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01.16.14

Covert Action Watch: January 2014

Posted in Action at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News, opinions and analysis from the past couple of weeks, concentrating on the imperial systems of the West

UK, Ireland, and Falklands

Mexico

  • U.S. Government and Top Mexican Drug Cartel Exposed as Partners
  • ​US govt struck deal with Mexican drug cartel in exchange for info – report

    Between 2000 and 2012, the US government had a deal with Mexican drug cartel Sinaloa that allowed the group to smuggle billion of dollars of drugs in return for information on its rival cartels, according to court documents published by El Universal.

    Written statements made by a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent and a US Department of Justice official in US District Court of Chicago following the 2009 arrest of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla – son of a Sinaloa leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and the organization’s alleged “logistics coordinator” – indicate that DEA agents met with top Sinaloa officials over 50 times beginning in 2000.

Asia

  • Does God work for the CIA?

    The arrest and imprisonment in North Korea of US citizen Kenneth Bae raises once again the issue of the use of religion and humanitarianism as covert vehicles for furthering US hegemony.

    [...]

    It still remains a mystery just exactly what Kenneth Bae was doing in North Korea.

  • US-Backed Islamic Terrorism: Dividing the Arab World, Weakening Russia and China

    Terrorism came into being as soon as humanity appeared, but the US special services turned it into a threat of global scale. The end of the 1970s can be considered as the starting point. Back then the Central Intelligence Agency launched a training program for «Islamic brigades» to entangle the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic into the war in Afghanistan. In 1998 Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote, «According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahedeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention». That was the time Osama bin Laden was recruited.

  • The Secret World of American Spies in the Middle East

    This was the life of a few elite American Middle East specialists and spies in the early days of the Cold War: intrigue and a self-possessed sense of adventure in a region emerging from European colonialism and into, they insisted, a more magnanimous American orbit of what historian Hugh Wilford has called “disinterested benevolence.” If only it had happened that way.

  • CIA used taxpayer funds for lap dances at “tittie bars” in Kazakhstan
  • Court Rules That Woman Wrongfully Placed On No Fly List Should Be Taken Off The List… We Think

    We’ve written a few times about the troubling case of Rahinah Ibrahim, a PhD. student at Stanford who was wrongfully placed on the “no fly” list because (it appears) some clueless law enforcement officials mixed up the names of a networking group of professional Muslims in Malaysia who had returned from work or study in the US and Europe (which she was a part of) and a very, very different terrorist organization. While she had received something of an apology for initially not being allowed to fly to Malaysia (and then allowed to fly), it appeared that her name was then placed on the no fly list, preventing her from ever returning. She was later blocked from even flying back to the US for her lawsuit against the government.

  • Despite Growing Military Budget, an Undercurrent of Skepticism

    United States military spending has ballooned since World War II, although Americans have historically been reluctant to go to war. The Times’s Sam Tanenhaus explains why.

Silencing the Press

Conquering the Press

  • Activists Continue To Push Washington Post To Disclose Its CIA Connection
  • Why the Washington Post’s New Ties to the CIA Are So Ominous
  • Why the Washington Post’ New Ties to the CIA Are So Ominous

    A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos — who’s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazon’s CEO and main stakeholder.

    The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million “cloud” computing deal with the CIA.

    The situation is unprecedented. But in an email exchange early this month, Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron told me that the newspaper doesn’t need to routinely inform readers of the CIA-Amazon-Bezos ties when reporting on the CIA. He wrote that such in-story acknowledgment would be “far outside the norm of disclosures about potential conflicts of interest at media organizations.”

    But there isn’t anything normal about the new situation. As I wrote to Baron, “few journalists could have anticipated ownership of the paper by a multibillionaire whose outside company would be so closely tied to the CIA.”

Domestic Backlash

  • One Month After JFK’s Murder, Former President Harry Truman Called For Abolishing The CIA

    One month to the day after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, former President Harry Truman recommended that the U.S. abolish the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

  • The Internet fights back against the NSA with the biggest protest since SOPA
  • A Republic If You Can Keep It

    expansion of presidential powers in the United States.

  • Legislating Tyranny

    Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF – September 2001) approved open-ended permanent wars. They rage out-of-control. They do so at home and abroad.

    The FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) targets freedom. It prioritizes militarism and permanent wars. It authorizes over $600 billion for global belligerence, mass killing and destruction.

  • “Our Leaders Do Not Mean Well”

    Blum is the author of the famous book Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventionssince World War II (Common Courage Press). The book enjoyed remarkable success, becoming required reading for students and professions in numerous fields. Professor Noam Chomsky said of the book, “It is far and away the best book on the topic.” The book is astounding, as Blum breaks down the post-war CIA in more than 50 fascinating chapters. Actions everywhere from Albania to Zaire are discussed in the book. I met with William Blum in early December in Washington, DC.

  • Washington Drives the World Toward War — Paul Craig Roberts

    Washington has had the US at war for 12 years: Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, and almost Syria, which could still happen, with Iran waiting in the wings. These wars have been expensive in terms of money, prestige, and deaths and injuries of both US soldiers and the attacked civilian populations. None of these wars appears to have any compelling reason or justifiable explanation. The wars have been important to the profits of the military/security complex. The wars have provided cover for the construction of a Stasi police state in America, and the wars have served Israel’s interest by removing obstacles to Israel’s annexation of the entire West Bank and southern Lebanon.

