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01.22.14

Today’s News About Surveillance and Assassinations by Drone Strikes

Posted in Law at 6:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Snowden receives death threats, receives invitations, induces changes, and improvements in public polls; drone strikes (NSA-aided) policy continues to attract criticism

  • Parliamentary committee wants to hear Snowden on NSA data collection

    A Hungarian parliamentary committee wants to hear former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a witness in its investigation into US eavesdropping, the committee’s head said on Tuesday.

    The parliamentary committee has been set up to examine how data collection by the National Security Agency (NSA) impinged on Hungary and whether there were any international efforts to gain influence in Hungary. It held its first meeting today.

  • Fugitive US leaker Snowden ‘fears for his life’

    The Russian lawyer of Edward Snowden said Tuesday that the fugitive US intelligence leaker has feared for his life since reading of explicit threats against him by unnamed Pentagon officials.

  • ‘I would love to put a bullet in his head’: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden ‘fears for his life after receiving anonymous death threats from Pentagon and NSA’
  • Pentagon & NSA officials say they want Snowden extrajudicially assassinated
  • NSA files: Snowden says ‘I acted alone’ and rubbishes Russian spy claims

    Former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden said he acted alone in leaking US government secrets and that suggestions by some politicians he might have had help from Russia were “absurd”, the New Yorker magazine reported on Tuesday.

  • New documents show NSA provided FBI with tips 2-3 times daily

    According to other documents recently declassified, a judge ruled that the NSA can only access telephone metadata when there was a “reasonable, articulable suspicion” (RAS), and the documents noted that the agency often failed to live up to this.

  • Rep. Mike Rogers Keeps Insisting Snowden Is A Russian Spy, Even As NSA/FBI Officials Say No Such Evidence

    Rep. Mike Rogers sure loves the NSA and really, really hates Ed Snowden. It’s at the point where Rogers appears to not care at all about the truth, repeating multiple blatant falsehoods in TV interviews when it comes to Snowden. This past weekend, he went on TV to repeat an old favorite, claiming (without any proof, but just blind speculation) that he thinks that Snowden was a Russian spy all along. On Meet the Press, David Gregory asked Rogers about Snowden’s comments in his interview with Bart Gellman, in which Snowden pointed to Rogers’ (and Senator Dianne Feinstein’s) failure to uphold their role as overseers of the NSA as for why he had to leak the documents he gave to reporters. Rogers disagrees and hints that Snowden “had some help.”

  • Edward Snowden bids to become Glasgow University rector

    Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden is to stand for the post of student rector at Glasgow University.

  • CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden to stand in Glasgow University student elections
  • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the running to become student rector at Glasgow University
  • Edward Snowden to stand for election as rector of Glasgow University

    US whistleblower Edward Snowden has agreed to stand as a candidate for the post of rector at Glasgow University, it has emerged.

    Snowden, currently seeking asylum in Russia, agreed to stand after being contacted by students at the university who managed to track him down through ‘interlocuters’.

    The Edward Snowden for Rector campaign is urging “all student bodies committed to ending state intrusion into our private lives” to support Snowden’s candidacy and praised his “spirit of daring and self-sacrifice”.

  • US withholding Fisa court orders on NSA bulk collection of Americans’ data

    The Justice Department is withholding documents related to the bulk collection of Americans’ data from a transparency lawsuit launched by the American Civil Liberties Union.

  • PRISM: Obama won’t calm European firms’ suspicions with NSA promises

    As noted by myself and numerous big-name figures in the public and private sector, the damage the PRISM spying scandal could inflict on the global economy and key industries, such as the cloud, is catastrophic. By being caught snooping not only on foreign firms, but also a number of political figures in countries that are supposedly allied with the US, the NSA seriously damaged international trust.

  • NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Interview Part 2

    After attending a pre-lecture reception, then a one hour lecture, then doing dinner with Thomas Drake, that lasted almost five hours, I got together three days later with Thomas and did what turned out to be an almost 2.5 hour interview. This is the second part of the interview.

  • President Obama’s NSA ‘ruse’

    It was billed as a major speech on reform to the nation’s intelligence programs. But although some genuine reforms were introduced, the speech really wasn’t about reform. It was about saving the NSA’s most controversial tactic, as revealed by Edward Snowden, which is to “collect it all.” Build the haystack, and then find the needle.

  • NSA Surveillance Revives Calls For An All-Encrypted Internet

    There is now literally a daily stream of unauthorized revelations of programs either planned or being implemented by the U.S. National Security Agency, some of which may have enabled outright eavesdropping. In the wake of this watershed leak, many Internet activists are renewing their calls for Internet service providers to encrypt all traffic by default.

    Last November in Vancouver, members of W3C resurrected a discussion left suspended over a decade ago, about the idea of incrementally phasing in a next-generation HTTP that encrypts all packets by default.

    Mark Nottingham, who chairs the IETF’s HTTPbis Working Group, wrote in a Jan. 4 blog post that some objections remain to the use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt packets on the application layer of HTTP/2. “It’s a political decision,” wrote Nottingham, “not because doing so casts governments as attackers, but because HTTP is a deployed protocol with lots of existing stakeholders, like proxy vendors, network operators, corporate firewalls, and so on. Requiring encryption with HTTP/2 means that these stakeholders get disenfranchised.”

  • Sen. Feinstein: NSA Metadata ‘Here to Stay’

    She seems less concerned about the prospect of reform than in recent weeks, however, declaring metadata collection “here to stay” and that the “dominant majority” supports President Obama’s attempts to keep the NSA powers intact.

  • Outsourcing the NSA

    That’s a common assumption in many debates about the National Security Agency. We’ve come to think of privacy as a binary question, with government as the sole threat. Now we have to think about other threats, because President Obama is proposing to outsource the NSA’s phone records program.

  • Tennessee bill takes on NSA encryption-breaking facility at Oak Ridge

    The state-level effort to turn off water and electricity to the National Security Agency (NSA) got a major boost today as legislators in Tennessee introduced a bill to ban the state from providing material support to the federal agency.

  • Lawmakers in 6 states demand NSA spying comes to an end
  • Legislators in 6 States Want to Pull the Plug on NSA Spying—Some Literally

    Frustrated with the limited scope of the reforms to the National Security Agency detailed by President Obama on Friday, and the slow pace of Congress in addressing the issue, civil liberties advocates are increasingly taking the privacy fight to state capitols. This month, lawmakers in six states introduced versions of model legislation designed to deny the NSA state resources or cooperation from state officials. The bills cover everything from banning evidence collected by the NSA from being introduced in state courts to shutting off the supply of water and electricity to the agency’s in-state data centers.

  • Poll: Majority oppose NSA, Obama’s address had little impact
  • Pew Survey: Americans More Skeptical of NSA and Snowden
  • It’s Sunday and It’s Snowden

    If recent polling is to be believed, the US public has grown more skeptical about the NSA surveillance programs. Too bad Sunday chat shows are still presenting such a lopsided view.

  • Poll: Support Softens for NSA Spying Activities to Combat Terrorism

    The poll also found that support for the government’s collection of phone and Internet data to combat terrorism, has declined considerably, with only 40 percent approving of the efforts, down from 50 percent in July. Fifty-three percent of Americans now disapprove of the data collection, up from 44 percent in July.

  • Majority Of Americans Don’t Like What The NSA Is Doing
  • What does the NSA Know about Obama?

    National Security Agency (NSA) veterans Bill Binney, Russ Tice and Kirk Wiebe spoke at a Friday news conference at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., with Tice declaring that the spy agency monitored Barack Obama’s telephone conversations—and those of his wife—in 2004, apparently as a result of Obama’s run for the U.S. Senate and emergence as a major figure in the Democratic Party. This should have been big news. However, the claim was ignored or dismissed by most of the major media.

