'The Root': Digging deeper on The Black Chamber, Panopticon society, and a new battlefield

Watch 'The Root: The Birth of Big Brother' and all of 'The Root' episodes HERE

Segment 1: Panopticon society; A New Battlefield; Black Chamber

Panopticon Society 

Glenn began the program demonstrating the massive size and scope of the current levels of domestic surveillance in the United States. The NSA released a memo in 2013 claiming it ‘only’ touches 1.6% of all internet traffic, and attempted to calm snooping fears by saying it’s like a dime on a basketball court. That dime, however, is 29.21 petabytes of data a day, a far more amount than Google, which is by far and away the largest website on the internet. Glenn compared the new model of surveillance, watch first ask later, to that of a panopticon like society. A panopticon was a prison design created by Jeremy Bentham in 1787 and he wrote an extensive proposal to have one built – you can read that proposal here.

One of the common themes throughout the program is America’s pattern of trading liberty for the promise of security. Benjamin Franklin warned against this and famously said “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” but that’s not stopping the practice from becoming the norm. Time after time in American history, we can see the 4th Amendment getting brushed aside in the name of ‘national interest’ or ‘national security’. With technology rapidly advancing, this justification is used more and more. It especially ramped up when cyber warfare went from theory to reality.

A New Battlefield: Stuxnet

With two wars raging in the Middle East, America wasn’t exactly in a good position to deal with Iran. Glenn has long called Iran the ‘head of the snake’ and in 2006 they were dangerously close to weaponized nukes. Negotiations were going nowhere. Options were limited. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ordered the resumption of uranium enrichment at their underground enrichment site at Natanz. On top of that Ahmadinejad announced that tens of thousands of more centrifuges were planned to aid the enrichment effort. With only a single nuclear reactor in the country it appeared obvious that Iran was after more than just civilian nuclear capability. Their nuclear program was being weaponized.

The conventional military response would be to eliminate the underground facility at Natanz. This would involve a combination of either airstrikes, sabotage, boots on the ground or all of the above. Both the United States and Israel were looking into all military options available. More so for the latter. Israel just couldn’t afford to wait any longer and a strike seemed inevitable.

With full scale war already being waged right next door in Iraq President Bush looked for another option. General James E. Cartwright of the United States Strategic Command would provide it. General Cartwright proposed a new kind of warfare. One that hadn’t been attempted by any other nation or individual. The proposal was to weaponize the NSA and the U.S. cyber program with the goal of causing actual physical damage to another nation. Rather than spying, hacking and gathering information we would now look to destroy enemy property by pressing enter on a keyboard. Streams of ones and zeroes would replace tanks and missiles. Operation Olympic Games was born.

The program would take 4 years to develop. Israel was brought in as a full partner utilizing not only their own equally capable cyber warfare program, Codename Unit 8200, but also their extensive human intelligence network within Iran. The weapon, code named The Bug, would be inserted into the computer network of Iran’s underground nuclear facility at Natanz. The Bug’s purpose was to cause Natanz’s centrifuges to spin so fast that they’d eventually shatter under the pressure. At the same time The Bug hid it’s existence and forced Natanz’s systems to report that all systems were operating normally.

Operation Olympic Games was both a success and a failure. It successfully destroyed over a thousand Iranian centrifuges. On the other hand The Bug accidentally escaped the Natanz facility and hit the open internet. This alerted the entire world to it’s existence and allowed civilian experts to analyze it. The Bug would later be named Stuxnet by the public and that’s probably how you know it by.

In the end some say the result of The Bug/Stuxnet effectively set the Iranian nuclear program back over 2 years. The launchpad of this attack wasn’t from a missile platform, a battleship or a howitzer. This weapon launched from a mere thumb drive. Warfare had forever changed.

We now live in a world where attacks such as Olympic Games are a very real and very dangerous possibility. If we could successfully cause physical as well as virtual destruction via our cyber program so can others. Olympic Games style attacks on our power grid, water supply or own nuclear reactors can happen at any time. We’ve proved it. And we continue to engage in this new battlefield.

The real danger this new sort of warfare presents isn’t from foreign enemies, although they are a threat. Technology of this level of sophistication is being used by our own government to monitor law abiding citizens – just in case they go off the rails and do something illegally. As high profile hacks such as Sony and Blue Cross/Blue Shield increase fear among Americans, history has shown we will easily do exactly what Ben Franklin warned against: trading liberty for temporary security.

That’s where we’re at – but how did we get here? We have to go back to the progressive era.

Black Chamber

In the domestic surveillance world, Herbert Yardley was the original. The NSA’s origins can be traced back to this one man with a knack for cracking codes, who after World War I launched the first peacetime domestic & foreign surveillance operation. He would later turn on government after he felt they wrong him and hampered his efforts with budget cuts and other disputes. He wrote a book exposing nearly every trick of the trade, which didn’t sit well with the government.

Herbert Yardley was born in Worthington, Indiana in 1889. He was the son of a railroad telegraph operator and, like many boys his age at that time, he apprenticed under his father to continue the family business. Yardley endeavored for more than what rural Indiana had to offer. Passing the civil service exam and with his skills as a telegraph operator he would eventually land a job with the State Department as a code clerk.

Yardley’s pivot point would come one afternoon while looking at a secret message to President Woodrow Wilson. After quickly breaking the code, Yardley deemed U.S. communications far too easy to decipher. He would make improving the communications security of the United States his life’s mission. After ensuring U.S. communications were secure he continued his work by breaking the codes of foreign governments in anticipation of war.

War indeed came for the United States on April 6th 1917. Yardley was transferred to a new unit within military intelligence. MI-8 was responsible for identifying enemy communications and breaking their codes. Under Yardley’s leadership MI-8 was responsible for breaking nearly every German military and diplomatic code in less than a year. He would go on to visit both Britain and France training and learning from the best cryptanalysis minds in the world. After the war was over Yardley came back to the States and MI-8 was disbanded.

The story should end right there. But it doesn’t. Instead, General Marlborough Churchill of U.S. Army Intelligence pleaded with the State Department to keep Herbert Yardley’s work active. The nation was no longer in a state of war and Yardley’s work would be directed not only overseas but within the United States as well. The State Department approached a pivot point of their own. Deciding that the 4th amendment was up for interpretation they funded an off the books covert operation within the continental United States.

Due to the illegal nature of their work Yardley couldn’t set up shop in Washington D.C. The decision was made to base the operation in New York City. Those who knew of it often referred to it as the Cipher Bureau. Yardley preferred to call it the Black Chamber. Named after the French intelligence equivalent Chamber Noire.

We were now in uncharted waters. The threat of world war had prompted our government to not only continue but to dramatically advance a wartime intelligence operation. Realizing that the law stood in his way Yardley approached the CEO’s of nearly every major communications company at the time to seek their cooperation. Pretty soon Western Union, Postal Telegraph and All-American Cable Company all secretly agreed to let the Black Chamber read the mail of both foreign nationals as well as United States citizens.

A relationship had been established between United States Intelligence Agencies and private American communications corporations. That relationship would snowball. It was at this point that the government asked for too much. They had crossed the line but we as citizens had the chance to stop it. Sadly we chose to enable it. The early foundation for the National Security Agency was set.

IN PLAIN SIGHT: COVID and mental health

NotesfromPoland.com

A lot of times, people drown in plain sight. Largely because most of us haven't been taught what to look for. We're accustomed to the movie version of a person struggling in the water — flailing their arms and shrieking and gymnastic — but in real life drowning is quieter, something you could see and not realize. It's never been harder than it is now, in 2020, as we're all locked indoors, alone, out of sight.

Every year, an estimated one million people worldwide kill themselves. A death every 40 seconds.

America is in the throes of a suicide epidemic, with the highest suicide rate since World War II. Suicide rates have risen 30 percent since 1999, and the number keeps climbing. There were 45,000 suicide deaths in 2016 alone. In 2017, there were 47,000. Roughly 129 people a day.