  • Obama admin to hold firm in pursuit of neutrality amid ‘global rebalancing’
  • The Years of Living Stupidly

    A workable solution to the perpetual foreign policy crisis requires a new economy and civil society institutions that provide a political fund to promote demilitarized politicians, supported by an alternative ethos of diplomacy, foreign aid, and non-militarized soft power. Social movements might explore how universities contribute to the cycle of violence by marginalizing discourses related to disarmament, alternative security and an ecologically-rooted conversion of big oil, auto and defense firms. Otherwise, expect another several years of dismal headlines in newspapers chronicling blow back, terror states, and meaningless violence.

Slow Justice

Mandela

Border Tyranny

Misc.

Police Watch: January 2014

Posted in Action at 5:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Police abuses reported in the UK, as well as the US, with more interesting stories from Australia, Germany, and Argentina

  • “I witnessed and reported animal abuse… and now was being charged with a crime myself.”

    Taylor Radig worked undercover at a cattle company and documented horrific abuses of dairy calves. She turned her footage over to the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, and police said they were charging three of the farm workers with animal cruelty.

    But when Radig walked into the sheriff’s office to provide a formal statement a few months ago, the police turned around and told her that she, the whistleblower, was also being charged with animal cruelty for her investigation.

  • Is he your best friend? Or an undercover cop?

    Mark Kennedy undercop cop spyThe story of Mark Kennedy, the undercover cop who targeted social activists throughout Europe, was shocking to activists and the general public alike — among them Kennedy’s former friend Jason Kirkpatrick. Now, Kirkpatrick is creating a documentary about Kennedy’s spy ops. He’ll be in New York City and San Francisco this month to preview clips from Spied Upon.

  • Oakwood prison: G4S ‘must shape up or ship out’

    Labour calls on justice secretary to give private firm six months to improve situation at prison facing series of disturbances

  • At last, a law to stop almost anyone from doing almost anything

    Protesters, buskers, preachers, the young: all could end up with ‘ipnas’. Of course, if you’re rich, you have nothing to fear

  • Mark Duggan inquest: Furious protesters drown out police statement
  • Trigger happy Britain? How police shootings compare
  • One piece still missing from puzzle of fatal theater shooting: Why?
  • The corruption of Britain: UK’s key institutions infiltrated by criminals

    In 2003 Operation Tiberius found that men suspected of being Britain’s most notorious criminals had compromised multiple agencies, including HM Revenue & Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service, the City of London Police and the Prison Service, as well as pillars of the criminal justice system including juries and the legal profession.

  • Revealed: How gangs used the Freemasons to corrupt police

    Secret networks of Freemasons have been used by organised crime gangs to corrupt the criminal justice system, according to a bombshell Metropolitan Police report leaked to The Independent.

  • Revelations About Massive UK Police Corruption Shows Why We Cannot — And Must Not — Trust The Spies

    As Mike reported recently, the NSA has presented no credible evidence that its bulk metadata collection is stopping terrorist attacks, or keeping people safe. Instead, the argument in support of the secret activities of the NSA and its friends abroad has become essentially: “Trust us, we really have your best interests at heart.” But that raises the question: Can we really do that? New revelations from The Independent newspaper about massive and thorough-going corruption of the UK police and judiciary a decade ago show that we can’t…

  • Deadly Argentina looting spreads as police go on strike

    At least five people have been killed as looting spreads through Argentina.

    Hundreds have been injured as people took advantage of a police strike to rob shops and homes.

    Police have refused to go on patrol until their demands for a salary rise are met.

  • Unbelievably lenient sentence for cop who fingered suspects’ anuses
  • Legal challenge questions reliability of police dogs (last year but relevant)
  • Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness

    Police in north London have seized blankets, sleeping bags and food donations from rough sleepers in a crackdown on homelessness.

    A local paper reported that the belongings, mostly donated by sympathetic members of the community, were snatched by police from a group of homeless people as they sheltered in an abandoned public baths for the night.

    The nine people, including a man in his sixties, were seeking cover from a cold night in Redbridge and were left stunned when their worldly possessions disappeared into the back of a police car.

    One of the men targeted in the action, Adam Jaskowiak, pleaded with officers to be allowed to keep his possessions for warmth. The 34-year-old said: “They [the police officers] were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything. I asked to keep it, and the food, but they said ‘No’.

  • Jury Finds Two Officers Charged In Beating Death Of Homeless Man Not Guilty

    The incident, which began with Officer Ramos putting on gloves and announcing to Thomas that his “fists” were getting ready to “fuck him up,” and ended with Thomas in an irreversible coma, was caught on surveillance tape and synched to Ramos’ body mic recording. The tortured screams and gasps of the 135-lb. Thomas were unable to convince the jury find one of the cops guilty of lesser charges (Officer Cicinelli — charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force). Even Cicinelli’s own words — “I ran out of options and just started bashing the hell out of [Thomas'] face [with the butt end of his taser]” — failed to persuade the jury that the force used was excessive.

  • Fullerton police officers not guilty in homeless man’s death, prosecutors won’t try 3rd cop
  • Police: Cops who pulled Cushingberry over wanted to arrest him

    Police officials are refuting City Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry’s claim that officers pulled him over Tuesday because he was black, pointing out that one of the officers involved was African-American.

  • He Stood Up Against the Steubenville ‘Rape Crew’, Now Let’s Stand Up For Him

    Lostutter believes that the FBI investigation and raid of his house been motivated by local officials in Steubenville. “They want to make an example of me.” Now, he is facing 10 years in prison for his “crime” of exposing the Steubenville rapists.

  • Teen Reported to Police After Finding Security Hole in Website

    A teenager in Australia who thought he was doing a good deed by reporting a security vulnerability in a government website was reported to the police.

