Monday, August 12, 2013

has the gubmint lied about its snooping?

propublica | Since Edward Snowden leaked a trove of documents detailing the NSA's sweeping surveillance programs, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that part of his congressional testimony in March was "erroneous." But that's not the only questionable comment by administration officials about the programs.

Here are six claims by administration officials about NSA surveillance that have been undermined by recent disclosures.

feature, benefit, what exactly?

dailymail | Apple is following Google's lead by adding a feature to its upcoming operating system that can track a user's every step.

German security firm Protecus has found a setting in the fifth beta release of Apple's iOS 7 software called Feature Locations that tracks a user's GPS coordinates over time and plots them on a map.

This news comes after code was discovered in Google's Android 4.3 software that lets devices scan for nearby networks, in order to determine a person's location, even when Wi-Fi is turned off.

The Apple feature is relatively hidden away on the iOS 7 software - due to be released in October - in Settings, Privacy, Location Services, System Services and Frequent Locations.

It is unclear whether the feature is turned on by default but according to the Protecus security expert: '[The feature] kept track of my complete movement profile (location and time tracking) without me knowing anything.'

Sunday, August 11, 2013

9/11 in the academic community...,

911inacademia | Coming this fall, “9/11 in the Academic Community,” a Winner of the University of Toronto Film Festival, is a unique film that documents academia’s treatment of critical perspectives on 9/11 by exploring the taboo that shields the American government’s narrative from scholarly examination. Through a powerful reflection on intellectual courage and the purpose of academia, the film aims at changing intellectual discourse on 9/11 and the War on Terror.

As well as probing the repercussions several scholars have endured due to their investigation of 9/11, this documentary provides an analysis of impairments in professional inquiry, ranging from the failure to critically reflect on terms functioning as thought-stoppers (such as “conspiracy theory”) to the structural approach that restricts inquiry to the broad implications of 9/11 while shutting out enquiry into the events of the day itself. Morton Brussel, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has stated: “The main thesis of the film concerns the silence of the academic community on this vital issue. I think it is extremely important and very well produced.”

As 9/11 served as the rationale for the Global War on Terror, the expansion of the military and intelligence complex, the invasion of other countries in violation of international law, and the curtailing of civil liberties, the film provides an inspiring demonstration of intellectual courage that will cause many scholars to reflect on the academy’s role and strength to dismantle the war system. As Alvin A. Lee, President Emeritus of McMaster University, has stated in his endorsement of the film: academics should “stand sufficiently outside society intellectually to see, understand, and interpret what is going on.”

operation everyone talk like a terrorist all the time...,

Friday, August 09, 2013

quiet as it's kept, 1% sprang a leak too...,

NYTimes | Hervé Falciani is a professed whistle-blower — the Edward Snowden of banking — who has been hunted by Swiss investigators, jailed by Spaniards and claims to have been kidnapped by Israeli Mossad agents eager for a glimpse of the client data he stole while working for a major financial institution in Geneva. 

“I am weak and alone,” Mr. Falciani said, as three round-the-clock bodyguards provided by the French government looked on with hard stares. The protection was needed, he insisted, because he faces constant risk as the sole key to decipher the encrypted data — five CD-ROMs containing a list of nearly 130,000 account holders that may be the biggest leak ever in the secretive world of Swiss banking. 

But as he settled into a deserted bistro for a two-hour lunch, Mr. Falciani, a former computer technician who has been on the run since 2008, seemed oddly relaxed for a fugitive. And why not? 

He is in high demand these days, having cast himself as a crusader against the murky world of Swiss banking and money laundering. Once dismissed by many European authorities, he and other whistle-blowers are now being courted as the region’s governments struggle to fill their coffers and to stem a populist uprising against tax evasion and corruption. 

“It’s an economic war,” said Mr. Falciani, an angular man of 41 with a dark goatee who sometimes dons disguises, though on a muggy summer afternoon favored an innocuous beige tie and short-sleeved dress shirt. “In Switzerland, the banks are so organized that they are able to circumvent new rules and laws to continue to enable tax evasion.” 

