Adrian's Writing Blog

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State of Surveillance - Edward Snowden

I like Edward Snowden. I think he's a hero. I also think it's very funny that some people, for years, attested to the fact that the U.S. Government and the U.K. Government were eavesdropping on everyone in their respective countries and that this claim was declared a ludicrous, paranoid conspiracy theory. Lo and behold, when Edward Snowden told everyone that he'd been working for the NSA and he had proof that that was exactly what the government(s) were doing (along with GCHQ, according to some of the evidence), the establishment view of that matter rapidly switched from 'it's ridiculous' to 'it's necessary to combat terrorism'. Suddenly, it wasn't a ludicrous conspiracy theory at all but simply a necessary 'deception'. I've often though that there's only a small gap between ridiculous and obvious; Snowden's revelations seem to support that idea!



In this youtube video, which I found on the interesting website www.topdocumentaryfilms.com, VICE host Shane Smith interviews Snowden and talks about what can be done to stop someone hacking your smartphone and recording everything you do, including what you say and where you go. Snowden gives some very interesting advice on the matter, along with comments on the broader matter of civil liberties.

I thought I'd add a few thoughts on the 'how not to be monitored by secret groups' topic. As I've got a computer science degree, plus professional experience, I do have some useful knowledge on the matter. Firstly, Snowden is absolutely right that if your smartphone is hacked, you'll have a very hard time discovering the fact. To be honest, if you are concerned about being snooped on, the only safe smartphone is no smartphone. Use random pay-phones if possible. Use old phones that are barely sufficient for calls and messages, as it'll be harder for snoopers to install useful eavesdropping software. These are the only safe-ish options. I've blogged before about the potential power of smartphones to hypnotise people while they sleep (which sounds outlandish but is perfectly feasible) and so I'm a big fan of minimum or no smartphone usage for anyone worried that they are being 'got at'.

When it comes to laptops, it is still very difficult to spot hacking and eavesdropping but there are ways to check if it's occurring. If you're connected to the internet via a router or switch, watch the packet activity light on the router. If it's chattering away when you've turned everything off to do with the internet, something funny is going on. Unplug the power to the laptop and work off its battery. If the battery is going down surprisingly quickly when all you're doing is typing an article, it's possible the laptop is sending information about you wirelessly while hiding that fact from your desktop status icons. (Clandestine groups may have hacked your laptop but they still need power to run their apps). Shut your laptop down when you're not using it; this shortens the time available to secret groups to hack your computer. You can also check your system logs to see if your computer was booted up when you weren't around. Turn on your firewall and turn off bluetooth, if possible. These acts don't guarantee that you won't be hacked (far from it!) but they do make it harder for anyone who's trying. Ultimately, assume that everything you put on your laptop or smartphone will be monitored. If you end up in a situation where you do need to hide information, store it in your head and pass it on verbally by whispering into someone's ear in a nightclub; that should be relatively safe. :-)

One final note. A lot of people respond to Snowden's revelations with 'I don't care if they're watching us, I've got nothing to hide!' For those people, I would say; 'you have nothing to hide from moral people but what if those people turned into Nazis or get taken over by Nazis?' The French Underground was rightly admired for their work in the Second World War. They'd have had a terrible time doing anything if France had introduced comprehensive surveillance before the War, for any reason. Snowden calls this problem 'turnkey tyranny' and he's right. For anyone not concerned about this threat, I'd check out the latest news from the U.S. Presidential elections…

Psi-Earth - 5 - Technology - Smartphones

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Just to recap, Psi-Earth is an Alternative Earth story where the world is the same as the modern-day but it is a world where the ideas I've developed in my book 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong' are correct and are being actively used by secret groups. The tragedy of the 'Psi-Earth' story is that human-kind is capable of psi-abilities but unfortunately, secret and powerful groups are keeping humanity blind to their own abilities in order that the ones who do use psi-abilities can maintain a critical advantage and control of power on Earth. It's a dark, dramatic, tense scenario that could make a very good novel or two. Rather than hide its development away in a notebook, I thought I'd blog its development instead while I work on my science fiction comedy novel.

