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02.25.14

Abuses of Rights: News About Surveillance, Torture, and Assassination

Posted in News Roundup at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This week’s news about absence of legal adherence and other moral issues

Brazil and EU/Germany

  • NSA-dodging undersea cable to connect Brazil and EU

    The European Union and Brazil have agreed to lay a fibre-optic undersea communications cable across the Atlantic, between Lisbon and Fortaleza. The cable — which will cost $185 million (£110 million) — is designed to “guarantee the neutrality” of the internet and “enhance the protection of communications”.

  • Brazil plans undersea cable to Europe to avoid NSA spying in US
  • EU & Brazil to build undersea cable to thwart NSA snoopers
  • Why NSA Spying On The German Chancellor’s Aides Matters

    There was something of an international uproar last year when it was revealed that the NSA, in addition to snooping on its own citizens, had bugged the personal cell phone of Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. The prospect of the U.S. spying on the head of state of a country it supposedly considers an ally infuriated many, especially Merkel, and President Obama quickly promised to stop. That promise was quickly walked back by administration officials, and on Sunday, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported that the NSA is still tapping the phones of Merkel’s closest aides, including Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

Snowden and Judgment

  • Letter: Between Snowden and NSA, who’s the real criminal?

    Edward Snowden, who exposed these illegal activities — much like Daniel Ellsberg, who exposed the “Pentagon Papers” in the early 1970s — due probably to his conscience, is now a hunted man hiding in Russia. He is reviled by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. John McCain, to name a few.

    On Dec. 18, 2013, a panel gave the president 46 recommendations, all of which meant shut down the spying on American citizens.

    That same month, a federal judge ruled the NSA spying was unconstitutional.

  • New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ/NSA Use The Internet To ‘Manipulate, Deceive And Destroy Reputations’

    A few weeks ago, Glenn Greenwald, while working with NBC News, revealed some details of a GCHQ presentation concerning how the surveillance organization had a “dirty tricks” group known as JTRIG — the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group. Now, over at The Intercept, he’s revealed the entire presentation and highlighted more details about how JTRIG would seek to infiltrate different groups online and destroy people’s reputations — going way, way, way beyond just targeting terrorist groups and threats to national security.

  • Government infiltrating websites to ‘deny, disrupt, degrade, deceive’

    Another slide lists ways to “discredit a target”: “Set up a honey-trap,” “Change their photos on social networking sites,” “Write a blog purporting to be one of their victims,” “Email/text their colleagues, neighbours, friends, etc.”

    There’s also a slide on how to discredit a business: “Leak confidential information to companies/the press via blogs etc,” “Post negative information on appropriate forums,” “Stop deals/ruin business relationships.”

Blackphone

Zuckerberg ‘Anger’

Google, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft

  • Google Joins Forces With NSA And DARPA As Military Contractor
  • Activists Challenge Amazon-CIA Relationship

    After Amazon signed a lucrative, long-term cloud computing contract with the CIA, concerns surfaced that the Internet giant might divulge customer information to the agency. So far, a petition for Amazon’s owner to address these concerns has gathered over 29,000 signatures.

  • IBM gobbles CIA-backed NoSQL database upstart Cloudant

    IBM is creeping towards the cloud, picking up startups on the way, including a NoSQL database company to fill in some of the perceived shortcomings of DB2.

    The acquisition of Cloudant was announced on Monday and will give IBM control of a NoSQL “database-as-a-service” (DBaaS) [As a service? What the hell was a database beforehand? A pleasure cruise? – Ed]. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

  • Microsoft Lync lets employers spy on employees NSA-style

    Microsoft’s Lync communications platform collects a surprising amount of sensitive, analyzable data about its users, making employers who use Lync privy to some very personal information about their employees.

    Software developer Event Zero told Microsoft’s Lync 2014 conference that by using call data collected by the platform, companies could analyze information to the point of discovering intimate personal details about employees’ lives, like which are dating one another, or who in the company may be looking for another job.

  • Prez Obama cyber-guru: Think your data is safe in an EU cloud? The NSA will raid your servers

    A former White House security advisor has suggested that you, dear reader, are naive if you think hosting data outside of the US will protect a business from the NSA.

    “NSA and any other world-class intelligence agency can hack into databases even if they not in the US,” said former White House security advisor Richard Clarke in a speech at the Cloud Security Alliance summit in San Francisco on Monday. “Non-US companies are using NSA revelations as a marketing tool.”

Security

Local Law

Torture

Air Strikes

  1. CIA chief made clandestine visit to Pakistan
  2. CIA chief made secret trip to Pakistan

    A senior security official confirmed to The Express Tribune that CIA Director John Brennan traveled to Islamabad last Friday and held meetings with Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and his Pakistani counterpart Lt General Zaheerul Islam.

    However, the official, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media, insisted that he only ‘paid a courtesy call’ on the Army Chief. “It was a routine visit,” the official added.

  3. Hagel’s Pentagon budget plans for new ‘realities’ and fewer ground wars
  4. Proposed Pentagon budget cuts would shrink Army, retire aircraft

    The Obama administration’s proposals, some of which are likely to face resistance in Congress, reflect changing fortunes for once-sacrosanct defense spending.

Drones

  • Is the CIA Better Than the Military at Drone Killings?

    It’s been more than a year since incoming CIA Director John Brennan signaled his intention to shift drone warfare to the Pentagon as soon as possible. Brennan, a career spook, was said to be determined to restore the agency to its roots as an espionage factory, not a paramilitary organization. And President Obama endorsed his plan to hand drone warfare over to the military, according to administration officials.

    But a funny thing happened on the way back to cloak-and-dagger. According to intelligence experts and some powerful friends of the CIA on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the agency may simply be much better than the military at killing people in a targeted, precise way—and, above all, at ensuring that the bad guys they’re getting are really bad guys. And that distinction has become more important than ever at a time when Obama is intent on moving away from a “permanent war footing” and on restricting targeted killings exclusively to a handful of Qaida-linked senior terrorists.

  • Panel Explores US Drone Program

    The U.S. government’s drone use as a means to combat global terrorism was one of the main topics at an event hosted by the Amnesty International Chapters of Georgetown University and Georgetown Law Center on Sunday night in the Intercultural Center Auditorium.

Foreign Policy

  • U.S., Russia at Odds over Legitimacy in Ukraine

    Ukraine is delaying the formation of a new government until Thursday following the ouster of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych after months of protests that killed dozens of people. The Obama administration has indicated it no longer recognizes Yanukovych as Ukraine’s leader and has pledged financial support to Ukraine. President Yanukovych had come under fire for strengthening ties with Russia instead of Europe. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has rejected the interim government.

Police

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