The essence of a cryptocurrency is spelled out, literally, it’s right there: Crypto, meaning secret. Bitcoin circa 2008/2009, the peer-to-peer, digital medium of exchange which both:

  • Assures user confidentiality/anonymity.
  • Makes available a public ledger open to the users to disclose the nature of each and every last transaction – full transparency of historical transactions.

This was indeed unique. Individual users are able to conceal their privacy. Blockchain technology allows for a real-time distributed ledger. This ledger is available on a decentralized network of computers shows exactly how much Bitcoin is out there; preventing people from spending the same token twice (amongst other safeguards).

Many people came to immediately appreciate this unique viability. This duality is what allowed for a medium of exchange that could function outside of the traditional, usurious banking system.

Many people that were the early users saw that this feature set was compromised early, a decade ago, when Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies soon thereafter became mechanisms of investment speculation – Blockchain technology is what the original institutional investors saw as the selling point to their clients in the financial market landscape.

Many people saw that the rise of cryptocurrency exchanges as having both benefits and drawbacks, an exchange such as Coinbase.

And as of last year, many users could see that the entity Coinbase, with it’s IPO, is now bringing the world of regulatory compliance – with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) being that first layer of such compliance. This really changes the face of “cryptocurrency”.

And now this: Coinbase has entered into a contract with the United States’ Department of Homeland Security. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the U.S. Homeland Security has given a $1.36 million contract to crypto exchange giant Coinbase for “business application” and “application development software”

This vague language is pertains to surveillance. As evidenced here (from the Federal Procurement Data System online database):

And it turns out that Coinbase has already engaged in a handful of deals directly with the surveillance apparatus:

There have already been a handful of contracts with the government – in the name of surveillance. I spent nearly a decade working in the belly of the beast of the world of finance capital. I can see where this is going. This is the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship between publicly traded cryptocurrency exchanges and surveillance, secret police-types.

As a matter of fact, one does not have to have had a single day of experience working in the field. Any proper dissident can see what is happening here.

The deal inked on September 16, 2021 was the first one I have referred to in this blog post. This is the beginning of the end of cryptocurrencies.

The very same Department of Homeland Security that is currently set to monitor all “domestic, Far-Right, White nationalist, extremist (etc etc with their labels)” is now slowly permeating into oversight and monitoring of the use of the once legit, now so-called cryptocurrency realm.

Cryptocurrencies had the potential to completely gut and render the current central banking system and it’s failed USD reserve currency arrangement right through the ground. But no longer. And this is exactly why the mother of all bombs blast potential must be drained from cryptocurrencies, by our ever-increasing technocratic, oligarchical, corporatist state of surveillance capital in the coming age of Davos-flavored Communitarianism.

My prediction is that all unregulated cryptocurrencies will result in confiscation within two years. Or, upon potential arrival of an IMF-backed, universal digital currency implemented worldwide – all cryptocurrencies will be neutered overnight.

The US is becoming USSR 2.0

Source: Global Times

An overconfident America risks going down same path as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, warned Russian President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

In addition to Putin, the Russian Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Neo-Eurasianism founder Aleksandr Dugin, and other witnesses of the former Soviet Union, and the former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, Russian-American scholar Rebekah Koffler have all talked about the US going down the Soviet Union’s old path.

Symptom I: Interest groups

In the USSR, the self-proclaimed dignitaries of a large bureaucratic class were parasitic on all aspects of Soviet society. They took advantage of their privileges and welfare. Under the highly centralized planned economy of the Soviet Union, the number of commodities that ordinary people could consume were strictly limited, but the dignitaries had privileges to obtain all kinds of scarce commodities such as TVs and cars.

Today, the American ruling class have become new dignitaries. For example, during the lockdown, “politicians went to expensive restaurants, got haircuts, and traveled on luxury vacations, while the rest of us hunkered down, grew long hair and tried to pacify our kids, who were bouncing off the walls during online ‘education.'” Besides, the military industrial complex, intelligence agencies, and Wall Street giants manipulate the US national machinery and deeply influence national policies, and become the shadow cabinet of the US.