Critics, not least at his former employer HSBC, dismiss Mr. Falciani as a manipulator more dazzled by money than high ideals. The data he has leaked — some say sold — since 2008 has wreaked havoc within the banking world, as well as the moneyed and political classes of Europe. 

Mr. Falciani’s information formed the basis for the now famous “Lagarde list” that has roiled Greek politics with its revelations of oligarchs and politicians who avoided taxes by stashing millions in Switzerland.

His data is also credited with helping Spain collect 260 million euros ($345 million) in taxes and identify more than 650 tax evaders, including the president of Banco Santander.
In 2012, Mr. Falciani passed his information to American authorities. They, in turn, used the data to pursue an investigation into whether HSBC flouted controls on money laundering, eventually forcing a $1.92 billion settlement with the bank in December. 

More than a few rich and powerful people await his next move. Mr. Falciani asserts that only a small portion of the data has been decrypted and used.

nbc's pasty lester calls snowden "alleged american spy"

HuffPo | Esquire's Charles Pierce wrote Thursday that Lester Holt, filling in for Brian William as "NBC Nightly News" anchor, described former NSA contractor Edward Snowden the night before as an "alleged American spy."
While the Obama administration has invoked the Espionage Act in charging Snowden, part of a pattern in cracking down on unsanctioned leaks to the media, there's no evidence Snowden spied for any foreign country.

News organizations typically go with the more neutral "leaker" rather than "whistleblower," as many view Snowden. So did Holt really use "spy"?

Here's what Holt said at the beginning of Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. broadcast in New York, according to TVEyes, a service that allows for searching past TV broadcasts: (emphasis mine)
"While the cold war has been over for more than 20 years, the growing chill of late between Washington and Moscow became downright frosty today as President Obama called off his planned meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin, a response to Russia's grant of asylum to accused American spy Edward Snowden..."
But a clip of the broadcast on the NBC News website features Holt using a different description:
"While the cold war has been over for more than 20 years, the growing chill of late between Washington and Moscow became downright frosty today as President Obama called off his planned meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin, a response to Russia's grant of asylum to admitted NSA leaker Edward Snowden..."
It appears that NBC News tweaked the language for the West Coast broadcast, which would air three hours later. Holt describes Snowden as an "admitted NSA leaker" in the broadcast that aired in Los Angeles, according to a TVEyes search. 

Update: An NBC spokesperson confirmed the language was changed. The spokesperson added that while the original language is correct, based on the espionage charges against Snowden, the network "made an editorial decision to update the broadcast for the sake of clarity and consistency with past reporting." Fist tap Dale.

two providers of secure email shutdown rather than submit...,

NYTimes | Two major secure e-mail service providers on Thursday took the extraordinary step of shutting down service. 

A Texas-based company called Lavabit, which was reportedly used by Edward J. Snowden, announced its suspension Thursday afternoon, citing concerns about secret government court orders. 

By evening, Silent Circle, a Maryland-based firm that counts heads of state among its customers, said it was following Lavabit’s lead and shutting its e-mail service as a protective measure. 

Taken together, the closures signal that e-mails, even if they are encrypted, can be accessed by government authorities and that the only way to prevent turning over the data is to obliterate the servers that the data sits on.

Mike Janke, Silent Circle’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview late Thursday that his company had destroyed its server. “Gone. Can’t get it back. Nobody can,” he said. “We thought it was better to take flak from customers than be forced to turn it over.” 

The company, in a blog post dated Friday, Aug. 9, said it had taken the extreme measure even though it had not received a search order from the government. 

Ladar Levison, the owner of Lavabit, suggested — though did not say explicitly — that he had received a search order, and was opting to shut the service so as not to be “complicit in crimes against the American people.”

Thursday, August 08, 2013

a free man is a dangerous man at the end of the constitutional era...,

reuters | "What bothers me is the hypocritical bit - we demonize China when we've been doing these things and probably worse."

Alexander took a conciliatory tone during his Black Hat speech, defending the NSA but saying he looked forward to a discussion about how it could do things better.