  • Kid who found PTV website flaw deserves a medal
  • Cops kill mentally ill teen after parents call police to help him

    A Boiling Springs Lakes, North Carolina family is looking for answers after local police shot and killed their mentally ill teenage son while responding to a call for help.

    The family contends that Keith Vidal, 18, was “killed in cold blood” after police were requested to help calm the teenager down during a schizophrenic episode.

  • UVa Student Arrested and Jailed For Water Mistaken for Beer Plans Civil Lawsuit Against State

    Stemming from an incident in June where plainclothes Alcoholic Beverages Control (ABC) agents attempted to apprehend her, Elizabeth Daly is now planning on pursuing legal action for a wrongful arrest and a night spent in jail.

  • Using Mirrors To Show Police What They Have Become

    At noon on Dec. 30, protesters in central Kyiv held mirrors in front of police for 30 minutes to commemorate the night of Nov. 30 when riot police used excessive force to breakup a peaceful rally on Independence Square consisting mostly of university students.

  • Police impose martial law, locking section of Hamburg into “danger zone”

    Police obtained legal permission to impose a curfew by conservative politicians a while ago, and they use it to retaliate against people who defend Rote Flora from being evicted in the name of capitalist gentrification policies. Cops claimed that they were attacked at their police station “Davidswache” on December 20th and on December 28th, in separate clashes from the demonstration on December 21st, but a lawyer in Hamburg says there was no second attack at the police station Davidswache on the 28th. He has demanded the videos of the incident from the surveillance cameras.

  • Dozens of police injured as eviction protest turns violent in Hamburg (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

    Zeit Online has reported, citing a non-government organization, that about 500 protesters being injured, 20 of them seriously. However, this information cannot be independently verified.

    The cultural center’s squatting history dates back to 1989, when the Schanzenviertel area’s Rote Flora center was first occupied. Since then, its reputation as the central point for leftist rallying has been further cemented.

    But the public anger itself had also to do with the wider issue of migrant and refugee rights, including those of the squatters at a run-down apartment block in Hamburg’s Reeperbahn area – also the city’s red-light district, which contains the so-called Esso Houses. The buildings, also often home to Germany’s Lampedusa refugees, were evacuated last weekend because of their poor condition.

    After the initial chaos at the Rote Flora had subsided, the crowds migrated toward the Reeperbahn, where they were chased around the streets by the police.

Torture Watch: January 2014

Posted in Action at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Reports and analyses of so-called ‘interrogation’ techniques and their impact on society

Drones Watch: January 2014

Posted in Action at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest news and analysis about a controversial strategy of assassinating people (and those around them) selected by the NSA

01.15.14

Censorship on the Web Done For Financial Security Reasons, Not Anyone’s Real Security

Posted in Action, Europe at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Business controls the filters in the West

Big Ben in London

Summary: How Western censorship proved itself to be all about protecting the villains while blocking justice

WHEN society is run by businesses (which is true in the West), then censorship by businesses is natural; it’s only to be expected.

Here in the UK we now officially have Internet censorship, just like in China, Iran, Russia etc. Our government would be too hypocritical to criticise those nations over censorship. One leading British civil rights groups asks rhetorically [1], “what could possibly go wrong?”

Here is what goes wrong.

Recently we saw a news site getting censored by the British Web filters [2]. Why? Probably because it delivers an alternative message that puts in jeopardy the copyright monopoly/cartel.

“UK ISPs Need To Be Sued Way Out Into Atlantic,” said the founder of the original Pirate Party after this incident [3]. We are gradually getting rather petty and becoming no better than Russia, which “Orders Pirate Party to Drop ‘Pirate’ From Its Name” (according to the censored news site) [4]. Notice what they do here; it is clear that when language is policed we are basically losing our ability to express ourselves. The censored news site also says that “Record Label Asks Google to Censor Artists’ Twitter Accounts” [5] (censorship for the copyright monopoly/cartel), helping to shed light on he sheer abuse of those companies and proving the value/importance of such news sites.

“In other words, the filters are now being turned from tools of law enforcement into tools of protecting criminals and banning those who report crime.”There are some other new examples of censorship (by intimidatiob) for business reasons, courtesy of Digital Ocean [6] and SeaWorld [7,8].

Isn’t it funny that those who engage in misconduct or unethical behaviour get to use censorship in their favour? In other words, the filters are now being turned from tools of law enforcement into tools of protecting criminals and banning those who report crime. That’s what government- and corporations-controlled filters are bound to achieve.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Blocking: what could possibly go wrong?
  2. Internet Censors Came For TorrentFreak & Now I’m Really Mad

    ISPs exist to provide us with unfettered access to the Internet, not the version they or their technology partners feels is appropriate for us. Their ‘parental controls’ do not achieve their stated aim of “protecting children” and are already causing collateral damage by blocking totally innocent sites such as the one you are reading now. It’s hard not to get angry when you realize your website’s accessibility is becoming disabled by default.

  3. Censorship Triggers Liability: UK ISPs Need To Be Sued Way Out Into Atlantic
  4. Russia Orders Pirate Party to Drop ‘Pirate’ From Its Name

    A long-running battle between the Pirate Party of Russia and the Russian Government has concluded with disappointment for the Pirates. In an announcement yesterday that finally brings an end to a number of appeals, the Ministry of Justice declared that since piracy – sea piracy – is a crime under Russian law, no political party may have that word as part of its name. As a result the Pirate Party can never become officially recognized unless it calls itself something else.