Symptom II: abusing military force

The Soviet Union’s intervention in foreign countries was unrestrained. It not only sent troops to Hungary, but also to Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan and others, engaging in an arms race with the United States. It led to soaring military spending and severe restriction of the economic and social development of the Soviet Union. The Brezhnev style expansion policy led to the Soviet society’s stagnation, and war in Afghanistan became an important factor in its dissolution.

Since the 21st century, the US military has launched numerous wars such as the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, which not only cost a lot of money, but also led to serious strategic failures. Unfortunately, America has not learned its lesson at all, and its military expenditure reached new highs again and again. Its military expenditure in 2020 reached $778 billion, accounting for 39 percent of global military expenditures, which tightened American investments in infrastructure and the American people’s livelihoods.

The irony is that with such hefty spending, American military superiority over other major powers has declined systematically. The ensuing strategic anxiety causes American military expenditure to increase in turn, resulting in a vicious circle.

Symptom III: Totalitarianism

The Soviet Union once practiced chauvinism and advocated for limited sovereignty, which eventually led to the disintegration of the socialist camp.

Today, the United States believes in neoliberalism, the survival of the fittest, and winner takes all. America turned into a liberal totalitarian state, sprinkled with traits of an oligarchy elite, an ideology and media monopoly, and a police state. This is in full compliance with the standards of a totalitarian regime expounded by the former US National Security Assistant Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Symptom IV: Political correctness

The Soviet Union once vigorously suppressed “dissidents.” Neoliberalism in the US has now also become extreme and absolute. The rights of ethnic minorities have become the absolute standard of political correctness. Any speech that does not conform to liberal ideology is presumed guilty. Even Trump, who won 75 million ballots in the general election, is silenced by the media and internet giants at their convenience.

However, numerous requests for political correctness and diversified political identities have not bridged gaps in American society. Instead, it has created more dissidents. Anti-intellectual populist movements such as QAnon and the Proud Boys are spreading like wildfire in the US, further pulling apart the already fragmented social map. According to a CBS poll in January 2021, half of Americans said that other Americans and domestic enemies pose the greatest threat to democracy and their way of life.

Symptom V: Intensified surveillance

The Biden administration strengthened private speech and text message monitoring, and the FBI encouraged citizens to report any “violent extremism” from relatives and friends, just like the Soviet authorities did. This is a new era of the American government seeking full control of American society.

“Don’t believe everything you see on TV; don’t trust everything your teachers say; don’t talk to strangers about your family’s views.” What Americans teach their children now is nothing new to the Soviets.

Like the former Soviet Union, the United States is currently in great trouble. Its causes are not external but internal. In an internal structural crisis, the US has no choice but to pass the buck to other countries. America has to wake up and realize that holding a grudge against China will not lead to better conditions but allow oligarchic power to further oppress the American people’s interests. In the end, it is the Americans themselves who are at the helm to ultimately cure the country’s disease and avoid it becoming a USSR 2.0.

The author is a current affairs commentator. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

United Nations Greenlights Big Tech Mega-Database To Censor Americans Deemed ‘Extremists’ — Hellbound and Down

A Big Tech-led group is using its influence and power to broaden its shared censorship database to curb “extremist content” and collect video and images deemed white supremacist, according to Reuters. The expansion comes after the group “took on renewed urgency” after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which Democrats and tech giants continue to use as an […]

United Nations Greenlights Big Tech Mega-Database To Censor Americans Deemed ‘Extremists’ — Hellbound and Down

What is the new authoritarianism in the West? – from Big Tech Drone and IoT Surveillance

Source: Here

People associate authoritarianism with violent oppression, the secret police coming for your neighbors at night. But oppression is only a tool, a means to an end: money and power. Violent oppression costs a lot of energy, and it can backfire, so intelligent tyrants will naturally try to avoid visible oppression as much as possible if they can control common people without using (excessive) physical force.

Tyrants in the past had to use brutal violence to create so much fear in the minds of common people that almost nobody dared to become rebels. This primitive method of “crowd control” is not necessary today. High-tech mass surveillance, based on mobile phones, CCTV cameras, and cashless transactions, in addition to monitoring events from the sky, have given Western CorpStates so much power that they can easily control people without using much physical force. This surveillance, which is gradually becoming omnipresent, is overpowering in such a degree that most educated persons see no point rebelling against it. They are hopeless. But if a very tiny minority of naive and brave rebels decide to fight the new surveillance regime it will be relatively easy for the police to locate them, using drones and receiving information from snitching family members. FBI asks people to spy on friends and family members. That’s how the Stasi operated, but in a less high-tech manner.