Black Hat attracts professionals whose companies pay thousands of dollars for them to attend. Def Con costs $180 and features many of the same speakers.

At Black Hat, a casual polling station at a vendor's exhibition booth asking whether Snowden was a villain or a hero produced a dead heat: 138 to 138. European attendees were especially prone to vote for hero, the vendor said.

Def Con would have been much rougher on Alexander, judging by interviews there and the reception given speakers who touched on Snowden and other government topics.

Christopher Soghoian, an American Civil Liberties Union technologist, drew applause from hundreds of attendees when he said the ACLU had been the first to sue the NSA after one of the spy programs was revealed.

Peiter Zatko, a hacker hero who funded many small projects from a just-departed post at the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, told another large audience that he was unhappy with the surveillance programs and that "challenging the government is your patriotic duty."

The disenchanted give multiple reasons, citing previous misleading statements about domestic surveillance, the government's efforts to force companies to decrypt user communications, and the harm to U.S. businesses overseas.

"I don't think anyone should believe anything they tell us," former NSA hacker Charlie Miller said of top intelligence officials. "I wouldn't work there anymore."

Stamos and Moss said the U.S. government is tilting too much toward offense in cyberspace, using secret vulnerabilities that their targets can then discover and wield against others.

Closest to home for many hackers are the government's aggressive prosecutions under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which has been used against Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January, and U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, who leaked classified files to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

A letter circulating at Def Con and signed by some of the most prominent academics in computer security said the law was chilling research in the public interest by allowing prosecutors and victim companies to argue that violations of electronic "terms of service" constitute unauthorized intrusions.

Researchers who have found important flaws in electronic voting machines and medical devices did so without authorization, the letter says.

If there is any silver lining, Moss said, it is that before Snowden's leaks, it had been impossible to have an informed discussion about how to balance security and civil liberties without real knowledge of government practices. Fist tap Arnach.

"The debate is just starting," he said. "Maybe we can be a template for other democracies."

cyberattacks an unprecedented (and non-falsifiable) threat to u.s. national security...,

energyskeptic | Here are excerpts from this 75-page document, some of which I’ve paraphrased [brackets], consolidated, or shortened.  Read this document for a greater, more nuanced, understanding.

Hearing before the subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and emerging threats of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. House of Representatives 113th Congress 2nd session   MARCH 21, 2013

Mr. Rohrabacher: The type of targets hackers assault are often placed in 2 categories:

1) Strategic targets attacked by military means in a war such as transportation systems, power grids, defense industries, communications, and government centers.

2) Commercial warfare. The scale upon which it is being conducted is beyond anything we have experienced and far exceeds traditional espionage. [Last month the Mandiant report identified a military unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army that has been conducting commercial warfare since 2006, hacking business and industry targets.  These attacks cost the American economy $250 billion per year and affect our economy and the balance of power.]

Over the last 10 years the United States trade deficit in goods with China was over $2.4 trillion. Entire industries have been moved across the Pacific to create what we see as the rise of China. We cannot just rely on technology to defend against these type of attacks. We must use diplomacy to deter them by telling Beijing and others in clear terms that we will not allow their hacking to continue without retaliation. We should sanction states that support hacking just as we sanction states that support terrorism or engage in other hostile actions. This war will not just be waged in cyberspace, but across every front and using every lever of American power to defeat an aggressor and to take the profit out of attacking our businesses, our defenses, and yes, our country.

There have been several Congressional hearings on cyber warfare, but most have concentrated on the technology involved and how we can devise defenses to block hackers from breaking into our government and business computer networks. The greatest dangers to our nation are not, however, really about technology. It is about international relations. Foreign governments that employ cyber warriors to attack other countries, or which “allow” hackers to attack other countries should be considered as hostile as governments which support terrorism. These are acts which put our country in severe jeopardy and must be met with the same national security and diplomatic measures that we use to meet any other external threat.
Chinese firms are dominated by state-owned enterprises with ties to Communist Party officials and their families. It is a matrix that not only serves to grow the wealth and power of China but also the personal fortunes of its leaders. The transfer of wealth by the theft of technology and other information vital to the development of industry is then used to gain a competitive advantage in world trade, which brings even more wealth to China.

