the Signals Intelligence Directorate.[100]

The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:

The number of NSA employees is officially classified[4] but there are several sources providing estimates. In 1961, NSA had 59,000 military and civilian employees, which grew to 93,067 in 1969, of which 19,300 worked at the headquarters at Fort Meade. In the early 1980s NSA had roughly 50,000 military and civilian personnel. By 1989 this number had grown again to 75,000, of which 25,000 worked at the NSA headquarters. Between 1990 and 1995 the NSA’s budget and workforce were cut by one third, which led to a substantial loss of experience.[103]

In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Ft. Meade and other facilities.[2] In 2012, John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is “somewhere between 37,000 and one billion” as a joke,[4] and stated that the agency is “probably the biggest employer of introverts.”[4] In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees.[5] More widely, it has been described as the world’s largest single employer of mathematicians.[104] Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.

As of 2013 about 1,000 system administrators work for the NSA.[105]

The NSA received criticism early on in 1960 after two agents had defected to the Soviet Union. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and a special subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee revealed severe cases of ignorance in personnel security regulations, prompting the former personnel director and the director of security to step down and leading to the adoption of stricter security practices.[106] Nonetheless, security breaches reoccurred only a year later when in an issue of Izvestia of July 23, 1963, a former NSA employee published several cryptologic secrets.

The very same day, an NSA clerk-messenger committed suicide as ongoing investigations disclosed that he had sold secret information to the Soviets on a regular basis. The reluctance of Congressional houses to look into these affairs had prompted a journalist to write “If a similar series of tragic blunders occurred in any ordinary agency of Government an aroused public would insist that those responsible be officially censured, demoted, or fired.” David Kahn criticized the NSA’s tactics of concealing its doings as smug and the Congress’ blind faith in the agency’s right-doing as shortsighted, and pointed out the necessity of surveillance by the Congress to prevent abuse of power.[106]

Edward Snowden’s leaking of PRISM in 2013 caused the NSA to institute a “two-man rule” where two system administrators are required to be present when one accesses certain sensitive information.[105] Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.[107]

The NSA conducts polygraph tests of employees. For new employees, the tests are meant to discover enemy spies who are applying to the NSA and to uncover any information that could make an applicant pliant to coercion.[108] As part of the latter, historically EPQs or “embarrassing personal questions” about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph.[108] The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts aperiodic polygraph investigations in order to find spies and leakers; those who refuse to take them may receive “termination of employment”, according to a 1982 memorandum from the director of the NSA.[109]

There are also “special access examination” polygraphs for employees who wish to work in highly sensitive areas, and those polygraphs cover counterintelligence questions and some questions about behavior.[109] NSA’s brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours.[110] A 1983 report of the Office of Technology Assessment stated that “It appears that the NSA [National Security Agency] (and possibly CIA) use the polygraph not to determine deception or truthfulness per se, but as a technique of interrogation to encourage admissions.”[111] Sometimes applicants in the polygraph process confess to committing felonies such as murder, rape, and selling of illegal drugs. Between 1974 and 1979, of the 20,511 job applicants who took polygraph tests, 695 (3.4%) confessed to previous felony crimes; almost all of those crimes had been undetected.[108]

In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process.[112] The video, ten minutes long, is titled “The Truth About the Polygraph” and was posted to the website of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays “various applicants, or actors playing them it’s not clear describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true.”[113] AntiPolygraph.org argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video.[112] George Maschke, the founder of the website, accused the NSA polygraph video of being “Orwellian”.[113]

After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.[114]

The number of exemptions from legal requirements has been criticized. When in 1964 the Congress was hearing a bill giving the director of the NSA the power to fire at will any employee, the Washington Post wrote: “This is the very definition of arbitrariness. It means that an employee could be discharged and disgraced on the basis of anonymous allegations without the slightest opportunity to defend himself.” Yet, the bill was accepted by an overwhelming majority.[106]

The heraldic insignia of NSA consists of an eagle inside a circle, grasping a key in its talons.[115] The eagle represents the agency’s national mission.[115] Its breast features a shield with bands of red and white, taken from the Great Seal of the United States and representing Congress.[115] The key is taken from the emblem of Saint Peter and represents security.[115]

When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense.[116] The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963.[116] The current NSA insignia has been in use since 1965, when then-Director, LTG Marshall S. Carter (USA) ordered the creation of a device to represent the agency.[117]

The NSA’s flag consists of the agency’s seal on a light blue background.

Crews associated with NSA missions have been involved in a number of dangerous and deadly situations.[118] The USS Liberty incident in 1967 and USS Pueblo incident in 1968 are examples of the losses endured during the Cold War.[118]

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions.[119] It is made of black granite, and has 171 names carved into it, as of 2013[update] .[119] It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.[119]

NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet.[120] It is a classified network,[121] for information up to the level of TS/SCI[122] to support the use and sharing of intelligence data between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the four other nations of the Five Eyes partnership. The management of NSANet has been delegated to the Central Security Service Texas (CSSTEXAS).[123]

NSANet is a highly secured computer network consisting of fiber-optic and satellite communication channels which are almost completely separated from the public internet. The network allows NSA personnel and civilian and military intelligence analysts anywhere in the world to have access to the agency’s systems and databases. This access is tightly controlled and monitored. For example, every keystroke is logged, activities are audited at random and downloading and printing of documents from NSANet are recorded.[124]

In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had “significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information”.[125] In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems.[126] Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.[127]

The thousands of Top Secret internal NSA documents that were taken by Edward Snowden in 2013 were stored in “a file-sharing location on the NSA’s intranet site” so they could easily be read online by NSA personnel. Everyone with a TS/SCI-clearance had access to these documents and as a system administrator, Snowden was responsible for moving accidentally misplaced highly sensitive documents to more secure storage locations.[128]

The DoD Computer Security Center was founded in 1981 and renamed the National Computer Security Center (NCSC) in 1985. NCSC was responsible for computer security throughout the federal government.[129] NCSC was part of NSA,[130] and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot high Rainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications.[131] The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.[131]

On July 18, 2013, Greenwald said that Snowden held “detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do”, thereby sparking fresh controversy.[132]

Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at 39632N 764617W / 39.10889N 76.77139W / 39.10889; -76.77139 in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, although it is separate from other compounds and agencies that are based within this same military installation. Ft. Meade is about 20mi (32km) southwest of Baltimore,[133] and 25mi (40km) northeast of Washington, DC.[134] The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled “NSA Employees Only”.[135][136] The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.[137]

NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade.[138] Built on 350 acres (140ha; 0.55sqmi)[139] of Ft. Meade’s 5,000 acres (2,000ha; 7.8sqmi),[140] the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.[134][141]

The main NSA headquarters and operations building is what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, describes as “a modern boxy structure” that appears similar to “any stylish office building.”[142] The building is covered with one-way dark glass, which is lined with copper shielding in order to prevent espionage by trapping in signals and sounds.[142] It contains 3,000,000 square feet (280,000m2), or more than 68 acres (28ha), of floor space; Bamford said that the U.S. Capitol “could easily fit inside it four times over.”[142]

The facility has over 100 watchposts,[143] one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance.[142] At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure,[144] visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked.[145] The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.[144]

The OPS2A building, the tallest building in the NSA complex and the location of much of the agency’s operations directorate, is accessible from the visitor center. Bamford described it as a “dark glass Rubik’s Cube”.[146] The facility’s “red corridor” houses non-security operations such as concessions and the drug store. The name refers to the “red badge” which is worn by someone without a security clearance. The NSA headquarters includes a cafeteria, a credit union, ticket counters for airlines and entertainment, a barbershop, and a bank.[144] NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.[147][148][149]

The employees at the NSA headquarters reside in various places in the Baltimore-Washington area, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Columbia in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including the Georgetown community.[150]

Following a major power outage in 2000, in 2003 and in follow-ups through 2007, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA was at risk of electrical overload because of insufficient internal electrical infrastructure at Fort Meade to support the amount of equipment being installed. This problem was apparently recognized in the 1990s but not made a priority, and “now the agency’s ability to keep its operations going is threatened.”[151]

Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE, now Constellation Energy) provided NSA with 65 to 75 megawatts at Ft. Meade in 2007, and expected that an increase of 10 to 15 megawatts would be needed later that year.[152] In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland’s largest consumer of power.[138] In 2007, as BGE’s largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.[151]

One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at $40million per year.[153]

When the agency was established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Washington, D.C.. The COMINT functions were located in Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army’s cryptographic operations.[154] Because the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb and because the facilities were crowded, the federal government wanted to move several agencies, including the AFSA/NSA. A planning committee considered Fort Knox, but Fort Meade, Maryland, was ultimately chosen as NSA headquarters because it was far enough away from Washington, D.C. in case of a nuclear strike and was close enough so its employees would not have to move their families.[155]

Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew.[155] In 1963 the new headquarters building, nine stories tall, opened. NSA workers referred to the building as the “Headquarters Building” and since the NSA management occupied the top floor, workers used “Ninth Floor” to refer to their leaders.[156] COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968.[155] In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan.[157] The four NSA buildings became known as the “Big Four.”[157] The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.[157]

On March 30, 2015, shortly before 9am, a stolen sports utility vehicle approached an NSA police vehicle blocking the road near the gate of Fort Meade, after it was told to leave the area. NSA officers fired on the SUV, killing the 27-year-old driver, Ricky Hall (a transgender person also known as Mya), and seriously injuring his friend, 20-year-old Kevin Fleming. An NSA officer’s arm was injured when Hall subsequently crashed into his vehicle.[158][159]

The two, dressed in women’s clothing after a night of partying at a motel with the man they’d stolen the SUV from that morning, “attempted to drive a vehicle into the National Security Agency portion of the installation without authorization”, according to an NSA statement.[160] The NSA is investigating the incident, with help from the FBI. FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said the incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.[161]

An anonymous police official told The Washington Post, “This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.” The two are believed to have made a wrong turn off the highway, while fleeing from the motel after stealing the vehicle. A small amount of cocaine was found in the SUV. A local CBS reporter initially said a gun was found,[162] but her later revision does not.[163] Dozens of journalists were corralled into a parking lot blocks away from the scene, and were barred from photographing the area.[164]

In 1995, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA is the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers.[165]

NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016.[166] Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages.[147] It cost $3.2billion and covers 227 acres (92ha; 0.355sqmi).[147] The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17ha; 0.065sqmi)[147] and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.[167]

Increments II and III are expected to be completed by 2030, and would quadruple the space, covering 5,800,000 square feet (54ha; 0.21sqmi) with 60 buildings and 40 parking garages.[147]Defense contractors are also establishing or expanding cybersecurity facilities near the NSA and around the Washington metropolitan area.[147]

As of 2012, NSA collected intelligence from four geostationary satellites.[153] Satellite receivers were at Roaring Creek Station in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and Salt Creek Station in Arbuckle, California.[153] It operated ten to twenty taps on U.S. telecom switches. NSA had installations in several U.S. states and from them observed intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and Asia.[153]

NSA had facilities at Friendship Annex (FANX) in Linthicum, Maryland, which is a 20 to 25-minute drive from Ft. Meade;[168] the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora outside Denver, Colorado; NSA Texas in the Texas Cryptology Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia; NSA Hawaii in Honolulu; the Multiprogram Research Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and elsewhere.[150][153]

On January 6, 2011 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on NSA’s first Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center, known as the “Utah Data Center” for short. The $1.5B data center is being built at Camp Williams, Utah, located 25 miles (40km) south of Salt Lake City, and will help support the agency’s National Cyber-security Initiative.[169] It is expected to be operational by September 2013.[153]

In 2009, to protect its assets and to access more electricity, NSA sought to decentralize and expand its existing facilities in Ft. Meade and Menwith Hill,[170] the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.[171]

The Yakima Herald-Republic cited Bamford, saying that many of NSA’s bases for its Echelon program were a legacy system, using outdated, 1990s technology.[172] In 2004, NSA closed its operations at Bad Aibling Station (Field Station 81) in Bad Aibling, Germany.[173] In 2012, NSA began to move some of its operations at Yakima Research Station, Yakima Training Center, in Washington state to Colorado, planning to leave Yakima closed.[174] As of 2013, NSA also intended to close operations at Sugar Grove, West Virginia.[172]

Following the signing in 19461956[175] of the UKUSA Agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who then cooperated on signals intelligence and ECHELON,[176] NSA stations were built at GCHQ Bude in Morwenstow, United Kingdom; Geraldton, Pine Gap and Shoal Bay, Australia; Leitrim and Ottawa, Canada; Misawa, Japan; and Waihopai and Tangimoana,[177] New Zealand.[178]

NSA operates RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, which was, according to BBC News in 2007, the largest electronic monitoring station in the world.[179] Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227ha; 0.878sqmi) in 1999.[180]

The agency’s European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, near Frankfurt in Germany. A 2011 NSA report indicates that the ECC is responsible for the “largest analysis and productivity in Europe” and focusses on various priorities, including Africa, Europe, the Middle East and counterterrorism operations.[181]

In 2013, a new Consolidated Intelligence Center, also to be used by NSA, is being built at the headquarters of the United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany.[182] NSA’s partnership with Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence service, was confirmed by BND president Gerhard Schindler.[182]

Thailand is a “3rd party partner” of the NSA along with nine other nations.[183] These are non-English-speaking countries that have made security agreements for the exchange of SIGINT raw material and end product reports.