  5. Record Label Asks Google to Censor Artists’ Twitter Accounts

    Spinnin’ Records, one of the largest independent dance music labels, has been sending several unusual takedown requests to Google. The record label asked the search engine to take down the Twitter pages of several of its own top artists, including Afrojack, as well as its own account. Google, thus far, has refused to help out with this blatant attempt at self-censorship.

  6. Digital Ocean said it would shut down my blog if I didn’t remove or edit a blog post.

    This is a story about how the VPS provider Digital Ocean required me to either delete a blog post or make it anonymous by removing any reference to the person I was writing about. If I refused to do it, Digital Ocean said they would terminate my account. The person I wrote about (Googler Travis Collins) in the blog post happened to be a friend of a Digital Ocean executive, but Digital Ocean said the only reason the blog post needed to be removed was due to a terms of service violation. Here’s the blog post in its original form. I describe below how this whole incident came to pass and provide screenshots of Digital Ocean’s communications. Digital Ocean promotes itself as a great place to setup a blog, and they provide instructions to make it easy for you, but you might want to learn how Digital Ocean applies its terms of service before investing a lot of time in writing blog posts.

  7. F-O-R-B-E-S

    Well folks, I suppose it was bound to happen. I wrote a dozen pieces for Forbes.com and enjoyed it very much. But the 13th–an article critical of SeaWorld (a 2.5 billion dollar company partially owned by the Blackstone Group) and praiseworthy of ‘Blackfish” (made on a small budget)–rattled some corporate cages.

    After I posted, editorial management demanded changes that I could not, in good conscience, make. So the article got pulled (after 77,000 hits in one day) and I left my position.

  8. Op-Ed: How low can you can go? Did SeaWorld skew online poll?

US Courts Are Cementing the Gradual Death of the World Wide Web (As We Know It)

Posted in Action at 6:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Summary: Censorship and discrimination in access/speech increase on the Internet after a US court rules against net neutrality

WITH Western censorship, DRM in standards, and surveillance by design, the Web is already a dying medium as an independent, neutral ground for communication. Now comes another blow to net neutrality, basically jeopardising non-discrimination and introducing a form of ‘soft’ censorship. We have already written a great deal about net neutrality, including for example the following articles:

Here in Europe net neutrality is dying [1], but in the US it is already dead, officially so after this new court decision [2,3]. It might be possible to get net neutrality back [4], but it’s going to be extremely hard and the future looks grim [5] (the press of Rupert Murdoch, who is an opponent of the Internet and net neutrality, pretends nothing has changed [6]). This latest travesty [7] is following outrageous moves by AT&T just a week earlier [8-11], turning data caps into profits although there is no real capacity issue, just an imaginary issue, an excuse. The saddest thing is that not only the Web is affected; if an alternative to the Web was made and was designed to sit on top of the Internet, then too discrimination per protocol or content would be permitted.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. SaveTheInternet.eu: Act Now For Net Neutrality!

    A broad coalition of civil Liberties NGOs launched SaveTheInternet.eu, a campaign to protect Net neutrality in upcoming EU legislation. A recent proposal from the European Commission will restrict freedom of speech on the Internet, increase prices and stifle online innovation unless urgent action is taken. Citizens should contact parliamentarians in the European Parliament’s Industry Committee and urge them to defend the open Internet.

  2. U.S. appeals court kills net neutrality
  3. Key provision of net-neutrality law struck down by court
  4. Net Neutrality Is Dead — Here’s How to Get It Back

    Three judges in D.C. just killed Net Neutrality.

    This could be the end of the Internet as we know it. But it doesn’t have to be.

    The big news: A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order. This decision means that companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon — which brought the lawsuit — are now free to block or slow down any website, application or service they like.

    These companies will rush to change the Web and line their own pockets at our expense — creating new tolls for app makers, expensive price tiers for popular sites, and fast lanes open only to the few content providers that can afford them.

  5. Net neutrality gets a kick in the teeth

    A US court has ruled against the FCC’s Open Internet regulations, putting the future of net neutrality completely up in the air.

  6. Open Internet Ruling: No Change for Consumers’ Ability to Access and Use the Internet
  7. Federal Court Strikes Down Net Neutrality Rules, Sides with Big Telecom

    A U.S. Appeals Court just invalidated the FCC’s net neutrality rules that would’ve made it illegal for telecom companies to favor certain types of traffic over others. The court ruled that the commission lacked the authority to implement and enforce such rules which were embedded in a complicated legal framework.

  8. AT&T Says Sponsored Data Doesn’t Violate Net Neutrality: Internet Advocates Argue Mobile Practices Are Unfair

    AT&T’s (NYSE:T) Sponsored Data announcement at 2014 International CES instantly drew concerns from Internet advocates and even the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC. However, the wireless communications giant is unfazed by public response, maintaining that Sponsored Data complies with FCC Net neutrality rules.

  9. AT&T Thumbs Nose at Net Neutrality With ‘Sponsored’ Bandwidth Scheme
  10. AT&T’s ‘Sponsored Data’ Program An Admission That Data Caps Have Nothing To Do With Congestion
  11. AT&T turns data caps into profits with new fees for content providers

Privacy Watch: Latest Stories

Posted in Action at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News regarding privacy from the weekend and so far this week

  • Google begins to merge Google+, Gmail contacts
  • Google links social network contacts to Gmail
  • Man Jailed for Gmail Invite to Ex-Girlfriend
  • Stephen Colbert urged to cancel speech for NSA-linked privacy firm RSA

    Privacy rights groups are calling on comedian Stephen Colbert to cancel his guest speaker appearance at a conference organised by RSA, the security firm accused of accepting millions from the National Security Agency to weaken encryption software.

