03.11.14

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DroNSA: Targeted Assassinations, Surveillance on Torture Reporters/Researchers, and Snowden’s Latest Speeches

Posted in News Roundup at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drones

Ukraine

War on Privacy

  • NSA Barred From Destroying Phone Records

    The US National Security Agency was stopped by a judge from destroying phone records collected via its controversial surveillance practices, after a privacy group said they are still relevant and could be used in the lawsuits against the agency.

  • So Far, The FBI Is Benefiting The Most From The NSA Leaks

    The FBI is now basking in the darkness the NSA used to occupy. The first leak had the FBI’s name all over it, and it’s the power granted to the FBI that allows the NSA to collect millions of domestic phone records. The NSA technically isn’t allowed to vacuum up domestic records. The FBI, however, is. But the NSA “takes home” the bulk collection and “tips” a few hundred phone numbers to the agency whose name is listed on the first page.

  • Yahoo Selects NSA Critic For Chief Security Role

    Internet giant Yahoo has recruited Alex Stamos, one of the more vocal opponents of mass US spying, as its new chief information security officer (CISO).

  • NSA views encryption as evidence of suspicion and will target those who use it, security journalist says

    Glenn Greenwald, editor of the newly launched digital publication The Intercept, told attendees at SXSWi that the National Security Agency is wary of anyone who takes steps to protect their online activity from being hacked, such as using encryption tools.

    “In [the NSA's] mind, if you want to hide what you’re saying from them, it must mean that what you’re saying is a bad thing,” Greenwald said via a Skype video call. “They view the use of encryption… as evidence that you’re suspicious and can actually target you if you use it.”

  • NSA leading us to phones that may well outsmart even the spooks

    If the physical handset case is prised open, the phone will automatically erase all data it holds.

    Ask Boeing for more details if you dare.

    Call us paranoid, but you may very well find the NSA has opened a file on you.

  • Vodafone’s SecureCall app ‘could have protected Angela Merkel from NSA’

    Vodafone’s new smartphone app Secure Call could have protected Angela Merkel from the NSA.

  • Change Agents: The Curious Case of the “Responsible” NSA Revelations

    Well, hold on there a minute, Arthur, you incorrigible skeptic you. What about the latest revelation from The Intercept, the flagship enterprise of First Look? Just last weekend, the Interceptors dug into this vast trove of criminality to inform us that … the NSA’s newsletter has its own Dear Abby column (or “agony aunt,” as the Brits would say). Now how about that! The NSA has an internal advice column offering tidbits on personnel issues. Now that’s transformative journalism with a vengeance! Just think how many innocent lives now doomed to die from Washington’s surveillance state-supported death squads will now be saved because of this revelation!

  • Debates on beefing up EU data protection and NSA inquiry findings

    A major overhaul of the EU data protection rules and MEPs’ findings and recommendations after six months investigating US mass surveillance schemes will be debated on Tuesday from 15.00. The data protection reform would greatly strengthen EU citizens’ control over their personal data and punish firms which pass it on without permission.

  • Germany rejects Snowden claim it bowed to NSA

    Germany on Monday dismissed a claim by NSA leaker Edward Snowden that it had bowed to US demands to water down privacy rights for German citizens.

    Snowden told the European parliament in a statement published Friday that Germany was pressured to modify its legislation on wiretapping and other forms of lawful telecoms surveillance. The former National Security Agency contractor didn’t elaborate on how the laws were changed or when, but suggested it was standard practice for the NSA to instruct friendly nations on how to “degrade the legal protections of their countries’ communications.”

  • NSA gave ‘legal guidance’ to NZ

    NSA leaker Edward Snowden says New Zealand is one of a number of countries the US spy agency helped to change laws in order to enable mass surveillance.

    The revelation came during his written answers to questions from the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. The committee is undertaking an inquiry into mass electronic surveillance of EU citizens launched following Snowden’s original allegations of widespread internet surveillance.

  • Michael Rogers goes before Senate committee to outline vision for NSA

    The likely next director of the National Security Agency will testify on Tuesday for the first time about his new job, in perhaps the agency’s best chance for a post-Edward Snowden reboot.

  • Surveillance by Algorithm

    Increasingly, we are watched not by people but by algorithms. Amazon and Netflix track the books we buy and the movies we stream, and suggest other books and movies based on our habits. Google and Facebook watch what we do and what we say, and show us advertisements based on our behavior. Google even modifies our web search results based on our previous behavior. Smartphone navigation apps watch us as we drive, and update suggested route information based on traffic congestion. And the National Security Agency, of course, monitors our phone calls, emails and locations, then uses that information to try to identify terrorists.

  • Edward Snowden speaks up for encryption at SXSW

    SURVEILLANCE WHISTLEBLOWER Edward Snowden has taken part in a video conversation at the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference along with representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union.

  • Edward Snowden discusses NSA leaks at SXSW: ‘I would do it again’

    Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower whose unprecedented leak of top-secret documents led to a worldwide debate about the nature of surveillance, insisted on Monday that his actions had improved the national security of the United States rather than undermined it, and declared that he would do it all again despite the personal sacrifices he had endured.