Thailand is the site of at least two US SIGINT collection stations. One is at the US Embassy in Bangkok, a joint NSA-CIA Special Collection Service (SCS) unit. It presumably eavesdrops on foreign embassies, governmental communications, and other targets of opportunity.[184]

The second installation is a FORNSAT (foreign satellite interception) station in the Thai city of Khon Kaen. It is codenamed INDRA, but has also been referred to as LEMONWOOD.[184] The station is approximately 40 ha (100 acres) in size and consists of a large 3,7004,600 m2 (40,00050,000ft2) operations building on the west side of the ops compound and four radome-enclosed parabolic antennas. Possibly two of the radome-enclosed antennas are used for SATCOM intercept and two antennas used for relaying the intercepted material back to NSA. There is also a PUSHER-type circularly-disposed antenna array (CDAA) array just north of the ops compound.[185][186]

NSA activated Khon Kaen in October 1979. Its mission was to eavesdrop on the radio traffic of Chinese army and air force units in southern China, especially in and around the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province. Back in the late 1970s the base consisted only of a small CDAA antenna array that was remote-controlled via satellite from the NSA listening post at Kunia, Hawaii, and a small force of civilian contractors from Bendix Field Engineering Corp. who job it was to keep the antenna array and satellite relay facilities up and running 24/7.[185]

According to the papers of the late General William Odom, the INDRA facility was upgraded in 1986 with a new British-made PUSHER CDAA antenna as part of an overall upgrade of NSA and Thai SIGINT facilities whose objective was to spy on the neighboring communist nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.[185]

The base apparently fell into disrepair in the 1990s as China and Vietnam became more friendly towards the US, and by 2002 archived satellite imagery showed that the PUSHER CDAA antenna had been torn down, perhaps indicating that the base had been closed. At some point in the period since 9/11, the Khon Kaen base was reactivated and expanded to include a sizeable SATCOM intercept mission. It is likely that the NSA presence at Khon Kaen is relatively small, and that most of the work is done by civilian contractors.[185]

NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[187]

According to the Washington Post, “[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.”[188]

Originally posted here:
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Top Ten Secret Societies | Illuminati Rex

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Top Ten Secret Societies | Illuminati Rex
Oct 292015
 

Annual meeting of around 130 North-Atlantic elites from the fields of energy, finance, government, intelligence, academia and the media.

Official site: http://www.bilderbergmeetings.org

Famous Attendees: David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, George Soros, Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Murdoch, Jean-Claude Trichet (EU Bank President), Mervyn King (Bank of England), Edmond de Rothschild, Robert Oppenheimer, Robert McNamara, Henry Ford II

List of Bilderberg participants (wiki) 2012 list of US participants on They Rule Infographic showing how members of the Bilderberg are connected to absolutely everything.

With 65 to 70 regular members, the Bilderberg Group is the most exclusive group on this list. The group came to be identified with the Bilderberg Hotel in Holland where the group first met in 1954. The ultra secret group was founded by Denis Healey, Joseph Retinger, David Rockefeller and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (of the infamous Lockheed scandal in which he took kickbacks selling exploding planes).

From the get-go the Bilderbergers sought to develop a strategy and create European consensus for a European Common Market. They were behind the Amsterdam Treaty, the Treaty of Maastricht, the Treaty of Rome, and finally the European Constitution. Leaked 1955 transcripts revealed that Bilderbergers had discussed the creation of a United European with its own currency. They are also working on merging Canada, United states and Mexico into a North American Union. The Bilderberg discussed improving business relations and extending IMF loans to China before Nixons famous 1972 visit. At the Bilderberg meeting of 1991, David Rockefeller told then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton to support NAFTA.

The groups major source of funds is the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. The members are cherry picked most prominent members of other influential organization and national think tanks such as the Brookings, Carnegie Endowment, and Council of Foreign Relations. Much of the leadership of the Bilderberg is also groomed within these foundations. All these organization have similar ideologies. Henri de Castries of the French House of Castries currently heads the Bilderberg.

The High Priests of Globalization at the first Bilderberg Group Meeting in Oosterbeek, Netherlands

The annual meetings are held in a different country each year and is attended by around 130 elites with about 65 regulars. Forty percent of Bilderbergers are Americans. Each international region is roughly represented by one member from the finance sector, one from the government sector, and one from academia. The Group is separated into 6 panels with around 20 people in each panel. There are 3 main speakers per panel and everyone is obligated to comment.

As a whole the membership manages the planets resources and their membership is especially concentrated in the energy and banking sectors. Their goals are a one world constitution, a one world government, a one army and they work tirelessly towards that goal. The typical globalist agenda.

Potential candidate are observed a for a few meetings before being asked to join. Bilderberg researchers often point out that according to the Logan Act, it is illegal for any American government official to be present at the Bilderberg meetings.

Researcher and author of True Story Of Bilderberg Daniel Estulin has investigated the Bilderberg Group for 15 years. He stresses that the Bilderberg is not a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. His book is the book on the Bilderberg. Strangely, Estulin claims that Bilderberg Steering Committee member and founder of Canadas largest book chain Heather Reisman has banned True Story Of Bilderberg from her stores. However, that doesnt appear to be the case.

Jim Tucker has dedicated his entire life to chasing the Bilderbergers around the world after learning of the Groups existing in the 70s. Tucker has an informer inside the group who has consistently leaked him list of participants and talking points for years.

Secret Bavarian secret society active at the end of the 18th century and modern blanket term for the crme de la elite crme.

The Bavarian Illuminati was founded by Adam Weishaupt on May 1, 1776. The Illuminati is a secret society within secret societies. In 1784, the order was banned by the Bavarian government. Today, the term Illuminati is usually used as a blanket term for the inner circle of the elite.

The Illuminati was separated into three classes; 1. The Nursery Class; 2. The Masonic Class; 3. The Mystery Class. Each class was separated into degrees. Lower classes were unaware of the existence of higher classes. Non Illuminati were called the Profane.

I. Nursery Class: 1. Illuminati Novice (1-2 year trial period) 2. Illuminati Minerval 3. Illuminati Minor

II. Masonic Class: Symbolic Masonry 1. Entered Apprentice 2. Fellow Craft 3. Master Mason

Scottish Masonry 1. Illuminati Major (Scot Novice) 2. Illuminati Dirigens (Scot Knight)

III. Mystery Class: Lesser Mysteries 1. Illuminati Priest 2. Illuminati Prince (Regent)

Greater Mysteries 1. Illuminati Magus 2. Illuminati Rex

I am currently exposing the secrets of the Bavarian Illuminati in comic format and Terry Melanson has written a detailed non-fiction book about Adam Weishaupts Order of the Illuminati.

Exactly what the illuminati is varies a great deal from one conspiracy theorist to the next. Different versions of it continues to appear in computer games, music, television and movies. Illuminati Researcher Mark Dices book Illuminati: Facts & Fiction does a great job at weeding through the various modern Illuminati incarnations and separating the wheat from the chaff. It has saved me hours of work in establishing the root of various Illuminati theories and rumors. (although he considers the Bavarian Illuminati to be Luciferian, which is something I should ask him about) Nevertheless, Dice book is essential.

Some researchers believe the Illuminati originated before and that Adam Weishaupt simply reincarnated a much older society. The 13 Bloodlines of the Illuminati is a popular theory about ancient families secretly ruling the United States.

Others believe that the modern elite and the current proponents of the New World Order grew out of Weishaupts movement. However, we have access to most of the original writings of the Illuminati and we know that the abolishment of private property was one of the goals of the Order. This is hardly in line with the modern capitalist plutocrats who make up todays Illuminati. Todays Illuminati is anything but enlightened.

Elite senior fraternity at Yale University

Famous Bonesmen: William H. Taft (Us President), George H.W. Bush (Us President, CIA), George W. Bush (US President) Averell Harriman, H.J. Heinz II, Henry Luce (Time-Life,CIA), Bill Bundy (CIA) and William F. Buckley. (CIA)

AKA Chapter 322, is a secret society at Yale University established by William Russell and Alphonso Taft in 1832. Each year 15 juniors are selected to join the Skulls in their senior year.

The Tomb, Yale

Investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman pays the tax bill. No one lives inside the Tomb. At the mention of the words Skull and Bones, they must leave the room. Meetings are on Thursdays and they always have dinner on Sundays. In the 2004 US Election, two Bonesmen, John Kerry and George W. Bush went head-to-head for the Presidency of the United States.

Skull and Bones, do you accept?

If the neophyte accepts, he is given a rolled up message tied with a black ribbon and sealed with the skulls emblem imprinted into black wax. The message instructs the neophyte of the time of place of his initiation. He is also instructed not to bring any metal. (Note that Masons are also divested of all metals during their initiation ceremonies.) Once they accept, they are members for life.

Skull and Bones owns Deer Island in St-Lawrence river

The clock is 5 minutes faster, which represents Skull and Bones which is to differentiate time spend inside the tomb from the outside, which is referred to as Barbarian time.

In 1876 a group of students calling themselves File and Claw broke into the Tomb and discovered that the Order was founded in 1832 (32) as the second chapter (+2) of a German secret society. They discovered a painting of a skull surrounded by Masonic symbols in Room 322 and released floor plans of the Tomb. The Skull themselves claim that 322 represents 322 bce, the year Demosthenes died. In keeping with this legend, their calendar begins 322 years before the Roman calendar. The year 2013 would be 2335 Anno Demostheni in Bonespeak.

They reportedly have the bones of Geronimo and Pancho Villa hidden in 322. Room 322 is the inner temple of the Skull and Bones. It features an encased skeleton which the Bonesmen called Madame Pompadour. There are other compartments in the case including manuscripts, secrecy oaths and initiation rituals.

HW Bush, Bonesman, 1948

Author of Fleshing out the Skull and Bones Kris Milliken, claims that the core group of Skull and Bones is still very much involved in the dope trade. They are Sorcerers of Death performing black magic. Taft Russells family fortune came from opium and according to Eustace Mullins, the fraternity continued to be involved in the dope trade all the way up to the Vietnam war.

3000 elites from academia, government, media, intelligence, military, banking and top corporations.

Official site: http://www.cfr.org

Famous Members: David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Conrad Black, William F. Buckley, Bill Bundy, Allen Dulles, Gerald Ford, Herbert Hoover, Angelina, Jolie George Kennan, Carl Sagan, Paul Warburg, Oprah Winfrey, George Soros, Colin Powell, Bill Moyers, Rupert Murdoch, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Edgar Bronfman, Sr.

