June 29, 2013
NSA - Recording One Billion Phonecalls Per Day
Yesterday Glenn Greenwald gave a talk
(video) to the Socialism 2013 conference
in Chicago. At 39:48 into the talk he says this (my transcription):
Another document that I probably shouldn't but - since it's not published - but I am going to anyway share with you - and this one is coming soon - but you are getting a little preview. It talks about how a brand new technology enables the National Security Agency to direct, redirect into its own repositories, one billion cellphone calls every single day, one billion cellphone calls every single day.
What we are really talking about here is a globalized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without it's being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency. It doesn't mean they are listening to every call, it means they are storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time. And it does mean that they are collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.
It is a globalized system designed to destroy all privacy. And what is incredibly menacing about it is that it is all talking place in the dark, with no accountability and virtually no safeguards.
That the NSA can grab and store one billion calls per day is plausible. Voice can be easily compressed into a quite small data chunks. Automated speech to text transcription allows to make all these calls searchable. Not only their metadata, but the spoken and transcribed content of the calls themselves. Then matching that content to trigger words allows to fish out "targets" for further investigation. Voice recognition and/or metadata analysis will then allow to filter out other calls such "targets" made or will later make.
The NSA, we are told, must set out to find the needle in the haystack, the one terrorist in the midst of all us good people. To find a needle in the haystack is quite easy to do. Get a huge electromagnet, switch it on and the needle will come towards it while the straw will not move. That is what the NSA is set out to do here with one billion cellphone calls per day. To find those bad, bad terrorists. But that electromagnet trick assumes that the needle is made of metal. It will not find the needle made from bone, or plastic, or ceramic or something else. There is no pattern for terrorism. It can not be found and prevented.
The story of the need to find the needle in the haystack using that giant electromagnet is therefore not plausible. Storing and analyzing all global cellphone calls is neither necessary nor sufficient to fight the conflict method of terrorism. But storing those phone calls can be a tool of control. Caught up in a demonstration or accident? Now the state can go back and find out not only to whom you talked when but also what you talked about. Soon not just yesterday's calls but those you will then have made years ago. There is likely something in all those pasts calls (and emails and chats) that you do not want others to know.
Greenwald is right in saying: "It is a globalized system designed to destroy all privacy." But destroying privacy is not the primary or ultimate purpose of the system. The only plausible purpose of this striving for total information is its use for total control. It is the foundation of a totalitarian state.
Posted by b on June 29, 2013 at 07:55 AM | Permalink
I should think they do it because they have the technological capability, not because there is any danger from terrorism, or even that there is necessarily a desire for a totalitarian state (though the impulse to control is strong in those in power).
Posted by: alexno | Jun 29, 2013 8:11:42 AM | 1
Yes ... they need a reason to look at a particular straw in their haystaack, I may have got this link here, I know you follow McClatchy ... Obama's Insider threat program. The idea is turn in your buddy's 'suspicious' habits ... or face prosecution yourself for not doing so.
It's really all about corporatizing spying. Google's all set-up for it. The CISPA, which Google wrote, was all about allowing Google and other 'cybersecurity providers' to notify the USG about 'suspicious' looking, sounding, smelling communications in their possession ... and then receiving orders from the government to track down and tease out networks of 'suspected' ... humans ... for the government. For a price of course.
It is all absolutely corrupted.
If we humans, all of us worldwide, do not make common cause against the TNCs we're doomed. I am reminded of nothing so much as of Wells' War of the Worlds ... the slaves of the TNCs striding among us humans in their tripods, gorging themselves on our roast flesh. Unlike Wells' novel it's the aliens that'll destroy life on our planet - with their nuclear reactors, tar sand mining, mountain top removal, bedrock fracturing gas production, and subsequent destruction of our one and only climate. Frankenstein experiments with living creatures ... their ceaseless, simultaneous warfare ...
Once the corporate cybersecurity aliens finger us we'll be turned over to the aliens of the corporate prison-industrial complex, in the US at least. I don't know what they'll do with you Europeans. The Brits will probably have corporate prisons themselves soon.
Posted by: john francis lee | Jun 29, 2013 8:49:13 AM | 2
Total control is exactly what it is all about. I just was reading this I mentioned the gist to a young friend who said he didn’t know anything about it and besides he had nothing to hide unless they were going after homesteaders. So why would “they” be going after him?
So who is the “they” I asked myself. Who would benefit by knowing that he was homesteading or I was gardening and growing my own non GMO corporately owned food? Well that question pretty much nailed it down for me. We live in a world of corporate control. They own or are aiming at owing any and every resource, human and otherwise. The corporation is the elite’s bastion against the common people who would be struggling to control their own lives free from their oversight and usurpation of the fruits of their labor. Anyone or any group that is not falling into line in the elite’s system is a potential target. But for the most part most will choose to fall into line. The panopticon is here.
Posted by: juannie | Jun 29, 2013 8:54:45 AM | 3
@Anonymous - comment deleted - keep some thread hygiene - Syria stuff in Syria thread, NSA stuff in an NSA thread and so on.
Posted by: b | Jun 29, 2013 9:48:50 AM | 4
b said.." The only plausible purpose of this striving for total information is its use for total control."
And total control means the shearing of the sheep will come much easier. The masters of the coming "Global Plantation" are salivating over the coming profits.
Posted by: ben | Jun 29, 2013 9:49:54 AM | 5
It's what I started calling the War on Dissent 10 years ago...
Posted by: JohnH | Jun 29, 2013 10:06:00 AM | 6
Statistically, terrorism is less hazardous to Americans than bath-tub slips or lightning strikes. It's a negligible threat. Forty people die from homicides every day in the U.S. and eighty people from auto accidents. Fifteen hundred a day from cancer! Apparently they need funds to study cancer -- they ask us to contribute to the Cancer Society.
So this is all a humungous waste, except (as noted above) to demonstrate total government control.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 29, 2013 11:00:22 AM | 7
The NSA and the like justify their existence and make goobs of cash. Great pay, year by year. That is all.
The threat of a totalitarian state is there, it exists, of course.
But it is not the main point. What is going on is spoliation of the tax payer or hapless payer / consumer, for useless junk. Like the health or sick industry, the prison industry, the war against drugs, and so on. Financial greed, Gvmt. cum Corp machinations, Mafia-type moves, lobbies, those who scramble for power and bucks here and there and everywhere in the grand dystopia.
Yes, privacy is a legit concern, and should be addressed like Greenwald does. Absolutely. Or even more forcibly imho.
The justice system in the US is already way below third world level, referring to e-mails and phone calls is totally (most of the time, some court cases use some data) irrelevant, hunting for terrorists is a joke, there aren’t any so none can be found, except for the those organized by Gvmt. agencies themselves, who carry out these acts to keep their own revenue stream secure.
Posted by: Noirette | Jun 29, 2013 11:25:32 AM | 8
@ 4. Yes please. I was beginning to think it didn't matter.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 29, 2013 11:38:34 AM | 9
Being an optimist, I'm hoping Snowden has been a trailblazer for a more skilled and cautious trickle of whistleblower/leakers. I can hardly wait to read the text of the phone calls and emails exchanged between Admin Officials, the 1%, and "the best Congress money can buy."
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 29, 2013 11:50:00 AM | 10
The threat of a totalitarian state is there, it exists, of course.
But it is not the main point
Couldn't disagree more.IMO, the stage of being "a threat" is over. THAT ship has sailed. America **IS** a totalitarian state, with the highest incarceration rate of ANY government, despite being unwilling to incarcerate a SINGLE bankster. NO other liberal democracy has the solitary confinement policy of the US, which incarcerates THOUSANDS in this manner. The "spoilation" of the taxpayer/ citizen would otherwise not be possible w/o this level of control.
From a review of "They Thought They Were Free"
“It is a fascinating story and a deeply moving one. And it is a story that should make people pause and think—think not only about the Germans, but also about themselves.”—Ernest S. Pisko, Christian Science Monitor
and a snipet of that excerpt:
"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.