The people of China are being cheated in that the apparatus that has been set up to protect them is being used to enrich the elite, and at the same time put China into a hostile relationship with the United States and other free countries of the world. And on top of that, the elite in China are using this not to protect China, not to make it more prosperous, but also to repress their own people.  The elite in China, their vanity and their desire for more wealth and power has led China down a wrong path, and I would urge those people in China, which is the vast majority, the people of goodwill there, to push this elite that is running their country that is raping their country and putting us on a path to conflict, to push them out of power.

Yesterday, several banks and broadcast outlets in South Korea were attacked, and apparently the assumption was that the cyber attacks were from North Korea. However, the news this morning is that South Korea is claiming that these attacks were located, the attacker was located in China. [This] raises questions as to whether China and North Korea are cooperating in cyber warfare against people that they think are their enemies.

Duncan: The director of National Intelligence on 12 March, James Clapper, said “there is a remote chance of a major cyber attack against U.S. critical infrastructure systems during the next 2 years that will result in a long-term, wide-scale disruption of services such as regional power outage.’’

If they are stealing the plans of an F–35 and so we have to send F–35s against a comparable aircraft, that is taking some of that competitive advantage away that we have militarily to protect this country.

Mr. STOCKMAN. My district encompasses everything from NASA to petrochemical plants. We were touring some of the plants, and they said they were getting very little cooperation from the government to help deter cyber attacks, which could cripple our nation. Just by turning off a few valves a plant could be blown up.  One plant alone in my district produces about 600,000 barrels a day. If that were to be taken off the market you would see a quick crisis occur. And if you took off several plants it would shut down the United States.

This reminds me of 9/11 when we knew about the Philippines. We picked up documents which showed that they wanted to use planes as weapons, yet we ignored all the signs. I feel like we are ignoring all the signs.  I have plant managers telling me their concerns and I am asking you, is there any kind of game plan to help critical infrastructure?  

6th Post Ever REDUX - Information and Biological Revolutions

It was this subtitle that really, really baked my noodle and sent me down the rabbit hole of spiraling cogitations and digital collaborations concerning the nature of things as they presently stand - and the shape of things to come.

This report summarizes the issues that arose and the discussions held during the meetings of a 1998-1999 study group focusing on global governance of information technology and biotechnology. The goal was to bring a policy perspective to bear on a discussion of new technological developments through a series of free-flowing and exploratory presentations and discussions.

Download it and read it in its entirety when you get a chance...,

This repost is a public service to any and all readers who may wonder concerning the fundamental purpose and motivation underlying this exercise in "current events" (l'actualité) review and summarization. I am obsessively curious about - and more than a little rebellious toward - that human micro-minority which has arrogated to itself the prerogative of two-legged livestock management. Decades of observation and analysis have disinclined me toward the belief that this micro-minority identifies itself as our "good shepherds". Instead, I suspect that something far more Kanamitic is afoot in the Empyrean reaches of human governance. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

enjoy the show and never become distracted...,

The Capitalist Network that Runs the World
theinternetpost | According to company 10K filings to the SEC, the Four Horsemen of Banking are among the top ten stock holders of virtually every Fortune 500 corporation.[1]

So who then are the stockholders in these money center banks?

This information is guarded much more closely. My queries to bank regulatory agencies regarding stock ownership in the top 25 US bank holding companies were given Freedom of Information Act status, before being denied on “national security” grounds. This is rather ironic, since many of the bank’s stockholders reside in Europe.