New York Post:

FBI urges monitoring of ‘family members and peers’ for extremism

The Washington Post:

Pushed to the edge by the Capitol riot, people are reporting their family and friends to the FBI

Critics may argue that nobody forces people to use cell phones. But when over 90% of the population have mobile phones it will be relatively easy for intelligence agencies to notice when an already identified political activist goes off the grid. They see it on their screens when his/her phone is turned off. Other high-tech detection methods can then be used to track him or her. CCTV cameras is the easiest way to follow a person in a city. Today you can’t do much rebelling in public without being filmed by citizens using smartphone cameras, though you can get away with (relatively low-intensity) rioting if ultra-liberal elites support it, cf Black Lives Matter in 2020.

We are only at the first or second stage of the new authoritarianism. What we observe today is just the beginning. In five or ten years there will be IoT sensors all over the place. Surveillance cameras will be much more effective too. They can already detect heartbeats. Forbes:

Novel Video Camera Can Monitor Your Heart Rate–Using Only Your Face


New surveillance tech means you’ll never be anonymous again

“Your heartbeat and your breathing pattern are as unique as your fingerprint. A small but growing number of remote sensing technologies are being developed to detect vital signs from a distance, piercing through skin, clothes and in some cases even through walls.”

“In June, the Pentagon went public with a new laser-based system capable of identifying people at a distance of up to 200m. The technology, dubbed Jetson, uses a technique known as laser doppler vibrometry to detect surface movement caused by your heartbeat.” (…)

“Coats, walls, even rocks and rubble are no obstacle for another nascent surveillance technology, however. Researchers are hard at work developing radar-based systems capable of tracking vital signs for a range of purposes, from non-invasive monitoring of patients and aiding in medical diagnoses to finding survivors in search and rescue operations.” (…)

“But why bother installing new radars when we’re already bathed in a different sort of radiation pretty much all the time? Wi-Fi can also be used to locate individuals, identify their position in the room and whether they’re sitting or standing, and even track vital signs.” (…)

“Every person emits around 36 million microbial cells per hour, and human microbiomes are unique for a certain period of time (a 2015 study found that around 80 per cent of people could be re-identified using their microbiome up to a year later). This means that the constant trail of microbial traces we leave behind us, as well as those we pick up from our surroundings, can be used to help reconstruct a picture of a person’s activities and movements, like where they walked, what objects they touched and what environments they have been in.” (…)

“Amazon is perhaps the prime example for this blurring of the lines between private and government surveillance. Amazon has previously come under criticism for selling facial and emotion-recognition systems to police. More recently, it has been revealed that Amazon is partnering with hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the US, including giving them access to surveillance data gathered through its Ring home doorbell in return for police actively marketing the devices to the community.”

Only an authoritarian regime will develop the kind of insane surveillance methods described above. When surveillance is (almost) omnipresent, and today’s Western citizens are atomized, the new authoritarians only need to publish in corporate media that a group of dissidents are “extremists” before using surveillance to locate them and pick them up, one after the other, (using less lethal tasers) with little or no drama. If anybody protests online they can be shadow banned, if necessary. All instances of rebellion can be nipped in the bud.

A democracy can be defined as common people having de facto power to stop corrupt elites. Average citizens today lack the power to overthrow Machiavellian elites that accumulate unprecedented (financial) tech power while the rest get poorer. That’s why America and Europe today can be defined as being authoritarian, on the fast track to a surveillance tyranny nobody in 1950 could imagine was possible less than a century later.

Critics may argue that I can publish this article without being thrown in jail, and this proves that the West is not authoritarian.

Firstly, people in the West today do get jailed because of speech.

Secondly, everyone agrees that China is a tyranny, but in 2019 it was documented that people can buy 1984 and Brave New World in China. The Atlantic:

Why 1984 Isn’t Banned in China

The new authoritarians have so much surveillance power, and 95-97% of the population are so scared of this power that neoliberal tyrants feel confident that they can deal with online rage as long as only 0.5% dare to rebel against this panopticon regime in real life. The online screamers are like monkeys screeching in a zoo. The zookeeper doesn’t care. He can just watch them from a distance on his monitor, with the sound turned off. Smart tyrants don’t care what you say as long as you comply.

