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HS 213 – NSA and Cyber War with Bill Blunden

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Bill Blunden has written several books including Behold a Pale Farce, Threat Inflation, and Cube Farm. Bill joins the show today to discuss the NSA and the advanced software they are using to spy on people. He also runs the website Below Gotham Labs, which is a blog that helps get this information out.

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Narrator: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary for you to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host, Jason Hartman.

Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show. This is your host Jason Hartman, where we talk about protecting the people places and profits you care about in these uncertain times. We have a great interview for you today. And we will be back with that in less than 60 seconds on the Holistic Survival Show. And by the way, be sure to visit our website at HolisticSurvival.com. You can subscribe to our blog, which is totally free, has loads of great information, and there’s just a lot of good content for you on the site, so make sure you take advantage of that at HolisticSurvival.com. We’ll be right back.

Hey, it’s my pleasure to welcome Bill Blunden to the show. He is coming to us today from San Francisco, California and his latest book is Behold a Pale Farce: Cyber War, Threat Inflation, and get this: the Malware Industrial Complex. I love that. Bill, how are you?

Bill Blunden: I’m good. Thanks for having me on, Jason. I appreciate it.

Jason Hartman: Good. Well, it’s good to have you and we’re going to talk about some very interesting stuff in our short time together here. Of course, the NSA is actively taking advantage of all of us, and I just read yesterday that that computer, I guess it’s a virus, I don’t know Malware, but Heart Bleed, is that the name of it?

Bill Blunden: Yes, yes.

Jason Hartman: Apparently the NSA knew about that just over two years ago and could have probably saved us a lot of hassle and headache, but instead they decided to exploit it for their own purposes, and not tell their loyal subjects, slaves, surfs, useful idiots, whatever they want to call us… but what do you make of that?

Bill Blunden: Well, Heart Bleed was a programming flaw. It’s software developer, there was actually open SSL is a stack that uses cryptography for securing websites and online transactions.

Jason Hartman: A stack? What’s a stack?

Bill Blunden: It’s a series of protocols that are developed, so there are a bunch of rules that you use. If you want to use cryptography and you want to use it to implement public key encryption, there’s a whole series of protocols basically, related rules that govern how an interaction occurs. But anyway, there was a developer who was working on that project who unintentionally, at least that’s what we’ve been told, who unintentionally released a flaw into the open SSL of protocols and as a result, there’s this hole and if you can find it you can side step stuff. I’m not surprised at all that the NSA didn’t say anything, because obviously their goal is to gather intelligence and spy on people. So it’s in their best interest to keep this quiet because then they can use it to spy on people.

So it’s an interesting dichotomy. They claim that this is intended to help secure us and that the NSA is here to help protect us and secure us when what they’re actually doing is undermining our collective security with the programs that they have and the campaigns that they run.

Jason Hartman: Bill, at least now we no longer have to back up our computers because we know the NSA is doing it for us, right?

Bill Blunden: Yes, correct.

Jason Hartman: Isn’t this just disgusting? This is unbelievable that our government is doing this and they’re not making any apologies either.

Bill Blunden: No, I think there have been kind of these tentative moves to give voice to decent in order to kind of hijack it and then to kind of squelch it. This is something that Glenn Greenwald mentioned yesterday during the Polk Awards. He was talking afterwards, he mentioned during the press conference that he sees Obama is not necessarily being a vehicle of change but being an impediment to change. And I think that what’s happened so far kind of illustrates that. He really is opting for band aide solutions and he’s going to try to appease people without actually affecting the NSA’s ability and the private sector’s ability to gather intelligence. So I don’t see significant changes happening under the Obama administration.

Jason Hartman: It is unbelievable, and he chastised George Bush for the patriot act. It’s just hilarious. The patriot act is child’s play… well this may actually be part of the patriot act, I can’t say, but the stuff Bush was doing is child’s play compared to the stuff that Obama’s doing. So what are some of the issues we should get into? Should we talk about the NSA more, should we talk about China, should we talk about Edward Snowden who shined the light on this?

Bill Blunden: Let’s start with the NSA.