One important repository for the wealth of the global oligarchy that owns these bank holding companies is US Trust Corporation – founded in 1853 and now owned by Bank of America. A recent US Trust Corporate Director and Honorary Trustee was Walter Rothschild. Other directors included Daniel Davison of JP Morgan Chase, Richard Tucker of Exxon Mobil, Daniel Roberts of Citigroup and Marshall Schwartz of Morgan Stanley. [2]

J. W. McCallister, an oil industry insider with House of Saud connections, wrote in The Grim Reaper that information he acquired from Saudi bankers cited 80% ownership of the New York Federal Reserve Bank- by far the most powerful Fed branch- by just eight families, four of which reside in the US. They are the Goldman Sachs, Rockefellers, Lehmans and Kuhn Loebs of New York; the Rothschilds of Paris and London; the Warburgs of Hamburg; the Lazards of Paris; and the Israel Moses Seifs of Rome.

CPA Thomas D. Schauf corroborates McCallister’s claims, adding that ten banks control all twelve Federal Reserve Bank branches. He names N.M. Rothschild of London, Rothschild Bank of Berlin, Warburg Bank of Hamburg, Warburg Bank of Amsterdam, Lehman Brothers of New York, Lazard Brothers of Paris, Kuhn Loeb Bank of New York, Israel Moses Seif Bank of Italy, Goldman Sachs of New York and JP Morgan Chase Bank of New York. Schauf lists William Rockefeller, Paul Warburg, Jacob Schiff and James Stillman as individuals who own large shares of the Fed. [3] The Schiffs are insiders at Kuhn Loeb. The Stillmans are Citigroup insiders, who married into the Rockefeller clan at the turn of the century.

Eustace Mullins came to the same conclusions in his book The Secrets of the Federal Reserve, in which he displays charts connecting the Fed and its member banks to the families of Rothschild, Warburg, Rockefeller and the others. [4]

The control that these banking families exert over the global economy cannot be overstated and is quite intentionally shrouded in secrecy. Their corporate media arm is quick to discredit any information exposing this private central banking cartel as “conspiracy theory”. Yet the facts remain.

playing with that rahowa fire...,

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

please don't judge all caucasians by the actions of a few...,

HuffPo | Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev befriended a brain-damaged anti-U.S. government conspiracy theorist through their mother's health care aide job years before the deadly attack, a lawyer said Tuesday.

Attorney Jason Rosenberg, who represents the family of Donald Larking, said Larking shared publications with the brothers and discussed theories including that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting didn't happen or the U.S. government was behind them.

The attorney said the Tsarnaev family had a relationship with the Larkings that started years ago when the brothers' mother began working as a personal care assistant for Larking's wife, a quadriplegic since birth.
Rosenberg said Larking, who lives in West Newton, just west of Boston, was shot in the head in 1974 in an attempted robbery while working in a convenience store. He said Larking suffered brain damage that led to problems with his decision-making and judgment.

Authorities say the Tsarnaev brothers orchestrated the April 15 marathon bombing, in which two pressure cookers loaded with shrapnel exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty last month to charges including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a shootout with police a few days after the bombing.
Rosenberg said Tuesday the Tsarnaev brothers got to know Larking while substituting for their mother sometimes by helping to care for his wife. The attorney said the brothers "helpful" and "kind" to the couple and Larking shared his views with them as he found anti-U.S. government websites and became angrier and irrational.

The lawyer's account first emerged in a Wall Street Journal article, which included Tamerlan Tsarnaev's former landlady talking about publications that had been in his Cambridge apartment.

Landlady Joanna Herlihy told The Associated Press she salvaged publications after authorities had searched the apartment and items were discarded. She confirmed that among them were an Alabama-based publication that uses a Confederate flag on its website and a weekly publication that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls anti-Semitic.

Rosenberg said Tuesday he doesn't think Larking helped the Tsarnaev brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia, formulate ideas but may have made them believe others felt as they did.

"(They) were seeing someone who was Caucasian and was born in America who was saying the same things," the attorney said.

right wing extremism and peasanthood don't mix...,

theatlanticwire | Alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev become absorbed in magazines about wild conspiracy theories, mass killings and white supremacy, all courtesy of a convalescent older gentleman who has trouble facing "the realities of the world," according to his lawyer.