Posted by: erichwwk | Jun 29, 2013 12:12:03 PM | 11
b- "The only plausible purpose of this striving for total information is its use for total control. It is the foundation of a totalitarian state."
here,here or as I like to call it a state of global tyranny
ben- "And total control means the shearing of the sheep will come much easier. The masters of the coming "Global Plantation" are salivating over the coming profits."
The coming profits, yes. The total control of your life from birth to death. The total control of that which you consume.
The food, the air, the mede-sin.
ben have you ever seen this?
The Story of Your Enslavement - With Music
Redone by Stefan Molyneux
Originally done by Jose Berrara
Food for thought....
And ties into the agenda of total global control quite nicely,
Warning: not for those who believe, that government is benevolent
Or works for the people. Those are absurd beliefs. Founded in a delusion.
Posted by: Penny | Jun 29, 2013 12:30:04 PM | 12
Not really off topic:
The Snowden case appears to be taking an unexpected course.
The current Rice, of the NSC, has suggested that the revelations have not damaged the United States.
That is the beauty of totalitarian states, the government can turn on a dime. One day the Espionage Act. Next morning "Welcome back Eddie. We loveya' son.."
And the parrots on their perches keep chirping.
Posted by: bevin | Jun 29, 2013 1:08:34 PM | 13
I think really the ultimate aim is behaviour and thought control. Imagine being able to correlate people's web behaviour and email content with their arrest record or their record of being observed at street demonstrations. Not just retrospectively, for instance while compiling a prosecution or detention case, but continuously, even predictively. And being able both to aggregate these in order to predict and control political 'fashions and fads', and to disaggregate them so as to identify individuals 'at risk'.
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jun 29, 2013 1:14:58 PM | 14
@11 erick "America **IS** a totalitarian state, with the highest incarceration rate of ANY government"
I think that's an important point which is missed a lot. I was arguing with some Obamabots on Twitter (yes, I try to spread the arguing out a bit) and they were following the China line of attack on Snowden. "How do you think they treat hackers in CHINA" and going on about China's justice system - to the point of saying "probably they leave China chopped up in plastic bags!". Completely missing ignoring the fact of the United States #1 incarceration levels. And when I brought that up, they tried to talk about Chinese prison conditions to which one only has to look into "East Mississippi Correctional Institute":
"rampant rapes. Placing prisoners in solitary confinement for weeks, months or even years at a time, where the only way to get a guard's attention in an emergency is to set a fire. Rat infestations so bad that vermin crawl over prisoners; sometimes, the rats are captured, put on leashes and sold as pets to the most severely mentally ill inmates. Many suicide attempts, some successful. The untreated mentally ill throw feces, scream, start fires, electrocute themselves and self-mutilate. Denying or delaying treatment for infections and even cancer. Stabbings, beatings and other acts of violence. Juveniles being housed with adults, including one 16-year-old who was sexually assaulted by his adult cell mate. Malnourishment and chronic hunger. Officers who deal with prisoners by using physical violence."
They ended with "well at least they can sue the government now!". Unreal.
There is, in fact, no system on earth more total in its scope and more sadistic as the American. Perhaps some come close (likely in American third world fascist allies) but never in scale. And ours is certainly the only one based on a drive for profits making it truly the sickest one of all. The judge in Pennsylvania who was locking up kids for cash - it's come down to that level corruption and hatred of human life one would think you'd have to go back to the Roman Empire to find.
Most importantly we have to wonder what is being done with these calls which is illegal. For every Snowden, there must be 10 contractors making millions funneling info to Wall Street. That, of course, isn't "treason" is it? That would be as American as apple pie. And that's just looking into Americans. What holds someone back for prying into the lies of foreigners? Stealing German industrial methods? Absolutely nothing.
I think the knowledge of this is going to take time to sink in - all over the world. All these stories will slowly get into people's heads. This is too big an complex to think it can create a sudden social explosion, but I think it will come. As we attempt to change our habits we'll realize just how heavily monitored we are. As corporations have to develop new ways to protect their secrets - as even the NSA will now have to - it will be like trying to pull oneself out of quicksand.
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 29, 2013 1:20:39 PM | 15
Now that this is all out in the open, how long will it take before the defense demands these phone records as part of discovery in a federal case? How can the government say this evidence doesn't exist now?
Now that the people know this motherlode of information exists, its only a matter of time before people attempt to gain access to it via legal means like FOIA or through lawsuits. Perhaps in the same way people got the right to have their FBI records?
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 29, 2013 1:24:47 PM | 16
That would be quick. Just yesterday Alexander was still going on about "significant and irreversible" damage.
Good cop/bad cop, or genuine splits within the elite?
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 29, 2013 1:36:37 PM | 17
All telecoms had devices hung off their switches a decade or so ago that enabled this collection of data.
Posted by: revenire | Jun 29, 2013 1:39:45 PM | 18
bevin @ 13.
"That is the beauty of totalitarian states, the government can turn on a dime."
You said a mouthful there, and hit a very specific nail squarely on the head.
Obama seems to pull a (recycled) rabbit out of his hat every second day.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 29, 2013 1:48:50 PM | 19
“b” perfectly said analysis, Greenwald can’t go as far as you can, the foundation of this totalitarian state has been laid for some time now we, we now are in a totalitarian state that continually fears her survival from within or abroad since she no longer, can justify her internal or external policies to no one even for loyal operatives that work for the system. We are in dangerous times when a super large mono power is gone mad and totalitarian she will not spear anyone even her own.
Posted by: kooshy | Jun 29, 2013 1:57:40 PM | 20
Does the UK phone hacking scandal, which led to Murdoch tossing News of The World under the bus, indicate that the name Murdoch opened 'no questions asked' doors to private info? Or can anyone with a scanner and a laptop hack phone accounts?
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 29, 2013 2:04:09 PM | 21
I am sure your exaggerating, I mean could possibly go wrong :-)
Posted by: OAB | Jun 29, 2013 2:16:06 PM | 22
It's all big numbers, but does each call get intercepted on both ends with different carriers? And how many points in between? Must be a lot of de-duplication going on.
Posted by: biklett | Jun 29, 2013 2:36:42 PM | 23
What has snowden done? Seriously everyone know states spy on people, setting aside how bad it is. That why we pretty much hear no condemnation from any state.
So of course he hasnt done any damage. There is really real no rational for this manhunt at all. It have became so blow-up for nothing really imo.
Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 29, 2013 3:14:58 PM | 24
Well, it's sparking a whole series of diplomatic incidents, none of them favourable to the United Snakes.
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jun 29, 2013 3:52:34 PM | 25
I don't know about you, but I've always presumed that my emails could be/would be read. The same for telephone calls. Real terrorists have already found ways around the problem. If I had something to communicate confidentially, as when I was investigating the bombing of Samarra, I wouldn't choose standard internet communications.
The novelty here is the scale of the operation. I would think the main product would be a large number of false alerts. No doubt, the filters will be/have been refined, but I doubt they will find much. If the filters are insufficiently refined, then there will be a large number of complaints. If they are sufficiently refined, then they will find nothing.
The main danger is that the information will be used for other purposes. In Britain, as far as I remember, the Terrorist Act has been used against owners of dogs shitting in parks. Anything available will be used.
The best solution would be if they got the filters wrong, and there was a great fuss about false alerts and accusations. But I haven't seen that, and we're several years into the operation.
Posted by: alexno | Jun 29, 2013 3:57:49 PM | 26
Did anyone find out yet who has the right to use the NSA information?
Posted by: somebody | Jun 29, 2013 4:37:51 PM | 27
I think the tack that Rice is taking is the defense that anonymous suggests : Hey ! Nothing to see here ! Everybody does it ! No crimes committed by NSA ... just 'due diligence' 'protecting our citizens' !
