02.20.14

Gemini version available ♊︎

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday News: The Descent to Totality

Posted in News Roundup at 8:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Closure of society, assassination, surveillance, and rendering of certain speech “a crime”

Solutions

  • YaCy Team Celebrates Successful Campaign

    YaCy is a Linux OS and software stack designed to de-centralize the Internet by allowing users to build their own peer-to-peer search portals, limiting its potential only by the number of active users connected to the Internet. The technology can also be used for Intranet searches on corporate and school sites. The user only needs to download and install the software stack on a dedicated machine in order to contribute to the network.

Corporate Spying

  • NSA Authorized Monitoring of Pirate Bay and Proxy Users

    New leaked documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA authorized the monitoring of torrent sites including “malicious foreign actor” The Pirate Bay. The internal discussions further indicate that tracking people through multiple proxies is possible and suggest that once a release is made on Pirate Bay it’s possible to go back over old traffic to see where it originated from.

  • Gabe Newell denies Valve Anti-Cheat tracks your browser history

    Addressing recent concerns that its Steam anti-cheat program Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) is sending users’ browsing history back to the company, co-founder Gabe Newell took to Reddit to calm these fears.

  • Bad for Business: Five Companies Release Numbers Concerning NSA Spying

    Requests to LinkedIn from the government for information affected fewer than 250 accounts. This number reflects the choice that LinkedIn made with regard to the disclosure of information request statistics. The government gave companies two choices for revealing national security request numbers. Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook all chose to report “content” and “non-content” requests separately, which the government required be done in increments of 1,000. LinkedIn opted to lump both types of requests together in their report, which allowed them to report in increments of 250.

War on Journalism

  • The Security State Crushes Ever Tighter

    The disgraceful judges of Britain’s High Court – who have gone along with torture, extraordinary rendition, every single argument for mass surveillance and hiding information from the public, and even secret courts – have ruled that it was lawful for the Home Office to detain David Miranda, a journalist as information he was carrying might in some undefined way, and if communicated to them, aid “terrorists”.

  • UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law

    A British lower court has ruled that London police acted lawfully in employing an anti-terror statute to detain and interrogate David Miranda for nearly nine hours at Heathrow Airport last summer, even while recognizing that the detention was “an indirect interference with press freedom.”

  • NSA (and GCHQ) spying: Targeting WikiLeaks, Snowden lawyer, etc.
  • NSA Surveillance: Not For Terrorism, Not Even to Curb Privacy
  • NSA, GCHQ targeted WikiLeaks network
  • Julian Assange on Being Placed on NSA “Manhunting” List and Secret Targeting of WikiLeaks Supporters

    Top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden have revealed new details about how the United States and Britain targeted the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks after it published leaked documents about the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. According to a new article by The Intercept, Britain’s top spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, secretly monitored visitors to a WikiLeaks website by collecting their IP addresses in real time, as well as the search terms used to reach the site. One document from 2010 shows that the National Security Agency added WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to a “manhunting” target list, together with suspected members of al-Qaeda. We speak to Assange live from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has sought political asylum since 2012. Also joining us is his lawyer Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Edward Snowden

War on Free Speech (“for the Children!”)

  • With Porn Filters Going Oh So Well, UK Roars Ahead In Expanding Them To Include ‘Extremist’ Content

    The UK government’s futile and ham-fisted attempts to purge the Internet of all of its rough edges and naughty bits are about to see international escalation. The country is only really just kicking off their campaign to impose porn filters that not only often don’t work, but also have so far managed to accidentally block numerous entirely legal and useful websites including technology news sites like Slashdot, digital rights groups like the EFF, rape counseling websites, and more. David Cameron’s government has long-stated they want this filtering to eventually extend to websites deemed “extremist” by the government, and it appears that new proposals being drafted hope to make that a reality sooner rather than later.

    Just as child porn is used to justify broader porn filters, beheading videos appear to be the magic bullet into scaring people into accepting filters that move well beyond porn. According to the BBC, government-funded operations within the counter-terrorism referral unit will soon order UK broadband ISPs like TalkTalk, Virgin Media and BSkyB to expand filters to include websites declared to be promoting terrorism. As most filter opponents have warned, the slope in the UK is moving beyond slippery and is getting downright muddy thanks in part to new UK Immigration Minister James Brokenshire…

  • Working together for a better Internet for children

    Because there are many different actors involved – all with their role to play. There’s a lot that can be done by the ICT sector itself – after all, they make a lot of the tools, devices and services that kids use. The coalition of CEOs I set up is looking at areas from reporting harmful content to age classification – now I’m hoping we can scale up actions, reach out to and inform everyone – including with durable public-private partnerships.