List of Council on Foreign Relations Members (wiki) Membership map on They Rule

The Council on Foreign Relations grew out of the round table groups and began as a gathering of scholars known as the Inquiry which included the power behind FDRs throne and author of Philip Dru: Administrator, Colonel House and Walter Lippmann.

This group attended the Paris Peace Conference where powerful members of the elite attended a private gathering at the Majestic Hotel. Round Table member Lionel Curtis suggested the creation a Royal Institute for International Affair in London and the Council of Foreign Relations, its US counterpart in New York. The CFR was officially founded in 1921.

Council on Foreign Relations HQ at 58 East 68th Street and Park Avenue

It is one of the most powerful private organizations and has a major influence on U.S. foreign policy. Its equally powerful British sister organization, the Royal Institute of International Affairs has been renamed Chatham House. Today the CFR has over 3000 members.

The group suggested the formation of a League of Nation. Five of the 6 men of the Agenda Group which drafted the United States proposal for a United Nations were members of the CFR. Carol Quigley called its members the international financial coterie The CFR was instrumental in planning the post World War 2 economic and political world order.

About the round table groups: De Beers Cecil Rhodes and journalist William T. Stead organized a secret society with an executive committee known as the Circle of Initiate. The secret society had an outer circle known as the Association of Helpers which eventually evolved into the Round Table Groups.

Sources and further information: Memoirs (Amazon) David Rockefeller, 2003

David Rockefellers elite think tank of over 300 private citizens from Europe, Asia, and North America.

Official site: http://www.trilateral.org

Famous Members: David Rockefeller, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jean-Claude Trichet, Henry Kissinger and Jimmy Carter.

List of List of Trilateral Commission Members (tilateral.org .PDF) Membership map on They Rule.

David Rockefeller had been looking for a way to include Japan into international cooperation discussion. At the Belgium Bilderberg conference of 1972, Rockefeller discussed the idea with Columbia University Russian Studies professor Zbigniew Brzezinski (Zbig) who had himself previously approached the Bilderberg Steering Committee. The Steering Committee had been unreceptive to the idea.

The think tank had its first executive committee meeting in Tokyo in October 1973. The Trilateral Commission receive funds mostly from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and is deeply rooted in the CFR. The commission helps governments around the world reach constructive accords with other governments. They promote closer cooperation between Europe, Asia, and North America. In 1974 they published The Crisis of Democracy calling for democracy in moderation.

Ancient secret society sworn to protect the holy bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene

Famous Grandmasters: Jean de Gisors (11881220), Nicolas Flamel (13981418), Ren dAnjou (14181480), Lonard de Vinci (15101519), Isaac Newton (16911727), Charles de Lorraine (17461780), Maximilian de Lorraine (17801801), Victor Hugo (18441885), Claude Debussy (18851918),Jean Cocteau (19181963)

Certainly one of the most intriguing of all secret societies, unfortunately, it isnt real. The Priory of Sion legend is completely made up! (almost)

He also included Rennes-le-Chteau restaurant owner Nol Corbus (another admitted hoaxer) legend of Father Franois Brenger Saunire about discovering parts of the Knights Templarss lost treasure. It all made for a great story.

The strange events of the Priory of Sion and Rennes-le-Chteau were finally epitomized on the big screen in 2006 Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks.

Note to Mr. Langdon: Vinegar freezes at just under 0C (32F ). Next time you encounter an impossible-to-open-without-the-combination-type Cryptex, consider sticking the thing in the freezer for a few hours.

Researchers Lynn Pickett and Clive Prince have found evidence for the existence of a Priory of Sion within the Masonic Strict Observance Rites of Germany. Their goal was to form a United states of Europe.

Male elites meet every July for a 2 week encampment at private campground.

Famous Attendees: Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, GW Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Malcolm Forbes, William F. Buckley, Clint Eastwood, and William Randolph Hearst. Camp Membership

Founded in 1872, the Bohemian Grove is a 2700-acre campground in the midst of ancient Redwood trees located in Sonoma County, California. Every July, elites participate in a 2 week encampment to make ritual sacrifices to the sinister owl-god Moloch. Power brokers assemble at The Owl Shrine for informal Lakeside Talks. Nixon canceled his scheduled Lakeside Talk in 1971 because the media was insisting on covering it.

Thanks to the work of Alex Jones, Chris Jones and Phillip Weiss who have each individually infiltrated the Grove, the outside world has been able to assemble a lot of information on what happens there. Alex Jones footage can be seen in Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove (Youtube, 2:02:56) and Chris Joness (who worked undercover at the Grove) can be seen in Alex Jones The order of Death, which was released 5 years later to commemorate Alex Jones infiltration of the Grove. (Youtube, 44:46)

President Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, 1967

Weiss stayed as a guess at Bohemian Grove for 7 days in 1989. Weiss heard Walter Cronkite himself as the voice of the infamous owl. He even shook Ronald Reagans hand who confirmed that it was indeed at the Grove in 67 that he had assured Nixon that he would not challenge him in the upcoming Republican nomination. (so much for non-weaving. spiders) He also witnessed a Grover engaging in unBohemian behavior when Henry Kissinger rudely cut in line at the phone banks.

The Founding Founders, Freemasonry and the capital of the United States

Mostly harmless today, the freemasons held immense power in the 18th and 19th century. The earliest historical document mentioning the Old Charges of Freemasonry is the Regius Poem and dates to around 1425. The Grand Lodge of England formed in 1717. Masonic expressions that have become common idioms include: On the square, On the level, giving/getting the third degree and blackballing.

Blue Lodge and 2 major appendant bodies

Due to multiple bans on Freemasonry by Popes, a good catholic is still expected join the Knights of Columbus, as President Kennedy did, the Vaticans answer to Freemasonry. The Vatican is yet to reverse its stance on Freemasonry.

Freemasonry is composed of three levels, referred to as the Blue Lodge degrees:

1. Entered Apprentice 2. Fellow craft 3. Master Mason

Non-masons are called Cowans. There are multiple other degrees that a mason can obtain once he has become a Master Mason (Third degree) which masons call Appendant degrees. The most popular ones are the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, with 33 degrees and the York Rite .

In addition there are Masonic Lodges not recognized by the Grand Loge of England, and as a result, by the majority of regular Masonic lodges. For example, the Rite of Memphis-Misraim has 99 degrees and the Grand Orient de France accepts women.

A group of Three Hundred ruling individual descendant from the Black Nobility

Famous Members: British royals, Dutch royals, House of Hapsburg (?),Lord Halifax, Winston Churchill, Cecil Rhodes, George Bush, Aldous Huxley, Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Giuseppe Mazzini and H.G. Wells

The existence of the Committee of 300 is wholly dependent on the word of Dr John Coleman, author of Conspirators Hierarchy The Story of The Committee of 300.

Joseph Pavlonksy John Clarke Doctor Coleman tells us that he gazed upon a mention of the supranational Committee of 300 or the Olympians while stationed with MI6 in Angola. He then decided to dedicate the rest of his life to exposing the group. His status as a MI6 whistleblower and the origin of his doctorate are never discussed in interviews. (leading Eustace Mullins to question his motives.)

Coleman uses the core of conspiracy theory literature and adds his own secret group which allegedly controls all the other ones. (Popular author David Icke added shape-shifting Reptilians to conspiracy lore and became an international bestseller) All the usual players are there. The Bilderberg Group, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Club of Rome, the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations all make an appearance and serve as the executive arms of the Committee of 300. In Colemans scenario, the RIIA is above all the others and chooses the American Secretary of State and through him/her give the US President his marching orders. Prime Minister Disraeli had MI6 snuff out Abraham Lincoln and later, William Stevenson of Mi6 ordered the hit on JFK.

He also throws in popular nuggets such as the Black Nobility, (the group varies a great deal in conspiracy lore from the historical Black Nobility) who according to Coleman, made the Borgias look like Sunday school teachers. (The mysterious nobles are always a crowd pleaser.) According to Dr. Colemans decade long studies at the Cairo Museum (?), no member of the families of the Black Nobility or their servants has ever died from the Black Plague. He discovered that they drank a secret herbal compound and exposed themselves to low-frequency radiation making them immune to the disease.

The Queen of England is the head of the Committee of 300. The 300 families all rule with equal shares! (highly doubtful) The Queen is actually from the Black Nobility family of the House of Guelph. (Rex note: It is true that they change their name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor)

The Committee of 300 were behind Beatlemania and used the Beatles to induce young Americans towards drugs and Rock n Roll. They even came up with the word teenager (or not)

New words and new phrases prepared by Tavistock were introduced to America along with the Beatles. Words such as rock in relation to music sounds, teenager, cool, discovered and pop music were a lexicon of disguised code words signifying the acceptance of drugs and arrived with and accompanied the Beatles wherever they went, to be discovered by teenagers. Incidentally, the word teenagers was never used until just before the Beatles arrived on the scene, courtesy of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations.

Colemans own deep hatred seeps into his work:

I hate to use these beautiful words in the context of Beatlemania; it reminds me of how wrongly the word lover is used when referring to the filthy interaction between two homosexuals writhing in pigswill. To call rock music, is an insult, likewise the language used in rock lyrics.

Is there any collaboration for Colemans Committee of 300 claims?

No.

Coleman claims to have heard Gorbachev referred to the Committee of 300 on CNN but no one has been able to confirm it and the clip has disappeared from the CNN archives. Proponents of the group often point to German industrialist Walter Rathenaus quote, but there is no indication that Rathenau was referring to an actual group rather than a number.

Three hundred men, all of whom know one another, direct the economic destiny of Europe and choose their successors from among themselves. Geschftlicher Nachwuchs, Neue freie Presse, Walter Rathenau, 1909

Original post:
Top Ten Secret Societies | Illuminati Rex

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Upstaged NATO searches for ‘360-degree’ response to Russia

 NATO  Comments Off on Upstaged NATO searches for ‘360-degree’ response to Russia
Oct 232015
 

TRAPANI, Italy The brass band played, the flags waved and Western generals delivered speeches brimming with resolve as NATO began big war games in the central Mediterranean this week.

But the military display seemed faintly unreal while Russian warplanes were bombing Syrian rebels a few hundred miles to the east in a coordinated action with President Bashar al-Assad’s armed forces and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

NATO, which waged an air campaign to help Libyan rebels oust Muammar Gaddafi, then left that country to descend into anarchy, is not a player in Syria and is watching uncomfortably as its former Cold War adversary Russia widens its role there.

The speed and scope of Moscow’s intervention in Syria’s four-year-old civil war, coming after Russia’s seizure of Crimea and support for pro-Kremlin rebels in eastern Ukraine last year, wrong-footed the U.S.-led alliance and has heightened soul-searching about its future.

“The West has been tactically surprised. I don’t think they anticipated what (Russian President Vladimir) Putin would get up to,” said Nick Witney, a former European Defence Agency chief now at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

NATO last year set in motion its biggest modernization since the Cold War. But the alliance’s political and military elite now see the need for a broader plan that goes beyond deterring Russia in the east. They call it thinking “360 degrees”.

“We need to develop a strategy for all kinds of crises, at 360 degrees,” said Gen. Denis Mercier, the Frenchman who heads NATO’s command focused on future threats. “We need to react in the south, in the east, the north, all around.”

NATO’s problem is that such a strategy is still embryonic while developments in Europe’s neighborhood are moving faster than the ponderous approach of the 28-nation defense pact, created in 1949 to deter the Soviet threat.

From the Baltics, where Russia has a naval base in Kaliningrad, through the Black Sea and annexed Crimea, to Syria, Moscow has stationed anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles able to cover huge areas.

NATO officials see the emergence of a strategy of defensive zones of influence, with surface-to-air missile batteries and anti-ship missiles that could disrupt NATO moving across air, land and sea or deny it access to some areas.