Of course Edward Snowden is still a traitor for exposing Top Secret information on how our NSA goes about its business.
The NSA is not very bright. But they have built huge storage facilities and are storing all communications so they'll have it ready to hand when you or I prove vexing enough to be imprisoned. Or when the prison-industrial complex has 'rooms' to fill.
And it'll be a great profit center for the likes of Google to turn its tracking and search expertise on all the data that the NSA has in the can, discerning networks of traitors just as it discerns networks of consumers right now. The drone, algorithmic Googlenauts will be to data warfare as the drone 'pilots' are to drone warfare. More fire power than Booz Allen.
Watch what you say ... check out this 18 year-old 'terrorist' in Texas. The kid shoots his mouth off over the wire and one sentence has him in prison since 14 February with the prosecutor 'offering' him 8 years if he pleads guilty or more if and when he finally goes to court. Remand imprisonment of the 'innocent till proven guilty' is standard for 'terrorists'. For free speech.
The cops, the prosecutor, the judge ... all should be behind bars. And Barack Obama should be in the Big House, not the White House and all his droogies along with him.
That's the reality that Rice is trying remove from your mind, with her Edward Snowden exposed no crimes. The criminals are in entrenched in power in the USSA. And privatizing/corporatizing more of their crimes everyday.
Posted by: john francis lee | Jun 29, 2013 7:46:58 PM | 28
Given that TPTB let big-time criminals go free (e.g., Kissinger, Madoff -- until he confessed) while attacking peaceful OWS protests as a "threat", I suspect the State does more harm than good with the information it collects. If they collect it, it *will* be used for harm.
Ask Fred Hampton or Gary Webb.
Posted by: obama ftw! | Jun 29, 2013 7:48:25 PM | 29
@Anon "Seriously everyone know states spy on people"
I see this a lot, but it really misses the point IMHO. There is a huge difference between everyone "knowing" and having substantial evidence and it being in the media. It's important legally. It can now be asked discussed in legal venues and cannot be ignored or presented as a "conspiracy theory".
"That why we pretty much hear no condemnation from any state. "
I think we've already seen plenty of steam coming out of Germany's ears, and we're likely to see more.
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 29, 2013 7:52:17 PM | 30
Important point guest77, especially the legal aspect. The ACLU tried to bring suit against the NSA because they believed their policies violated the 4th amendment. The Supreme Court rejected their petition for lack of "standing", i.e. the ACLU was unable to identify individuals whose rights had been violated. I understand in light of the Snowden revelations, the ACLU is now considering re-instituting the law suit because potential victims of this surveillance can be identified, hence they will now have standing before the federal courts. It was the very secrecy of the entire policy that made it impossible to identify victims of state surveillance.
Sort of frustrating that both apologist for state spying against citizens and those on the other side who have been resisting these actions are making the same arguments against Snowden's revelations.
Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 29, 2013 8:22:56 PM | 31
It is very simple. Follow the money. Years ago the wealthy needed a strong middleclass. Henry Ford even commented that a strong middleclass bought the products of the wealthy. But the wealthy no longer make products. Money is earned through money games. And the economy is global.
The goal now is the destruction of the middleclass. Why? So that we'll work for nothing. A sort of coal mining economic theory. Work for nothing and then give what little money you have back when you buy life's necessities at the company store.
As the wealth gets concentrated and the middleclass destroyed there might be some uprisings. The Corporate Government will be able to get the leaders very quickly and thereby diffuse the uprisings literally before they start. Like arresting the persons behind "Occupy Wall Street" before the occupation.
With indefinite detention being the law of the land there will be no need for trials.
And with all that anti terrorism security money going to crowd control weapons like sonic beams that make you burn those crowds that do assemble will be quickly dealt with.
It is always about the money.
Posted by: Ray | Jun 29, 2013 9:27:54 PM | 32
About a thousand years ago when I was studying criminology my tutor pointed out the self fulfilling nature of law enforcement. Its a cliche now not so much back then that police catch more poor/unwhite citizens cause they patrol places where poor/unwhites live more frequently than they do white bourgeois neighborhoods. his solution to this was for everyone's name to be put in a hat and once a year a certain number of citizen's names would be randomly pulled out & those people rounded up & tortured until they confessed to all the crimes they had committed in the past year.
Bernie was being tongue in cheek. This is what is happening with this massive collection of cellphone calls but not in nearly as democratic a way.
If NSA can do this now, within a few years some asst secretary of the NSA will hop across to private enterprise and package up the technology to sell it to law enforcement agencies around the world.
Once that happens we will all be walking around with the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.
Say you are unlucky & get arrested for something. Anything - it doesn't matter what, but once you have come to the attention of law enforcement who are already all about statistical targets (getting n convictions from x arrests)now, by then they will be crazy on stats.
Police will trawl through all data held on you which wouldn't be hard. For example, the last time I was in Australia, you had to show high grade proof of identity just to buy a cellphone, so those types societies like that where the elites have had precautions in place to protect their resource theft since the society was first established, linking records to individuals will be simple.
Other places may take a little longer, but the techniques of IDing peeps by the cell phone towers they most frequently use has become pretty sophisticated.
Once grabbed, someone's entire history would be available for close inspection and prosecution using whatever subjective criteria are considered most socially acceptable at the time.
The fools who subscribe to the "if you do no wrong you've nothing to hide" stupidity, would change their tune if it happened to them because, anyone who lives in western democracies where a politician's prescription for whatever ails is always about passing new laws, would learn no human can get through their day without breaking a least a few seemingly inconsequential laws.
Of course the elites - in particular politicians - will construct a work around to absolve themselves from this horror.
Best guess would be something along the lines of the legislative privilege that this egoistic scum already use to protect their speech from the regulatory restraint that the rest of us are subjected to.
Corporate bosses would prolly be provided with an extension of the 'a corporation has the rights of a person but none of the responsibilities' type laws which currently allow corporate legal entities to extend protection for actions take over the people who run the corp.
Many of you will think this an exaggeration - it isn't.
Worst of all, citizens will do this to themselves.
I dunno what the most horrific crime on the books will be in a decade, but at the moment it is either child rape or bankster fraud on hardworking citizens.
Someone in possession of one of those labels will get arrested in a blaze of publicity yet the case will collapse due to prosecutorial incompetence or by design.
Whichever, the seemingly dedicated law enforcement officer who brought this 'monster' to book, will appear in the media bitching about how making a case would have been so simple if only all this creep's cellphone data, going back decades, had been admissible as evidence.
Then sufficient dingbats, drongos, derps & dipshits will get together to create the critical mass of stupidity sufficient to demand laws be changed to use the power whenever required (see post 911 strategies for fascists 101).
Posted by: Debs is dead | Jun 29, 2013 10:17:24 PM | 33
I'm sure that everyone in Germany. at least, has read Obama's Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself from America, but I just saw it now.
This is certainly the kind of thing the Rice is trying to whistle away as she 'tiptoes' by, to 'shrug off'. But the damage is done. Yes, guest77, everyone knew the USSA had embraced the bad guy role ... but now it's 'official'.
Been printed in the paper, with glossy 8x10s of the scene of the crime.
Posted by: john francis lee | Jun 29, 2013 10:24:13 PM | 34
This isn't even close to over. This is certainly looking like the biggest exposure of government secrets that didn't come along side a military defeat, revolution, or state collapse.
Am I going too far if I compare this to the opening up of the Nazi or Soviet archives?
US reportedly bugged EU offices, computer networks, according to Der Spiegel magazine
The United States has been accused of bugging European Union offices and accessing EU computer networks, according to secret documents cited in German magazine Der Spiegel.
The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, says if the report is correct it will have a "severe impact" on relations between the EU and the United States.
Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel, "if these reports are true, it's disgusting".
MORE... @ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-30/us-national-security-agency-spied-on-european-union2c-german-r/4790080
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 29, 2013 11:33:17 PM | 36
You've given us lots of Snowden coverage, but I want some insight from a German perspective (you are German, living in Germany...right? Or did I totally misread that).