  • Ron Wyden: the future of NSA programs is being determined now

    A key US senator left one meeting at the White House with the impression that President Obama has yet to decide on specific reforms. “The debate is clearly fluid,” senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a longtime critic of bulk surveillance, told the Guardian after the meeting. “My sense is the president, and the administration, is wrestling with these issues,” Wyden said.

  • Advocacy groups plan day of protest against NSA surveillance

    The protest, called the Day We Fight Back, comes a month after the anniversary of Internet activist Aaron Swartz’s death. Swartz committed suicide last January while facing a 35-year prison sentence for hacking into a Massachusetts Institute of Technology network and downloading research articles.

    Among the organizations participating in the protest are Demand Progress, an activist group Swartz co-founded, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, Reddit and Mozilla.

  • Introducing the TGM SecureDrop Vault

    Today The Global Mail introduces a new, secure way for sources to work with our journalists to expose wrongdoing. The TGM Vault is powered by SecureDrop, “an open-source whistleblower submission system”, managed by Freedom of the Press Foundation. The Vault is a discreet, private place to share information the public has a right to know about; think of it as the digital age equivalent of the parking garage where Bob Woodward met Deep Throat. It’s the most sophisticated of many ways sources can communicate with The Global Mail.

    [...]

    The code for SecureDrop was originally written by the late Aaron Swartz, a 26-year-old computer programmer and open-government activist who – facing prosecution for downloading paywalled academic research articles – committed suicide a year ago today, January 11, 2013. In creating SecureDrop, Swartz was assisted by Wired editor Kevin Poulsen and security expert James Dolan, who has continued to refine the program’s code with the Freedom of the Press Foundation. The Foundation continually audits and tests SecureDrop’s security.

  • Hacking of MIT website marks first anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s death

    Saturday marked one year since the death of the internet activist Aaron Swartz. The 26-year-old, who was one of the builders of Reddit, killed himself in New York City on Friday 11 January 2013.

    At the time of his death, Swartz was facing trial over charges of hacking arising from the downloading of millions of documents from the online research group JSTOR. He faced up to 50 years in prison.

    On Saturday, the home page of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was hacked, reportedly by the Anonymous group. Last year Swartz’s family accused MIT and government prosecutors of being complicit in his death.

  • White House meets with privacy advocates to discuss NSA surveillance
  • EU report reveals massive scope of secret NSA surveillance
  • MEPs seek video link with Snowden for NSA spying probe
  • NSA spy scandal dissuading firms from using the US cloud
  • Snowden NSA Leaks: India’s Election Commission Dumps Google
  • Former NSA Officials Detail Failures of Agency Programs in Memo to Obama

    The details of the THINTHREAD development and the decision by senior NSA officials eventually to discard it are part of a new memo sent to President Barack Obama by a group of former agency officials, some of whom were directly involved in the system’s development. The memo, signed by William Binney, Thomas Drake, Edward Loomis and J. Kirk Wiebe, asks Obama to meet with the former intelligence officers to discuss the recent NSA revelations and the recommendations of the president’s own review group on how to fix the agency.

  • NSA makes final push to retain most mass surveillance powers
  • Privacy as last line of defense: Snowden’s revelations changed the world in 2013

    For the actions of Snowden have indeed laid bare the fact that we are living in a global crisis of civilization. To date it is estimated that we have only seen about 1 percent of the documents he disclosed – the merest hint of the tip of a monstrous iceberg. What further horrors await us in 2014 and beyond?

  • France Inter radio interview at CCC
  • FBI Director ‘Confused’ By Reports Calling Snowden A Hero

    FBI Director Jim Comey says he’s “confused” by reports that characterize NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a “whistleblower” or a “hero” because, he says, all three branches of America’s government have approved the bulk collection of U.S. phone records, one of the most important revelations in Snowden’s cascade of leaks.

  • Jesse ‘The Mind’ Ventura: Snowden A Patriot, Hero

    Edward Snowden is a hero and a patriot says ex-Minnesota governor and wrestling star Jesse Ventura.

  • E.U. Panel Invites Snowden to Testify on Privacy Breaches

    A European Parliament committee has invited Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has leaked classified government documents and is now in hiding in Russia, to testify via video link as part of an investigation into how to protect the privacy of European citizens.

  • Hackers gain ‘full control’ of critical SCADA systems
  • GPG, subkeys, the genius of it!
  • Opinion: Social security without the surveillance

    This past year has been the one when it finally came out in the open that we’re all under surveillance – on the internet, on the phone – 24 hours a day.

  • Two decades on, we must preserve the internet as a tool of democracy

    Some 25 years after Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote his proposal, the challenge is to protect rights to privacy and freedom of opinion online

  • EU Parliament committee report
  • European Parliamentary rapporteur denounces NSA/GCHQ spying as illegal
  • NSA Snooping Triggers Foreign Business Flight From US Cloud Services

    A survey conducted by Vancouver, British Columbia-based web hosting service PEER 1 finds that a quarter of Canadian and UK businesses are looking outside of US borders for data storage. Companies outside of the US are leery of using data services hosted in the country due to the spying activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

  • Obama legacy on line with NSA
  • Internet chieftains press Obama over NSA spy swoops

    Bosses from Internet giants including Twitter and Facebook Tuesday pressed President Barack Obama for reforms of US spy agency snooping, adding to rising heat from the courts and American allies.