Unconventional warfare techniques are part of the equation, ranging from unidentified troops – the so-called “green men” without insignia on their uniforms seen in Crimea and eastern Ukraine – to disinformation operations and cyber attacks.

OVERESTIMATING RUSSIA?

NATO also faces failing states, war, Islamist militancy and a refugee crisis at Europe’s borders. That is partly a result of the European Union’s inability to stabilize its neighborhood economically.

But critics say it is also due to U.S. President Barack Obama’s aversion to entanglement in Middle East wars in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. That has led to a decline in Washington’s influence across the region.

While NATO is drawing up a multi-layered deterrence plan, officials acknowledge a risk that Russia might again move faster to pre-empt Western action. For instance, it could move warships from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Libyan coast to hamper any possible NATO effort to support a government of national unity in the future.

Still, some say NATO has been here before and any talk of a lack of preparedness is overblown. Past bouts of questioning of the alliance’s relevance led to operations in the Balkans and in Afghanistan – a significant departure from 40 years of Cold War deterrence in which NATO forces never operated “out of area”.

A NATO official rejected any suggestion the alliance was passively watching Russia’s military build-up in Syria, noting that three allies the United States, France and Turkey were involved individually in the coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State rebels in Syria and Iraq.

Some experts see a danger of overestimating Putin, who oversees an economy weakened by Western sanctions and lower oil prices and cannot match NATO military power over the long term.

“We should be under no illusions about Putin’s hostility to the West but also be very careful not to over react to what a damaged Russian economy can produce in the way of military capability,” said Witney, a former British defense planner.

LOOKING TO AMAZON, DHL

NATO’s public response is to test its new spearhead force of 5,000 troops, ready to move within a few days. Over the next five weeks, the alliance is carrying out its biggest military exercises since 2002, with 36,000 troops, 230 military units, 140 aircraft and more than 60 ships, to certify the force.

Such measures, agreed at a NATO summit in Wales last year following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, are aimed chiefly at reassuring eastern allies that Russia will not be able to invade them too. There is still debate about whether the spearhead force could be used in North Africa or beyond.

Small command posts with NATO flags from Estonia to Bulgaria and the spearhead force are ready. But one NATO diplomat called such measures “the minimum necessary”, and Gen. Mercier said the so-called Readiness Action Plan was “just a first step”.

“We have worked on reassuring our allies,” said Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme commander in Europe. “We are not exactly sure what it will take to work in the future,” he said when asked what NATO’s modern deterrents might look like.

The next NATO summit next July in Warsaw is the target date for proposals for more modern, agile deterrents.

Such ideas include setting up NATO-flagged command posts on the southern flank and adapting the spearhead force for maritime and air operations.

They could also feature a permanent naval force to patrol the Mediterranean and work more closely with the European Union and the United Nations in stabilizing fragile states.

Another idea involves including a nuclear deterrent in training exercises, something Britain supports but others, such as Germany, worry would be seen as a provocation by Russia.

NATO’s Gen. Mercier even suggested looking to companies such as courier DHL Worldwide Express and online retailer Amazon.com to improve NATO’s deployment speed.

“The question is how to have new ideas to make deployments easier. We should look at what the civilian world does, to DHL and Amazon. How do they improve their logistics?” Mercier said.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Paul Taylor)

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Upstaged NATO searches for ‘360-degree’ response to Russia

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PRISM (surveillance program) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Oct 202015
 

PRISM is a clandestine[1]surveillance program under which the United States National Security Agency (NSA) collects internet communications from at least nine major US internet companies.[2][3][4] Since 2001 the United States government has increased its scope for such surveillance, and so this program was launched in 2007.

PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN.[5][6] The PRISM program collects stored internet communications based on demands made to internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms.[7] The NSA can use these PRISM requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier,[8][9] and to get data that is easier to handle, among other things.[10]

PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration.[11][12] The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court, or FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[13] Its existence was leaked six years later by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as “dangerous” and “criminal” activities.[14] The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial arrangement between NSA’s Special Source Operations division (SSO) and PRISM partners in the millions of dollars.[15]

Documents indicate that PRISM is “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports”, and it accounts for 91% of the NSA’s internet traffic acquired under FISA section 702 authority.”[16][17] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the FISA Court had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications company Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls.[18][19]

U.S. government officials have disputed some aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government’s executive, judicial and legislative branches.[20][21] On June 19, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA’s data gathering practices constitute “a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people.”[22]

PRISM was publicly revealed when classified documents about the program were leaked to journalists of The Washington Post and The Guardian by Edward Snowden at the time an NSA contractor during a visit to Hong Kong.[2][3] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[2][3]

The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including Microsoft in 2007, Yahoo! in 2008, Google in 2009, Facebook in 2009, Paltalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, AOL in 2011, Skype in 2011 and Apple in 2012.[23] The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft”.[2]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the U.S., because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[16] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[3][16]

Snowden’s subsequent disclosures included statements that governments such as the United Kingdom’s GCHQ also undertook mass interception and tracking of internet and communications data[24] described by Germany as “nightmarish” if true[25] allegations that the NSA engaged in “dangerous” and “criminal” activity by “hacking” civilian infrastructure networks in other countries such as “universities, hospitals, and private businesses”,[14] and alleged that compliance offered only very limited restrictive effect on mass data collection practices (including of Americans) since restrictions “are policy-based, not technically based, and can change at any time”, adding that “Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications”,[14] with numerous self-granted exceptions, and that NSA policies encourage staff to assume the benefit of the doubt in cases of uncertainty.[26][27][28]

Below are a number of slides released by Edward Snowden showing the operation and processes behind the PRISM program.

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the U.S.

Details of information collected via PRISM

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

Slide showing PRISM’s tasking process

Slide showing the PRISM collection dataflow

Slide showing PRISM case numbers

Slide showing the REPRISMFISA Web app

Slide showing some PRISM targets.

Slide fragment mentioning “upstream collection”, FAA702, EO 12333, and references yahoo.com explicitly in the text.

FAA702 Operations, and map

FAA702 Operations, and map. The subheader reads “Collection only possible under FAA702 Authority”. FAIRVIEW is in the center box.

FAA702 Operations, and map. The subheader reads “Collection only possible under FAA702 Authority”. STORMBREW is in the center box.

Tasking, Points to Remember. Transcript of body: Whenever your targets meet FAA criteria, you should consider asking to FAA. Emergency tasking processes exist for [imminent /immediate ] threat to life situations and targets can be placed on [illegible] within hours (surveillance and stored comms). Get to know your Product line FAA adjudicators and FAA leads.

The French newspaper Le Monde disclosed new PRISM slides (See Page 4, 7 and 8) coming from the “PRISM/US-984XN Overview” presentation on October 21, 2013.[29] The British newspaper The Guardian disclosed new PRISM slides (see pages 3 and 6) in November 2013 which on the one hand compares PRISM with the Upstream program, and on the other hand deals with collaboration between the NSA’s Threat Operations Center and the FBI.[30]

Wikimedia Commons keeps copies of the leaked PowerPoint slides, and other associated documents.

PRISM is a program from the Special Source Operations (SSO) division of the NSA, which in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances, cooperates with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[2] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program,[31][32] was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and challenged as illegal, because it did not include warrants obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[32][33][34][35][36] PRISM was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[16]

PRISM was enabled under President Bush by the Protect America Act of 2007 and by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunizes private companies from legal action when they cooperate with U.S. government agencies in intelligence collection. In 2012 the act was renewed by Congress under President Obama for an additional five years, through December 2017.[3][37][38] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[37]

The most detailed description of the PRISM program can be found in a report about NSA’s collection efforts under Section 702 FAA, that was released by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) on July 2, 2014.[39]

According to this report, PRISM is only used to collect internet communications, not telephone conversations. These internet communications are not collected in bulk, but in a targeted way: only communications that are to or from specific selectors, like e-mail addresses, can be gathered. Under PRISM, there’s no collection based upon keywords or names.[39]

The actual collection process is done by the Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) of the FBI, which on behalf of the NSA sends the selectors to the US internet service providers, which were previously served with a Section 702 Directive. Under this directive, the provider is legally obliged to hand over (to DITU) all communications to or from the selectors provided by the government.[39] DITU then sends these communications to NSA, where they are stored in various databases, depending on their type.

Data, both content and metadata, that already have been collected under the PRISM program, may be searched for both US and Non-US person identifiers. These kind of queries became known as “back-door searches” and are conducted by NSA, FBI and CIA.[40] Each of these agencies have slightly different protocols and safeguards to protect searches with a US person identifier.[39]

Internal NSA presentation slides included in the various media disclosures show that the NSA could unilaterally access data and perform “extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information” with examples including email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP chats (such as Skype), file transfers, and social networking details.[3] Snowden summarized that “in general, the reality is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc. analyst has access to query raw SIGINT [signals intelligence] databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want.”[14]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be U.S. citizens, but in the process, communication data of some U.S. citizens are also collected unintentionally.[2] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign U.S. data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”[2]

According to The Guardian, NSA had access to chats and emails on Hotmail.com, Skype, because Microsoft had “developed a surveillance capability to deal” with the interception of chats, and “for Prism collection against Microsoft email services will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption.”[41][42]

Also according to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald even low-level NSA analysts are allowed to search and listen to the communications of Americans and other people without court approval and supervision. Greenwald said low level Analysts can, via systems like PRISM, “listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents.[31] And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”[43]

He added that the NSA databank, with its years of collected communications, allows analysts to search that database and listen “to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future.”[43] Greenwald was referring in the context of the foregoing quotes to the NSA program X-Keyscore.[44]

Unified Targeting Tool

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7, 2013 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[18] The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”[46] He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”[46] Clapper concluded his statement by stating, “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”[46] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[47] Clapper later admitted the statement he made on March 12, 2013 was a lie,[48] or in his words “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.”[49]

On June 7, 2013 U.S. President Barack Obama, referring to the PRISM program[citation needed] and the NSA’s telephone calls logging program, said, “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”[50] He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”[50] In separate statements, senior Obama administration officials (not mentioned by name in source) said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[51]

On June 8, 2013, Director of National Intelligence Clapper made an additional public statement about PRISM and released a fact sheet providing further information about the program, which he described as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. 1881a).”[52][53] The fact sheet stated that “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and the Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.”[52] The fact sheet also stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”[52] Democratic Senators Udall and Wyden, who serve on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, subsequently criticized the fact sheet as being inaccurate.[clarification needed] NSA Director General Keith Alexander acknowledged the errors, stating that the fact sheet “could have more precisely described” the requirements governing the collection of e-mail and other internet content from U.S. companies. The fact sheet was withdrawn from the NSA’s website around June 26.[54]

In a closed-doors Senate hearing around June 11, FBI Director Robert Mueller said that Snowden’s leaks had caused “significant harm to our nation and to our safety.”[55] In the same Senate NSA Director Alexander defended the program.[further explanation needed] Alexander’s defense was immediately criticized by Senators Udall and Wyden, who said they saw no evidence that the NSA programs had produced “uniquely valuable intelligence.” In a joint statement, they wrote, “Gen Alexander’s testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program helped thwart ‘dozens’ of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods.”[55][56]

On June 18, NSA Director Alexander said in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee of Congress that communications surveillance had helped prevent more than 50 potential terrorist attacks worldwide (at least 10 of them involving terrorism suspects or targets in the United States) between 2001 and 2013, and that the PRISM web traffic surveillance program contributed in over 90 percent of those cases.[57][58][59] According to court records, one example Alexander gave regarding a thwarted attack by al Qaeda on the New York Stock Exchange was not in fact foiled by surveillance.[60] Several senators wrote Director of National Intelligence Clapper asking him to provide other examples.[61]

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told various news outlets that by June 24 they were already seeing what they said was evidence that suspected terrorists had begun changing their communication practices in order to evade detection by the surveillance tools disclosed by Snowden.[62][63]