How does the average German citizen feel about this? How is it being played in the German press? Is there evidence that the German Intelligence services aware of this? Evidence that they part of it? Is there any anxiety about industrial espionage or financial/stock market shenanigans? Interference in political campaigns?
What about other parts of Europe - big countries like Italy and France especially. Is there a difference in reaction between George Bush's "Old Europe" and "New Europe"?
Uns alles erzählen. (courtesy of Google translate)
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 29, 2013 11:44:25 PM | 37
US & EU have marital problems--
--The European Union was one of the "targets" of Washington's huge Internet spy programme, with bugs hidden in EU offices in Brussels and the United States, German weekly Der Spiegel said.
on top of--
--Europe likely to stay on sidelines when U.S. ships arms to Syria rebels.
--German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she welcomed an agreement to reopen talks with Turkey about joining the European Union but warned in the light of the crackdown on Turkish anti-government protests that democratic values were non-negotiable.
so Merkel may have to reconsider (again)--
--German Chancellor Angela Merkel dialed back her government’s criticism of U.S. surveillance activities, saying information-gathering is necessary to fight terrorism. --Jun 17
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 12:02:08 AM | 38
Germans have bad Stasi memories and dislike government spying on citizens, is what I read.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 12:04:12 AM | 39
I posted a comment on "The Guardian" site yesterday (as well as on VoR), seemingly innocuous, yet at "The Guardian" it was removed very quickly, as well as the response to it. It reads as follows:
"As yet, no one has touched on the possibility that all this is political theatre, perhaps Snowden is actually in league with elements within the US administration (perhaps even the President) that are in conflict with the NSA, and his "escape" is actually an "escapade" - a very deliberate and calculated "leak" authorized at the highest level, serving one faction in a behind the scenes power struggle. I realize that this is a very unlikely, but not impossible scenario, bearing in mind that 99% of what we are fed as "information" via the mass media is in fact noise, a distraction if not a total disinformation. Truly, this is analogous to constructing an onion with the various layers of possibility, speculation, and motivation. An intriguing story, and even more so if one delves beyond the obvious "facts of the matter" which have been offered for public consumption."
The response was "I think you watch too many movies" (I don't watch movies)
I in turn responded along the lines of:
"Perhaps I've lived long enough to have developed a healthy skepticism of what's accepted as "gospel" by the public. Politics, especially so in the West is indeed "theatre", political parties, all of whom only have the most superficial differences, engage in a farce of opposing each other in Parliament/Congress while all in reality work toward the same end. The whole Snowden saga reeks of a charade, what with Hagel's ridiculous plea to the Russians to "do the right thing", as well as the State Department's curious error in nomenclature when asking HK to extradite Snowden. Are they really that careless!? Nothing is ever as simple it appears. I'm not asking anybody to share my take on things, but simply to keep an open mind, and perhaps to reserve judgment for a few years or decades.
Who knows, maybe this time we're actually contemplating a bona fide cigar!"
I added later that it's equally likely that the four laptops were pre-loaded with all types of gibberish in the full expectation that they'd invariably fall into the hands of those evil Russians and Chinese.
Anyhow, I thought I'd run this by the readership of this site as it's teeming with sharp minds, and I'm a relative paranoid dullard.
The removal of my post despite it not in any way contravening the standards of that community only reinforced my suspicions that this whole saga is too pat, too straightforward. The whole narrative of the whistle-blower escaping, Congressmen screaming for his head, the asylum comedy, all that stuff has been swallowed hook, line, and sinker, without any questions (that I'm aware of).
I was even toying with the idea of emailing Glenn Greenwald to ask for his take, then thought better of it - what if he's a principle actor as well?
I've armed myself with some beer, quite serene, and eagerly await your collective ridicule!
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 1:46:53 AM | 40
My sincere apologies B - I should have posted the above under the "Some Thoughts On The Snowden Fallout" thread. I haven't visited this site of late, hence not up to date on the various topics. Needless to say I haven't even perused the conversations to see if anyone else has posted along the same lines. If so, again, my regrets.
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 1:59:32 AM | 41
@40 We'll, we all - presuming none of us has inside information - share similar vantage points, meaning ones filtered entirely through media (both mainstream and sites like this), gossip, and our own stereotypes. So it's all obviously conjecture.
I'd just say if this whole thing is theater, it's certainly the first time anyone's tried something so bold and it's hard to see what desirable outcome "they" could hope to achieve that would override the obvious damage (that I see) this is causing. The real and rather significant damage that this seems to be causing to US interests. (And we're not done. I truly feel this will eat at people's sense of personal security over the course of time.)
Some people seem to feel doubting is its own reward. I don't personally think that makes anymore sense than blind acceptance. Obviously your suggestion to "reserve judgment for a few years or decades" is the correct one....but that just isn't any damn fun, is it?
It may well be that you're right. But I just think you ought to base it on something firmer than "so much of what we see is lies, so this must be a lie too."
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 30, 2013 2:22:30 AM | 42
39) I think we mainly dislike being told one system is evil when the replacing system displays similar features. A sober discussion of citizen's rights and the dangers of data collection by whoever should be in place. I think Europeans are also shocked to find out that they are spied on like enemies by the US.
41) You are missing the point. This here is Erich Schmitt on cyberwarfare and what for example Iran can do. Data that gets collected is everybody's data.
It gets frightening when you start thinking on what - whoever - might do with the data.
This here for example is Web 3.0 - the semantic web.
As always, this has a cheerful side and a dark side - "it helps you get from the web what you want".
Basically, when all personal data gets automatically connected and automatically understood, governments can automatically single out people they wish to eliminate. Think automated drone warfare.
It has computer industry consequenes. Cloud computing is dead. Companies will reconsider protecting their data.
Posted by: somebody | Jun 30, 2013 2:48:10 AM | 43
@42 - It's not exactly as you put it in your summation, but close. More like "So much of what we see are lies that there's a good chance this is too". Perhaps Obama is the American Gorbachev, a subversive mole that infiltrated the system and is doing his utmost to rein in the runaway security establishment, the de facto Government that supersedes the apparent one. In that case, it's not USA interests that would be harmed (in the long term), but the "state within a state" that would be irreversibly compromised. Is it ridiculous to assume that factions exist, each with their conflicting agendas, and that the most efficient way to neutralize one of them (the "security" monster) would be to expose it's machinations through a leak? It's the American way. Of course there's the slight problem of reconciling this administration's actions on a variety of issues such as droning, Libya, Syria, all that stuff, with a government that's trying to get the country back "on track" as a role model for the rest of the world, but you know what they say about eggs and omelets. Have to preserve credibility with the Zionists and neocons until it's time to expose them too. I like Hagel - especially his clarification of whose Senator he was. Mea culpas were in order to secure the nomination, but pragmatism is admirable. If I'm right, a terrible disservice is being done by uttering my thoughts, but I'm seldom right.
I can't get over The Guardian's haste in deleting my comment though... Just too stupid for public consumption probably.
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 3:42:59 AM | 44
This is getting stranger yet (The Guardian). About an hour ago I posted a followup question to the fellow that had responded to my original post, asking for his views as to why our dialogue had been deleted and mentioning that I was leery of re-posting similar sentiments as they seem to have rubbed someone the wrong way, and that query has now vanished without a trace, not even a "comment deleted as it violated our community standards" type footnote.
For the sake of curiosity, if anyone here is a member of that site, they might try paraphrasing what I'd speculated about to see if their contribution is treated in the same manner. I'm going to smoke some weed now just to ratchet up my paranoia to the next level...
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 4:01:58 AM | 45
the fallout is huge - no way this is theater
this in German "Der Spiegel"
NSA records 500 million electronic connections in Germany per month (in a nation of less than 80 million people)
According to NSA classification Germany is a "third class partner", these "partners" are targets. Second class partners that are not targeted are Canada, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand only.