  • The Gang Of Eight: Chris Hedges and William Binney on Obama NSA Guidelines

    Chris Hedges and NSA whistle-blower William Binney tell Paul Jay, in his “Reality Asserts Itself” program, that there should be accountability, including the President himself, for the criminal practices used by the NSA against the American people.

  • Aaron Swartz’s spirit animates NSA protest movement a year after his death

    One year ago today, internet activist and technologist Aaron Swartz ended his life. For over a year, Swartz had been fighting a brutal federal case stemming from his sneaky placement of a laptop in an MIT wiring closet, which pilfered stores of academic articles from the JSTOR database. The goal: give 4.8 million scholarly articles to the masses, which Swartz argued was humanity’s birthright in his “Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto“:

  • Goodman: The FBI, the NSA and a long-held secret revealed

    This week, more news emerged about the theft of classified government documents, leaked to the press, that revealed a massive, top-secret surveillance program. No, not news of Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency, but of a group of anti-Vietnam war activists who perpetrated one of the most audacious thefts of government secrets in U.S. history, and who successfully evaded capture, remaining anonymous for more than 40 years. Among them: two professors, a day-care provider and a taxi driver.

  • RSA Show Boycott Spreads in Wake of NSA Allegations
  • NSA Leaks Continue to Pose Challenges for U.S. Firms

    One nation asks for new parts on two satellites for fear of U.S. eavesdropping. Other companies spend money to show that their products do not contain “spycraft.”

  • Letter: Edward Snowden is a whistleblower

    Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA routinely lied to Congress, which is a serious federal crime. These revelations make him a whistleblower who should be protected under U.S. law.

  • Former NSA worker whistleblower in finest U.S. tradition

    Snowden is by definition a whistleblower because his revelations have inspired widespread public ire, curiosity, debate and political action. It appears that citizens needed to know what the NSA was hiding. Snowden is simply more famous than the nuclear plant workers and the documents he leaked were more highly classified. He is also more vulnerable to severe punishment because he worked in the U.S. intelligence industry.

    [...]

    My wish is for the custodians of these documents to deliver bundles – or megabytes – to good reporters.

  • Aaron Swartz documentary clip reveals his thoughts on the ‘spying program’ & the NSA (video)

    One year after the death of Aaron Swartz, a group of Internet activists joined up to protest against what they call “mass suspicionless surveillance.”

  • Spying on Congress

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wrote to Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, and asked plainly whether the NSA has been or is now spying on members of Congress or other public officials.

    The senator’s letter was no doubt prompted by the revelations of Edward Snowden to the effect that the federal government’s lust for personal private data about all Americans and many foreigners knows no bounds and its respect for the constitutionally protected and statutorily enforced right to privacy is nonexistent.

  • Snowden evidence to European Parliament risks damaging EU-US relations

    The decision by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties to invite ex-CIA worker Edward Snowden to give evidence by video link from Moscow on the US National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance of EU citizens has divided MEPs amid fears of damaging US-EU relations.

  • More DHS-funded Police Surveillance Cameras; No Drop in Crime

    Thousands of surveillance cameras are showing up in cities across the country without a corresponding reduction in crime. Citizens are taking notice of this fact of the federal takeover of local police, and they are speaking out.

    On January 8, for example, the Texas Civil Rights Project-Houston issued a statement on its Facebook page criticizing their city’s participation in the construction of the surveillance state.

  • The Source of the Section 702 Limitations: Special Needs?
  • The EU Parliamentary Inquiry’s Report on Mass Surveillance

    After about five months of hearings and investigating, the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee has published its report on the revelations about mass surveillance leaked by the American former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

  • NSA Phone Spying is Useless in Preventing Terrorist Attacks, Study Says

    As you probably suspected, the NSA’s massive phone record collection “has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism,” according to a new study. In fact—and perhaps more interestingly—the agency’s real problem isn’t a lack of information. It’s an excess of secrecy.

  • NSA snooping fails to prevent terrorist attacks, watchdog group says
  • Here’s Another Analysis of How Useless the NSA’s Metadata Collection Program Is
  • NSA mass surveillance pretty useless in battle against terrorism – research
  • NSA Surveillance Rarely Useful, Study Shows
  • NSA ‘Spying Stopped Terrorism’ Claims ‘Overblown and Misleading’

    The NSA’s controversial spying programs have had “no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism,” a new study by the New America Foundation has claimed.

  • John McCain seeks congressional investigation into ‘broken’ NSA
  • Edward Snowden worked at US Embassy in Delhi as NSA contractor: Report

    He stayed there till September 9 while he took classes, and then returned for one more night at the Hyatt before leaving India on September 11, the school was quoted as saying.

  • Revealed: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden worked at U.S. embassy in India
  • Researcher describes ease to detect, derail and exploit NSA’s Lawful Interception
  • NSA Goes From Saying Bulk Metadata Collection ‘Saves Lives’ To ‘Prevented 54 Attacks’ To ‘Well, It’s A Nice Insurance Policy’
  • MLK: Also a victim of NSA surveillance

    Martin Luther King Jr. day is being celebrated on January 20th 2014 amid heated debate on massive dragnet surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). Ironically, he was himself a victim of NSA surveillance as unveiled by declassified documents in September last year. Dr. King’s status as an NSA target has been known since the 1970s; nevertheless, this was probably the first time that the U.S. government had declassified it.

  • EU parliamentary inquiry finds NSA and GCHQ snooping activities ‘illegal’

    The investigation ruled that activities of NSA and GCHQ have ‘profoundly shaken’ the faith between countries that believed themselves supporters.