In the first blog article, I talked about the basic premise of the story. In the second article, I described a potential main character, Xander, and the dangers he faced as soon as secret and powerful group became aware of his progression as a remote viewer. So far in the story, Xander has narrowly avoided being killed after being led into a trap by henchman working for one of the secret elite groups, or at least he thinks he avoided a trap. As every danger in the story is elusive and strange, it's very difficult for the main characters to be sure that they are in danger. In this way, the story is a lot like a classic spy story where agents must make life-or-death decisions based on the most enigmatic of clues. In the third article, I described part of the historical background for the Psi-Earth and the origins of the secret elite groups from the early and very influential Mystery Religions of Antiquity. In the fourth article, I talked about identity chips and how each person in the developed world could have on inside themselves without knowing it.

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This week’s blog article on ‘Psi Earth’ continues the subject of technology and is all about smartphones.

In the entire history of surveillance and population control, nothing comes close to the power of the smartphone. It combines the influencing power of the television, the surveillance power of the secreted bug and many more besides. Infamous secret elites throughout history would have given their right eye to have access to a device that the common masses would willingly walk around with all day, a device that they would constantly stare at and a device from which they would gain most of their knowledge of what was going on. The potent combination of a smartphone and the social networking system, run by a small number of huge corporations, has all the potential to become an iCult, a system in which all members only hear what their iCult leaders want them to hear and even that information is heavily distorted to fit with the leaders’ agendas.

At the moment, the main concerns about smartphones are their ability to track people’s location and download a copy of the information they place on their phone. This concern is well-established and Edward Snowden, the U.S. N.S.A. whistleblower, has talked extensively about software packages secretly installed on target phones that carry out such tasks (endearingly given names from the Smurfs). Snowden has also recently been involved in developing a case that can tell the owner when the phone is connecting to bluetooth and wi-fi without the owner’s consent.

But there is another field of activity that a smartphone is capable of that has not been mentioned (to my knowledge). The power of recent smartphones has enabled voice assistants to become a viable piece of installed software, with Apple’s ‘Siri’ being a well-known example. These voice-assistance programmes are now able to draw upon information stored about their users on the phone and use that information to suggest or give recommendations to the user. This is all very useful and can be a great tool. In addition, smartphone software is now also able to analyse their owner’s sleep patterns in order to advise and help them with healthier routines, sleep problems and other related issues. If we combine these two developments, someone's smartphone can help and assist them 24 hours a day, when they are awake and asleep.

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But if we combine these items together - the voice assistant and the sleep analyst - then someone’s smartphone has the potential to do something dark. Someone's smartphone has the potential to mesmerise their owner while that owner is asleep. For anyone panicked by this idea, keep in mind that no one’s reported this happening (as far as I know) but it is theoretically possible. The setup is straightforward. If a person goes to sleep with their phone beside them then if the phone has been hacked, it can listen to them throughout the night, even if it is 'officially' turned off. The phone can analyse their breathing patters, the sound of their movements in bed and calculate when they are at their most receptive to suggestion. It can then speak to them in whatever voice is most influential to them, from the voice-assistant's library, based on information gathered about that person. As a result, in a low-key but effective way, the phone can mesmerise or at least significantly influence its owner. What’s more, this entire process can be carried out automatically, following a complex and sophisticated algorithm. Since smartphone microphones are of excellent quality nowadays, akin to the microphones of professional sound studios thirty years ago, the programme can even monitor if anyone else in earshot wakes up or enters the scene. If that happens, the programme can immediately go quiet until that interloper has gone or returned to slumber. What’s more, this process can go on, night after night, the hacked phone executing a programme that could last months or even years.

As I’ve already mentioned, I know of no recorded evidence for this actually happening but it’s both theoretically possible and it is something dark and dramatic. As Mark Twain once said; ‘it’s not whether it happened or didn’t happen but that it could have happened’. As a result, I’ll definitely be adding it to the Psi-Earth story. It can be one of the dangers our heroes face in the early stages, when they’re the target of the secret elite.