German conservatives now doubt there will be a US Europe free trade zone. Transatlantic partnership quite likely is dead for a while.
Posted by: somebody | Jun 30, 2013 4:29:36 AM | 46
@ somebody - Is there such a thing as a "1st class partner"?
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 4:32:53 AM | 47
@Sasha, at least you gave the argument as to why it ‘could be’.
If this was the case, NSA V’s FBI/CIA and considering the NSA budgets, and both CIA & NSA are ‘Intelligence’ under the DoD where FBI are ‘Law enforcement’ the CIA and NSA aren't really involved in law enforcement except in national security issues (such as terrorism) and drug interdiction.
The CIA & NSA works with United States Armed Forces, the entity who is over the President (Administration) even if he or she would be the commander in Chief, as that structure with staffing remains and is not elected each cycle so to speak, but a silent ‘Rule’.
One could be making the other look weak in the same light secure funding and power. The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a $39 billion Department of Homeland Security spending bill for next fiscal year that would boost its funding by nearly $1 billion. However this would be an extreme level of infighting and the total breakdown of the Government, if that were true, then again it holds weight;
In May, Bush's Deputy Attorney General authorized the once-very-controversial, patently illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program - is President Obama's choice to be the new Director of the FBI.
As for the guardian, and comment ‘controlling’ perhaps they like the idea and are working on a bit of plagiarism, so get it away before it’s re-stolen, it is a journalistic thing today.
All ramdom bits, but could fit the 'Could be's'.
Posted by: kev | Jun 30, 2013 4:46:26 AM | 49
EU wont do a thing, they are a puppet to US, this "issue" will be buried within days, unfortunately.
Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 30, 2013 4:46:53 AM | 50
I am convinced that there's an epic struggle taking place behind the scenes, and the Guardian is involved on a substantive level.
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 4:50:36 AM | 51
@Rowan, Defence officials issued a confidential D notice to the BBC and other media groups in an attempt to censor coverage of surveillance tactics employed by intelligence agencies in the UK and US. It is served by the Gov/DoD.
D notice, issued by the Gov/MoD in UK - http://www.serendipity.li/cda/dnot.html
Posted by: kev | Jun 30, 2013 5:00:55 AM | 52
modern day warfare is being hamstrung by the infomation revolution.armies cannot conceal there stratergies as in the past .that is what this nsa/wikileaks circus is about .in oreder to create facts on the ground you need to control the flow of infomation in both directions,loss of control resulting from alternative infomation flow will be targeted by simply doing the following
1.create a "loss of infomation scenario" i.e nsa scandal;
2.bring in legislation to rectify the problem-target isp,s
3.shutdown the alternative infomation flow by heavily censoring the internet i.e twitter feeds and blogs removed and persons targeted.create paywalls that only the "few" can afford and access and hold them accountable
4.create the impression that it is not safe to communicate by phone or email-nsa is watching etc
alternatively world peace has a real chance if the generals have no room to maneuver
Posted by: mcohen | Jun 30, 2013 6:17:37 AM | 53
47) yep - der Spiegel does not say though obviously it must have been in the document they claim to have read. The answer is obvious. It is also obvious that the US "state" - as far as it exists - has no control over what is going on in its name by private interests.
This has been brewing for quite a while.
Posted by: somebody | Jun 30, 2013 6:32:23 AM | 54
Sasha, those "partners who are not targeted" are all joined at the hip. Canada, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand have been part of the U.K.-U.S.A. Security Agreement since 1948. Edward Spannaus has a useful chronology and article at the LaRouche site.
You might find that site's perspective congenial. They see American history as a constant struggle between the American system and the City of London's attempts to subvert it, Obama being but the latest in a long line of sell-outs, against whom American patriots within the system are fighting a rearguard action to save the republic.
In disclosing the NSA documents pertaining to the GCHQ, Snowden told the Guardian that he wanted to show that, "It's not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight. They are worse than the US."
Posted by: Bob Jackson | Jun 30, 2013 6:52:25 AM | 55
Posted by: jub | Jun 30, 2013 7:09:03 AM | 57
worth having a look at the company that had access to all this data - Booz Allen Hamilton
Given all their connections and government contracts, here's an interesting question: Booz Allen Hamilton has not only been involved in spying via the NSA, but they have also received no-bid contracts from the IRS. What do they know about the American people via the IRS?
Now, one of the things you will start to see if you look around at some of the big corporations these days is that many of them are involved in what they call "corporate citizenship" or something similar. What this means at the surface level is they are being "good citizens" by donating to charity. But when you go beyond the surface, you will see something else going on.
Booz Allen Hamilton donates money to the Clinton Global Initiative. The CGI is a part of the Clinton Foundation (yeah, THAT Clinton).
The Clinton Foundation has been implicated in bribery on an international level. Clinton gave himself a special little privilege while president wherein he exempted the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation from the normal rules of disclosure regarding publicly listing who its contributors were. It's a secret foundation. And it has over $200 million in assets now. And is alleged to be used as a way to funnel black money from corrupt governments around the world for behind-the-scenes deals like special oil contracts, arms dealing, US government foreign aid deals, whatever.
So folks, what you are not being told in the media about Edward Snowden's former company is that it is not only spying on you, but it is probably checking out your tax returns, too, and also receiving some of your tax money in government contracts, which it then funnels to CIA-connected/Military Industrial Complex-connected/NWO-connected individuals and organizations.
Something like this: Your tax money (taken from you by force) -> IRS -> Booz Allen Hamilton -> Clinton Foundation -> foreign bribes -> more contracts for the Military Industrial Complex -> more spending by foreign governments -> more foreign aid from the US government -> more US government spending -> more taxes needed -> more taxes from YOU.
Oh ... and they are spying on you, too.
Posted by: somebody | Jun 30, 2013 7:17:30 AM | 58
@somebody, very true; Including Clint'o'on (And the jilted wife gets the Liberty award (10th Sept)) & Bush acquired a huge land concession in the 'Aid' of Haiti, most of the concession is Gold/silver and Oil (Northern territories, irony most of the land area is protected by UN peacekeepers, on short if you enter, you are pushed away; just one of the many deals globally that are not public, likewise all 'Tax' paid monies that is given by our respective Gov's to say 'We' are helping 'Applause'! and they gain fronted this shit...
@Jub,Re: 'nsa=freedom' is that satire?
Posted by: kev | Jun 30, 2013 8:08:39 AM | 59
@Jub,Re: 'nsa=freedom' is that satire?
Posted by: kev | Jun 30, 2013 8:08:39 AM
no what happened is i posted some nasty comments about the nsa using my firefox browser and they were deleted
then i posted the above comment using my internet explorer and it worked
all it means is that i have the finfisher virus on my pc which subverts firefox
Posted by: jub | Jun 30, 2013 8:45:15 AM | 60
Snoopers aren't only for the West.
Booz Allen Hamilton Celebrates the Opening of its New Office in Abu Dhabi
October 2, 2012
Global leader in management and technology consulting invests in region for strategic growth
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH) unveils its new Abu Dhabi office facilities in the Etihad Towers complex to customers and partners this week, signifying the organization’s sustained momentum and growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. A reception will be held on October 3rd to celebrate the opening of the office.
The new Abu Dhabi offices now serve as Booz Allen Hamilton’s regional headquarters, further bolstering the firm’s presence in the MENA region after extending operations to both Kuwait and Qatar in May 2012. Further milestones are expected this year that will provide additional reach within the region, strengthening Booz Allen Hamilton’s ability to provide specialist services to government and commercial clients on critical issues related to economic development in the areas of information technology, cyber security, transportation and other selected infrastructure.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 9:33:00 AM | 61
Things are not looking good for Snowden right now. Apparently, at least according to a piece on Russia Today, the Ecuadorean ambassador in London, issued Snowden with travel documents without authorisation.