  • I Spent Two Hours Talking With the NSA’s Bigwigs. Here’s What Has Them Mad

    My expectations were low when I asked the National Security Agency to cooperate with my story on the impact of Edward Snowden’s leaks on the tech industry. During the 1990s, I had been working on a book, Crypto, which dove deep into cryptography policy, and it took me years — years! — to get an interview with an employee crucial to my narrative. I couldn’t quote him, but he provided invaluable background on the Clipper Chip, an ill-fated NSA encryption runaround that purported to strike a balance between protecting personal privacy and maintaining national security.

    [...]

    Why the turnaround? Apparently, the rep told me, Crypto has some fans at Fort Meade. But my professional credentials were obviously not the sole reason for the invite. The post-Snowden NSA has been forced to adopt a more open PR strategy. With its practices, and even its integrity, under attack, its usual Sphinx-like demeanor would not do.

  • Congress Defers to President on NSA Reform

    Congress’s decline from the Founders’ vision as “first among equals” in government to an echo chamber of the unitary executive, has been a slow but steady process. In the process we have seen a steady stream of unconstitutional wars and civil liberties abuses at home. Nowhere is this decline more evident than in the stark contrast between the Congressional response to intelligence agencies’ abuses during the post-Watergate era and its response to the far more serious NSA abuses uncovered in recent years.

  • NSA revelations prompt Canadian, UK businesses to reconsider US cloud

    As revelations of the US’s widespread digital intelligence gathering techniques continue to populate headlines worldwide, non-US businesses’ trust in American providers of cloud services continues to plummet. A study published at the end of last week suggests one in four Canadian and UK businesses are moving their data outside the US in a bid to evade the NSA’s watchful eye, a significant increase on results reported just six months ago.

  • Out in the Open: An NSA-Proof Twitter, Built With Code From Bitcoin and BitTorrent

    When mass political protests erupted throughout Brazil in June, Miguel Freitas did what countless others did: He followed the news on Twitter. Tweets revealed information he couldn’t get anywhere else, including the mainstream media. “Brazilian media is highly concentrated,” says Freitas, an engineer based in Rio de Janeiro. “I have been able to read news that a lot of friends never heard about.”

  • Ten Myths About the NSA, Debunked
  • NSA apologists misunderstand true privacy

    Maintaining the public’s side of that equation means that the public must be in a continuing state of rebellion against the forces working against the public interest. That’s where whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden come in.

  • 500 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent

    While the Fourth Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution] was most immediately the product of contemporary revulsion against a regime of writs of assistance, its roots go far deeper. Its adoption in the Constitution of this new Nation reflected the culmination in England a few years earlier of a struggle against oppression which had endured for centuries. The story of that struggle has been fully chronicled in the pages of this Court’s reports, and it would be a needless exercise in pedantry to review again the detailed history of the use of general warrants as instruments of oppression from the time of the Tudors, through the Star Chamber, the Long Parliament, the Restoration, and beyond.

  • Posting a child’s life for the world to see is a privacy issue
  • Top Secret NSA in 1953: We Need Better Spies, Please

    More than a half-century before Edward Snowden slipped out the door with the National Security Agency’s most closely held secrets, a panel convened by the then-fledgling agency warned of a Soviet nuclear attack and said there was a big vulnerability in the NSA’s ability to see it coming: its own people.

  • NSA phone data collection ‘not essential’, judiciary chair says – live
  • With NSA review ‘near completion,’ German media hold little hope of ‘no spy’ deal

    The White House has said that its review of NSA spying in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations is “near completion,” but reports in Germany suggest several of Berlin’s demands are already off the table.

  • Germans abandon hope of US ‘no-spy’ treaty
  • Stalemate in US-Germany talks over ‘no spy’ agreement – report
  • Phone companies wary of change to NSA spying

    Telephone companies are quietly balking at the idea of changing how they collect and store Americans’ phone records to help the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. They’re worried about their exposure to lawsuits and the price tag if the U.S. government asks them to hold information about customers for longer than they already do.

  • You Had One Job to Do: The NSA Doesn’t Actually Stop Terrorism

    For supporters of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, the monitoring of American phone and web activity is a cheap price to pay for keeping our country safe from terrorist attacks. But how many terrorists attacks does the NSA’s eavesdropping actually prevent? Seeing as the intelligence organization is spending time and money listening to the German chancellor’s cell phone calls, it’s a little hard to believe that they are also shutting down terrorist cells around the globe.

  • Privacy Advocates Want Colbert to Cancel a Speech at an NSA-Linked Company

    Stephen Colbert has done tons of sarcastic and critical segments about the NSA (“The more I learn the safer I feel,” he said in October), but now he’s being called on to put those words into action. Colbert is scheduled to speak at an annual conference organized by security firm RSA, but privacy advocates are agitating for him to withdraw because of reports that the NSA paid RSA $10 million to weaken one of its own encryption algorithms.

  • If You Want Obama to Rein In the NSA, You’re About to Be Disappointed

    The president will embrace some surveillance reforms, but he’s not about to scale back the national security state.

  • The Presidential Task Force on the NSA, A Diversionary Tactic Not Meant to Uncover All The Wrongdoing

    What seems par for the course in America, after a serious trauma affects the nation such as the Kennedy assassination or 9/11 or now over revelations of government wrongdoing exposed by Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing of the NSA’s collection of electronic communications of just about everyone here and abroad, what usually happens is the president calls for a commission to investigate.

