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'NSA Surveillance / Vampire Culture' [C2CAM 12-Jun-2013]

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In the first half, author and adventurer Robert Young Pelton discussed the Edward Snowden whistleblower case, and the NSA surveillance of American citizens. Snowden wasn't someone who was inside the machine, making surveillance decisions-- he was a private contractor (not working for the govt.) who wanted to call attention to the fact that the US is monitoring innocent people under the guise of finding the guilty. His revelations have triggered an international debate on such 'Big Brother' mentality, and how far governments should be allowed to track its citizens, said Pelton. "This is a complete reversal on why the NSA was created," which was to monitor and decode Soviet communications during the Cold War, he explained, adding that the agency mushroomed after the Patriot Act, when it began collecting "big data." The NSA's collection of all communication is "basically like arresting everybody in New York City in case one of them commits a crime, and they want to go find him," he commented.

The way their software works is that they can enter a suspect's phone number and pull up a list of all the calls made, and related electronic data, and then begin surveillance of all the people on the list, he detailed. 9-11 was a long time ago, and the kind of attacks we're seeing in the US now are very sporadic-- "we have to stop frisking every single American citizen in the hopes that some low level bureaucrat will stumble across a plot," Pelton declared. The business of snooping on people has exploded, but there has been no evidence presented that these efforts have prevented terrorist attacks, he noted.

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In the latter half, Father Sebastiaan, an influential figure on modern 'Vampyrism,' with his contributions in the areas of philosophy, spirituality, and nightlife, talked about his craft of "fangmaking," as well as the popularity of vampire mythology. He delineated different types of people into vampirism-- there are the devoted "fans" of films and TV shows like Twilight and True Blood, and people into the "vampire lifestyle." People who identify as vampires include "living vampires" who are empowered by the archetype, sanguinarians (blood drinkers), and psychic vampires. Sebastiaan, a 'living vampire,' indicated that he is not among the blood drinkers, and expressed some concerns over that practice's safety.

Trained by an orthodontist, Sebastiaan became a professional fangsmith. Working with clients in a ceremonial-like fashion, he places a mold over their tooth, then makes a removable cap that sits right over the tooth (view photo samples). The experience of having fangs is like being in a secret society-- those that he's made fangs for he calls his Sabretooth Clan, and while the transformation doesn't make them a vampire, they are changed by the process, he said. This October, Sebastiaan will be doing his fangsmithing through Halloween Adventures in New York City. He's also an organizer/producer of the Endless Night Vampire Balls, held in such cities as New Orleans and Berlin.



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