But neoliberal tyrants are not always that smart. Sometimes they overreact. They occasionally “radicalize” many people because of their “big stick” approach, instead of just “hide and bide” a few more years until their surveillance power is truly unbeatable. Resistance is still possible the next 3-4 years, at least in theory.

I’m not optimistic, but should you admit defeat and surrender to ultra-liberal despots? That’s not the right question from a culturally conservative perspective, because if you give up today you will quickly notice that life is empty and boring when everything around you is woke and libertine. A cultural conservative can’t enjoy today’s ultra-liberal entertainment for example. In this situation, rebellion becomes the new entertainment. Who cares if the fight is hopeless? A tragic but dramatic fight beats boredom. So keep fighting, and maybe we get lucky and actually win, against the odds. Make the resistance a good story worth living today.

The EU’S Role in Libya’s Migrant Trafficking – from Katehon via AltWorld

By Ramona Wadi

To perceive refugees as a dissociated part of the wider narrative is a violation in itself, but who will hold the bloc politically accountable for delegating distasteful tasks to the Libyan coastguard?

In mid-July, Italy’s Chamber of Deputies approved renewing funding to the Libyan coastguard, despite non-governmental organisations urging the authorities to stop financing the failed state’s human trafficking network. Only a day earlier, Amnesty International released a report detailing the trafficking and violations occurring across Libya’s detention centres. European countries have downplayed the documented atrocities against migrants in Libya, preferring to focus on keeping the statistics down.

This week, a boat capsized just off Libya’s coast, with 57 African migrants now presumed dead, among them 20 women and two children. The International Organisation for Migration in Libya (IOM) recently established that almost 6,000 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya this year so far. Migrants known to have perished in the Mediterranean this year number 970.

International interference in Libya since 2011 and the fall of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has resulted in a country in which militias compete for territory and power. Vested UN and international interests in the country have exacerbated the humanitarian ramifications.

While the deals which the EU reached with the Libyan coastguard have been deemed controversial by human rights organisations, public sentiment in Europe veers towards pushback. Migration is played as a powerful card across the political spectrum, with both governments and the public fomenting racism and xenophobia. The result is widespread oblivion about the politics which created refugees and failed states.

With governments focused on statistics, reports such as the recent one by Amnesty International exist to inform only those who are already well-informed. Hence the absence of connecting capsized boats to deliberate damage inflicted by the Libyan coastguard to the vessels, resulting in deaths away from Europe’s shores. Neither is the complicity between Libya and European states made evident in terms of the EU financing abuses and torture in Libya’s detention camps. The rift between politics and non-governmental organisations, in the case of migrants, has been reduced to accusations of trafficking, whereas political culpability, which plays a major role in terms of funding the occurring atrocities, is kept out of focus.

In one instance in July this year, the Libyan coastguard was filmed firing at migrants in Malta’s Search and Rescue (SAR) area. The Libyan coastguard also attempted to ram the boat carrying migrants several times.

Researchers have established a link between European arms sales and increased displacement of people. The link between Italy’s funding of the Libyan coastguard and the interception of migrants was also included in the report.

Testimony published in Amnesty International’s report is chilling. “Death in Libya: it’s normal. No one will look for you and no one will find you,” states one quote by a 21 year old male refugee. The oblivion extends beyond Libya. With European governments intent on keeping migrants away from Europe’s shores, the bloc, which is purportedly concerned with human rights, finds it easier to neglect its obligations. No one in Libya would look for a refugee, and no one in Europe would, either, especially since the EU is paying Libya to do its dirty work.

Amnesty International called upon the EU to ensure accountability. However, accountability from within the same paradigm of exploitation will merely create new victims. The EU cheered in 2011 when the NATO coalition intervened in Libya for regime change under the guise of bringing democracy. One bloody consequence of the decision has been the increase in human trafficking of migrants, which the EU sought to quell through militarisation and surveillance, but never through addressing its wrongs. To perceive refugees as a dissociated part of the wider narrative is a violation in itself, but who will hold the bloc politically accountable for delegating distasteful tasks to the Libyan coastguard?

