Today In Empire: Copbots, MSM Compliance, And McCaul’s Embarrassing Taiwan Admission
Too much interesting stuff happening in the life of the empire to cover in just one article today, so we’re doing a three-in-one wrap-up.
McCaul says war over Taiwan will be about controlling microchips — err, I mean, democracy and freedom.
Republican congressman Michael McCaul made a very interesting admission during a Sunday interview on MSNBC, which he hastily had to walk back after the host pointed out the implications of what he was saying.
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd asked the virulent China hawk McCaul to “make the basic case” for why Americans should be willing to go to war over Taiwan, and McCaul responded by saying it was about controlling the manufacturing of microchips. When Todd pointed out that this sounded a lot like justifications that have been made for US wars and militarism to control global oil supplies, McCaul hastily corrected himself and said that protecting Taiwan is actually about “democracy and freedom”.
“Make the basic case for why Americans not only should care about what happens in Taiwan but should be willing to spill American blood and treasure to defend Taiwan,” Todd said.
McCaul responded by talking about deterrence and protecting international trade, then said, “I think more important is that TSMC [Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company] manufactures 90 percent of the global supply of advanced semiconductor chips. If China invades and either owns or breaks up, we’re in a world of hurt globally.”
“Congressman, that almost sounds like the case that would be made in the sixties, seventies and eighties for why America was spending so much money and military resources in the middle east,” Todd responded. “Oil was so important for the economy. Is this sort of the 21st century version of that?”
“You know, I personally think it is about democracy and freedom. And we need to stand up for that, like we’re doing in Ukraine,” said McCaul, visibly uncomfortable.
Nearly as funny as McCaul’s hasty self-correction was Todd’s suggestion that US militarism and wars for oil in the middle east was something that was limited to “the sixties, seventies and eighties.” As though the destruction of Iraq and Libya, the militarization against Iran, the starvation of Yemen, and the occupation of Syrian oil fields are just things the US war machine has been doing for fun and giggles in the decades since.
Also funny is the suggestion that Taiwan falling under Beijing’s control would create a “world of hurt”, as though China has been reluctant to sell manufactured products to other countries, and as though the world has not been freely purchasing those products.
Mass media refrain from sharing Pentagon leaks after the White House told them not to.
In an article titled “White House Says Don’t Report on Pentagon Leaks,” Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp writes the following:
The White House on Monday warned media outlets against publishing information contained in the top secret documents leaked from the Pentagon and other US government agencies that have surfaced on the internet.
“Without confirming the validity of the documents, this is information that has no business in the public domain,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
“It has no business, if you don’t mind me saying, on the pages of — front pages of newspapers or on television. It is not intended for public consumption, and it should not be out there,” he added.
That was on Monday. On Tuesday morning, Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin said that “Fox News has agreed, along with other news organizations, not to publish the leaked highly classified documents which were discovered last week.”
Griffin made no mention of which “other news organizations” had agreed to this.
Western journalism, ladies and gents.
NYPD adds copbots to its arsenal.
NBC New York reports that the New York Police Department has added “a robot dog” to its force, along with other robots, after previously abandoning their use in the face of public outcry.
(Before we move on, it must be said that the press really need to stop calling these things “robotic dogs” like they’re some cute cartoon character from The Jetsons. They’re not “dogs”, they’re robots. Police robots. Calling quadrupedal copbots “dogs” is a marketing ploy by those who profit from them and those who want to use them.)
Reporting that the “robotic dog” will be used “in hostage negotiations, counterterrorism incidents and other situations as needed,” NBC New York notes that the robot’s use is being pushed through despite widespread public objections.
“Mayor Eric Adams said that although the robotic dog was previously introduced during a previous administration, leaders then took a step back after public outcry. However, he said that his top concern is public safety,” the report reads.
“This announcement is also another example of the NYPD’s violation of basic norms of transparency and accountability by rolling out these technologies without providing the public a meaningful opportunity to raise concerns,” The Legal Aid Society is quoted as saying in objection to the move.
Another piece of tech called the “K5 Autonomous Security Robot” is also being rolled out alongside the quadrupedal robot, which NBC New York reports “uses artificial intelligence to provide incident notification in real-time to first responders” and will be used to conduct “automated patrol in confined areas both indoors and outdoors, such as transit stations.” So surveillance. It’s a surveillance robot.
Every few months I’ve got to write a new article about new escalations in copbot normalization, because it’s being shoved through with such extreme aggression. It’s been decided that there need to be copbots, so the world is getting copbots.
Whenever a new story breaks about these escalations people always joke about movies where the robots turn against the humans, but that’s not the real danger here. The real danger is that these robots will be fully controlled by humans, and humans have a long track record of oppressing and abusing other humans. This isn’t Terminator or Black Mirror, this is garden variety police militarization, continuing along the same trajectory it’s been on for decades.
Every objection to police militarization as a dangerous slippery slope has been 100 percent vindicated by history, and there’s no reason to expect that to change as they start rolling out copbots. As John and Nisha Whitehead explained last year for The Rutherford Institute, this ongoing expansion of police robot militarization tracks alongside the steadily increasing militarization of police forces in the US more generally; SWAT teams first appeared in California the 1960s, by 1980 the US was seeing 3,000 SWAT team-style raids per year and by 2014 that number had soared to 80,000. It’s probably higher now.
The thing about slippery slope arguments is you can’t just dismiss them on issues where they have a proven and consistent track record of being correct. Police forces have been getting more and more militarized, especially in the US, and once they’ve secured an escalation in militarization it seldom de-escalates from there.
Since the dawn of history rulers have dreamed of having mindless obedient soldiers who will never turn against them, will never disobey orders, and will never hesitate to attack the civilians of their own country when told to do so. Copbots are the final solution to the ancient problem that there are always a whole lot more ordinary people than there are rulers, because once they’re fully militarized and fully rolled out they can be used to subdue a population of any size. Copbots are the anti-guillotine.
Humanity is in a race between the awakening of our consciousness on one hand and the plunge toward armageddon and dystopia on the other. I hope we can wake up and turn this thing around before we’re locked in to this sinking ship for good.
My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon, Paypal, or Substack, buying an issue of my monthly zine, and following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley.