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02.14.14

Skynet Watch in the Media (Friday)

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Unwise policies that breed mistrust and even hatred continue to receive scrutiny from the media

Surveillance

  • U.S. Tech’s Costly Trust Gap

    Since the intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began exposing surveillance programs by the National Security Agency last June, trust overseas in U.S. technology companies has plummeted. In some cases, sales have slowed. And foreign regulators have been licking their chops in anticipation of a crackdown. Estimates of the cost to these companies have ranged from $21.5 billion to $180 billion by 2016.

  • The Pauls Are Leading the Way on Snowden, NSA

    Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced this week that he is suing the Obama administration in a class-action lawsuit over the surveillance excesses of the NSA, as revealed by documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Specifically, he is challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata.

  • Technology Firms Urge Changes to NSA Spying

    Top execs from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, LinkedIn and Twitter have formed a coalition known as Reform Government Surveillance, and are urging changes to the NSA spying programs that would include a government agreement not to collect bulk data from Internet communications. Tumblr, Mozilla and Reddit also support the effort.

  • NSA spying undermines checks and balances

    As the Framers conceived it, our system of government is divided into three branches — executive, legislative and judicial — each of which is designed to serve as a check on the others. If the president gets out of control, Congress can defund his efforts, or impeach him, and the judiciary can declare his acts unconstitutional. If Congress passes unconstitutional laws, the president can veto them, or refuse to enforce them, and the judiciary can declare them invalid. If the judiciary gets carried away, the president can appoint new judges, and Congress can change the laws, or even impeach.

  • Wyden doesn’t support Paul’s NSA lawsuit

    Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) on Thursday said he doesn’t support Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) lawsuit against President Obama and the National Security Agency.

    “I believe that legislation, not a Senate-brought lawsuit is the only effective way to stop this behavior of the NSA,” Wyden said in a statement provided to The Hill.

  • The Day We Fought Back: by the numbers

    Thanks to everyone who participated on Tuesday. Together we demonstrated that activists, organizations, and companies can work in unison to fight mass surveillance, and laid a foundation for escalation over months to come.

  • ARTHUR CYR: NSA lacks human touch

    Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has become prominent in the debate. This reflects not only the extent of continuing public alarm about the activity, but also the fact that Congress is exercising growing policy leadership in this realm as in others, including fiscal and budgetary matters.

  • Obama DOJ’s New Abuse of State-Secrets Privilege Revealed

    For nine years, the U.S. government refused to let a Stanford PhD student named Rahinah Ibrahim back in the country after putting her on the no-fly list for no apparent reason. For eight years, U.S. government lawyers fought Ibrahim’s request that she be told why. Last April, despite his promise in 2009 to do so only in only the most extreme cases, Attorney General Eric Holder tried to block Ibrahim’s case by asserting the state secrets privilege, declaring under penalty of perjury that the information she wanted “could reasonably be expected to cause significant harm to national security.”

  • You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

    The East German secret police, known as the Stasi, were an infamously intrusive secret police force. They amassed dossiers on about one quarter of the population of the country during the Communist regime.

    But their spycraft — while incredibly invasive — was also technologically primitive by today’s standards. While researching my book Dragnet Nation, I obtained the above hand drawn social network graph and other files from the Stasi Archive in Berlin, where German citizens can see files kept about them and media can access some files, with the names of the people who were monitored removed.

Ethics

  • Pete Seeger: Troubadour of Truth and Justice

    Pete Seeger’s life, like the arc of the moral universe famously invoked by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., bent toward justice. He died this week at 94. Pete sang truth to power through the epic struggles of most of the last century, for social justice, for civil rights, for workers, for the environment and for peace. His songs, his wise words, his legacy will resonate for generations.

  • ‘Don’t Mess with My Drone Junk’: Bezos Has It All, A to Z, CIA Included

    That’s right, Bezos bought the grey Lady, that Washington Post-pone, and, alas, you think the WP is going to cover the Amazon contract with the guys and gals who take contracts out on us, them, anyone, with that drone thing, the favorite toy of Bezos’ Prozac mind – he wants drones all over Seattle first, to try out his 30 minute or you get it free delivery idea for orders for his useless shit, the upside down world of Maslow’s hierarchy of misneeds/deeds.

Drones

  • The Terrible Toll of Secrecy

    xhaustive independent studies by the British Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the New America Foundation and the Long War Journal have documented that civilian casualties are endemic – the latest count is at least 440 since the drone campaigns began, according to the BIJ.

    And countless journalistic accounts have described how the strikes are counterproductive, increasing civilians’ sympathy for al Qaeda and its allies in Yemen today as in Pakistan and Afghanstan before, and as in Somalia next.

  • Columnist: Obama’s Secret Drone War Is a Threat to National Security

    Every time you think the war on terror can’t get any weirder, it does.

  • On the drone campaign in Pakistan

    Zara Shahid a student at Lahore University of Management Science in Pakistan, on why she values student activism on unofficial drone warfare

  • Students join debate on drones

    A Cambridge student has launched a campaign to encourage British universities to cease investment in companies that produce drones.

    Sara Aslam, a Masters student in Modern South Asian studies, has started a petition which calls for higher education institutions to consider the human costs of the use of drones and to divest from drone technologies.

  • Anti-drone activist picked up by his backers?

    In an interesting turn of events which indicate a visible policy change on the part of the agencies, Karim Khan, an anti-drone campaigner from North Waziristan, seems to have been picked up by the same people who had been accused of blowing off the security cover of three previous CIA station chiefs in Islamabad who used to supervise the US drone campaign, writes Amir Mir.

    [...]

    But hardly a few days before he was due to travel to Britain to brief parliamentarians from Britain, Germany and the Netherlands about the impact of the drone strikes in the tribal belt of Pakistan, up to 20 armed men stormed into his home in Rawalpindi on the night of February 4, 2014 and took him away without even telling his family members who they were and what they actually wanted.

War

  • In the Darkness of Dick Cheney

    What are these words, after all, next to the iron realities of the post–September 11 world? The defense budget has more than doubled, including a Special Operations Command able to launch secret, lethal raids anywhere in the world that has grown from 30,000 elite troops to more than 67,000. The drone force has expanded from fewer than 200 unmanned aerial vehicles to more than 11,000, including perhaps 400 “armed-capable” drones that can and do target and kill from the sky—and that, following the computer directives of “pilots” manning terminals in Virginia and Nevada and elsewhere in the United States, have killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia an estimated 3,600 people.

  • In Security Cases, Feds No Longer Get Benefit Of The Doubt

    And I’m Renee Montagne. Good morning. We have been hearing for months about how disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have shaken the intelligence community and spurred Congress to try to impose new limits on surveillance. In recent weeks, after-shocks from those leaks have been rippling through the courts as well. NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports some judges have signaled they’re no longer willing to take the government’s word when it comes to national security.

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