Source: TheAltWorld

Israeli Firm Receives $235 million for Facial Recognition Tech

*Clip from Free Thinker Radio (7/14/21): Are The People Ready to Push Back?. Micah and Derrick discuss a new article about the Government Accountability Office reports on use of facial recognition AND an Israeli firm receiving $235 million in funding. https://pinecast.com/listen/63bd1654-2d18-4857-af3a-95769dbf9101.mp3 Sources: As U.S. Government Report Reveals Facial Recognition Tech Widely Used, WEF-Linked Israeli Facial […]

Israeli Firm Receives $235 million for Facial Recognition Tech

From: Big Tech Drone and IoT Surveillance- | Wired: surveillance … “little closer to omniscience”

Wired (Feb 04, 2021) describes in the following a surveillance system that is potentially genocidal, and it exists today, operated by the police in cities like New York.

At least it will finally be “peace” on Earth when this system is fully activated and deployed everywhere in order to quickly catch all criminals and “domestic terrorists”, real and imagined.

Fusion AI surveillance is such a threat to entire humanity that we must have the same attitude as Churchill who was willing to cooperate with anyone, including Stalin, when fighting a common totalitarian enemy.

If you ignore this Wired article you are basically like those in the 1930s who ignored the existence of totalitarian regimes. Yes, the situation is really that serious:

There Are Spying Eyes Everywhere—and Now They Share a Brain

“Security cameras. License plate readers. Smartphone trackers. Drones. We’re being watched 24/7. What happens when all those data streams fuse into one?”

” … I was here to meet Giovanni Gaccione, who runs the public safety division of a security technology company called Genetec. …”

“He led me first to a large monitor running a demo version of Citigraf, his division’s flagship product. The screen displayed a map of the East Side of Chicago. Around the edges were thumbnail-size video streams from neighborhood CCTV cameras. In one feed, a woman appeared to be unloading luggage from a car to the sidewalk. An alert popped up above her head: “ILLEGAL PARKING.” The map itself was scattered with color-coded icons—a house on fire, a gun, a pair of wrestling stick figures—each of which, Gaccione explained, corresponded to an unfolding emergency. He selected the stick figures, which denoted an assault, and a readout appeared onscreen with a few scant details drawn from the 911 dispatch center. At the bottom was a button marked “INVESTIGATE,” just begging to be clicked.” (…)

“Gaccione told me about one counterterrorism unit, which he wouldn’t name, that had used the system to build a detailed profile of “a middle-aged unemployed individual with signs of radicalization,” using “various databases, CCTV, phone records, banking transactions, and other surveillance methods.” If done manually, he estimated, this kind of investigatory grunt work would take a couple of weeks. In this instance, it took “less than a day.”” (…)

“For all these customers, a central appeal of fusion is that it can scale to new sources of data. You can add fuel to your “correlation engine” by, say, hooking up a new network of sensors or acquiring a privately owned library of smartphone location data. (The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command was recently revealed to be a buyer of many such libraries, including those from a Muslim prayer app with tens of millions of users.) Organizations with their own coders can develop capabilities in-house. In New York, for instance, the police department’s analytics division created a custom plug-in for its fusion system. The feature, called Patternizr, draws on more than a decade’s worth of departmental data to match property crimes that could be related to each other. When a new report comes in, all the investigator has to do is click “Patternize,” and the system will return a list of previous incidents, scored and ranked by similarity.”

“Mind-bending new breakthroughs in sensor technology get a lot of buzzy press: A laser that can covertly identify you from two football fields away by measuring your heartbeat. A hack that makes your smartphone spy on anything nearby with a Bluetooth connection, from your Fitbit to your smart refrigerator. A computer vision system that will let the authorities know if you suddenly break into a run within sight of a CCTV camera. But it’s a mistake to focus our dread on each of these tools individually. In many places across the world, they’re all inputs for a system that, with each new plug-in, reaches a little closer to omniscience.” (…)

“Analysts would run the fusion system 24 hours a day, searching for the red teams in radar and lidar sweeps, drone footage, cell phone and internet data, and encyclopedic intelligence records that, as Cutler put it, “no analyst can possibly read.” The system might, for instance, alert its operators whenever a vehicle from an enemy watchlist entered a certain neighborhood. It could also generate a “normalcy model” of the observed areas so that it could alert analysts to anomalies, like a car driving erratically. (The more complex patterns remain secret; many are still used to identify targets in counterterrorism operations today.)”