Jason Hartman: Okay, where would you like to start? It’s such a giant beast – it’s a monster.

Bill Blunden: Yeah, one thing I hear a lot is people say, why should I be concerned? I don’t have anything to hide.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, that’s what the CEO of Google said years ago when they were blamed of keeping track of all our searches and our traffic. Why should we mind? Are you kidding me? That’s insane logic.

Bill Blunden: Yes, you have to understand that Eric Schmidt has every reason to adopt that standpoint. He basically said if you’re doing something you shouldn’t, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, well he’s part of the spy complex.

Bill Blunden: Yes. Absolutely. I think that people should be concerned, even if you feel you’ve got nothing to hide, you’re yielding your civil liberties and these are basically safeguards. I think that anyone who maybe grew up during the culture revolution when Mao Zedong was in power in China, or maybe in Russia during the days of Stalin would be able to tell you why these safeguards are important. We need them.

Jason Hartman: One thing: I’m sure we’ve all fallen victim to this, and that is the concept of you say something and then later it’s repeated back to you but it’s out of context. And the context in which society is governed could change dramatically in 5, 10, 20 years. And something we say now that may be considered okay may not be considered okay then. And they’re going to keep this data forever.

Bill Blunden: Yes, as things stand now, as things are currently as they are, I can say fairly unequivocally that we exist in a surveillance state. The United States is now a surveillance state where they have the technology and the tools to monitor everything and collect everything and to basically make lists. And to assume that, with nothing more than secret policies which are secretly interpreted by secret courts and to assume that these keep us safe and eventually protect us from this surveillance state to devolve into a police state, I think it’s pretty reckless. Because eventually there will be some sort of catastrophe or some sort of excuse that will be used and we’ll make that transition from a surveillance state to a police state. And to think that these secret policies are going to protect us, I think it’s really dangerous.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. Well, tell us anything that we maybe don’t know already that the NSA is doing that we should know about. We’re all familiar with the data center in Utah, we’re heard that they basically listen in essence to every phone conversation, every text message, every Email… I read recently that they can literally now bug an entire country all at once. So if we want to bug all of Russia, we can bug all of Russia.

Bill Blunden: What you have to keep in mind is the scale of resources that we push into our intelligence resources, according to the Federation of American Scientists, it’s something like 70 billion dollars a year. So that’s more than almost anyone else spends on their military in total. I think maybe China might spend more than that. So in terms of the sheer resources we give our intelligence services, it’s not surprising that we have programs like that. And they’re all split up into different divisions and sections. They’re all compartmentalized. And it kind of protects things because if one of them is uncovered, then there’s still several others that we don’t know about. For example, the NSA has something called The Office of Tailored Access Operations.
There was a lot of details about this in an article by foreign policy that came out months ago. Over a 12 year period The Office of Tailored Access Operations, TAO I guess is the acronym, they compromised something like 50 thousand networks in foreign countries. So I don’t think it’s a matter of saying which networks have they compromised, I think it’s probably easier to say which networks they haven’t compromised.

What they tend to do is they target routers and switches, basically these hubs of information where they can kind of hit a router and get all the traffic that’s going through this network and syphon that off. That way they don’t necessarily have to hack each machine, they can get all the traffic from an entire network by maybe getting one router on the edge, on the perimeter of the network. So they tend to favor these internet devices, these routers and switches. I think in this day and age most people are using what’s called multilayer switches which are basically a combination of a router and a switch, but that’s technical detail.
Anyways, they basically target these hubs of information which give them access to large, broad streams of data and mostly the office of tailored access operations will operate remotely. If they need to get in close and get hands on to a machine, maybe they can’t hack something remotely, or they need to get in close, maybe do some breaking and entering or tailing someone, there’s a joint program that the NSA runs with the CIA called the Special Collections Service which has existed since 1995.

So these programs are all happening in concert with other members of the intelligence community. And these programs are enabled by an industry wide campaign of subversion. So the NSA again, various programs, they have a program called Bull Run which is what they use to undermine the cryptographic primitives and protocols that are used by products. Any product that uses encryption that’s commercial, it’s most likely that they’ve gotten their hands on it. If it’s an American company like Cisco it’s almost guaranteed that there’s been some collaboration between the NSA and that company.