War on Critics

Spin and Admissions

  • Reading Between the Lines of Redacted NSA Documents

    Responding to the revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the U.S. government has provided unprecedented transparency about the nation’s spying apparatus—all in a bid to quell public dissent—by releasing thousands of pages of once-classified documents.

    The government even has released formerly secret documents criticizing itself for breaching Americans’ privacy rights while also divulging the once-secret legal basis for its bulk telephone metadata collection program. But many documents contain redactions—or black marks—in key places.

  • US intelligence chief: NSA should have been more open about data collection
  • National Intelligence Director Finally Says He’s Sorry For NSA Overstep, But Is It Too Late?

    “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I will,” National Intelligence Director James Clapper said in an exclusive Daily Beast interview on government surveillance.He continued, “had we been transparent about this from the outset right after 9/11—which is the genesis of the 215 program [part of the Patriot Act]—and said both to the American people and to their elected representatives, we need to cover this gap, we need to make sure this never happens to us again, so here is what we are going to set up, here is how it’s going to work, and why we have to do it, and here are the safeguards…We wouldn’t have had the problem we had [with the Snowden revelations].”

  • Intelligence chief says NSA should have been transparent about mass surveillance

    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has weathered a firestorm of criticism in the months since Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing the NSA’s bulk surveillance activity. Since then, he has declassified numerous documents as a means of showing transparency on the part of the government. However, in an interview with The Daily Beast, Clapper goes so far as to say that had the agency been transparent about data collection from the beginning, the issue would not have exploded into a scandal.

Anti-Social Official

Getting the Word Out

  • Seeing secrets: Trevor Paglen on photographing the NSA’s headquarters

    Artist Trevor Paglen spends much of his time photographing places you’re not supposed to see, whether that’s desert military bases or mountainside listening posts or classified spacecraft. His first photographic monograph, Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes, captured those secret spaces as hazy, nearly unreadable images: a collection of lights on the horizon, or a dark smear across the sky. He’s also reported on the CIA’s covert rendition flights and collected 70 military patches representing secret government projects.

  • NSA ANTICS PROMPT ALLY TO TURN SPIES LOOSE ON U.S.

NSA Expansion

  • NSA reaches its tentacles into space

    On Dec. 5, the National Security Agency (NSA) launched a spy satellite called NROL-39 into space. In the midst of the Snowden scandal coupled with the revelations of NSA’s extensive spying, the NSA earned itself an Orwellian “Big Brother is watching you” reputation. Rather than try to curb this reputation, the NSA chose a logo for the rocket that reinforced it. The logo depicts a giant octopus with its tentacles wrapped around planet Earth. Beneath this image, a motto reads, “Nothing is beyond our reach.”

  • Homeland Security wants to be the NSA of car snooping

    DHS wants to implement a nationwide license plate tracking system. And yes, that means tracking everyone, everywhere.

Illegal Behaviour/Surveillance as “Anti-Crime”

  • NSA weighs enlarging collection of Americans’ phone records: media

    The U.S. government is considering enlarging its National Security Agency’s (NSA) controversial collection of Americans’ phone records — an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the surveillance program, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

  • Judicial Rules May Force Feds to Save Old NSA Phone Records

    The government is considering hording old phone records that have been amassed as part of the National Security Agency’s controversial data dragnet, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website Wednesday night.

    The newspaper said that with a lawsuit filed, federal court rules may force the spy agency to stop what has been a routine purge of records older than five years — setting up an awkward choice for the government to either hold onto data that some argue has been collected unconstitutionally, or ditch it and be accused of criminal destruction of evidence.

  • Will US expand NSA surveillance?

Opinions

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein defends NSA and need for intelligence gathering

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) offered a full-throated defense of the government’s collection of data on billions of American phone calls, saying Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s practices have safeguarded the nation without trampling on civil liberties.

    “What keeps me up at night, candidly, is another attack against the United States. And I see enough of the threat stream to know that is possible,” Feinstein said at a Pacific Council on International Policy dinner in Century City.

  • Stop NSA snooping
  • Americans must fight back against NSA invasions of privacy

    America is the “land of the free.” Or so we thought. The National Security Agency’s constant monitoring of American citizens through their Internet use has led many Americans to feel like their freedom and rights are at risk.

    Until last year, many people were unaware that the American government was tracking their every move. Some were not even sure what the NSA actually was. When Edward Snowden released NSA secrets to the public in 2013, citizens were outraged. I remember feeling violated by the government when I found out that the NSA tracks pretty much everything we do through technology.