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[64] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[65] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Following these statements some lawmakers from both parties warned national security officials during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee that they must change their use of sweeping National Security Agency surveillance programs or face losing the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that have allowed for the agency’s mass collection of telephone metadata.[75] “Section 215 expires at the end of 2015, and unless you realize you’ve got a problem, that is not going to be renewed,” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., author of the USA Patriot Act, threatened during the hearing.[75] “It’s got to be changed, and you’ve got to change how you operate section 215. Otherwise, in two and a half years, you’re not going to have it anymore.”[75]

Leaks of classified documents pointed to the role of a special court in enabling the government’s secret surveillance programs, but members of the court maintained they were not collaborating with the executive branch.[76]The New York Times, however, reported in July 2013 that in “more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks.”[77] After Members of the U.S. Congress pressed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to release declassified versions of its secret ruling, the court dismissed those requests arguing that the decisions can’t be declassified because they contain classified information.[78]Reggie Walton, the current FISA presiding judge, said in a statement: “The perception that the court is a rubber stamp is absolutely false. There is a rigorous review process of applications submitted by the executive branch, spearheaded initially by five judicial branch lawyers who are national security experts, and then by the judges, to ensure that the court’s authorizations comport with what the applicable statutes authorize.”[79] The accusation of being a “rubber stamp” was further rejected by Walton who wrote in a letter to Senator Patrick J. Leahy: “The annual statistics provided to Congress by the Attorney General […]frequently cited to in press reports as a suggestion that the Court’s approval rate of application is over 99%reflect only the number of final applications submitted to and acted on by the Court. These statistics do not reflect the fact that many applications are altered to prior or final submission or even withheld from final submission entirely, often after an indication that a judge would not approve them.”[80]

The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[81] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[82] A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve “network hygiene” and prevent any classified material from appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems.[81] Access to the Washington Post, which also published information on classified NSA surveillance programs disclosed by Edward Snowden, had not been blocked at the time the blocking of access to The Guardian was reported.[82]

The former head of the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism, Gert-Ren Polli, stated he knew the PRISM program under a different name and stated that surveillance activities had occurred in Austria as well. Polli had publicly stated in 2009 that he had received requests from US intelligence agencies to do things that would be in violation of Austrian law, which Polli refused to allow.[83][84]

The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[85] Australia’s former foreign minister Bob Carr said that Australians shouldn’t be concerned about PRISM but that cybersecurity is high on the government’s list of concerns.[86] An Australian diplomat stated that the acts of Edward Snowden were treachery and offered a staunch defence of her nation’s intelligence co-operation with America. [87]

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, responded by cancelling a planned October 2013 state visit to the United States, demanding an official apology, which by October 20, 2013, hadn’t come.[88] Also, Rousseff classified the spying as unacceptable between more harsh words in a speech before the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2013.[89] As a result, Boeing lost out on a US$4.5 billion contract for fighter jets to Sweden’s Saab Group.[90]

Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSEC), said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate.” Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind” in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”[91][92]

On 20 October 2013 a committee at the European Parliament backed a measure that, if it is enacted, would require American companies to seek clearance from European officials before complying with United States warrants seeking private data. The legislation has been under consideration for two years. The vote is part of efforts in Europe to shield citizens from online surveillance in the wake of revelations about a far-reaching spying program by the U.S. National Security Agency.[93] Germany and France have also had ongoing mutual talks about how they can keep European email traffic from going across American servers.[94]

On October 21, 2013 the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, summoned the U.S. Ambassador, Charles Rivkin, to the Quai d’Orsay in Paris to protest large-scale spying on French citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Paris prosecutors had opened preliminary inquiries into the NSA program in July, but Fabius said, ” obviously we need to go further” and “we must quickly assure that these practices aren’t repeated.”[95]

Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[96]German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “the internet is new to all of us” to explain the nature of the program; Matthew Schofield of McClatchy Washington Bureau said, “She was roundly mocked for that statement.”[97] Gert-Ren Polli, a former Austrian counter-terrorism official, said in 2013 that it is “absurd and unnatural” for the German authorities to pretend not to have known anything.[83][84] The German Army was using PRISM to support its operations in Afghanistan as early as 2011.[98]

In October 2013, it was reported that the NSA monitored Merkel’s cell phone.[99] The United States denied the report, but following the allegations, Merkel called President Obama and told him that spying on friends was “never acceptable, no matter in what situation.”[100]

Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[101] the Business Insider article[102] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM programVerint Systems and Narus.

The Mexican Government after finding out about the PRISM program has started to build its own spying program to spy on its own citizens. According to Jenaro Villamil a writer from Proceso(magazine), CISEN the intelligence agency from Mexico has started to work with IBM and Hewlett Packard to develop its own data gathering software. Facebook, Twitter, Emails and other social network sites are going to be priority.”[103]

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”[104]

Edward Snowden, in a live streamed Google Hangout to Kim Dotcom and Julian Assange alleged that he had received intelligence from New Zealand, and the NSA has listening posts in New Zealand[105]

At a meeting of European Union leaders held the week of 21 October 2013, Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, said that “spying activities aren’t proper among partner countries and allies”. On 28 October 2013 the Spanish government summoned the American ambassador, James Costos, to address allegations that the U.S. had collected data on 60 million telephone calls in Spain. Separately, igo Mndez de Vigo, a Spanish secretary of state, referred to the need to maintain “a necessary balance” between security and privacy concerns, but said that the recent allegations of spying, “if proven to be true, are improper and unacceptable between partners and friendly countries”.[106]

In the United Kingdom, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which also has its own surveillance program Tempora, had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. But after 2014, the Tempora lost its access to the PRISM programme.[citation needed] The Intelligence and Security Committee of the UK Parliament reviewed the reports GCHQ produced on the basis of intelligence sought from the US. They found in each case a warrant for interception was in place in accordance with the legal safeguards contained in UK law.[107]

In August 2013, The Guardian newspaper’s offices were visited by agents from GCHQ, who ordered and supervised the destruction of the hard drives containing information acquired from Snowden.[108]

The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.[2][3]

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[3][109] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[110][111]

In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[18]The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.”[2] “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.[111]

“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[114]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[115] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”[116]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”[117] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[117] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[117] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[117] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states, “Collection directly from the servers”[118] and the companies’ denials.[117]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by the FISA Court is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[117] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[117] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[117] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or ssh.[119]

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to its web site, the company reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) was between 9,000 and 10,000.” The company further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000” user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[120]

That same day, Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base.”[121]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its website’s transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[122]

Cisco Systems has seen a huge drop in export sales because of spying fears from the National Security Agency using backdoors in its products.[123]

On September 12, 2014, Yahoo! reported the U.S. Government threatened the imposition of $250,000 in fines per day if Yahoo didn’t hand over user data as part of the NSA’s PRISM program.[124] It is not known if other companies were threatened or fined for not providing data in response to a legitimate FISA requests.

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,”[125] and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”[126] It wrote with respect to the FISA-Court in context of PRISM that it is “a perversion of the American justice system” when “judicial secrecy is coupled with a one-sided presentation of the issues.”[127] According to the New York Times, “the result is a court whose reach is expanding far beyond its original mandate and without any substantive check.”[127]

James Robertson, a former federal district judge based in Washington who served on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court for three years between 2002 and 2005 and who ruled against the Bush administration in the landmark Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, said FISA court is independent but flawed because only the government’s side is represented effectively in its deliberations. “Anyone who has been a judge will tell you a judge needs to hear both sides of a case,” said James Robertson.[128] Without this judges do not benefit from adversarial debate. He suggested creating an advocate with security clearance who would argue against government filings.[129] Robertson questioned whether the secret FISA court should provide overall legal approval for the surveillance programs, saying the court “has turned into something like an administrative agency.” Under the changes brought by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, which expanded the US government’s authority by forcing the court to approve entire surveillance systems and not just surveillance warrants as it previously handled, “the court is now approving programmatic surveillance. I don’t think that is a judicial function.”[128] Robertson also said he was “frankly stunned” by the New York Times report[77] that FISA court rulings had created a new body of law broadening the ability of the NSA to use its surveillance programs to target not only terrorists but suspects in cases involving espionage, cyberattacks and weapons of mass destruction.[128]

Former CIA analyst Valerie Plame Wilson and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, writing in an op-ed article published in The Guardian, said that “Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don’t have enough information as a society to make that decision.”[130] Computer security expert John Bambenek from the University of Illinois suggested that use of data mining in national security cases might be prone to inaccuracy and manipulation.[131]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[132]

The Obama administration’s argument that NSA surveillance programs such as PRISM and Boundless Informant had been necessary to prevent acts of terrorism was challenged by several parties. Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said of the case of Najibullah Zazi, who had planned to bomb the New York City Subway, that interviews with involved parties and U.S. and British court documents indicated that the investigation into the case had actually been initiated in response to “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services, rather than to leads produced by NSA surveillance.[133] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is alleged to have conducted the 2013 Boston marathon bombings with his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had visited the Al Qaeda-affiliated Inspire magazine website, and even though Russian intelligence officials had raised concerns with U.S. intelligence officials about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston attacks. Daly observed that, “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.”[134]

Ron Paul, a former Republican member of Congress and prominent libertarian, thanked Snowden and Greenwald and denounced the mass surveillance as unhelpful and damaging, urging instead more transparency in U.S. government actions.[135] He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[136]

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman defended limited government surveillance programs intended to protect the American people from terrorist acts:

Yes, I worry about potential government abuse of privacy from a program designed to prevent another 9/11abuse that, so far, does not appear to have happened. But I worry even more about another 9/11. … If there were another 9/11, I fear that 99 percent of Americans would tell their members of Congress: “Do whatever you need to do to, privacy be damned, just make sure this does not happen again.” That is what I fear most. That is why I’ll reluctantly, very reluctantly, trade off the government using data mining to look for suspicious patterns in phone numbers called and e-mail addressesand then have to go to a judge to get a warrant to actually look at the content under guidelines set by Congressto prevent a day where, out of fear, we give government a license to look at anyone, any e-mail, any phone call, anywhere, anytime.[137]

Political commentator David Brooks similarly cautioned that government data surveillance programs are a necessary evil: “if you don’t have mass data sweeps, well, then these agencies are going to want to go back to the old-fashioned eavesdropping, which is a lot more intrusive.”[138]

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer worried less about the legality of PRISM and other NSA surveillance tools than about the potential for their abuse without more stringent oversight. “The problem here is not constitutionality. … We need a toughening of both congressional oversight and judicial review, perhaps even some independent outside scrutiny. Plus periodic legislative revisionsay, reauthorization every couple of yearsin light of the efficacy of the safeguards and the nature of the external threat. The object is not to abolish these vital programs. It’s to fix them.”[139]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[140] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.”[140][141] Simon had stated that many classes of people in American society had already faced constant government surveillance.

Political theorist, and frequent critic of U.S. government policies, Noam Chomsky argued, “Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy which is their own population.”[142]

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted June 11 through 13 found that 66% of Americans generally supported the program.[143][144][Notes 1] However, a Quinnipiac University poll conducted June 28 through July 8 found that 45% of registered voters think the surveillance programs have gone too far, with 40% saying they do not go far enough, compared to 25% saying they had gone too far and 63% saying not far enough in 2010.[145] Other polls have shown similar shifts in public opinion as revelations about the programs were leaked.[146][147]

In terms of economic impact, a study released in August by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation[148] found that the disclosure of PRISM could cost the U.S. economy between $21.5 and $35 billion in lost cloud computing business over three years.[149][150][151][152]

Sentiment around the world was that of general displeasure upon learning the extent of world communication data mining. Some national leaders spoke against the NSA and some spoke against their own national surveillance. One national minister had scathing comments on the National Security Agency’s data-mining program, citing Benjamin Franklin: “The more a society monitors, controls, and observes its citizens, the less free it is.”[153] Some question if the costs of hunting terrorists now overshadows the loss of citizen privacy.[154][155]

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Beaches and Islands – Krabi

 Islands  Comments Off on Beaches and Islands – Krabi
Oct 052015
 

>> Back To Visitor Guide Main Page

:: Beaches & Islands in the Sun

Visitors to Krabi beaches and islands are of many different backgrounds. Some are on their honeymoon and are overseas for the first time, others are adventurists who barely unpack their bags before leaving on their next adventure. We have visitors who have traveled the world over who have enjoyed travels on continents around the world, hot and cool climates. When you read about the islands and beaches of Krabi you will see that there is truly something to enjoy and love for everyone.