Jason Hartman: Collaboration… shouldn’t we call it conspiracy?

Bill Blunden: Well, it depends on which side of the fence you’re standing on. They have another program called The Signal Intelligence Enabling Project, which is even more kind of devious because it allows them to put backdoors, basically if they have a product they’ll find ways of putting backdoors into it. So this mass subversion campaign, it’s so extensive that they actually have one program that, let’s say you’re a target, the NSA is targeting you and you order a computer online. They actually have a program where they will intercept that computer while it’s in transit, and compromise it and then send it back to you.

Jason Hartman: Unbelievable. I think I saw something about that in a movie or something. But I had John MacAfee, the security software expert on the show and he talked about his time in Belize which was just unbelievably oppressive and corrupt, and he said that he only buys computers, he has friends buy his computers with cash and they’ve of course tried to make him out to be some kind of paranoid nut job but he seemed pretty rational to me when I talked to him. He was just bringing up legitimate issues, and yeah he doesn’t buy a computer with a credit card anymore.

Bill Blunden: If you had mentioned these programs, and in fact when I started writing this book about four years ago, and this is before this Snowden stuff was even heard of. And at the time I’m sure people read my stuff and thought I was some sort of tinfoil hat wearing nut…

Jason Hartman: And here we are – it’s reality.

Bill Blunden: Here we go. I really feel vindicated by the Snowden revelations. It’s like all the things that I could infer or kind of hint at, I now have concrete proof. And in a sense it’s a relief, but in another sense it’s unsettling. A program, one of the documents that came out from Snowden, they talked about a system called Turban which was intended to take millions of machines and compromise them, and manage them and access them all at once. So rather than having these target operations where you’re maybe going after one or two networks, and maybe get a couple hundred machines, and you might have to have a special team dedicated just for that they want to industrialize the process so that they can do it in mass and have these massive operations where they’re hacking all at one time millions of machines, as you mentioned earlier.

And this document was dated 2009, so it’s been several years since then and I’d be surprised if they didn’t have a working prototype of that in working operation. So that’s another thing to kind of keep in mind, is that you’re right… they want the haystack. They want all the information and they think that’s how they’re going to find the needle. In order to find the needle, we need the haystack.

Jason Hartman: Unbelievable. The whole concept of being secure in our possessions and effects, it’s just totally gone out the window. It’s gone out the window with the cop on the street, it’s certainly gone out the window at the NSA level. Is there anything we can do? is there any privacy left from this monster which is our own government that we find ourselves living in fear of?

Bill Blunden: I think that this is stated official policy, this idea of undermining privacy and undermining security for everyone. It’s actual policy. The private sector, they see security flaws as a negative externality. If they have sloppy engineering, as far as they’re concerned they don’t pay the cost of an incident if it happens. So for them they make much more money just adding features and pumping out product, and maybe doing security as kind of a marketing gimmick or some way to basically pacify consumers who are yelling, this is insecure. They say well we’re doing something – we have an insurance program. But anyways, they don’t necessarily have a reason to audit things and to carefully identify flaws that exist because they don’t bear the cost.

And as far as NSA subversion goes, again, our intelligence services want to be able to spy and the private sector cooperates with them.

Jason Hartman: Is this outrage that we hear from Silicon Valley execs, is it just fake? It strikes me of just being a fake wrestling match. Mark Zuckerberg has come out, the biggest privacy invader of all besides Google is of course Facebook – and he’s come out saying that he’s doing things to make it harder for the NSA to get ahold of Facebook data. And Apple execs have said stuff like this, and Google execs. And this seems like window dressing to me. I never really believed it. But I don’t know, maybe I should. Am I being too pessimistic?