War on Silent Protest

  • Ex CIA analyst sues US State Dept for charging him with anti-war activism

    A former CIA analyst claims in court that police at George Washington University “forcibly and falsely” arrested him for turning his back to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2011 speech on Internet freedom. McGovern says the arrest violated his First Amendment rights, as Clinton “was not impeded or disrupted in any way” because of his “silent expression of dissent.” As he was being dragged out of the auditorium by the police, Hillary Clinton was encouraging other governments to be tolerant to protestors and respect freedom of speech.

  • Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Sues State Dept. For Putting Him On Watch List
  • Antiwar Activist Decries Arrest for ‘Silent Dissent’

    A former CIA analyst and antiwar activist claims in court that police at George Washington University “forcibly and falsely” arrested him for turning his back to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2011 speech on Internet freedom.

  • The Brutal Arrest and Political Targeting of Ray McGovern: McGovern v. Kerry et al.

    The circumstances of McGovern’s 2011 arrest were marked by stinging irony. McGovern was brutalized and arrested after peacefully and silently standing with his back to Hillary Clinton as she gave a policy speech condemning authoritarian governments who repress dissenters and internet freedom.

    As described in the Civil Complaint: “As Secretary Clinton was reading from her prepared remarks regarding Egypt’s dictatorship saying, ‘Then the government pulled the plug,’ the then-71-year-old McGovern was forcibly and falsely arrested by GWU police officers, grabbed by the head, assaulted, and as Secretary Clinton continued undisturbed stating, ‘the government … did not want the world to watch,’ Mr. McGovern was removed from public view with excessive and brutal force, taken to jail, and left bleeding with bruises and contusions.”

War on Due Process (Drones)

  • Presidential Restraint Is Alive and Well

    The petition reads:

    “Mr. President, Without making any exception for the president, the Constitution requires adherence to the Fifth Amendment. ‘Due process’ is mandatory, not optional. Legality is a question of law, not policy. You are not allowed to kill whoever you want on your own say-so.”

    Within the first several hours, over 10,000 people had signed.

  • The Movement is in Silos – Medea Benjamin on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)

    Medea Benjamin is co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human rights organization Global Exchange. She has been organizing against U.S. military interventions, promoting the rights of Palestinians and calling for no war on Iran. Her latest work includes an effort to stop CIA drone attacks, and she is the author of a new book, “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.”

  • How the White House Became a Killing Machine

    Imagine this: a president and his top officials as self-professed assassins — and proud of it, even attempting to gain political capital from it. It’s not that American presidents have never been associated with assassination attempts before. At a National Security Council meeting, Dwight D. Eisenhower personally ordered the CIA to “eliminate” Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, then feared as a future “Castro of Africa.” “After a dead silence of fifteen seconds,” Tim Weiner tells us in Legacy of Ashes, his history of the CIA, “the meeting went on.” And the Kennedy brothers were evidently involved in at least one attempt to kill Fidel Castro, while the CIA of Lyndon Johnson’s era mounted a massive assassination program in Vietnam. Still, in those days, something dark and distasteful clung to the idea and presidents preferred to maintain what was called “plausible deniability” when it came to such efforts. (In 1981, by Executive Order, President Ronald Reagan actually banned assassination by the U.S. government.)

  • US drone operators do not know who they kill

    Pakistani human rights organizations have evidence that the real scale of attacks of US drones on Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan is much higher than what the official reports are saying. This means that the number of victims of these attacks (and these victims are usually civilians) is also much higher than it is commonly believed.

  • America’s drone attacks in Pakistan

    Civilians are dying. Campaigners are being kidnapped. The world cannot turn a blind eye to America’s drone attacks in Pakistan

  • Pakistan drone strike pause is the longest of Obama’s presidency
  • No drone attack for 55 days
  • McCain Vows New Fight Over Control of US Armed Drone Program

    A senior US lawmaker intends to renew his fight to require the Obama administration to fully shift its armed drone program from the CIA to the Defense Department.

  • HRW urges U.S. to probe deadly drone strike in Yemen
  • Report: US drone may have killed dozen civilians
  • Report: Deadly drone strike in Yemen failed to comply with Obama’s rules to protect civilians
  • New report contradicts US version of deadly drone strike
  • US: Yemen Drone Strike May Violate Obama Policy

    A deadly US drone strike on a December 2013 wedding procession in Yemen raises serious concerns about US forces’ compliance with President Barack Obama’s targeted killing policy, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

  • Complaint Filed at International Criminal Court Over NATO Allies’ Complicity in US Drone Strikes
  • UK shared ops room where drone targets were identified – Yemen president

    Yemen’s president has said that the UK is a participant in a secret ‘joint operations control room’ in Yemen’s capital, from which individuals who are ‘going to be targeted’ are identified.

