Alex Jones Glenn Greenwald NSA The Daily Banter

The Convergence of the ‘Glenn Greenwald Left’ and the ‘Alex Jones Right’

My Tuesday column:

On Monday, a link circulated through Twitter about a new product that capitalizes on the current anti-government, anti-NSA paranoia.

The product is an iPhone accessory called the OFF Pocket. The manufacturer claims that if we stash our phones inside an OFF Pocket it can block NSA operatives from eavesdropping on us via “radio waves in the 2.4GHz spectrum.” The inventor claims that it takes too long to turn off our phones (or, apparently, to enable the Airplane Mode) so, hence, the OFF Pocket tricks NSA spies into thinking our phones are turned off when they’re really not.

I hope they make one in silver fabric. You know, to match the tinfoil hats.

But wait a second. I heard on The Young Turks and elsewhere that NSA can eavesdrop on us even if our phones are turned off. Evidently there’s a way for NSA to use our phones as a listening device, and it’s totally going to use it against you personally. So this OFF Pocket thing is pretty much useless.

Seriously, anyone who buys a special iPhone cozy that blocks NSA spy-beams doesn’t get to make fun of Alex Jones any more.

The noticeable upswing in Alex Jones style anti-government paranoia on the left of all places has reached epidemic proportions, and if you haven’t been infected yet you’re regarded as either an unthinking Obama administration automaton or you’ve fully embraced the worst Bush-era transgressions. There’s never been room for nuance with this crowd; it’s a pervasive intransigence that happens to be a feature of their paranoia. If you’re not screeching about the conspiracy, you’re clearly part of the conspiracy.

It’s not surprising, then, to discover that Alex Jones’ dual websites, Prison Planet and Info Wars, are loaded with all of the same breaking news stories and bombshells about Edward Snowden and NSA that are also found at The Guardian, Salon and elsewhere. [READ MORE]

  • Maria Aragon

    The only way to avoid any government from turning your phone on is to remove your battery. Reporters in China have to do this constantly so that the officials there can’t listen in on them.

  • muselet

    The company claims the OFF Pocket is a small Faraday cage. If so, and if it’s designed properly, it should work as claimed. Buyers will look like dorks, but they’ll be able to isolate their phones from the outside world.

    On the other hand, if you’re so paranoid that having an OFF Pocket sounds like a good idea, you shouldn’t be using a smartphone—and you should be spending your hundred quid* on meds, instead.

    * The company hasn’t set a price yet, but says the product will be priced below the original estimate of £100. How much below, they don’t say.


  • villemar

    BTW, human DDoS attack YesMan4 is really fucking up the comment section of the Banter article. Which of course is his intention.
    Edit: One step ahead of me Bob! Nicely done.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      What? Did Bob finally perma ban that loser troll from DB? Please say yes!

    • Lady Willpower

      “human DDoS attack”

      That’s genius.

  • BillAndersoot

    Conspiracy theorists all have one particular trait in common: they believe that it is up to them, personally, to micromanage all aspects of reality. They must know every detail of everything that is going on everywhere, especially the secret details. If there is a detail they don’t know, they assume it’s being withheld from them for diabolical reasons. And so they go straight to Reddit or the forums at Democratic Underground or Alex Jones or Glenn Greenwald to learn The Truth. Because The Truth Is Out There. Wooooooooo…!

  • FlipYrWhig

    You guys. Listen to what I just heard. The government snoops on everyone at work! No, seriously. Get this. There’s a Bureau of Labor Statistics! Tracking what everyone’s job is! Arbeit macht frei, AmeriKKKans!

  • Graby Sauce

    I understand the concern about privacy and the incidental/accidental sweep in of non-terrorist Americans’ information– valid concern. I don’t understand the notion that the NSA is *targeting* Americans– not just potential American terrorists, but everyone, as if the NSA believes that overseas terrorists and foreign enemies aren’t going to keep them busy or are less of a threat to national security than the average American having sexy times via email.