Psi-Earth - 1 - An 'alternative Earth' story

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This blog article is related to my new book; ’How science shows that almost everything important we’ve been told is wrong’, which will soon be ready to buy from the FeedaRead website and available to order from large booksellers as well. It has an ISBN-13 number (9781786970916). More info on the book is available on its web page.

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To sum up the book again, ’How science shows…’ explains that the waking reality that we inhabit is a light-energy pattern that our minds collectively influence at the quantum level. In other words, reality isn’t a hard, solid place, a collection of independent objects that we can’t influence. Instead, reality is an ephemeral construction, a collaborative mental creation. Not only that, but our minds don’t come into existence from physical reality, we, as thinking minds, perceive and influence reality from a source outside of reality. As a result, our minds create our physical brains and bodies, not the other way around. It’s effectively turning the current official scientific view upside down, but by using evidence and theories put forward by eminent scientists; weird but true.
While thinking about the ideas in the book, I realised that the ideas in the book could be used to create a thrilling drama about a group of talented individuals up against a powerful and secretive elite. I thought it would be good to blog ideas about it on this website, as a sort of on-going production diary. I’m currently focussed on completing a science-fiction comedy novel, but it might be fun to develop and blog about another novel story, with its accompanying ‘alternative Earth’ theme, at the same time. I’m going to call this ‘alternative Earth’ Psi-Earth, after the Greek letter Psi (which looks like a three-pronged fork), which is traditionally associated with extra-sensory or paranormal abilities.

Psi-Earth is just like our Earth now, our current-day situation, except that Psi-Earth is a place where the ideas put forward in ‘How science shows…’ are both correct and are being successfully used, akin to the Ancient Egyptians or the Tibetans. Just to recap, if the book’s ideas are correct, then human beings can potentially (with a lot of effort) develop the following abilities:

The ability to gather information and perceive places, events and details remote to one’s location, both in space and time. This is currently described as ‘remote viewing’ but was also called ‘scrying’ in the past.

The ability to sense or be aware of potential events in the future. This is currently described as ‘precognition’, while the word ‘prescience’ is more associated with calculated anticipation.

The ability to move one’s mind and ‘spirit body’ to another location, separate from one’s physical body. This is usually referred to as ‘astral projection’ or ‘spirit travelling’.

The existence and potential ability to communicate with other minds that are not currently connected to a physical body, or minds existing at very remote locations.

The ability to generate power and create material using mental manipulation of energetic phenomena at a quantum level.

(Note: For readers interested in the historical and modern evidence for people actually possessing these skills, I recommend the books ‘Magic and Mystery in Tibet’ by Alexandra David-Neil. For a more recent study of people developing skills in this area, I’d recommend 'Margins of Reality' by Prof Robert Jahn, ‘Psi Spies’ by Jim Marrs and almost any non-fiction book by Ingo Swann, who worked as a remote viewer for the U.S. Military).

It doesn’t take much thought to imagine that Earth would become an incredible and amazing place if such paranormal abilities were possible and also that the majority of people on Earth could use them. Our civilisation would become filled with super-druids, Tibetan Masters and Buddhist Bodhisattvas all making use of zero-point, cold-fusion technology, It all sounds extremely cool but it would be almost unrecognisable compared to our current situation, which isn't really the idea of the Psi-Earth story, so I won't be writing about that.

Instead, the Psi-Earth story would be a darker, everyday, 'almost like normal' story based around the idea that certain powerful and secretive groups had known for some time that reality was a light-energy pattern and that our minds influence and shape reality. These groups have, by the present day of the story, developed mind-assisted zero-point energy generators, mind-assisted cold-fusion units, telepathy skills, remote viewing, out-of-body journeying, prescience etc. Not surprisingly in the story, these groups have, as a result, gained a huge advantage over everyone else, all the ordinary people who continue to believe that only physical things exists and that our minds are nothing more that the side-effects of chemical activity. These secretive, elite groups are the real Lords of Psi-Earth, the people who really control the planet and everyone on it.