Bill Blunden: Well this is definitely a narrative that has come out. They claim, oh we were coerced, that they threatened us, we had to cooperate. But I think that in the end there are plenty of reasons why companies will cooperate. They made the decision. In their minds the benefits of cooperating outweighed the costs, and they did. In reality, the dividing line between the government and the private sector is pretty much null. 70% of the intelligence work, according to Tim Shorrock, is actually done by the private sector. So there are financial incentives for them to cooperate. Amazon just signed a 600 million dollar contract with the CIA to provide them with club services. And the other companies like Google that sells millions of dollars’ worth of services to the government, ditto that for Lockheed…

Jason Hartman: So if you help us out here by letting us in to skim the data that’s going through your servers, we’ll buy something from you with this other government department or we’ll let your lobbyists in here to talk to us about this law you want passed or something. There’s just all sorts of cronyism going on here.

Bill Blunden: Well these companies definitely have legislative needs. Especially the social media companies – they monetize the data they collect, so the more data they can collect, the more money they get. So they have every reason to want to dilute privacy legislation. And to do that, they need the cooperation of the government. Not to mention that a lot of these companies have their own in house intel and security sections that proactively cooperate with the government. And this isn’t necessarily anything new. You look at the fossil fuel industry, they have a long history of watching environmentalists and insuring that information, or even Ralph Nader in the 1960s when he was looking at…

Jason Hartman: Yeah, they tried to frame him and throw mysterious women at him thinking he would do something… yeah, I know.

Bill Blunden: Yes. So they have at least reasons to cooperate. They have financial and legislative needs, they have common interests. Ultimately when it comes down to it, a lot of these data brokers… the data broker industry is huge. It’s like a 200 billion dollar a year industry. It dwarfs anything that the NSA does and furthermore, they don’t have necessarily the legal constrictions that the NSA does. So this cooperation is dangerous because of scale. This industry is massive. It’s also dangerous because these companies often value profits over privacy. It’s part of the public record that Yahoo has been known to cooperate with the Chinese government in identifying people who say things critical of the party leadership. And these people end up being imprisoned and tortured.

Microsoft… it’s been publicized that they have altered Skype so that governments like the Russian government can turn off the encryption and monitor Skype conversations in their country. So these companies, they pay lip service to civil liberties. When it comes down to it, when they have to make a choice, they’ll usually choose profits over privacy.

Jason Hartman: Oh yeah, no surprise there. Well, okay so the NSA… gosh, it’s just so upsetting. Talk about anything else in terms of their capabilities or just anything else we should know about the NSA. I would think that maybe some of these other countries could become our best advocated here in terms of, I think it was the prime minister of Brazil, the NSA was bugging that cellphone, and maybe some of these other countries will become really our advocated with their outrage.

Bill Blunden: I think that if you looked at this from the standpoint… our own leadership says, well you know what, in order to find the needle we need the haystack. And they say don’t worry – especially General Alexander, he’s been famous where he says don’t be concerned about. . . I read the constitution also and you can trust me. I’m trust worthy and I have the best intentions. And the problem is that that flies in the face of history.

If you look at the Chinese dynasties, for thousands of years dynasty after dynasty fell because of that mindset. You give the emperor complete authority, and eventually that absolute authority corrupts absolutely, and you end up with despotism and so I think if we actually did step back and we looked at this from the standpoint of another country, I think we’d see it in a different light. Because what if Americans, we were here in this country and there was another country that could watch everything we did and monitor everything we do with no accountability and no limits. I think we’d be going crazy. What we saw after 9/11 would be nothing compared to if we found out something like that.

Jason Hartman: Yep. You’re right. That’s something else. Well, talk to us a little bit about Ed Snowden, if you would a little more about that. What I’m really having trouble understanding, Bill, is were we actually compromised in some way? Maybe on one of his laptops he has got some damning secret like the launch codes to our nuclear missiles or something, which of course he doesn’t, I’m joking, but maybe he has something that really would be valuable to another potential enemy of ours… maybe. But he hasn’t released anything, has he?

Bill Blunden: I think that if there’s been any damage again, it’s been to the credibility of our intelligence services. When there’s an attack from a foreign country on the New York Times, or on a company like Google, there will be several weeks of coverage in the media where officials will erupt in fits of righteous indignation and they’ll point their fingers at another government and sometimes even some of the security companies involved will get some air time to publicize their services. Never mind that the Department of Justice has monitored the associated press, or that the NSA has monitored Google or that the NSA has broken into the networks of Chinese Telecom Provider Huawei and stolen their blueprints, or the Chinese trade ministry and monitored Chinese banks.