According to Julian Assange, "...Snowden had been given special refugee documents by the Ecuadorian government which facilitated his travel to Russia. But the country's top Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday that Ecuador has not granted Edward Snowden any refugee documents.
Correa also said that he didn't authorize travel documents that the diplomats in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London issued to Snowden. He explained that London consul Fidel Narvaez gave the document to Snowden, "exceeding his authority in doing so." -- Ecuador's Correa: Solution for Edward Snowden's destination 'in hands of Russia'
And I'm not surprised that there was a bureaucratic foulup. My experiences of the Cuban diplomatic service in the early days of the Cuban Revolution is of a lot of young and inexperienced comrades doing what they thought was right but weren't diplomatic. Ecuador is in a similar position to that of the early days of Cuba. The diplomatic service of the old Batista regime fled to Miami, leaving the new Cuba with youngsters, literally, running, or trying to, embassies around the world.
It leaves an interesting dilemma for Russia. Do they give the finger to the Empire and let Snowden in or perhaps arm-twist Correa to take Snowden off their hands?
Correa of course, as the prez could still let the guy in, screw diplomatic niceties!
Posted by: William Bowles | Jun 30, 2013 9:35:46 AM | 62
It's more menacing auf Deutsche--
Deutschland ist "Partner dritter Klasse" -- Spiegel
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 9:41:11 AM | 63
Lawmakers Letter to NSA
The Honorable[sic] James R. Clapper
Director of National Intelligence
Washington, D.C. 2051 1
. . .Finally, we are concerned that by depending on secret interpretations of the PATRIOT Act that differed from an intuitive reading of the statute, this program essentially relied for years on a secret body of law. Statements from senior officials that the PATRIOT Act authority is "analogous to a grand jury subpoena" and that the NSA "[doesn't] hold data on US citizens" had the effect of misleading the public about how the law was being interpreted and implemented. This prevented our constituents from evaluating the decisions that their government was making, and will unfortunately undermine trust in government more broadly. The debate that the President has now welcomed is an important first step toward restoring that trust.
To ensure that an informed discussion on PATRIOT Act authorities can take place, we ask that you direct the Intelligence Community to provide unclassified answers to the following questions:
How long has the NSA used PATRIOT Act authorities to engage in bulk collection of Americans' records? Was this collection underway when the law was reauthorized in 2006?
Has the NSA used USA PATRIOT Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of any other types of records pertaining to Americans, beyond phone records'?
Has the NSA collected or made any plans to collect Americans' cell--site location data in bulk'?
Have there been any violations of the court orders permitting this bulk collection, or of the rules governing access to these records? If so, please describe these violations. etc.
s/ 26 US senators
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 9:53:15 AM | 64
Rowan Berkeley @#48
Re the Guardian story: Hmmm… aside from the very last sentence, the changes, such as they are, are all grammatical. Ie, pre-date instead of predate and so forth. By contrast D notices kill the stories entirely. The subject is just not mentioned at all and normally done via phone call to the editor/s (I wonder if they trust such calls to email?)
Posted by: William Bowles | Jun 30, 2013 9:58:46 AM | 65
@William Bowles | Jun 30, 2013 9:58:46 AM | 63, goto the second page...
Posted by: kev | Jun 30, 2013 11:38:14 AM | 66
@jub | Jun 30, 2013 8:45:15 AM | 58, How do you know its FF?
ESET detection of the desktop FinFisher is onlyseen as as Win32/Belesak.D Trojan, so far I dont know any that name it?
Posted by: kev | Jun 30, 2013 11:49:10 AM | 67
OK, thanks, I didn't realise. The new sniffer page is laid very badly. I wonder what kind of investigation they're having?Possibly using Madsen as a source is probably what did it. I still think a D notice was not involved. The piece would never have appeared at all as the D notice is a pre-publication 'tool'.
Posted by: William Bowles | Jun 30, 2013 11:49:21 AM | 68
I think this is the sentence that signed the article's death warrant:
In an interview published last night on the PrivacySurgeon.org blog, Madsen, who has been attacked for holding controversial views on espionage issues, said he had decided to speak out after becoming concerned about the "half story" told by EU politicians regarding the extent of the NSA's activities in Europe.
Posted by: William Bowles | Jun 30, 2013 11:58:19 AM | 69
Given the prominence of Booz/Allen, aka The Carlyle Group, in the gathering of intelligence, one has to wonder if said information could have been used to co-opt politicians into being tools for the oligarchy so heavily represented by Carlyle. Considering that the president did a complete 180º reversal on most of his campaign promises of '08 after being elected, is it too far fetched to wonder if he was visited by representatives of the plutocracy bearing electronic evidence of illegal, immoral, or embarrassing activities and presented with the option of being ruined personally, politically, and financially, or doing as he is told and enjoying the benefits of power? I think we all know what any egotistical, narcissistic and greedy politician would choose. Tin foil hat stuff? Maybe, but the fact that a scenario like this is possible is reason enough to rein in the unfettered gathering of electronic surveillance on our citizenry.
Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 30, 2013 12:13:13 PM | 70
@ William Bowles | Jun 30, 2013 11:58:19 AM | 69, I think the D notice is more to do with 'fiber line', than Snowden, as that is obviously the connector/root and something that is also easy to cripple and avoid?
Posted by: kev | Jun 30, 2013 12:26:14 PM | 71
1. The Guardian had a piece early this morning about Germany helping the U.S. in some sniffing. There was nothing new in it, it was all warmed up Echelon stuff. But they had Wayne Madson as a source. Now no one who wants to be taken seriously should base any article on Wayne Madson. The guy is nuts. And using him as the only "source"? The twitter was filled with laughs. The Guardian then pulled the piece a few minutes after it came out.
Huge fallout, major headlines in all major media. Anti-american shitstorm in the comments, even at the otherwise reliably U.S. friendly conservative sides.
U.S. taps half-billion German phone, internet links in month: report
The United States taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month and has classed its biggest European ally as a target similar to China, according to secret U.S. documents quoted by a German news magazine. The revelations of alleged U.S. surveillance programs based on documents taken by fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have raised a political furor in the United States and abroad over the balance between privacy rights and national security. Exposing the latest details in a string of reputed spying programs, Der Spiegel quoted from an internal NSA document which it said its reporters had seen. The document Spiegel cited showed that the United States categorized Germany as a "third-class" partner and that surveillance there was stronger than in any other EU country, similar in extent to China, Iraq or Saudi-Arabia. "We can attack the signals of most foreign third-class partners, and we do it too," Der Spiegel quoted a passage in the NSA document as saying. It said the document showed that the NSA monitored phone calls, text messages, emails and internet chat contributions and has saved the metadata - that is, the connections, not the content - at its headquarters. On an average day, the NSA monitored about 20 million German phone connections and 10 million internet data sets, rising to 60 million phone connections on busy days, the report said.
Before this report Merkel and her party tried to more or less ignore the issue or to talk it down. Now they have a major problem at their hand. We will have elections in September. Any attempt to cover this up or fuzz it might seriously cost Merkel her job.
The German Supreme Court has judged that every human has the right to privacy and informational self-determination. This human right has been broken by U.S. spying. We can expect lots of lawsuits here mostly against our own government and telcos (for supporting U.S. spying). And we do have opposition parties that will use this issue. This will not be over for quite some time.
Oh, and that U.S-Euro free trade agreement Obama wants - NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.
Posted by: b | Jun 30, 2013 1:01:46 PM | 72
@43 Very interesting.
I often wonder about methods of social engineering based on this sort of "narrow-casting" to different groups.
How easy would it be to create social strife by aiming two different versions of a story to two different groups in a society?
Perhaps in Egypt, you could target young people in a certain neighborhood in Cairo with stories about police torture and funerals of people killed in protests while at the same time you target business owners in Giza with stories of destruction and looting and the cost to tourism. Neither would be the wiser and both would feel that "conventional wisdom" was on their side - especially due to the atomization of society where no one compares notes.
