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Weekend News: Surveillance, Espionage, Foreign Policy, and Assassination Debate

Posted in News Roundup at 5:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Surveillance revelations, European and Indonesian reactions to espionage, drone protesters arrested and abducted

Surveillance and NSA

  • Since Spying to Benefit Monsanto Is Not Industrial Espionage, It’s Okay

    One of the examples I often raise to show how our government likely uses SIGINT to advantage specific businesses is the way the government helps Monsanto budge into markets uninterested in its products.

    One WikiLeaks cable showed the US embassy in Paris planned a “military-style trade war” to benefit Monsanto.

  • Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm

    The list of those caught up in the global surveillance net cast by the National Security Agency and its overseas partners, from social media users to foreign heads of state, now includes another entry: American lawyers.

    A top-secret document, obtained by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, shows that an American law firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States. The disclosure offers a rare glimpse of a specific instance in which Americans were ensnared by the eavesdroppers, and is of particular interest because lawyers in the United States with clients overseas have expressed growing concern that their confidential communications could be compromised by such surveillance.

  • NSA spied on U.S. law firm amid trade dispute, report says
  • US law firm was ‘caught in NSA surveillance net’ in Indonesia – report

    An unnamed US law firm was caught up in surveillance involving the National Security Agency and its Australian counterpart, according to a report released on Saturday.

    The New York Times reported that a top-secret document obtained by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed the firm was monitored “while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the US”.

    According to the Times, the government of Indonesia retained the law firm for trade talks which were under surveillance by the Australian Signals Directorate. The Australian agency offered to share information with the NSA.

  • Indonesia: Australia and US need to clean up their mess

    Presidential adviser responds to ‘perplexing revelation’ that ASD spied on a law firm representing Indonesia in a trade dispute

  • US law firm ensnared in spying by NSA ally
  • ‘I always wonder if someone is listening’: NSA spied on American lawyers but sometimes got other governments to do the work for them
  • Snowden leak: NSA snooped on Chicago law firm

    Chicago-based law firm Mayer Brown may have found itself snared by the National Security Agency’s wide-reaching surveillance program.

    The New York Times reports an American law firm representing a foreign government in trade disputes was monitored by the spy agency, possibly including “information covered by attorney-client privilege.”

  • U.S. law firm ensnared in NSA surveillance: NYT report

    An unnamed U.S. law firm was caught up in the global surveillance of the National Security Agency (NSA) and its overseas partners in Australia, according to a newspaper report on Saturday.

    A top secret document obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows the firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States, according to The New York Times.

  • Aust-Indo ties worsening: Plibersek

    Australia and Indonesia are now in “open conflict”, and repairing the “worsening” relationship is imperative, deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek says.

    In the week Australia’s ambassador to Jakarta, Greg Moriarty, was reportedly called into the country’s foreign affairs ministry for a “dressing down” over the Abbott government’s border protection policies, Ms Plibersek said it was crucial the government act now to settle the rocky relationship.

    “It’s absolutely vital that Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop get on with repairing the relationship with Indonesia,” Ms Plibersek told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

    “It’s of enormous concern that a huge nation, a growing democracy a nation that’s vital to our security but also to our economic prosperity is now in open conflict and calling the Australian ambassador in for a dressing down.”

  • Intel not for commercial use: Abbott

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia would never use its intelligence gathering for commercial purposes, after reports one of its spy agencies offered US counterparts information on trade talks with Indonesia.

    The New York Times says the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) offered to share with the US National Security Agency (NSA) its surveillance of an American law firm that was representing Indonesia in trade disputes with the US.

  • The Privacy Worm Turns: Now You Can Spy On The NSA
  • Video: US artist films NSA headquarters

    Artist Trevor Paglen has taken aerial photographs of the National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to illustrate the scale of the secret state in the United States.

  • NSA protest results in tens of thousands of phone calls, emails
  • Russia’s Olympic Spying, Comcast Weds Time Warner & More…

    You needn’t wonder why we haven’t heard protests about this coming from Obama, Harper or Cameron. It’s long been established that the pot hasn’t the right to point a finger at the kettle. All three of these gentlemen might be well advised to keep quiet, lest they bring even more attention to their own online intelligence operations. Indeed, Bloomberg reports that recent revelations about the NSA are having a disastrous effect on the U.S. tech sector.

  • Samsung Enterprise Mobility Push Receives Boost From NSA And US Army

    Samsung’s enterprise plans are reportedly given the seal of approval from the US military and security agencies

  • NSA Drone Attacks Not What You Think: Scahill
  • So why aren’t young Americans spooked by NSA surveillance?

    Young people are very aware of privacy. But they seem to worry more about what their teachers, parents, coaches and peers know about their online activities than what the US government might have on them.

  • Former German Chancellor Surprised That NSA Continued to Spy on Merkel
  • Ex-German chancellor Schroeder surprised at NSA spying on Merkel

    Gerhard Schroeder, a former German Chancellor, now says he was surprised to hear that the United States National Security Agency, or NSA, spied on his country’s current head of government after he left office almost a decade ago.

  • Data protection: Angela Merkel proposes Europe network

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel is proposing building up a European communications network to help improve data protection.