I think what it comes down to that the damage that’s done is the fact that it’s now exposed that not only do we do what we’ve always accused other countries of doing, we actually do it. And I think what we’re doing is actually even worse because we’re undermining the collective security of the internet with these subversion programs and this mass interception program. We’re robbing people of security and liberty in mass, and there’s a word for it. The state department has a term – it’s called schizoplomacy, the fact that you go around and you complained that another country is doing something and then you turn around and you do it yourself. I have a word for it too – I call it hypocrisy.

Jason Hartman: Yeah. Hypocraplomacy.

Bill Blunden: Yeah. I think that if generals and officials are going to go around lecturing other countries on how they should behave, I think they should at least have the common decency to practice what they preach. And I think this highlights something, that is that we have right now a crisis of trust. You look back now at the 2008 collapse, the financial collapse – we had a bunch of executives tell us “Don’t worry. Deregulation is going to be fine and these triple A mortgage securities are safe”. And it turns out that they were lying straight through their teeth.

So we have the same kind of situation today. Even president Obama coming out and saying we don’t engage in warrantless wire taps. We always get warrant. I think he was on Charlie Rose when he said that. He says we don’t do economic spying and that this is all directed towards counter terrorism. And as these Snowden documents have come out, it turns out none of this is true. It’s all lies. And I think what’s coming into play here is a propaganda technique called the Big Lie. Which is where you tell a lie that’s so big and so audacious that the average person couldn’t possibly believe that it’s a lie.

Jason Hartman: Well what would the big lie be? Is it what we have already heard? Maybe people are so numb that they don’t even believe this stuff about the NSA. This seems like a big enough lie. If you said this 20 years ago, people would be, it would have been thought of as completely outrageous. Oh that’s never going to happen. And here we are.

Bill Blunden: They’re big lies. Like I said, the first big lie being that this is directed at counter terrorism. They need a threat to justify this. So terrorism and preventing it is their big backstop. And on top of that they say, “We don’t do economic spying, not like China or anyone else and we don’t listen to anyone in the US without a warrant. We always follow the law – we always have a warrant.” And so these talking points have been repeated over and over again by our high level officials, and it reminds me of the Pike Commission.

Otis Pike was a representative who was in charge of a commission, I think it was after the church committee, and he looked into the CIA and what he found was that it wasn’t just one bad apple in the barrel or one or two bas apples, what Otis Pike figured out was that the whole barrel of apples was bad. And that they were doing stuff outside the law that definitely, not for the faint of heart to hear about the programs they were running. You start to realize who’s actually in charge and why things are done.

Jason Hartman: It’s really nothing short of unbelievable. It really is. It’s hard to even comment, it’s hard to just know what to say other than to just listen to you. It’s just ridiculous. What’s going on with China and this whole cyber security issue? Cybergeddon, I guess is what you’re calling it.

Bill Blunden: I think that there’s this perception that there’s this massive campaign from China that’s hitting the US. And the notion that this is all the work of the Chinese government is what psychologists would call outgroup homogeneity bias.

Jason Hartman: Outgroup homogeneity bias… okay, I like this one.

Bill Blunden: Yes. It’s from psychology and it’s basically when you look at another group outside yours and you fail to recognize the diversity that exists inside that group, and you attribute stuff to the group as a whole. And it turns out that there are a lot of actors in China, there’s organized crime, there’s foreign spies, there’s rogue bureaucrats like Bo Xilai, there’s corporate spies. There’s all sorts of people doing stuff and it’s not the result of some thousand year plan on behalf of the Chinese government – it’s more a function of their waning control. Back when Deng Xiaoping was in charge of things in China he launched some economic and political reforms which basically backfired.

And what we have today as a result of those in China is ramped corruption which is really just debilitating to the point where China can’t offer basic services. You look at the pollution in Beijing. You can cut that air with a knife. You don’t want to go outside without a mask on. And the fact that China can’t even collect taxes. This is something that without a doubt benefits the government and they can’t even do that. To give you an example that bred the corruption, the former security chief Zhou Yongkang, the Chinese government recently seized something like $14.5 billion from his family and associates. And during a corruption investigation, they were investigating him and they started seizing assets and $14.5 billion in assets they seized.