Simple server-side software already have comment filters that will continue to display a moderated comment to the person who posted, but hide it from others (I hope I didn't just pop anyone's brain). The person thinks they've posted, they don't get a reaction of course because no one else can see it. That's aimed at one person. But if you had the information that the NSA has, you could target a whole demographics with similar tactic.
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 30, 2013 1:02:06 PM | 73
@ William Bowles, 65, 69: I agree the 'News Sniffer' comparison of the Guardian articles with all its highlighting is a bit confusing, but my impression is that the second draft took out all the references to the Wayne Madsen interview on the Blog Privacy Surgeon, where he gave the geographical locations of all the NSA interception stations in Europe. The Guardian first draft didn't repeat this list of locations, but it did say that Madsen's interview was at Privacy Surgeon, which enabled me to find it in 30 seconds via a Google search. And this, I think, would have been enough to trigger a "D" notice or equivalent (I take your point that "D"s are 'pre-publication tools'), because the moD censors are very literal-minded people, and they would have said to themselves, "If the left-wing scum and rabble-rousers find out where all these stations are, they will mob them."
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jun 30, 2013 1:04:03 PM | 74
@ 70 Cynthia - The ones sporting tin-foil hats are those that don't think the whole point of amassing info is power over/control of policy makers (and potential ones). They probably have a/v of the President, every goddamned Congressman and anyone else elected to office engaging in crack use, public washroom sex, kiddie porn surfing and more. They show them that huge stick then show them a mountain of very sweet carrots - "you pick now"...
Once they've got those by the balls the political appointees are assured. If any fool still chooses to risk the "stick", they probably quite suddenly become accident prone. I could start spouting Orwell quotes, but I think everyone gets the idea. Info is power, the more you have of one, the more of the other, and at this point the word "omnipotent" is apropos.
Road to Hell, good intentions, all that stuff is so true. I'm sure many Mr. Smiths went to Washington with just those, only to have some forgotten skeletons trotted out of the closet - and now instead of working for good they're tools of evil. No doubt many of those "honey traps" were set far in advance too, not just a lucky strike into a vein of dirt.
My God - my web habits would instantly compromise my chances of ever being effectual, and I'm sure I'm pretty "vanilla" compared to some of these Senators etc.
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 1:22:31 PM | 75
NSA as the National Sniff Agency is only the beginning. Its really malevolent purpose is as the National Snuff Agency -- because the best defense is a strong offense. In a profile of the NSA chief, General Keith Alexander we get a glimpse of 21st century cyberwar.
. . .But there is a flip side to this equation that is rarely mentioned: The military has for years been developing offensive capabilities, giving it the power not just to defend the US but to assail its foes. Using so-called cyber-kinetic attacks, Alexander and his forces now have the capability to physically destroy an adversary’s equipment and infrastructure, and potentially even to kill. Alexander—who declined to be interviewed for this article—has concluded that such cyberweapons are as crucial to 21st-century warfare as nuclear arms were in the 20th.
And he and his cyberwarriors have already launched their first attack. The cyberweapon that came to be known as Stuxnet was created and built by the NSA in partnership with the CIA and Israeli intelligence in the mid-2000s. The first known piece of malware designed to destroy physical equipment, Stuxnet was aimed at Iran’s nuclear facility in Natanz. By surreptitiously taking control of an industrial control link known as a Scada (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system, the sophisticated worm was able to damage about a thousand centrifuges used to enrich nuclear material.
In 2006, the Department of Defense gave the go-ahead to the NSA to begin work on targeting these centrifuges, according to The New York Times. One of the first steps was to build a map of the Iranian nuclear facility’s computer networks. A group of hackers known as Tailored Access Operations—a highly secret organization within the NSA—took up the challenge.
They set about remotely penetrating communications systems and networks, stealing passwords and data by the terabyte. Teams of “vulnerability analysts” searched hundreds of computers and servers for security holes, according to a former senior CIA official involved in the Stuxnet program. Armed with that intelligence, so-called network exploitation specialists then developed software implants known as beacons, which worked like surveillance drones, mapping out a blueprint of the network and then secretly communicating the data back to the NSA.
But Stuxnet is only the beginning. Alexander’s agency has recruited thousands of computer experts, hackers, and engineering PhDs to expand US offensive capabilities in the digital realm. The Pentagon has requested $4.7 billion for “cyberspace operations,” even as the budget of the CIA and other intelligence agencies could fall by $4.4 billion. It is pouring millions into cyberdefense contractors. And more attacks may be planned.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 1:25:37 PM | 76
one has to wonder if said information could have been used to co-opt politicians into being tools for the oligarchy so heavily represented by Carlyle. Considering that the president did a complete 180º reversal. . .
Wonder no more, m'dear. Obama was not "turned" by anybody. He made it crystal clear long before 2008 that he was a rudderless, characterless charlatan of the establishment. One bit of evidence, of many--
Black Agenda Report, May 7, 2008
Running to the Right: Barack Obama and the DLC Strategy
DLC endorsement is the gold standard of political reliability for Wall Street, Big Energy, Big Pharma, insurance, the airlines and more. Though candidates normally undergo extensive questioning and interviews before DLC endorsement, Obama insisted the blessing of these corporate special interests had been bestowed on him without these formalities and without his advance knowledge, and formally disassociated himself from the DLC. But like Hillary Clinton, and every front running Democrat since Michale Dukakis in 1988, Barack Obama's campaign has adopted the classic right wing DLC strategy.
Probably in the sure-to-be-built Obama Library there will be a whole wing entitled: He tried, but . .
That wing should never be built.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 1:39:37 PM | 77
@75 It's an interesting point about people being compromised.
I do think at some point, we have to all realize we are all likely compromised in this regard and that - aside from any true crimes where someone was hurt, emotionally, physically, financially - there will have to come a time we all stand up as a society to that kind of blackmail and refuse to be bullied by it and refuse to allow others to be bullied.
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 30, 2013 1:39:59 PM | 78
Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy
Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage served as a clarion call to every American. The inspiring true accounts of eight unsung heroic acts by American patriots at different junctures in our nation's history, Kennedy's book became required reading, an instant classic, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Now, a half-century later, it remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 1:48:11 PM | 79
The EU "warns of severe impact on relations." That, I gotta see.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 1:50:44 PM | 80
Well said, Sasha, but be mindful as well that power lies on both ends of the information flow. Those receiving information gain power over those informed upon. Those informed upon lose control over where and when to disclose their information, becoming disempowered.
Nothing more crucially distinguishes the onset of Inverted Totalitarianism than the power dynamics of information flow: ever less information flowing to the people about government and corporate elites, ever more information flowing to government and corporate elites about ordinary people.
But the tide appears to be turning. The elites are losing every time there's a reversal of the information flow. All it takes is one extraordinarilycourageous and dignified human being like Edward Snowden, among the hundreds of thousands of analysts comprising the vast security infrastructure. It's coming down.
Information is power. But; like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves -- Aaron Swartz ~1986-2013~
Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 30, 2013 1:52:31 PM | 81
@77 If there is any poetic justice, the Obama library will just be a lean-to resting against the back wall of the GWB library.
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 30, 2013 2:29:12 PM | 82
@ 78 - I'll go first... "My name is Sasha and I'm an unemployed compulsive gambling alcoholic with Hep C and a really bad porn habit"
Wow - confession really is good for the soul!
@ 81 - Agreed, I'm just not ready to buy the accepted narrative of Snowden somehow being just a rogue. I think it's deeper than that.
BTW - I did receive a timely response from the Guardian explaining why they deleted my posts. I'm not buying that either, but in my books they're gold. How many other mainstream sites actually respond to the concerns of their contributors?
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 2:35:54 PM | 83
@83 Wow, they wrote you back? WTF did they say?