In 2018, 10.7 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.3 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide. There were 48,344 recorded suicides. That's roughly one person every 11 minutes. And that's 1,171 more people than the year before. The average American knows 600 people. Meaning, the increase of suicide deaths in one year was more than double the number of people you know. And that's just the difference.

Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in this country. It is the second leading cause of death among children, and since 2000, there has been a worrying jump in the suicide rate of 15-to-24-year-olds.

In January, USA Today ran an article about the rising suicide rates, "More and more Americans are dying by suicide. What are we missing?

That was January. Three months before the pandemic sent all of us indoors.

An article in The BMJ, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, points that "Widely reported studies modeling the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates predicted increases ranging from 1% to 145%." In other words, "We really don't know."

So we can't prove exactly how much damage the pandemic and the lockdowns have caused, or how many suicides there have been this year compared to last year because those numbers will take a while to assemble. But we can get an idea by measuring the scope and prevalence of the conditions that lead to suicide, and they are significantly higher in 2020. Because what's not in doubt is that the pandemic has gravely affected people's mental health.

Affect on Adults

For starters, while suicides tend to drop at the start of pandemics, they quickly increase in response to the conditions of quarantine. It's also true that suicide rates increase during recessions.

A study in Science Advances journal noted that "as the rates of COVID-19 positive cases and deaths increased substantially across the United States, COVID-19–related acute stress and depressive symptoms increased over time in the United States." A CDC report from August found that in 2020 compared to 2019, adults' symptoms of anxiety have tripled and symptoms of depression have quadrupled (24.3% versus 6.5%). Compared to 2018, two different studies concluded that symptoms of depression and "serious psychological distress" are triple the level they were. In fact, the rates of anxiety and depression have been higher throughout the pandemic than "after other large-scale traumas like September 11th, Hurricane Katrina and the Hong Kong unrest." Ten percent of Americans surveyed in June said they had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days.

French philosopher Albert Camus once wrote that "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

Well, we find ourselves — literally and figuratively — in the depths of winter.

Well, we find ourselves — literally and figuratively — in the depths of winter.

Lockdowns

A number of studies warn about the danger posed by lockdowns. One in particular, published in Lancet, summarizes it well: "Most reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger. Stressors included longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. Some researchers have suggested long-lasting effects."

The report is very clear about how to minimize the harm of quarantine: Give people as much information as possible, reduce boredom, improve communication, emphasize altruism, and keep lockdowns as short as possible.

Affect on Children

The pandemic and the lockdowns have been especially difficult, and even fatal, for one group in particular, but you might not have heard about it because the media is too obsessed with identity politics to stop for a moment and look at the bigger picture. I'm talking about the most important population: Children.

But they aren't dying of Covid. In fact, children are more likely to die of homicides, drowning, or even fires and burns, than they are to die of Covid. The Academy of Pediatrics reported that, as of December 3rd, children accounted for slightly more than 0% of all COVID-19 cases, and even fewer deaths, about 0.11%, about 160 in total. There are still 15 states with zero reported child deaths. They don't even catch it as often: They account for less than 2% of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases globally. Even here in America, the nation with the highest infection rates, that number is the same: 2%. And, when they do catch it, the overwhelming majority of them experience either no symptoms or mild symptoms. Another recent study found that, compared to the flu, children play a minimal role in spreading Covid-19, and most children who contract it actually get it from their parents.

So they rarely catch it, they almost never die because of it, and they don't spread it. Yet, according to data from the CDC, the rate of children visiting emergency rooms has skyrocketed. Compared with 2019, the number of 5-11-year-olds is 24% higher, while the rate for 12-17-year-olds is 31% higher. This surge is due to mental health reasons.

According to a ton of studies (Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here), during the pandemic, children of all ages have "had high rates of depression, anxiety, and pos-traumatic symptoms as expected in the aftermath of any disaster."

The reality is unequivocal: The lockdowns and quarantines are bad for children. Certainly much, much worse than the disease itself, a point Donald Trump was heckled by the media for making. We waded through a sea of studies, reports, and articles, and the consensus was so consistent that we shifted our focus to looking for studies that said otherwise.