That’s to give you an idea of a scope of the corruption and how debilitating it is. And so what’s happened in China is that rule of law has broken down. And when that happens, all sorts of things happen. So with these attacks coming from China, the Chinese government can’t control it’s internet. You can’t attribute all these attacks to the Chinese government. There’s too many people doing too many things.

Jason Hartman: Right. Of course there are. But it’s kind of interesting how you say the government can’t control the corruption because in China their tolerance for corruption if you get caught is very low. I remember a couple of examples, and maybe there were just PR stunts, but during the Y2K scare they made a bunch of high level government officials, they had to be flying in planes in the air when the clock struck midnight. Right after the melamine in the dog food thing, I think they caught one of the corrupt people and the next day they shot him in the head. They don’t mess around there. Talk about a speedy trial. You’re entitled to a speedy trial – yeah, it’s probably a day and you’re dying the next day.

Bill Blunden: The fact that they have those policies shows you how desperate they are to try to control things. The fact that they have such harsh measures as their trying to discourage it. Look at Bo Xilai. The leadership in China, they basically feel like they’re above the law. They feel like until there’s a faction in the leadership that turns against them, and that’s what happened to Bo Xilai. They turned against him. He made some people angry and they turned on him. And suddenly everything that he’s done now starts being used against him. But until that happens, you almost have a blank check.

Jason Hartman: Well this is exactly the way it will happen to many people in the US with all the data the NSA is storing on us. Suddenly all of these things that you thought were just harmless comments or things can come back to haunt you later. That’s going to happen. We’re going to hear a lot of stories like that in the future.

Bill Blunden: I would agree. I think that it’s a very dangerous situation to be in. and to think that our president might very well be good intentioned, I’m not a mind reader…

Jason Hartman: I doubt it, but okay.

Bill Blunden: Okay. Me too.

Jason Hartman: And you live in San Francisco, I’m impressed.

Bill Blunden: Yes I do. Anyway, ultimately this is coming down to China. They think China is going to launch some sort of cybergedden attack against us.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, so I wanted to ask you about this. The fear of the attack on the power grid or the banking system, is that a legitimate concern?

Bill Blunden: Well, I’ll tell you what… I can say that economically The United States and China are joined at the hip.

Jason Hartman: Why would they want to kill their best customer?

Bill Blunden: Yeah, The United States is probably the mainland’s number one import market – they export stuff, we import it.

Jason Hartman: Even though we pay with fake monopoly money, but you know we still pay.

Bill Blunden: That’s true, currency. And then there’s the fact that in terms of treasury securities, they hold more than any other country. They hold something like more than 20% of all US treasury bonds. So they have this huge stake in The United States and I think that they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they did something. It doesn’t make sense that they would do something.

Jason Hartman: I agree.

Bill Blunden: Even Howard Schmidt, Obama’s former cyber czar came flat out and said I don’t see this happening. This is ridiculous.

Jason Hartman: Of course it is. It’s totally ridiculous. Say for example they attacked our power grid and they drove us back into the stone age, which would be the result of having no power… it would be an absolute disaster. And so say that happened, well what are they going to lose? A trillion dollars a year in exports? That’d drive them into the stone age. They love this urbanization that’s happening over there and the fact that people are getting off the farms and coming into the cities. It makes it easier to control their people, too.

Bill Blunden: Yeah, from statistical analysis there’s no data, there have been no cybergeddons. So you really can’t use any sort of past date to predict that this is going to happen, and yet these people that paint these scenarios, they act as if they can predict the future. They couldn’t predict it. And what they tend to do is to focus on how awful it’s going to be when it happens, and that’s really where they excel at. This is how bad it’s going to be.