Posted by: guest77 | Jun 30, 2013 2:47:37 PM | 84
@ 83 - Our exchange:
I posted three comments re. "Ecuador cools on Edward Snowden asylum as Assange frustration grows", and to my surprise I found them removed due to an apparent violation of community standards. They were pure conjecture on my behalf as to the possible motives for the whole affair (the apparent leaking of info and subsequent "escape" to HK and Russia), and try as I might I fail to see how they may have transgressed the code of conduct in these forums. I certainly don't wish to step on any toes or offend, but I must know what I've done wrong so as not to repeat my error. Would it be possible to explain this to me?
Thanks for your attention and best regards,
username = sashasmirnoff
Thanks for your email. While I agree that these posts were not the worst violation of the Community Standards we have ever encountered, we considered them off topic (the Community Standards state: "Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic ("off-topic") then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track"), as posts such as these can quickly derail the conversation into conspiracy theories, and make it difficult to talk about the subject of the piece.
I hope this clarifies things and that you continue to contribute to our website.
I think the apparent reason is nonsense, but I understand that they don't want any deviation from the accepted narrative. So be it.
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 2:52:31 PM | 85
Aren't you being a bit harsh concerning Madsen? I think his analyses, when it cmes to the NSA are right on the mark.
Posted by: William Bowles | Jun 30, 2013 3:09:37 PM | 86
Don, thanks for setting me straight about Obama. The thing is, in my attempts to comprehend Obama and many other government actors, I don't think it's enough to imagine them as simple and ruthless calculators.The characteristic that defines them is what we might call cognitive dissonance, and Orwell would have called Double Think. Obama typifies this very well, at once possessing a mind of ruthless realpolitik in the service of power, and yet maintaining a grand delusion of acting for a higher good - a madness that abandons solidarity with the individual, to protect some sublime concept of identity - God and nation.
It is mistake to attribute this to intelligence or foolishness - it is a special cocktail of mind that can arise in anyone, that proves so dangerous.
Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 30, 2013 3:17:50 PM | 87
@ 87 also don't forget that Obama's movements are all choreographed. Right now the hope is that going to Africa and visiting Mandela's family will restore his street cred.
Posted by: dh | Jun 30, 2013 3:25:44 PM | 88
b @ 72
Think there's any chance of Berlin offering Edward Snowden political asylum so that they, and we ll, can get to the bottom on all this ?
Posted by: john francis lee | Jun 30, 2013 3:36:38 PM | 89
. . .so that they, and we ll, can get to the bottom on all this ?
You don't think we've reached bottom? The US is snooping big-time on its citizens as well as on the agencies of its closest allies (non-Anglo types) in the U.S. and overseas. Assange has stated that whatever revelations haven't been released, will be. I may be surprised, that we CAN go lower. Perhaps they actually have some content, ya think?
Snowden's disposition is interesting but not the main story.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 4:15:49 PM | 90
The main thing about race with Obama is that he can getaway with just about anything. Being a Democrat gives him some teflon, but being a "black" Democrat means he is just about untouchable. What's so patently absurd about this is that he's probably no more than 30% black.
I cannot stand the Bushes, but if Bush or Reagan did 1/10 of the stuff Obama has done - they would be impeached in a week.
Posted by: Cynthia | Jun 30, 2013 4:30:49 PM | 91
former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden on "Face the Nation" today--(quotes)
--The United States does conduct espionage
--[The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protecting the privacy of American citizens] is not an international treaty
--Any European who wants to go out and rend their garments with regard to international espionage should look first and find out what their own governments are doing.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 5:39:03 PM | 92
It would be interesting to read explanations, from those who have suggested that Snowden is a CIA "plant", for the latest revelations regarding spying on the EU.
It is hard to believe that the current NATO arrangements, whereby the US issues commands and its "allies" obey, can long continue. The nationalist option of declaring independence from the US empire and asserting sovereignty in economic and foreign policies is looking increasingly like a winning political formula.
Public opinion is no longer buying the line that the US protects Europe and that its unregulated capitalism brings prosperity. Just about the only people who don't see this are the politicians, they cannot wean themselves from the tits of the US Embassy and its sickly culture.
Posted by: bevin | Jun 30, 2013 6:13:51 PM | 94
I'm afraid that the US has too much economic leverage on Europe to allow these countries to do anything substantive that the US doesn't agree to. As an example, take the case of the great French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen. Its financial problems, which have led it close to financial ruin, are not limited to the sanctions imposed on Iran, there has also been a significant decline in the overall European car market, but the sanctions were a factor. (And one could argue that Iran sanctions have driven down the overall EU auto market.)
In February 2012, PSA Peugeot Citroen stopped its trade with Iran after the enforcement of US-led financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic for its nuclear energy program. The French car-making group also halted its exports of vehicles to Iran, which accounted for around 13 percent of the firm's global deliveries in 2011. It cost the automaker the annual sale of half a million cars and an estimated 1.5 billion euros in revenue last year. Last summer Peugeot announced 8,000 job cuts and the closure of a factory.
The problem is that GM, partly owned by US taxpayers, owns a piece of Peugeot, and that means that Peugeot had to abide by US sanctions imposed on the concocted Iran nuclear threat.
So the baseless US Iran sanctions have had a similar effect on French as on Iranians. And so how can Europeans be special, in US eyes? There will be some verbal shots from Europe, the US will tweak its surveillance program, and on we go. Money talks and . . . .etc.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 30, 2013 6:49:23 PM | 95
The Germans giving Edward Snowden political asylum would be the whistle that ends the half. The second half would be USG against the world ... I agree that it already is the USG against the world ... but with the world actively protecting Snowden and working together to analyse his data and then to confront the USG on all points, change could be effected.
Obama and his droogies cannot explicitly treat Germany as they treat Hong Kong, China, and Russia and expect to get away with it. The Brits, Canada, Australian, and New Zealand might all side with the US, but Europe, the 3rd tier?, would side with Germany.
The past decade of US history demonstrates that we the American people are incapable of reigning in our rogue government. Obama is effecting the destruction of yet another nation in the Middle East as we speak. It would be good if the world put an end to the US' rampage since we Americans are incapable of or simply unwilling to do so ourselves. Just as it would have been good if Hitler had been stopped before he invaded Poland.
Posted by: john francis lee | Jun 30, 2013 7:48:17 PM | 96
@55 Bob Jackson - Thanks for the link. I admire LL on a personal level (not afraid of prison), and used to visit EIR on a haphazard basis. He's been around spreading his message for quite some time, but has never been able to transcend his cultish "voice in the wilderness" status. Likely because the connections he made between the KGB, Royal family, drug smuggling etc. were too "out there" for most folk's taste. I just read the piece you linked, and I must say that the distinction between the tail and the dog is even more blurred now! Yet another facet of a very intricately cut gem. I happen to live in Canada, and unsurprisingly (due to the servility of our public broadcaster and the private media), not one question has been raised concerning the possible, probable even, involvement of CSIS in intercepting all our domestic communications as part of the "Five Eyed" monstrosity. Give us beer, bacon and hockey, we don't give a damn about the rest!
Posted by: Sasha | Jun 30, 2013 8:21:55 PM | 97
95) Political asylum is a lengthy legal process in Germany and even if Germany would agree to let Snowden into the country, the outcome of the legal process could not be guaranteed. According to German law, to be granted asylum, Snowden would have to be persecuted for his ethnicity, for religious belief or political opinion. None is the case, he did break US law. If he was justified in doing that is another issue, he would have to prove that he would not get a fair trial in the US.
Posted by: somebody | Jun 30, 2013 9:00:45 PM | 98
It's all about the money. Do you think they'd be going through the trouble if it weren't about maintaining the dough flow? What it's defenitely NOT about is national security.
Posted by: Mary | Jun 30, 2013 9:05:23 PM | 99
Just ask Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Posted by: Mary | Jun 30, 2013 9:10:59 PM | 100