  • Al Iriberri

    Of course putting your phone in a device that blocks radio signals would tend to block….you know….PHONE signals.

  • kfreed

    “The Convergence of the ‘Glenn Greenwald Left’ and the ‘Alex Jones Right’”

    Well yeah. That WAS the plan, after all:

    “Glenn Greenwald’s third party dreamin’ **UPDATE: on Libertarianism”

    “At a talk given the day after the 2010 election — one that was a disaster for Democrats — “progressive” writer and civil liberties lawyer Glenn Greenwald gave a talk at the University of Wisconsin, and expressed the hope that Democrats might suffer the same fate in 2012.

    Greenwald’s speech mainly focused on civil liberties and terrorism policy “in the age of Obama.” But it was his approach to politics that got members of the Young Americans for Liberty — a Paulite Libertarian group that co-sponsored the event — excited:

    [Quote] The speech was stellar with too many good points to touch on in a single blog post. I would like to point out that in the Q&A at 38:00 Greenwald specifically addresses a possible alliance between progressives and Ron Paul libertarians. [Unquote]”

    Once again, “Libertarian Glenn Greenwald of Cato Institute” is not “left” or “progressive”.

    Here’s right-wing Cato-style Libertarianism (which, BTW, has nothing to do with civil liberties):!lightbox%5B11%5D/2/

    By the way, speaking of so-called “lefties” (Koch/Cato libertarians, “former” righties, or the simply brain dead), here’s a perfect example of how the lines get blurred. This man is now writing for “progressive” Alternet alongside Libertarian Glenn Greenwald of Cato Institute(apparently, Alternet isn’t particularly discerning when it comes to contributors):

    Paul Craig Roberts on Alternet:

    July 15, 2013 | “The American people have suffered a coup d’etat, but they are hesitant to acknowledge it. The regime ruling in Washington today lacks constitutional and legal legitimacy. Americans are ruled by usurpers who claim that the executive branch is above the law and that the US Constitution is a mere “scrap of paper.”

    Sound familiar? So, who is Paul Craig Roberts?

    “CounterPunch Gives Platform to White Nationalism, Paul Craig Roberts”

    Ahem: AlterNet contributor RW Paul Craig Roberts writing for white supremacist

    SPLC on V-DARE:

    Paul Craig Roberts: Looky here: Past Cato institute fellow…

    It is important to note that the Libertarians of Cato Institute are the original war mongers, not the anti-war avant-garde they now claim to be:

    “Another Cato executive, Ted Galen Carpenter, former VP for defense and foreign policy studies, enthusiastically supported Bush’s “war on terror” and called on Bush to invade Pakistan.

    The Cato Institute advised the 2002–04 Republican-dominated Congress to commence military strikes in Pakistan in its Cato Handbook for Congress arguing, “Ultimately, Afghanistan becomes less important as a place to conduct military operations in the war on terrorism and more important as a place from which to launch military operations. And those operations should be directed across the border into neighboring Pakistan.”

    Another Cato Institute executive, Roger Pilon, vigorously supported Bush’s attacks on civil liberties. Pilon, Cato’s VP for legal affairs and founding director of the Cato Institute’s “Center for Constitutional Studies,” supported expanded FBI wiretapping in 2002 and called on Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act as late as 2008.”

    Are we getting the picture? Notice the links to Cato? Are the Ron/Rand Paul lubbers “progressives” or do they just play progressives on TV?

    In other words: actual lefties need to STOP schmoozing with Libertarians if they have any sense of self preservation They’re being manipulated by right-wingers.

  • FGFM

    Cracked is my go-to source for technical information.

  • missliberties

    They’ve lost their minds.

    Just checking in to let you know that ‘they’ haven’t got me yet. I am still here to see another day! 🙂

  • Vic78

    Aren’t they ones that said peanut butter and soy milk makes you gay? Well, I’m glad enough people discovered that there’s a world outside of their neighborhoods.