The International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction released a study this month that found that three in four children have reported having depression, and that "the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's mental well-being is worrying 60% of parents, according to a survey by parents with primary-aged children and 87% reported that their children were missing school and less than half stated that their children were feeling lonely, which altogether affects their children's mental health and wellbeing."

One study found that children of all age groups "showed more clinging, inattention, and irritability. However, 3-6 year-olds were more likely to manifest clinginess and fear that family members might contract the infection, while 6-18 year-olds were more likely to show inattention and persistent inquiry." Another study found that "In many households, children who end up staying indoors become restless and, in some cases, violent."

Children need predictability... and they need to believe that their parents are in control of things.

Uncertainty, social isolation, and parental angst. Children need predictability, they need activities, and they need to believe that their parents are in control of things. But, as a result of draconian lockdowns, they have spent much more time in front of screens. They are also more susceptible to sleep disruptions, or "somatic symptoms." And they are at a much higher risk for sexual abuse and domestic abuse, and, without school, unable to escape it.

Like us, they'll be dealing with the long term effects of the pandemic and lockdown for the rest of their lives. The difference is, we're more equipped to handle it.

One report refers to the undue harm lockdowns cause children as "collateral damage," adding that "we all have a responsibility to promote the health and well-being of children at home, and to ask questions and fight for service provision in areas where clinicians are not needed to fight COVID-19 but are needed to protect children."

As a society, it is our duty to protect the defenseless, and there is no group of people more defenseless, yet more important, than children.

German philosopher Kant wrote a lot about suicide. His argument can basically be boiled down to two parts:

1) I ought to do my duty as long as I am alive; and

2) It is my duty to go on living as long as possible.

He used the anecdote of civilization as a human body. We must only harm our body if it's necessary for self-preservation. If a toe is necrotic for whatever reason, we amputate it, so that we can preserve our body, our person, as a whole. Suicide, on the other hand, is an act of destruction. It is harmful, not just to the person it removes from humanity, but to humanity as a whole. Each of us plays a role in making sure that body remains in motion. So, when a person resorts to suicide, they are harming the body, the whole, they are depriving society and humanity. They are severing limbs or slicing our arms. They are robbing us of every good that they would bring.

School

Most European countries have closed their schools. According to UNESCO, 91% of children worldwide have been affected by school closures. A study from Bangladesh found that Bangladeshi children were suffering from higher rates of depression, anxiety, and sleeping disorder. In Italy and Spain, one study determined that 85% of parents have noticed negative changes in their children's emotions and behaviors since the pandemic. In England, deaths by suicide among children increased shortly after the country's first lockdown. In Holland, a study "found that young people reported a significant increase in severe anxiety and sleeping problems during the country's lockdown period." Numerous studies from China found that roughly a quarter of children were suffering from the same symptoms. In India, like many other countries, children are spending so much time in front of screens that experts fear it will lead to "psycho-social problems, like lower self-esteem."

Meanwhile, in Sweden, where schools and childcare centers have remained open, the spread of Covid as a result of children attending school is practically nonexistent. Over the next few years, research will show us exactly how Sweden's no-lockdown approach affected their youth.

The research concludes that children should remain in school.

Overwhelmingly — and I mean overwhelmingly — the research concludes that children should remain in school. Academic articles are known for their boring, long-winded, incomprehensible titles, but not these. Like this one: "Mitigate the effects of home confinement on children during the COVID-19 outbreak."

Children need physical activity, which is crucial to minimizing depression and anxiety. Schools provide structure. Schools are a consistent source for children's nutrition, and a lapse in nutrition can have psychological effects. Schools also provide healthcare.

School closures have also put children at a higher risk of domestic violence or sexual abuse, because "school is a safe space where children can report problems and where signs of abuse can be detected."

Children need community. They need friends. While many adults are at home with their kids, most of us are working, and children left alone on workdays are more likely to have anxiety or depression.

Teenagers

According to the CDC, of every demographic, 18-24-year-olds have been most affected, with 75% of respondents in that age range reporting at least one negative mental health symptom. One-quarter said they were using more drugs and alcohol to cope with pandemic-related stress, and another one-quarter said they had "seriously considered suicide" in the previous 30 days.