  • Google’s Eric Schmidt denies knowledge of NSA data tapping of firm

    Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has insisted he had no knowledge of the US National Security Agency’s tapping of the company’s data, despite having a sufficiently high security clearance to have been told.

  • IBM’s Full Year Revenues Hit by NSA Scandal

    US tech giant International Business Machines recorded a decline in full year revenues as its sales in emerging markets including China suffered due to the National Security Agency scandal.

  • Sean Wilentz – Court Historian, NSA Shill, and Lickspittle ‘Liberal’

    So you thought progressives would rally ‘round Edward Snowden’s and Glenn Greenwald’s crusade to rid us of the NSA incubus that’s attached itself to our computers and our daily lives. Well, you were wrong: dead wrong.

    With a few notable exceptions, the “progressive” media matrix – the lefty pundits, thinktanks, academics, and activists who make up the Democratic party’s core intellectual constituency – have reacted to the Snowden revelations with hysterical denunciations, not of the government but of the leaker: the hate emanating from the MSNBC studios is hot enough to burn if you get too close to your television. And it’s not just the pundits: Norman Soloman rightly called the response from progressive Democrats in Congress “murky,” and that’s certainly an understatement. Sure, some of this can be attributed to partisanship, but there’s an ideological motivation for this illiberal stance as well.

    [...]

    Wilentz stretches truth beyond the breaking point when he cites “the high-tech and legal expert Joe Mullin” in support of his thesis that Snowden is motivated by partisan loyalties: he quotes Mullin to the effect that “The Snowden seen in these chats is not the man we see today.” But of course that’s true, since, as Snowden and others have explained, America’s most famous whistleblower was changed by what he came to know about the government’s secret spying apparatus. This is made clear simply by looking at his biography: from high school dropout to Army recruit (he wanted to help “free people from oppression”) to CIA employee and on to the NSA, where he discovered the secret that turned him around and sent him in a direction he never dreamed of. But since the clear pattern of Snowden’s career doesn’t fit in with Wilentz’s agenda, it is steadfastly ignored:

  • Third Party Metadata Storing Is No Better, If Not Worse, Than NSA Spying [Video]

    Friday, while addressing the nation about issues in national surveillance, President Obama said that the time has come to reform NSA and take away its power to obtain metadata from private citizens in bulk. He proposed some changes to the program, most notably that the NSA no longer store Americans’ phone records. The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies recommended that “the providers or a third party retain the bulk records, with government accessing information as needed.”

  • NSA-Proof Twitter Alternative Shows Bitcoin’s Potential

    A Brazilian developer has introduced an alpha version of twister, an open-source, peer-to-peer alternative to Twitter that’s designed to be censorship proof. It’s built using code from Bitcoin, demonstrating possible applications for that technology that go beyond the alternative currency with the same name.

  • Test-driving Twister: The NSA-proof Twitter clone

    Many of you may have heard about Twister – a Peer-To-Peer, decentralized, Twitter-style social network. The idea is an interesting one – to create a social network that nobody can censor and with zero IP address tracking. A sort of “NSA-proof” Twitter, if you will.

    The Twister project builds on top of both BitTorrent and Bitcoin, which, quite frankly, boggles the mind a bit. So, naturally, I had to take this new social network for a spin. Here’s how it went.

  • The Next Big Thing You Missed: Email’s About to Die, Argues Facebook Co-Founder

    When Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz ran the company’s engineering team — in those heady days when Facebook was still taking over the world — he oversaw about 180 employees. You might see that as a glamorous position of power, but Moskovitz will tell you it was a serious pain. Each day, he spent hours just dealing with email. His inbox was jammed with an endless collection of mailing-list missives that didn’t always mean something to him, but each carried the implied expectation that he would take notice and keep up.

  • Russian Spy Nodes Caught Snooping on Facebook Users

    Somewhere in Russia an eavesdropper is operating a network of wiretapped nodes at the edge of the Tor anonymity network. And he’s particularly interested in what you’re doing on Facebook.