“By the time of Insight’s final disclosed test, in September 2015, the Army had pivoted the program to what McBurnett called “1980s-style, full-on, armored-brigades-on-armored-brigades kind of action.” I obtained a short video of one of these later iterations of the software from BAE Systems, the prime contractor for Insight. It shows Fort Irwin in “grand chessboard” mode, with an enemy artillery unit moving across the terrain. Each vehicle, tracked relentlessly through multiple data feeds, is marked with a “likely identity” and a detailed tactical life history. In the video, analysts use the software to figure out whether the red teams will come at their forces head-on from the north or attempt a flanking maneuver from the south. As new intelligence streams in, Insight recalculates the relative likelihood of each eventuality. Soon, an alert appears in the corner of the screen: Insight predicts an 82 percent chance of an attack from the north.” (…)

“Eventually, the Department of Defense hopes to link every plane, satellite, ship, tank, and soldier into a huge, mostly automated Internet of Wartime Things. Cloud-connected sensors and weapons will correlate among themselves while commanders direct the action on a rich, continuously updated digital chessboard that senior leaders hope will look like Waze. As part of the effort, the Air Force and the Army have earmarked billions of dollars for fusion networks from dozens of defense and technology companies, including Amazon, BAE, and Anduril.” (…)

” … A more recent Army experiment condensed what was traditionally a manual, 20-minute process for targeting decisions into a largely automated cycle that took just 20 seconds.” (…)

” … On the edges of a social gathering, an NYPD official pulled me aside, said he had something to show me, and took an iPhone out of his pocket.”

“The phone, he explained, was loaded with a mobile version of the Domain Awareness System, the NYPD’s multi-intelligence fusion network. …”

“The NYPD official showed me how he could pull up any city resident’s rap sheet, lists of their known associates, cases in which they were named as a victim of a crime or as a witness, and, if they had a car, a heatmap of where they tended to drive and a full history of their parking violations. Then he handed me the phone. Go ahead, he said; search a name.”

“A flurry of people came to mind: Friends. Lovers. Enemies. In the end, I chose the victim of a shooting I’d witnessed in Brooklyn a couple of years earlier. He popped right up, along with what felt like more personal information than I, or even perhaps a curious officer, had any right to know without a court order. Feeling a little dizzy, I gave the phone back.” (…)

” … A devout Christian, Schnedler realized that the same technology that had so thoroughly persuaded him in New York could be turned into a sharp instrument of algorithmic authoritarianism, just as useful for rounding up networks of congregants as it was for mapping criminal organizations. …”

” … In a back room, a chain-smoking senior officer asked Schnedler whether he could build software that would identify masked protesters by correlating the tattoos on their forearms—which they’d often expose momentarily when throwing rocks—with a database of such markings that his government had been assembling. Again, Schnedler knew that this was technically feasible. Again, he worried about how it might be used against Turkey’s Christian population. …”

” … He returned to the United States that fall having learned an important lesson: “To the extent that you do not trust your government, you do not want your government to build these systems.””

” … One government, which he [Gaccione] refused to name, issued a solicitation for a tool that would mesh facial recognition cameras and mobile phone networks to track citizens wherever they went. …”

“In the United States, there are no specific national rules governing fusion technology. Absent a legal challenge to test its constitutional integrity, there’s little to say that you can’t blend data sets together, even if doing so might generate information that investigators would otherwise have needed a court order to obtain. …” (…)

” … The fact that intelligence can be difficult and tedious to correlate was perhaps the last natural rampart standing between us and total surveillance. The little privacy we have left exists in the spaces between each data point.

“Fusion technology eviscerates those spaces. With the click of an “INVESTIGATE” button, our digital footprints, once scattered, become a single uninterrupted life history, leaving not only our enemies, but also our friends and our lovers, with nowhere to hide.”