Ao Nang Beach

Krabi is hardly 18 km away from the bay and the bay has some 83 islands scattered around. Each one of these islands are a short distance away from one another. And during low tides, you can even wade your way to the neighboring island. In this sort of a natural set up, there is little shortage for sandy beaches and crystal clear water. But among them all, Ao Nang beach is supposed to be the best.

Ao Nang has the cleanest of environments in the area. This is the most developed beach in the area. And the beach is accessible by road from Krabi. Less crowded and more quiet, it gives a more peaceful atmosphere to the tourist than the Krabi. The majestic looking limestone cliffs rising straight from calm, clear waters of the sea and the long beach line that runs the whole length of the resort are great attractions claimed exclusively by Ao Nang. The shallow coast line is very safe for children to play with the waves. The deserted beach of Pai Plong is easily accessible on foot when the tide is low. There are 83 islands of various sizes in the bay off this beach. And the facilities for boat trips are well organized in the beach. Tourism sector takes care of the food requirements at the sea front itself. With widest range of accommodation facilities , transports either by boat or road, excellent facilities for tasty foods, tourists often make this area a base camp to make their foray further deep to discover the caves or for trekking and rock climbing.

Hat Noppharat Thara

This beach is on the western side of the Krabi town. The park covers an extensive area of the main land and 80 islands including Phi Phi Islands.

20 km west of Krabi and 3 miles long, this beach is lined with a majestic Casuarina forest. The beach is a part of Koh Phi Phi National Marine Park. Just as in the case of Ao Nang , during low tides, it is possible to reach other islands in the bay on foot.

Railay or Railey Beach & ( Hat Tham Beaches )

Two of the most popular beaches in Ao Phra Nang peninsula are Rai Leh and Hat Tham. This is just to the south of Ao Nang. Phra Nang area is a hilly terrain with craggy limestone cliffs. There are no proper roads in this area. The beaches are accessible by long tail boats. This scenario gives a secluded feel to the place.

In Rai Leh, excellent accommodation is available which gives an added attraction to this beach. There are plenty of rock formations in the area. And caves with stalactites and stalagmites are spectcular attraction in Rai Leh. As is quite typical of this area, the limestone geology has forged many interesting rock formations.

Besides, these beaches provide opportunities for rock climbing enthusiasts. A spectacular view of the surrounding areas from the top of the cliff is a rewarding experience to the hardship and strain you take to climb the hill side. The facilities including supplies of climbing gear and training for the novice are also available.

Pristine beaches with pure white sand and shallow clear water make the Rai Leh beach a favorite to the tourists. Swimming and sunbathing in this beach is much popular. Rai Leh beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. And this is one of Krabi’s most unique areas.

Pra Nang Beach

Connected to Rai Lei by a small path is Phra Nang (not to be confused with Ao Nang) on the outer most point of the headland, backed by a limestone cliff which soars above the beach providing some welcome shade in the hot afternoon. At the bottom of the cliff lies the Princess Cave or Tham Phra Nang Nok – local legend surrounds the cave and local fishermen leave offerings for good fortune. It’s a great beach to simply hang out. In the late morning the “sandwich boats” arrive. Local longtail boats equipped with ice boxes, bread and sandwich ingredients. Fancy a cheese and ham baguette? Freshly made and not expensive, the ladies on the boats will serve with a smile and often a free piece of fruit. A path Swimming and snorkeling can be enjoyed off this pristine, white sandy beach, and from here it is possible to hike to the top of the headland to get spectacular views of the entire area.

Klong Muang Beach/Tubkaak

Krabi’s latest beach destination, Muang Klong is aiming upmarket with 5 star and boutique hotels like the Sheraton Krabi Resort, the Nakamanda and the Tubkaak Resort. Unlike Ao Nang it doesn’t have the impressive cliffs immediately towering over the beach, but it does have powder white sand and safe swimming

The Lanta Island Group

About 53 islands are included in this group, which form the southern most district of Krabi Province.

Koh Lanta Yai The largest of the islands, it was formerly known as Pulao Satak, its name in the Malay language, which means Long Beach Island. The island is a favourite spot for those seeking peace and solitude, and is the home of the District and National Park offices. Mountainous and rugged in some spots, especially near the southern tip; with a combination of gravely and fine white sandy beaches, the island is also home to a clan of Chao Ley, or Sea Gypsies – an ethnic group who preserve many of their ancient customs and ceremonies. In recent years accommodation has increased in Lanta with a range from basic bungalows to upmarket resorts now available. You can get to Lanta on the regular ferry from Jao Fah Pier in Krabi Town.

Koh Taleng Beng Lies in the Lanta district and is similar in shape to Phi Phi Ley. Swallows also nest at this island which at low tide has a small beach and tunnel.

Mu Koh Hah Still in the Lanta area, this is a group of 5 islands featuring coral gardens and good diving spots.

Koh Ngai, Koh Rock Nai and Koh Rock Nok South of Lanta Island, these 3 islands are close to Trang Province. Koh Ngai is easily accessed via ferry from Pak Meng Beach, others are accessed by hired boat and feature both beaches and coral gardens.

Poda Beach

This is another location much favored by tourists. Lying off the coast of Ao Nang , Poda Beach is famous for its pure white sandy beach and warm waters. Diving and snorkeling , sun bathing and boating are the favorite activities in this beach. This is considered to be an ideal place for fun and relaxation.

Phi Phi Island Beaches

These islands are some of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. This is one of the much sought after locations in Krabi province. The superb scenery of these islands are not just limited to the silvery sand beaches but the Emerald green sea, the multi colored coral reefs and the abundance of the underwater marine life. Hardly 2 hrs journey by boat from Ao Nang beach, the twin islands Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh provide excellent entertainments.

Phi Phi Don is the larger of the two islands. Covering some 28 square km area, this is in the northern part of the island. Phi Phi Don has several long white sand beaches. Long ,white curved beach, fringed by palms and between mountain ranges provide sheltered calm waters for beach sports. Plenty of accommodation is available at the site. You can have beach side bungalows or smaller resorts as you please. Bars are available adjacent to the Muslim areas where you have to be discrete. Sun bathing and swimming in the shallow waters are the popular enjoyment here.

There are very many restaurants in Phi Phi Don. In fact, Thailand as a whole is considered to be a land of restaurants. This may perhaps be the only place in the world where you have more number of restaurants and eateries on a per capita basis. And Phi Phi Don is no exception. Both European cuisine and tasty Thai foods are available at the beach restaurants. Bars, cabaret, souvenir shops, fishing excursions and chartered boats are all available at the site.

Phi Phi Leh is only some six sq.km in area. The main attraction is the rocks and caves. Rugged cliff surfaces with sparse vegetation rising staraight from the sea bed to several metres to the sky provide real challenge to the rock climbing enthusiasts.

There are several caves where birds roost in their multitudes. The sea swallows make their gelatinous nests in these caves. And these nests are some delicacy in the Chinese cuisine. The Viking cave is famous for the murals inside. These paintings depict Viking-like sailing vessels and sailors there by giving the name for the cave.

The underwater life is also much captivating. The colorful coral reef and underwater creatures give a feast to the divers. Snorkeling is a favorite sport in these beaches. In short, Phi Phi Islands are a real treat to the tourist and one of the best choices in the Andaman Bay.

Ko Paid ( Bamboo Island ) This is another of the Phi Phi Islands but uninhabited. This has some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. And the beaches are unspoiled as the area is uninhabited.

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Hungary joins other NATO allies to host command center …

 NATO  Comments Off on Hungary joins other NATO allies to host command center …
Oct 042015
 

BUDAPEST Hungary, along with other states in central and eastern Europe, will host a command center to help coordinate deployment of NATO’s rapid reaction force in an emergency, the government said on Friday.

The U.S.-led military alliance has already activated similar centers in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Romania.

Hungary said the command center, called a NATO Force Integration Unit, would be staffed by 40 officers from Hungary and other NATO member states, but it would not be a base for forces.

“Its task in peaceful times is to organize and plan international exercises and, in an emergency, the coordination of the NATO Reaction Force,” the government spokesman’s office said in a reply to questions by Reuters.

The role of NATO’s spearhead force, due to be fully operational early next year, is likely to be discussed by alliance defense ministers at a meeting in Brussels on Oct.8.

Some eastern European NATO members, including Poland, want to keep the force’s focus on deterring a possible Russian attack in light of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in March last year.

“We started from the fact that the world is becoming a more and more dangerous place and we may need fast and efficient help from our allies,” the spokesman said.

NATO said on its website that the centers would “help in rapid deployment of Allied forces to the eastern part of the Alliance if necessary.”

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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Illuminati – Crystalinks

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Illuminati – Crystalinks
Oct 032015
 

Illuminati

Eye Symbology

The Illuminati is the name of many groups, modern and historical, real and fictitious, verified and alleged. Most commonly, however, The Illuminati refers specifically to the Bavarian Illuminati, perhaps the least secret of all secret societies in the world, described below. Most use refers to an alleged shadowy conspiratorial organization which controls world affairs behind the scenes, usually a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati. Illuminati is sometimes used synonymously with New World Order.

Illuminati is a Greek word meaning Illumination a name given to those who submitted to Christian baptism. Those who were baptized were called Illuminati or Illuminated / Enlightened Ones by the Ante-Nicene clergy, on the assumption that those who were instructed for baptism in the Apostolic faith had an enlightened understanding. The Alumbrados, a mystical 16th-century Spanish sect, were among the societies that subsequently adopted the name Illuminati.

Since Illuminati literally means ‘enlightened ones’ in Latin, it is natural that several unrelated historical groups have identified themselves as Illuminati. Often, this was due to claims of possessing gnostic texts or other arcane information not generally available.

The designation illuminati was also in use from the 14th century by the Brethren of the Free Spirit, and in the 15th century was assumed by other enthusiasts who claimed that the illuminating light came, not by being communicated from an authoritative but secret source, but from within, the result of exalted consciousness, or “enlightenment”.

Alumbrados of Spain

To the former class belong the alumbrados of Spain. The historian Marcelino Menendez y Pelayo found the name as early as 1492 (in the form iluminados, 1498), but traced them to a Gnostic origin, and thought their views were promoted in Spain through influences from Italy. One of their earliest leaders, born in Salamanca, a laborer’s daughter known as La Beata de Piedrahita, came under the notice of the Inquisition in 1511, as claiming to hold colloquies with Jesus and the Virgin Mary; some high patronage saved her from a rigorous denunciation. (Menendez Pelayo, Los Heterodoxos Espaoles, 1881, vol. V.). Ignatius Loyola, while studying at Salamanca in 1527, was brought before an ecclesiastical commission on a charge of sympathy with the alumbrados, but escaped with an admonition.

Illumines of France

The movement (under the name of Illumines) seems to have reached France from Seville in 1623, and attained some following in Picardy when joined (1634) by Pierce Guerin, cure of Saint-Georges de Roye, whose followers, known as Gurinets, were suppressed in 1635. A century later, another, more obscure body of Illumines came to light in the south of France in 1722, and appears to have lingered till 1794, having affinities with those known contemporaneously in Britain as ‘French Prophets’, an offshoot of the Camisards.