    President Abdel Rabbo Mansur al Hadi made the claim while speaking to Human Rights Watch (HRW) researchers about covert US drone operations in his country.

    The US, Yemen and Nato were also participants in the control room, the president added. A Yemeni government official told the researchers the room was used for ‘intelligence-sharing activities’ rather than purely for counter-terror operations.

  • Congress Unconscionably Silent on Obama’s Constitutional Crimes

    The president’s willingness to violate the Constitution publicly calls into question his fitness for office.

  • Drone Morality

    Kinane is from Syracuse. He was arrested outside the gates of Hancock Field.

  • Why is the world turning a blind eye to US drone strikes?

    Karim Khan is a lucky man. When you’re picked up by 20 armed thugs, some in police uniform – aka the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – you can be “disappeared” forever. A mass grave in Balochistan, in the south-west of the country, has just been found, filled with the “missing” from previous arrests. But eight days after he was lifted and – by his own testimony, that of his lawyer Shasad Akbar and the marks still visible on his body – tortured, Mr Khan is back at his Pakistani home. His crime: complaining about US drone attacks – American missiles fired by pilotless aircraft – on civilians inside Pakistan in President Obama’s Strangelove-style operation against al-Qaeda.

  • Report: Yemen drone strike possibly violated international law

    Human rights group condemns missile strike allegedly carried out by the U.S. in December for killing civilians

  • Stewart Blasts Obama on Drones: He’s the ‘All-Time Leader in Outside Battlefield Sky-Killing!’

    Stewart called Obama our “all-time leader in outside battlefield sky-killing’ and mocked the idea that he realizes it’s unconstitutional to kill an American citizen, unless it’s “an American we’d really like to kill.” And the maneuvering around this “aerial citizen reduction program” shows exactly how this White House conducts themselves.

Intervention

  • Is the CIA Messing With Venezuela?

    Democracy and covert machinations on the scale we see today are incompatible.

  • Venezuela: Twitter Photos Blocked as Protests Continue
  • The Libyan Bedlam: General Hifter, the CIA and the Unfinished Coup

    On Friday, Feb. 14, 92 prisoners escaped from their prison in the Libyan town of Zliten. 19 of them were eventually recaptured, two of whom were wounded in clashes with the guards. It was just another daily episode highlighting the utter chaos which has engulfed Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011.

    Much of this is often reported with cliché explanations as in the country’s “security vacuum,” or Libya’s lack of a true national identity. Indeed, tribe and region seem to supersede any other affiliation, but it is hardly that simple.

    On that same Friday, Feb. 14, Maj. Gen. Khalifa Hifter announced a coup in Libya. “The national command of the Libyan Army is declaring a movement for a new road map” (to rescue the country), Hifter declared through a video post. Oddly enough, little followed by way of a major military deployment in any part of the country. The country’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan described the attempted coup as “ridiculous”.

    Others in the military called it a “lie.” One of those who attended a meeting with Hifter prior to the announcement told Al Jazeera that they simply attempted to enforce the national agenda of bringing order, not staging a coup.

  • Vietnam whitewash! How the Pentagon is trying to water down history

    Look to your right, and you see happy Iraqis pulling down Saddam’s statue and showering U.S. Marines with flowers and candy. Was that exactly how it happened? Who really remembers? Now, you’re walking on the flight deck of what they used to call an aircraft carrier behind a flight-suit-clad President George W. Bush. He turns and shoots you a thumbs-up under a “mission accomplished” banner. A voice beamed into your head says that Bush proclaimed victory that day, but that for years afterward, valiant U.S. troops would have to re-win the war again and again. Sounds a little strange, but okay.

    [...]

    Take the August 2, 1964, “Gulf of Tonkin Incident.” It was a key moment of American escalation and, by the looks of the Pentagon’s historical timeline, just what President Lyndon Johnson made it out to be when he went on television to inform the American people of “open aggression” on the part of North Vietnam. “The USS Maddox was attacked by North Vietnamese gunboats in the Gulf of Tonkin,” reads the entry. A later one mentions “U.S. Naval Vessels being fired upon by North Vietnamese on two separate occassions [sic].” Case closed. Or is it?

  • The crazy CIA ship that became an engineering historical landmark

    In 1970s, the CIA used this ship to capture a sunken Russian nuclear submarine — i.e., lifting a 2000-ton object from a depth of three miles to the surface. It was the most expensive intelligence operation ever and it only kind of worked.

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