    That’s the conclusion of two researchers who used custom software to test Tor exit nodes for sneaky behavior, in a four-month study published yesterday.

  • Scientists detect “spoiled onions” trying to sabotage Tor privacy network

    Rogue Tor volunteers perform attacks that try to degrade encrypted connections.

  • ‘Grounded’ tells a story of armchair politics

    “I was definitely interested in drones kind of early on and was curious about the technology,” Brant said by telephone from New York. “And that kind of moved into some morality issues as well.

    “And I think when I felt that I needed to do more research on them was during the first few months of Obama’s presidency. He had ordered many more drone strikes than Bush had in his eight years.”

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Dreams or drones?

    Last week on Jan. 15, Jeremiah Wright, now pastor emeritus of Trinity UCC, gave the keynote address at the Chicago Teachers Union’s breakfast in honor of Martin Luther King. Between 200 and 300 teachers and local pastors gathered to acknowledge King’s legacy as a crusader for social justice and union rights. Nothing illustrated the difference between the two worlds of religion and politics more clearly, however, than one of Wright’s comments: “King said, ‘I have a dream.’ Barack said, ‘I have a drone.’” – See more at: http://www.crossville-chronicle.com/opinion/x1767992014/LION-AND-THE-LAMB-Dreams-or-drones#sthash.Qp5CDCgv.dpuf

  • Two Former US Officials Criticize Obama’s Counter-Productive Drone War

    Obama has been “ruthless and indifferent to the rule of law,” according to his former counter-terrorism advisor

  • Ownership of WaPo by CIA Contractor Puts U.S. Journalism in Dangerous Terrain

    There is a major conflict of interest in the ownership of The Washington Post by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who holds a $600 million contract with the CIA

  • Congress Moves to Keep Drone Warfare in Hands of CIA Instead of Pentagon

    Members of Congress have decided that the Obama administration should not go through with its plan to shift drone operations from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to the Department of Defense (DOD). To make their position clear, lawmakers included language in a classified annex of the new federal budget that restricts funding for the transition and places other limits as well.

  • CoA blocks CIA drones challenge

    The Court of Appeal (CoA) has thrown out a claim challenging the legality of British involvement in US drone strikes because any judgment would be a condemnation of US foreign policy.

  • What Happens When Artificial Intelligence Turns On Us?

    Today, another ethical battle is brewing about making fully autonomous killer drones and battlefield robots powered by advanced A.I.—human-killers without humans in the loop. It’s brewing between the Department of Defense and the drone and robot makers who are paid by the DOD, and people who think it’s foolhardy and immoral to create intelligent killing machines. Those in favor of autonomous drones and battlefield robots argue that they’ll be more moral—that is, less emotional, will target better and be more disciplined than human operators. Those against taking humans out of the loop are looking at drones’ miserable history of killing civilians, and involvement in extralegal assassinations. Who shoulders the moral culpability when a robot kills? The robot makers, the robot users, or no one? Nevermind the technical hurdles of telling friend from foe.

  • The US Army Wants to Replace Up to 25 Per Cent of its Soldiers With Robots

    Cash strapped and somewhat adrift in terms of missions, the US Army is in the midst of an existential crisis. Once ballooning in budget and size, their Army now says it wants to be “a smaller, more lethal, deployable, and agile force.” And it’s going to need robots to do it right.

  • Dishonoring Dr. King

    Yet this side of Dr. King is omitted when his warning about U.S. militarism is more current than ever as a president’s Drones kill civilians, security agencies monitor U.S. citizens and millions remained mired in poverty and despair.

  • Gaza: Palestinian government declares emergency

    The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades – the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Gaza – has issued a statement mourning the deaths of Ahmed Za’anin and his cousin Mohamed Za’anin. It stated that the two martyrs were cadres of the Brigades of the Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa.

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