  • EPIC Receives A Settlement For Legal Fees From The NSA In Its FOIA Lawsuit Targeting Presidential Cybersecurity Directives

    Some semi-good news to report here. EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) has received a settlement from the NSA in its long-running lawsuit (dating back to late 2012) against the agency for its withholding of documents related Presidential Directive 54, a national security directive on cybersecurity.

  • Privacy group reaches NSA settlement, appeals case
  • NSA Spying Poses “Direct Threat to Journalism,” Watchdog Group Warns
  • NSA’s mass surveillance of NZers online

    Part of my TEDx Queenstown talk next week is about mass surveillance online. How governments are building the modern Panopticon.

    I was therefore quite surprised yesterday when Prime Minister John Key said he has no reason to believe the NSA has undertaken mass surveillance on New Zealanders. To help the prime minister, let’s look at what we know about it and whether an objective person should come to the same conclusion.

    At the same time, let’s not overlook the FBI’s (NarusInsight) and GCHQ’s (Tempora) sterling efforts in collecting and making the data available to the NSA. In fact, the GCHQ collects even more metadata off international cables than the NSA.

  • Utah – Achilles’ Heel of the Surveillance State

    What do they need all that water for? To cool the mega-computers housing the NSA’s huge store of intercepted data – virtually all the emails transmitted in the country and beyond, including phone calls and our all-important “meta data.” The heavily fortified Data Center will store all this purloined information in four halls, each 25,000 square feet, with an additional 900,000 square feet for bureaucratic high mucka-mucks and their administrative and technical peons. The electricity bill alone is estimated at $40 million annually.

  • Former NSA Counsel Stewart Baker vs. Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg

    Former National Security Agency lawyer Stewart Baker and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg join us for a debate on Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the NSA’s massive spying apparatus in the United States and across the globe. Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian and other media outlets have generated a series of exposés on NSA surveillance activities — from its collection of American’s phone records, text messages and email, to its monitoring of the internal communications of individual heads of state. Partly as a consequence of the government’s response to Snowden’s leaks, the United States plunged 13 spots in an annual survey of press freedom by the independent organization, Reporters Without Borders. Snowden now lives in Russia and faces possible espionage charges if he returns to the United States. Baker, a former NSA general counsel and assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, is a partner at the law firm Steptoe & Johnson and author of “Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism.” Ellsberg is a former Pentagon and RAND Corporation analyst and perhaps the country’s most famous whistleblower. Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, exposing the secret history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, prompting Henry Kissinger to call him “the most dangerous man in America.”

  • How The NSA Is Turning Your Apps Against You

    According to reports, spy organizations are looking to so-called “leaky apps” to gather information. It’s a term we’ve used quite often in our Mobile Threat Monday stories, one that Lookout’s Principal Security Researcher Marc Rogers defines as “Any app which is passing any kind of sensitive information without encryption.”

  • Dutch Minister of Interior Ronald Plasterk misled parliament by blaming NSA

    On Thursday, Dutchnews.nl reported that the Dutch Minister of Interior, Ronald Plasterk was asked by his political counterparts to explain why he supplied them with misleading information concerning the Dutch intelligence agencies illegal data collection practices. Dutch political party, Democrats 66 even went as far as filing a motion of no-confidence against Plasterk.

  • NSA Protest Garnered “Substantial” Support, Organizers Say

    Tuesday’s protest against the National Security Agency resulted in “substantial support” according to official numbers released by organizers.

  • World of surveillance is our responsibility

    Privacy should not have to be defended

  • Ex-CIA agent Edward Snowden posters damaged by vandals at university

Surveillance and the UK

Surveillance and CIA

Foreign Policy

  • 5 Examples of US Government Efforts to Destabilize Black Nations

    Kwame Nkrumah helped Ghana gain its independence from its British colonizers in 1957. Nkrumah became the country’s first prime minister (1957) and first president (1960). As a Pan-Africanist, Nkrumah was eager to unite Africa, and specifically, help Ghana become completely independent from the colonial trade system by reducing its dependence on foreign capital, technology and material goods.

  • Did CIA Official Suppress Benghazi Attack Narrative?
  • Did CIA official suppress Benghazi narrative? Accounts raise new questions

    New information about the intelligence available in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack raises questions about whether the former No. 2 at the CIA downplayed or dismissed reporting from his own people in Libya that it was a coordinated attack and not an out-of-control protest over an anti-Islam video.

  • The Shortsighted Presidency

    America’s foreign policy is now trending on Twitter.

  • War is business

    The successful Star Wars franchise captivated generations of worldwide audiences not only because it was – and still is – an enthralling science fiction drama, but also because it touches upon timeless social issues about the use and abuse of power, greed and humility, love and hate, trust and betrayal, domination and compassion, honour and envy.

    A movie like Revenge of the Sith can reveal much about what we value in our society because it can raise questions about the world that we live in now. For example, under what conditions do people change from being agents of peace and justice to being agents of death and destruction? Why does the wielding of absolute power end up corrupting people absolutely? And more importantly, what can we do as a people to right the wrongs committed from the abuse of such power?

  • Syria at the Edge of ‘Shock Doctrine’

    Disappointed that President Obama didn’t bomb Syria last year, the neocons and other war hawks are using the frustrations over initial peace talks in Geneva to ratchet up pressure for a “humanitarian” military assault now, as Rob Prince explains.

  • US hired Nazis to test CIA interrogation techniques


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