No prom. No graduation. No church. No dates. No birthday parties — birthdays spent alone. No games. No homecoming. No extracurricular clubs. No sports. No Spring Break — no vacations at all. No funerals, although there are plenty of people being buried.

Teenagers in lockdown are more concerned about their more basic needs. They feel less connected to other people. They are learning less and spending less time on school work. In other words, they are hurting, and bad.

The number of studies that back this up is daunting.

Three papers (Here, Here, and Here) determined that older adolescents suffer more symptoms of depression than younger ones and children. Another study describes the "collective trauma" that the lockdowns have had on teenagers.

The National 4-H Council found that:

●81% of teens say mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S., and 64% of teens believe that the experience of COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their generation's mental health.

●7 in 10 teens have experienced struggles with mental health.

●55% of teens say they've experienced anxiety, 45% excessive stress, and 43% depression.

●61% of teens said that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their feeling of loneliness.

●82% of teens calling on America to talk more openly and honestly about mental health issues in this country.

Life has always been hard for teenagers, but even before the pandemic, it has been especially rough on American teenagers, who are twice as likely "today to have more anxiety symptoms and twice as likely to see a mental health professional as teens in the 1980s.

Here's how the conversation went on radio:

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: The politics of COVID-19 is DESTROYING our children youtu.be


On "Glenn TV" this week, Megyn Kelly, host of the "Megyn Kelly Show," told Glenn Beck she believes the Democrats' talk of unity is "all nonsense" and forecasted the "death of journalism" under a Biden administration.

Megyn cited President Joe Biden's unwillingness to make concessions that would help unify Democrats and Republicans as an example of how much he actually cares about unity, and added that, while she's all for lowering the political temperature in America, she also believes there are some personal freedoms that are worth fighting for.

"What's happening substantively is worth fighting for and it's not going to go away just because [Biden] gave a nice speech," Megyn said.

"I will object. I will protect my family and what I think is right over Joe Biden's need for unity, which is false anyway. 'Unify behind my agenda' is not a real call for unity," she added.

Megyn said she believes the Left has reached too far and "awakened a sleeping giant" in reference to the silent majority who should speak up, speak out, and refuse to be silenced any longer.

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

Because the content of this show is sure to set off the censors, the full episode is only be available on BlazeTV. Get $30 off a one-year subscription to BlazeTV with the code "GLENN." With BlazeTV, you get the unvarnished truth from the most pro-America network in the country, free from Big Tech and MSM censors.

As the Senate prepares for former President Trump's second impeachment trial, many are asking whether it's constitutional to try a president after leaving office. Alan Dershowitz, lawyer and host of the of "The Dershow," joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to talk about the legal battles Trump still faces.

Dershowitz said he believes the Senate doesn't have the authority to convict Trump, now that he's a private citizen again, and thus can't use impeachment to bar him from running for office again.

"The Constitution says the purpose of impeachment is to remove somebody. He [Trump] is out of office. There's nothing left to do.
It doesn't say you can impeach him to disqualify him for the future. It says, if you remove him you can then add disqualification, but you can't just impeach somebody to disqualify them," Dershowitz said.

"The Senate can't try ordinary citizens. So once you're an ordinary citizen, you get tried only in the courts, not in the Senate. So it's clearly unconstitutional," he added.

Dershowitz, who served on Trump's legal team during the first impeachment trial, also discussed whether he thinks Trump is legally (or even just ethically) responsible for the Capitol riot earlier this month, and whether those engaging in violence could be considered "domestic terrorists."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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A new, shocking CBS News poll shows that the majority of Americans believe they're facing a new enemy: other Americans.

More than two-thirds of poll respondents said they believe democracy in the U.S. is "threatened," and 54% said "other people in America" are the "biggest threat to the American way of life," rather than economic factors, viruses, natural disasters, or foreign actors.

Will it be possible to unite our nation with statistics like that? On "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn and Stu discussed the poll numbers and what they mean for our future.

Watch the video clip below:

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Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.