Rosicrucians

A different class were the Rosicrucians, who claimed to originate in 1407, but rose into notice in 1614 when their main text Fama Fraternitatis appeared; a secret society, that claimed to combine the possession of esoteric principles of religion with the mysteries of alchemy. Their positions are embodied in three anonymous treatises of 1614 (mentioned in Richard and Giraud, Dictionnaire universel des sciences ecclesiastiques, Paris 1825), as well as in the Confessio Fraternitatis of 1615. Rosicrucians also claimed heritage from the Knights Templar.

Martinists

Later, the title Illuminati was applied to the French Martinists which had been founded in 1754 by Martinez Pasqualis, and to their imitators the Russian Martinists, headed about 1790 by Professor Schwartz of Moscow; both were occultist cabalists and allegorists, absorbing eclectic ideas from Jakob Boehme and Emanuel Swedenborg.

History

A movement of freethinkers that were the most radical offshoot of The Enlightenment – whose adherents were given the name Illuminati (but who called themselves “Perfectibilists”) – was founded on May 1, 1776 by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt (d. 1830), who was the first lay professor of canon law. The group has also been called the Illuminati Order, the Order of the Illuminati, and the Bavarian Illuminati.In the conservative state of Bavaria, where the progressive and enlightened elector Maximilian III Joseph von Wittelsbach was succeeded (1777) by his conservative heir Karl Theodor, and which was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church and the aristocracy, such an organization did not last long before it was suppressed by the powers of the day.

In 1784, the Bavarian government banned all secret societies, including the Illuminati and the Freemasons. The structure of the Illuminati soon collapsed, but while it was in existence many influential intellectuals and progressive politicians counted themselves as members.

Its members were supposedly drawn primarily from Masons and former Masons, and although some Masons were known to be members there is no evidence that it was supported by Freemasons. The members pledged obedience to their superiors, and were divided into three main classes: the first, known as the Nursery, encompassed the ascending degrees or offices of Preparation, Novice, Minerval and Illuminatus Minor; the second, known as the Masonry, consisting of the ascending degrees of Illuminatus Major and Illuminatus dirigens, the latter also sometimes called Scotch Knight; the third, designated the Mysteries, was subdivided into the degrees of the Lesser Mysteries (Presbyter and Regent) and those of the Greater Mysteries (Magus and Rex). Relations with Masonic lodges were established at Munich and Freising in 1780.

The order had its branches in most countries of the European continent; its members were reportedly around 3,000-4,000 members in the span of 10 years. The scheme had its attraction for literary men, such as Goethe and Herder, and even for the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar. Internal rupture preceded its downfall, which was effected by an edict of the Bavarian government in 1785.

The Bavarian Illuminati have cast a long shadow in popular history thanks to the writings of their opponents; the lurid allegations of conspiracy that have colored the image of the Freemasons have practically opaqued that of the Illuminati. In 1797, Abbe Augustin Barruel published Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism outlining a vivid conspiracy theory involving the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Jacobins and the Illuminati.

A Scottish Mason and professor of natural history named John Robison started to publish Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe in 1798. Robison claimed to present evidence of an Illuminati conspiracy striving to replace all religions with humanism and all nations with a single world government.

More recently, Antony C. Sutton suggested that the secret society Skull and Bones was founded as the American branch of the Illuminati; others think Scroll and Key had Illuminati origins, as well. Writer Robert Gillette claimed that these Illuminati ultimately intend to establish a world government through assassination, bribery, blackmail, the control of banks and other financial powers, the infiltration of governments, mind control, and by causing wars and revolution to move their own people into higher positions in the political hierarchy.

Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, claimed they intended to spread information and the principles of true morality. He attributed the secrecy of the Illuminati to what he called “the tyranny of a despot and priests”.

Both seem to agree that the enemies of the Illuminati were the monarchs of Europe and the Church; Barrul claimed that the French revolution (1789) was engineered and controlled by the Illuminati through the Jacobins, and later conspiracy theorists have also claimed their responsibility for the Russian Revolution (1917), although the order was officially shut down in 1790. Few historians give credence to these views; they regard such claims as the products of over-fertile imaginations.

Several sources suggest that the Bavarian Illuminati survived, and perhaps even exists today. Conspiracy theorists highlight the link between the Illuminati and Freemasonry. It is also suggested that the United States’ founding fathers – some being Freemasons – were rife with corruption from the Illuminati. Often the symbol of the all-seeing pyramid in the Great Seal of the United States is cited as an example of the Illuminati’s ever-present watchful eye over Americans.

Very little reliable evidence can be found to suggest that Weishaupt’s group survived into the 19th century. However, several groups have since used the name Illuminati to found their own rites, claiming to be the Illuminati. Such groups include the Grand Lodge Rockefeller of David Goldman (USA), Orden Illuminati of Gabriel Lopez de Rojas (Spain), and The Illuminati Order of Solomon Tulbure (USA).

In 1995, Gabriel Lpez de Rojas founded Illuminati Order in Barcelona, Spain, elaborating the Operative Rite of The Illuminati of Bavaria. This Rite is based on the Rite of the Illuminati and high degrees of Scottish Rite of 33 degrees.The System of its Illuminati Grand Master, Gabriel Lpez de Rojas, is the Redism. This system is based on the lemma HOMO EST DEUS, or “man is god”.

Groups describing themselves as Illuminati say they have members and chapters (lodges) throughout the world.

About the time that the Illuminati were outlawed in Bavaria, the Roman Catholic Church prohibited its members from joining Masonic lodges, on pain of excommunication. This was done as a general edict, since the Church believed many lodges to have been infiltrated and subverted by the Illuminati, but was not able to accurately ascertain which ones. This rule was relaxed only in the late 20th century.

Illuminati Wikipedia

MYSTERY SCHOOLS & SECRET SOCIETIES

CONSPIRACIES INDEX

ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ALL FILES

CRYSTALINKS HOME PAGE

PSYCHIC READING WITH ELLIE

2012 THE ALCHEMY OF TIME

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Bitcoin Magazine Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency News and Discussion

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Bitcoin Magazine Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency News and Discussion
Sep 282015
 

Bank of America Files Patent Application for Cryptocurrency-Mediated Wire Transfers View more NeuCoin Launches a New Digital Currency for Online and Mobile Gaming View more Bitcoin Hardware Wallet KeepKey Launches and Begins Shipping View more Three Bitcoin Finalists Vie for BBVA Open Talent Competition Honors in Barcelona View more Bitcoin Tracker One ETN Offers Liquidity to European Investors View more Digital Currency Derivatives Exchanges Prepare for Regulation after CFTC Bitcoin Ruling View more Bitcoin Derivatives Company LedgerX Appoints Ex-CFTC Commissioner Wetjen to Board View more Australian Regulators Investigating Banks for Closing Accounts of Bitcoin Companies View more The Decentralist Perspective, or Why Bitcoin Might Need Small Blocks View more Everything You Need to Know about the Proposed Changes to the Bitcoin Block Size Cap View more Gavin Andresen on the Block Size: Its Hard to Find a Signal above All the Noise View more Bitcoin XT Big Block Fork Spurs Debate and Controversy View more Bank of England Chief Economist: Blockchain-based Digital Currency Issued by Central Banks Could Replace Cash View more Sig3 Launches an Automated Policy-Based Transaction Cosigner for Multisig Bitcoin Transactions View more BitGo Processes Over $1 Billion in Bitcoin Transactions in Third Quarter View more Storj Network Passes 1 Petabyte Storage Space View more Bitcoin and Gold Exchange Vaultoro Reaches $1 Million in Gold Trading Volume View more Bitcoin According to Regulators: Money, Currency, Property, and Now a Commodity View more Nine Top Global Banks Pool Resources to Fund R3 to Develop Digital Currency Standards View more UBS to Develop Yet Another Permissioned Blockchain for Banks View more Blythe Masters and Wall Street Opt for Permissioned Non-Bitcoin Blockchains View more Nick Szabo on Permissioned Blockchains and the Block Size View more Notable Bitcoin Core Contributors Now Open to Increasing Block-size Limit to 2 or 4MB View more Coinkite Processes $250 Million in Third Quarter; 10% of Total Daily Bitcoin Transactions View more IBM Developing Blockchain Without Bitcoin for Record-Keeping and Smart Contracts View more Closing the Loop: Australian Organic Farm Creates a Local Bitcoin Economy Among Farmers View more Wall Steet Interest in Bitcoin Grows with ARK Fund Investing in Silberts Bitcoin Investment Trust View more Alt-Options Launches Bitcoin Derivative Market View more Coin Center: State Bank Supervisors Proposal Good for Lawyers, Bad for Consumers and Innovators View more BitPagos Acquires Argentinian Bitcoin Exchange Unisend View more First Peer-Reviewed Academic Bitcoin Journal, Ledger, Launches and Issues Call for Papers View more

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NATO: ‘Strong’ Russian Presence in Eastern Ukraine

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Sep 262015
 

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg told AFP Thursday there was still a “strong” Russian presence in eastern Ukraine in support of pro-Moscow rebels although a recent ceasefire seems to be holding.

Stoltenberg said he backed the continuation of European Union and United States sanctions against Russia over its involvement in Ukraine until Moscow changes its behaviour.

“There is no doubt that there is a strong Russian presence in the eastern part of Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said in an interview at NATO HQ in Brussels.

“There (are) Russian forces there, there (is) Russian equipment and Russia continues to train and to assist the separatists.”

Stoltenberg said it was an “encouraging” sign for the implementation of the Minsk peace agreement, which was brokered by France and Germany in February, that a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has held.

“All the parties of the agreement have still a long way to go before we can say that the agreement is fully implemented, but at least it is an encouraging sign that for the first time since this agreement was first signed last fall, the ceasefire seems to be holding,” he said.

“When there is no violence going on, no fighting going on it is easier to make progress also on the other elements of the agreement,” which include the withdrawal of heavy weapons and restoration of full Ukrainian control of the border with Russia.

“Russia has to change behaviour if they (are going) to do something with the economic sanctions,” he said. “Therefore I think sanctions should continue.”

Damaging EU economic sanctions against Russia come up for review in December, with EU leaders saying a decision on whether they will be lifted depends on Moscow fully implementing its Minsk commitments to cut support for the rebels and restore the border.

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NATO: ‘Strong’ Russian Presence in Eastern Ukraine

Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

 Misc  Comments Off on Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …
Sep 232015
 

Calling yourself a libertarian today is a lot like wearing a mullet back in the nineteen eighties. It sends a clear signal: business up front, party in the back.

You know, those guys who call themselves socially liberal but fiscally conservative? Yeah. Its for them.

Today, the ruling class knows that theyve lost the culture wars. And unlike with our parents, they cant count on weeping eagles and the stars n bars to get us to fall in line. So libertarianism is their last ditch effort to ensure a succession to the throne.

Republicans freak you out but think the Democrats are wimps? You must be a libertarian! Want to sound smart and thoughtful in front of your boss without alienating your socially liberal buds? Just say the L-word, pass the coke and everyones happy!

Just look at how they play it up as the cool alternative to traditional conservatism. Its pathetic. George Will wore the bowtie. But Reason magazines Nick Gillespie wears an ironic D.A.R.E. t-shirt. And dont forget the rest of his all-black wardrobe, complete with leather jacket. What a totally with-it badass.

***

With such a bleak economic forecast for the Millennials, it shouldnt surprise anyone that our elites want to make libertarianism shorthand for political disaffection. Now theres a demographic with some growth potential. And its inspired a lot of poorly-sourced, speculative babble about how the kids have all gone Galt, almost always through the personal anecdotes of young white men.

A couple of months ago, after Harvard released a poll on the political views of Millennials, libertarians took to the internet to tell the world how the youth of America was little more than a giant anarcho-capitalist sleeper cellready to overthrow the state and privatize the air supply at a moments notice. So I took a look at the poll numbers. And you know what? Its utter horseshit.

Right off the bat, were told that 79% of Millennials dont consider themselves politically-engaged at all so, uh, keep that in mind.