In comparison, nearly all the ordinary people of Psi-Earth believe something fundamentally different. They all believe in Materialism or in some irrational religious belief-system. These belief systems keep the ordinary people blind to the true situation, that they all have the potential to do amazing things, to do things that they think only belong to the ‘gods’ or fictional wizards. The ancient Hermetica tellingly said that; ‘a god is an immortal man and man, a mortal god’ but the ordinary people of Psi-Earth are blind to this fact. They have been hobbled by believing falsehoods. This makes the Psi-Earth story darkly oppressive because everyone on Earth is in a prison of their own beliefs. They are not being subjugated through brute-force by oppressive overlords putting up huge billboards threatening punishments or sending gestapo-like-squads hunting down perpetrators, but by a more powerful and subtle obstacle; the widespread adoption of a convincing false belief, which is a far more effective barrier.

In Plato’s ‘Critias’, the Egyptian Priest states:

“In the days of old the gods had the whole earth distributed among them by allotment… They all peopled [populated] their own districts; and when they had peopled them they tended us, their nurselings and possessions, as shepherds tend their flocks, excepting only that they did not use blows or bodily force, as shepherds do, but governed us like pilots from the stern of the vessel, which is an easy way of guiding animals, holding our souls by the rudder of persuasion according to their own pleasure; thus did they guide all mortal creatures.”

The Psi-Earth story is a 21st Century version of this very situation; of a small number of elite groups controlling all the ordinary people of Earth through clever persuasion. In the story, Earth’s history can be re-interpreted. The strategy of the Catholic Church to violently suppress all shamanic and wicca practices for two thousand years was not part of a Christian ideology but simply a plan steered by secret groups within the Catholic Church to eradicate any development of psi-skills among ordinary people. In addition, the development of secular science was also infiltrated by secretive, powerful groups who steered that movement to promulgate a mistaken belief in Materialism. That establishment then pushed a secular message, that ‘paranormal’ abilities were a waste of time, indicative only of stupidity or insanity. In that way, the secret power groups of Psi-Earth used both the religious and scientific establishments to keep the ordinary people ignorant and powerless.

At this point in the Psi-Earth story, we need a hero or two enter the stage. Just as in any thrilling drama, we need a group of people who find out the truth, find out what they can do. In that way, it’s like the TV series ‘Heroes’, except that these people in Psi-Earth realise that everyone can have these abilities, not just some select few.

At the beginning, most of these individuals are naive; they think that everyone will want to know what they’ve found and the good it will do to humanity. They don’t realise that the secret elite don’t want everyone to know because if that happened, the secret elite would lose their advantage over everyone else, their power and control. The secret elite groups may fight each other sometimes but they are united in one goal; to stop all the ordinary people of Psi-Earth discovering what they themselves are capable of.

Our heroes, freshly aware of the truth, are immediately in great danger. As soon as they begin openly talking about what they’ve found, the secret groups spot them and close in. The secret groups can spot them quickly partly because they've set up organisations that pretend to help develop psi-skills as ‘honey traps’. These organisations draw the newbie psi-people in, thereby uncovering anyone with strong abilities so they can target them specifically.

The only thing that prevents our heroes dying at this early stage in the hands of the secret elite's assassins is that the secret elite don’t want to kill our heroes blatantly. If our heroes are clearly assassinated then that would draw attention to them and what they were working on, which is the last things the secret elite groups want. The secret elite therefore do want to kill our heroes but at the same time, they want the deaths to look like suicides, accidents, unlucky illnesses etc.

All these elements should make for a darkly dramatic situation that has an element of black-humour; a modern-day world where some curious people are putting forward ideas that are actually true but are officially said to be rubbish and generally laughed at. Our heroes face ridicule, crises of confidence and disinformation even before the lethal dangers appear. Then, they are embroiled in a life-threatening but paradoxical situation where secret and powerful groups (who don’t officially exist) are trying to kill them while making sure that the murders will be regarded as suicides or some sad twist of fate.

I’ll blog again on this topic soon. In the meantime, it's back to the science-fiction comedy.