  • Google’s Schmidt ‘Pretty Sure’ Networks Are Now Secure After Being ‘Attacked’ By The United States

    Among the biggest revelations made by the Snowden documents so far was of course the fact that in addition to negotiating with companies like Yahoo and Google for user data via the front door (PRISM), the NSA was also busy covertly hacking into the links between company data centers for good measure (trust is the cornerstone of any good relationship, you know). The moves pretty clearly pissed off Google engineers, who swore at the agency and immediately began speeding up the already-underway process of encrypting traffic flowing between data centers.

  • Please Contact MEPs: Big Votes in European Parliament

    Two of the biggest stories over the last year have been data protection and – of course – Edward Snowden’s revelations of massive spying by the NSA and GCHQ on all online activity in Europe (and elsewhere). As it happens, both of these important issues are coming to a head this week: after a preliminary debate tomorrow, on Wednesday the European Parliament will vote on both (draft agenda.) That means we still have time to drop them a friendly email today asking them to support strong privacy and civil liberties in Europe.

  • US intelligence officials to monitor federal employees with security clearances

    Intelligence officials have long wanted a computerized system that could continuously monitor employees, in part to prevent cases similar to former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden. His disclosures bared secretive U.S. surveillance operations.

  • Snowden On Going Through ‘Proper Channels’: Reporting Concerns Gets You Flagged As A ‘Troublemaker’

    The NSA defenders who label Ed Snowden a “traitor” (senators, congressmen and any number of former intelligence officials) often assert the whistleblower had an opportunity to use “proper channels” rather than take the route he chose: leaking documents to journalists.

War on Peace

  • The Propaganda of Death

    The terrible loss of life in the Malaysian air crash is tragic. But the attempt to ramp up a terrorism scare is ghoulish. We even had both the BBC and Sky speculating that it was the Uighurs. Now the suppression of Uighur culture and religion by the Chinese had been a great and long-term evil, and the West has been only too eager to shoehorn their story into the “Islamic terrorism” story. There is of course an enormous security industry, both government and private, which makes a very fat living out of “combating Islamic terrorism”, and a media which make a fat living out of helping to ramp it.

Covert Intervention/Spying

  • Selling a Mossad Book

    Raviv reported that President Barack Obama would raise the assassination issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their March 3rd meeting at the White House. The book also repeats previous claims that Israeli spies who were possibly drawn from Persian Jews who had emigrated to Israel had infiltrated Iran and, using a string of safe houses and some help from friendly Iranians, had managed to kill five scientists. The authors have added the new information about the White House talks, noting also that Netanyahu has already decided to end the program because of the risk to Israel’s “most talented and experienced spies,” choosing instead to focus Mossad efforts on proving that the Iranians are cheating on their nuclear program.

    The motto of Israel’s foreign intelligence service the Mossad translates as “By way of deception you shall make war,” and one might modify that a bit to claim that “by way of deception you can sell books.” The whole story, intended to create some buzz for the new edition while at the same time touting the invincibility of Israeli intelligence, smells. It is the kind of narrative that is impossible to check. The sources are “secret,” Israel has never admitted its involvement, there is no indication that the president and prime minister actually spoke regarding the assassinations, and there is no suggestion why Obama would have any motive raise the issue. The Iranians are not demanding any action from Washington regarding the killings as part of the ongoing nuclear negotiations, so why would Obama even mention it?

  • US war movie military policy: Baby Boomers grew up on films where battle was noble and Americans never died

    War, these movies taught me, is entered reluctantly and only after due, transparent discussion by the nation’s leaders. But as a child eating popcorn and tossing Jujubes from the balcony of the theater, I learned nothing about the imposition of freedom, of democracy, of American values on those who hold different values and beliefs and refuse to adopt what America “offers.”

  • Dianne Feinstein launches scathing attack on CIA over alleged cover-up

    The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of a catalogue of cover-ups, intimidation and smears aimed at investigators probing its role in an “un-American and brutal” programme of post-9/11 detention and interrogation.

  • CIA accused of spying on Congress over torture report

    According to the Associated Press, Sen. Feinstein said the CIA improperly searched a stand-alone computer network at the agency’s Langley, Virginia headquarters that was put in place so that Intelligence Committee staffers could view sensitive documents.

  • Snowden: Feinstein a Hypocrite for Blasting CIA Spying
  • 4 reasons the latest CIA revelation is serious

    The latest fight over America’s spycraft has triggered serious constitutional questions.

    On the Senate floor Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the CIA searched computers used by Senate staff to investigate the CIA, confirming a story reported by the New York Times last week.

  • Temple intern breaks national story involving CIA

    A senior in Temple University’s journalism program helped break a recent national story that has members of the U.S. Senate pointing fingers at the CIA.

    Ali Watkins, currently a 22-year-old intern for McClatchy in Washington, D.C., received a tip from sources who came to trust her while making herself a presence on Capitol Hill, according to a posting by Temple’s School of Media and Communications.

  • Analysis: Why Does Congress Lack the Backbone to Oversee the CIA?

    Ongoing efforts to make public a report on torture perpetrated by the CIA has the spy agency “nearly at war” with its Senate overseers, Eli Lake reports in The Daily Beast. In theory, that would mean that the CIA is in deep trouble. Congress has the power to destroy the CIA if it desires. Congress could cut the CIA budget to zero! Yet the press is filled with stories about the CIA and its overseers written as if they are on equal footing, or even as if the CIA has the upper hand.

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