    Call it something to soothe the public’s anguish, (Kennedy and 9/11) or indignation over violation of people’s privacy rights (NSA) but in reality these commissions are a sideshow, a diversionary tactic where the investigation isn’t thorough and complete and the truth behind the wrongdoing is far from being discovered.

    As to the latest commission, a presidential task force looking into the NSA’s data mining operation, has recently concluded there is no evidence in any instance where the NSA’s snooping operations prevented a terrorist attack. None!

  • NSA official: mass spying has foiled one (or fewer) plots in its whole history

    During an NPR interview, the NSA’s outgoing deputy director John C Inglis — the top civilian official in the NSA hierarchy — admitted that the NSA’s mass surveillance program had foiled a total of one terrorist plot (an attempt to wire some money to al-Shabaab in Somalia) in its entire history. But he doesn’t want to get rid of his agency’s program of spying on everything every American does, because it’s an “insurance policy” in case someone tries the kind of terrorist attack that it might foil.

  • February 11 Will Be A Bad Day For The NSA But A Good Day For Freedom

    Edward Snowden revealed last summer that the U.S. is conducting mass surveillance of our internet activity, and now the internet is fighting back. On Feb. 11, a collection of popular sites and activist groups are staging a mass protest against the National Security Administration (NSA) and the blanket, warrantless spying that they do in the name of security.

  • NSA’s Preference for Metadata

    A slide from material leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Washington Post, showing what happens when an NSA analyst ·tasks· the PRISM system for information about a new surveillance target.

    [...]

    Former NSA Director Michael Hayden long ago made it clear that – given the rapid changes in networked communications and associated technologies – NSA needed to master the “net.” There was no mistaking the intent. He even said he consulted with large Internet companies and their experts in Silicon Valley.

  • NSA Snooping Had ‘Minimal’ Impact On Fighting Terrorism

    The US National Security Agency’s (NSA) dragnet that drew in masses of ordinary citizens’ communications data only supplied “minimal” assistance in catching terrorists, according to a report from the New America Foundation.

  • Did the NSA kill Hugo Chavez?

    Hugo Chavez was always a stone in the imperial shoe. Underestimated by analysts and consultants ‘Cold War mind’ in Washington, Chavez ended the influence and domination of the United States in Latin America in less than a decade. Transformed Venezuela from a dependent country and delivered to American culture and politics to be a sovereign, free, independent, dignified and proud of its roots, its history and its Indo-Afro-American culture.He rescued the control of strategic resources not only in Venezuela, but throughout Latin America, always with the banner of social justice. He promoted regional integration and the creation of organizations such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), among others. His stand against U.S. aggression hand gave an example and an inspiration to millions around the world, who viewed with hope the revolution in Venezuela and its regional expansion.

  • Did the NSA kill Hugo Chavez?

    The leaked documents from the NSA by Edward Snowden revealed that President Chavez and his government were on the list of the six main targets of U.S. intelligence since at least 2007. Just one year ago, the White House created a special intelligence mission to Venezuela that reported directly to the National Director of Intelligence, above the CIA and 15 other intelligence agencies in the United States. A special mission was completely illegal, with great resources and capabilities. There were only two other missions that style: for Iran and North Korea. Venezuela include two enemy countries was held in Washington indicator of threat posed by Hugo Chavez to U.S. power.

  • Reddit, Mozilla And Others To Protest NSA Spying, Honor Aaron Swartz On ‘The Day We Fight Back’

    A coalition of Internet activist groups has announced a worldwide day of solidarity and activism opposing the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs and honoring the memory of open-Internet activist Aaron Swartz.

  • Brazilian hacker creates Twitter-like app shielded from NSA gaze
  • Debunking the “NSA Mass Surveillance Could Have Stopped 9/11″ Myth

    It’s something that we’re hearing a lot, both from NSA Director General Keith Alexander and others: the NSA’s mass surveillance programs could have stopped 9/11. It’s not true, and recently two people have published good essays debunking this claim.

  • Obama Would Have To Unveil ‘Black Budget’ For Spy Agencies Under New Bipartisan Bill
  • Dangerous Ruling In Virginia Allows Cleaning Company To Identify Anonymous Yelp Critics

    Last year, we wrote about a troubling case in Virginia, in which a cleaning company, Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, sued seven anonymous Yelp reviewers in an attempt to discover who they were. Hadeed did not dispute the contents of the negative reviews, but rather said that, comparing the information to their own database, they could not identify the reviewers, and thus believed that they might not actually have been customers. Thus, Hadeed claims, the reviews would be defamatory since they didn’t actually represent the experiences of actual customers. Yelp fought back on behalf of its users, pointing out that the First Amendment protects anonymous speech. Yelp pointed out that 11 different states had adopted the so-called Dendrite rules concerning the high bar necessary to force a company to reveal anonymous commenters. The basic idea is that you need to really show that the law has almost certainly been broken before you can identify the individuals.

  • Announcing Our New Freedom of the Press Foundation Board Member, Edward Snowden

    Edward Snowden said:

    It is tremendously humbling to be called to serve the cause of our free press. . . on FPF’s Board of Directors. The unconstitutional gathering of the communications records of everyone in America threatens our most basic rights, and the public should have a say in whether or not that continues. Thanks to the work of our free press, today we do, and if the NSA won’t answer to Congress, they’ll have to answer to the newspapers, and ultimately, the people.

01.10.14

Snowden’s Impact Continues to Drive Change in 2014

Posted in Action at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Edward Snowden

Summary: The past week’s news about the NSA, its partners, and corporate spying

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