And what this shows is that this message, this message of cyber Armageddon isn’t intended to appeal to reason – it’s designed to appeal to emotion. It’s intended to elicit a visceral response. And this is another propaganda technique. We talked about the big lie. This is threat inflation. And we saw it in the run up before the war in Iraq we heard President Bush talk about the smoking gun that comes in the form of a mushroom cloud. So these doomsday scenarios, this threat inflation, it stokes anxiety and it instills a crisis mentality. And when people are in this crisis mentality, they’ll pay any amount of money to be safe again.

Jason Hartman: Right. They’ll turn over all their power to their government. The entire war on terror, would you go so far as to say that’s just a fantasy? That it’s make believe?

Bill Blunden: There’s definitely an agenda behind it and to see this you need to look back at World War II when England was being bombed by Germany. They put up these posters that said “Remain Calm. Carry on.” And that’s really the appropriate response. Terrorism is effective because of our response to it. I think that in order to see how to properly respond to terror, we need to look to see how Japan responded to the Aum Shinrikyo and how when they did the nerve gas attacks in those subways, did they suspend their constitution, did they torture people, did they implement mass surveillance? No they didn’t. No. What they did was they had police investigations, they investigated people, they charged them and they tried them in civilian court. And that’s how you do it. That’s how you deal with terror. You don’t run around like a chicken with your head cut off and start suspending constitutional rights.

Jason Hartman: Well, you know… they can pass the NDAA and now they can just imprison any one of us indefinitely for no apparent reason, no lawyer, just all of the rights you have in a third world piece of junk country. It would be like being in North Korea or Iran, the countries we think are so ridiculously primitive. Well, under the NDAA on an individual case by case basis…

Bill Blunden: It’s a very frightening unsettling piece of legislation.

Jason Hartman: It is very, very frightening. And Obama got like almost no criticism for that. I just couldn’t believe it.

Bill Blunden: He snuck it in. There was a small subset of people like Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky who took it on in court. This is kind of one of those things, it’s almost like the formation of the Federal Reserve. It just kind of happened when no one was looking.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, it’s a scary deal. It really is. Well, what else would you like people to know?

Bill Blunden: Well I think that when you’re in this situation where you’re in a kind of a crisis mentality, I think that when it comes down to it a rational person won’t pay any amount of money to be safe. I think that if we adopt that mindset and we follow along with these solutions that they’re prescribing we’re going to end up wasting a lot of resources. And yielding our rights to try and secure ourselves at a very high price.

And what we end up doing is forgoing the opportunity to actually spend resources on problems that are genuinely existential. I’m talking about problems like climate change, I’m talking about the problem of this growing inequality that’s hollowing out our middle class, and it’s kind of underscoring the state capture that’s happened in our government. These are existential problems, but by focusing on cyber Armageddon and focusing all our resources, we make the mistake of rebuilding our world to deal with one problem and we end up ignoring genuine and existential problems.

Jason Hartman: Well, that is true because there’s only limited bandwidth, and a limited amount of resources for dealing with problems of whatever kind they may be. And Bill, we’re dealing with a fake problem and that means we’re not dealing with a real one. So, very good points that you make. Give out your website and tell people where they can find you and find your books.

Bill Blunden: The book is published by TrineDay. It’s a publishing house out of Oregon – Chris Millegan is the head guy over there. He is an ex-hippie whose father was a CIA agent, an OSS agent, a very interesting story. So my website is BelowGotham.com. Gotham as in the city below, as in under. And I put news updates there and occasionally we’ll blog stuff there and try to keep abreast of stuff.

Jason Hartman: So that’s BelowGotham.com. Your books are available on Amazon. How many books do you have now?

Bill Blunden: Oh, I must have 8 or 9. This most recent one is available at Barnes & Noble. I know they decided to stock it. So that was a good decision, a good thing to happen for us. That’s another place you can get it besides Amazon.

Jason Hartman: Fantastic. And on Amazon though, your books have excellent reviews. So this is great stuff. I appreciate you getting the word out and thank you so much for joining us today. That’s Bill Blunden coming to us from San Francisco. Bill, thank you.

Bill Blunden: Thank you Jason.

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Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show. Protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own, and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

Transcribed by Ralph

The Holistic Survival Team


Episode: 213

Guest: Bill Blunden

iTunes: Stream Episode

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