Much is made of the fact that less than half of the survey respondents thought the government should provide free health care to those who cant afford it. What they dont mention is that that number (44 percent) is twice the percentage who say they stand against (22 percent) such hand outs. Nearly a third didnt think one way or the other.

Then we hear that the poll proves kids dont care about climate change. But they dont mention that slightly more Millennials wanted the government to do more on that front than theyre doing noweven if it hurt economic growth. Nearly half, you guessed it, neither agree nor disagree. (Come on kids, Rock the Vote!)

More Millennials identify as liberals than conservatives. Hardly any of them (10 percent) support the libertarian-embraced Tea Party. About three-quarters say they despise congressional Republicans.

Nearly two-thirds voted for Obama in 2008. Slightly over half approve of him now. Nearly three-quarters of Millennials hate congressional Republicans. 55% trust in the U.S. military, one of the largest state-socialist programs in the entire world, also responsible for, you know, those wars that libertarians supposedly hate.

Over a quarter put their faith in the federal government all or most of the time, and 55% some of the time. Only 17% answered never. And despite all their supposed Ron Paul love, they trust the globalist United Nations even more than they do the feds.

A little nibble here with only 36% approving of Obamas handling of the budget deficit, but then again, thats actually better than his rating on the deficit with Americans of all ages. Plus, worrying about the budget deficit is how dumb people have tried to sound smart since the days of FDR. And most people are dumb.

And when we finally get down to a hypothetical libertarian match-up between Obama and Ron Paul41 percent pick Obama and only 27 percent pick Paul.

Oh, but the kiddies are cool with gay marriage and tired of bombing brown people overseas? No shit. That just makes them normal people living in the 21st century. Im for single-payer health care and cant stand Barney Frank. Does that mean I sip the Kool-Aid at the Lyndon LaRouche compound?

None of this should be too surprising. For almost two decades, roughly two-thirds of the American public have supported what wed call a moderate European welfare stateputting the average U.S. citizen significantly to the left of the Democratic party, a center/center-right organization saddled, much to their dismay, with a perpetually-disappointed center-left constituency.

But hey, our ruling class would shit a brick if any of that wealth redistribution stuff happened over here. Which is why this is a center-right nation has been a favorite Fox News talking point for over ten years. Its only nowafter Occupy Wall Street forced their handthat the media is finally willing to admit that it might be bullshit.

But libertarianism? Our ruling class is totally fine with that. Smoke your reefer and sodomize whomever you please, just keep your mouth shut and hand over your Social Security account.

***

Never trust a hippietarian

I get the appeal. The states been sticking it to working folks for decades. It seems almost unimaginable that Big Government could ever be run by us and not the One Percent.

But child labor laws, the Civil Rights act, federal income tax, minimum wage laws, Social Security, Medicare, food safetylibertarians have accused all of them as infringements upon the free market that would lead to economic ruin. And over and over again, theyve been proven wrong. Life goes ona little less gruesomelyand society prospers.

There is no such thing as a free-market, economist Ha-Joon Chang has said repeatedly. A market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them.

In other words, markets are social institutions, just as much under the thumb of politics and government as everything else. Which means theyre subject to democratic pressures, as they should be.

And what you earn from said markets? Chang: All our wages are, at root, politically determined. Despite what Ron Pauls trolls might have you believe, gold Krugerrands dont spray out your asshole every time you type up a spreadsheet or pour a Grande mochachino for your next customer.

Capitalism has always been a product of Big Government. Ever since the railroads of the nineteenth century, to Silicon Valley, Big Pharma and the banks, the Nanny State has been there all along, passing subsidies and tax breaks, and eating the costs the private sector doesnt want.

So whenever a libertarian says that capitalism is at odds with the state, laugh at him. Its like saying that the NFL is at war with football fields. To be a libertarian is to say that God or the universe marked up that field, squirted out the pigskins from the bowels of the earth and handed down the playbooks from Mt. Sinai.

***

When a Red like me wants to argue for something like universal health care or free college tuition, we can point to dozens of wealthy democratic societies doing just that. The Stalinist left is nothing more than a faint memory. But where are the libertarian Utopias?

General Pinochets Chile was a longtime favorite. But seeing as how it relied on a fascist coupwith a big assist from Nixon and KissingerChiles lost a bit of that Cold War luster. So these days, for the slightly more with-it libertarian, we get Singapore as the model of choice.

Hey, isnt that where the Facebook guy lives these days? Thats pretty hip!

Ah, Singapore: a city-state near the very top in the world when it comes to number of police and execution rate per capita. Its a charming little one-party state where soft-core pornography is outlawed, labor rights are almost nonexistent and gay sex is banned. Expect a caning if you break a window. And death for a baggie of cocaine.

But hey: no capital gains tax! (Freedom!)

Singapore: Libertarian Paradise

Its not like any of this will make it through the glassy eyes of the true-believers. Ludwig von Mises, another libertarian pin-up boy, wrote in 1927 that, Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization.

Lately, Ron Pauls economic advisor has been claiming that Communist Party-ruled China has a freer market than the U.S.s.

***

So lets talk a little about this freedom theyre always going on about. Or, to paraphrase Lenin, the libertarians ultimate nemesis: freedom for who to do what?

Most American adults spend about half their waking hours at a job. And during that time, libertarians do not give a flying fuck about your liberty. Instead, they condone the most brutal of tyrannies all in the name of a private employers freedom.

Racial discrimination, verbal abuse, random drug testing, body-searches, sexual harassment, illegal termination, email monitoring, union busting, even withholding piss-breaksask any libertarian how they feel about workplace unfreedom and theyll tell you: Hey man, if you dont like it, you have the freedom to get another job. If folks are hiring. But with four-and-a-half applicants for every job, theyre probably not.

Heres another thing libertarians always forget to mention: a free-market capitalist society has never and by definition can never lead to full-employment. It has to be made to byyou guessed itthe Nanny State. Free market capitalism actually requires a huge mass of the unemployedits not just a side effect.

And make no mistake: corporate America loves a high unemployment rate.

When most everyone has a job, workers are less likely to take shit. They do nutty things like join unions, demand better wages and refuse to work off-the-clock. They start to stand up to real power: not to the EPA, and not the King of England, but to their bosses.

But with a real unemployment rate close to 20 percent, that aint happening. Well, fuck. Better sign up for that Big Government welfare state theyre always whining about. Hey, dont worry. You could always sell a little crack and turn a few tricks. Libertarians totally support that.

After all, thats your freedom, dude!

***

Libertarianism isnt some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional left to right spectrum. Its a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.

Its the third way for a society in which turning against capitalism or even taking your foot off the pedal is not an option. Thanks to our shitty constitution and the most violent labor history in the West, we never even got a social-democratic party like the rest of the developed world.

So what do we get? The libertarian line: No, no: the problem isnt that were too capitalist. Its that were not capitalist enough!

Genius.

At a time in which our society has never been more interdependent in every possible way, libertarians think theyre John fucking Wayne looking out over his ranch with an Apache scalp in his belt, or John fucking Galt doingwhatever it is he does. (Collect vintage desk toys from the Sharper Image?)

Their whole ideology is like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons. Its all make-believe, except for the chain-mailthey brought that from home. Elves, dwarves and fair maidens for capital. Even with the supposedly good onesanti-war libertarianswere still talking about people who think Medicares going to lead to Stalinism.

So my advice is to call them out.

Ask them what their beef really is with the welfare state. First, theyll talk about the deficit and say we just cant afford entitlement programs. Well, thats obviously a joke, so move on. Then theyll say that it gives the government tyrannical power. Okay. Let me know when the Danes open a Guantnamo Bay in Greenland.

Heres the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bossesthis is the power to say Im gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my chillwave band. And Ill still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.

Sounds like freedom to me.

Connor Kilpatrick is the managing editor of Jacobin magazine.

Would you like to know more? Read Thirty More Years of Hell and Silent Majority Millennials by Connor Kilpatrick.

Read more: child labor laws, deficit, democratic party, fascism, fdr, george will, ha-joon chang, libertarian, ludwig von mises, lyndon larouche, medicare, millennials, nick gillespie, pinochet, reason, ron paul, Singapore, social security, socialism, Tea Party, Connor Kilpatrick, Class War For Idiots, Libertards

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Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

The Book | Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who …

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on The Book | Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who …
Sep 212015
 

Millions of people have a queasy feeling that something is not right in the global economy but they struggle to put their fingers on what exactly the problem is. Treasure Islands at last tells the real story of where it all went wrong. This is the great untold story of globalisation.

Tax havens are not exotic, murky sideshows at the fringes of the world economy: they lie at its centre. Half of world trade flows, at least on paper, through tax havens. Every multinational corporation uses them routinely. The biggest users of tax havens by far are not terrorists, spivs, celebrities or Mafiosi but banks.

Tax havens are the ultimate source of strength for our global elites. Just as European nobles once consolidated their unaccountable powers in fortified castles, to better subjugate and extract tribute from the surrounding peasantry, so financial capital has coalesced in their modern equivalent today: the tax havens. In these fortified nodes of secret, unaccountable political and economic power, financial and criminal interests have come together to capture local political systems and turn the havens into their own private law-making factories, protected against outside interference by the worlds most powerful countries most especially Britain. Treasure Islands will, for the first time, show the blood and guts of just how they do it.

Tax havens arent just about tax. They are about escape escape from criminal laws, escape from creditors, escape from tax, escape from prudent financial regulation above all, escape from democratic scrutiny and accountability. Tax havens get rich by taking fees for providing these escape routes. This is their core line of business. It is what they do.

These escape routes transform the merely powerful into the untouchable. Dont tax or regulate us or we will flee offshore! the financiers cry, and elected politicians around the world crawl on their bellies and capitulate. And so tax havens lead a global race to the bottom to offer deeper secrecy, ever laxer financial regulations, and ever more sophisticated tax loopholes. They have become the silent battering rams of financial deregulation, forcing countries to remove financial regulations, to cut taxes and restraints on the wealthy, and to shift all the risks, costs and taxes onto the backs of the rest of us. In the process democracy unravels and the offshore system pushes ever further onshore. The worlds two most important tax havens today are United States and Britain.

Without understanding offshore, we will never understand the history of the modern world.

Poverty in Africa? Offshore is at the heart of the matter. Industrial-scale corruption and the wholesale subversion of governments by criminalised interests, across the developing world? Offshore is central to the story, every time. The systematic looting of the former Soviet Union and the merging of the nuclear-armed countrys intelligence apparatus with organized crime, is a story that unfolds substantially in London and its offshore satellites. Saddam Hussein used tax havens to buttress his power, as does North Koreas Kim Jong-Il today. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconis strange hold over Italian politics is very much an offshore tale. The Elf Affair, Europes biggest ever corruption scandal, had secrecy jurisdictions at its core. Arms smuggling to terrorist organisations? The growth of mafia empires? Offshore. You can only fit about $1 million into a briefcase: without offshore, the illegal drugs trade would be a fraction of its size.

Private equity and hedge funds? Goldman Sachs? Citigroup? These are all creatures of offshore. The scandals of Enron, Parmalat, Long Term Capital Management, Lehman Brothers, AIG and many more? Tax havens lay behind them all. The rise of multinationals, the explosion of debt in advanced economies since the 1970s is substantially an offshore tale. Complex monopolies, frauds, insider trading rings these corruptions of free markets always have tax havens at their heart. As Treasure Islands explains in vivid, thrilling, horrifying detail, every big financial crisis since the 1970s including the great global crisis that erupted in 2007 has been a creature of the tax havens.

These problems all have other explanations too. Tax havens are never the only story, because offshore exists only in relation to elsewhere. That is why it is called offshore. Without understanding the tax havens, or the secrecy jurisdictions as I often prefer to call them, we cannot understand the world. Treasure Islands at last starts to fill this gigantic hole in modern history.

In short, it is the most important expos of tax havens ever published.

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The Book | Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who …




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