Yesterday, the BBC program Panorama reported on the telling reading material authorities found in the dead Tsarnaev brother's apartment. There were, for example, magazines that sympathized with Hitler, promoted a white supremacist agenda, and outlined how other mass murderers had performed their crimes.
The Wall Street Journal tracked down the individual who gave those magazines to Tsarnaev: 67-year-old Donald Larking. Larking was a client of Zubeidat Tsarnaev, who made a living in the U.S. caring for the elderly. Larking had been left with disabilities after surviving being shot in the face during a robbery at his job 40 years ago.

Larking subsequently became interested in magazines that pushed right-wing conspiracy theories about 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombings, and the Newtown school massacre. Tsarnaev, already a fan of conspiracy sites like InfoWars and Islamist websites, became close with the older man:
Ms. Tsarnaev began asking Tamerlan Tsarnaev or his brother to care for Mr. Larking when she wasn't available to work. Mr. Larking's wife, Rosemary, a quadriplegic, also needed help at home. Mr. Tsarnaev seemed to have found a kindred spirit in Mr. Larking. They became friends and had animated talks about politics, people close to the Larking family said.
Tamerlan started reading the anti-Semitic American Free Press and absorbed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

unspeakable busy mumbling about "terra" again...,

atimes | When the going gets tough, count on the Ministry of Truth to get going.

The end of Ramadan was imminent. The jihadi chattering classes of that fuzzy entity, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), went on overdrive. It was jailbreak galore from Libya to Pakistan via Iraq. And all this in perfect synch with two successive fatwas issued by that perennial bogeyman, former Osama bin Laden sidekick Ayman "Doctor Evil" al-Zawahiri.

Imagine a rushed crisis meeting at the highest levels of the Orwellian/Panopticon complex: "Gentlemen, we have a golden opportunity here. We are under siege by defector spy Edward Snowden - liberated by the Soviets - and that terrorist hack Greenwald. Snowden may be winning: even among US public opinion, there's a growing perception we may be more of a threat than al-Qaeda.

So we must show we are vigilantly protecting our freedoms. Yes; we're gonna scream Terra, Terra, Terra!"

The bottom line is that the Bush-Obama continuum never ceases to reassure us - not to mention that old fox al-Zawahiri. Doctor Evil, as warped a strategist as he is, figured out a while ago that if the "al-Qaeda" global bogeyman myth is now "stronger than ever" it's thanks to the Obama administration and its poodles, European and Persian Gulf-based, with their Three Stooges strategy from Libya to Syria. Afghanistan is a completely different story; there's no "historical" al-Qaeda left, only a handful in the Pakistani tribal areas.

So al-Zawahiri knew the bogeyman would inevitably be resurrected, in total synch with his recent fatwas, because "long" - or "infinite" - war equals perpetual funding for the Orwellian/Panopticon complex. And a convenient foreign enemy is essential; no one in Washington could possibly admit on the record the real "enemy", as in strategic competitor, is the Chinese dragon.

Doctor Evil and the Orwellian/Panopticon complex are on the same side - and that explains why he'll be allowed to be a motor mouth fatwa machine for as long as he wants, and won't be nabbed like some patsy in the underwear bomber mould. The complex is back in offense. Reform the NSA? Interfere with our metadata? What for? We have just alerted the US government to "pre-9/11" levels of terrorist chatter!

AQAP might well decide not to participate in this worldwide "pre-9/11" script. Real jihadis, after all, are not foolish enough to be caught by XKeystroke. So here's a Dylanesque riddle for you. All along the watchtower, a false flag is approaching - said the joker to the thief. There's too much Terra confusion, and we won't get no relief.

what if your country begins to change and no one notices? welcome to post-constitutional america...,

tomdispatch | Close your eyes for a moment, think about recent events, and you could easily believe yourself in a Seinfeldian Bizarro World [5].  Now, open them and, for a second, everything looks almost familiar... and then you notice that a dissident is fleeing a harsh and draconian power, known for its global surveillance practices [6], use of torture, assassination campaigns [7], and secret prisons [8], and has found a haven in a heartless world in... hmmm... Russia.  That dissident, of course, is Edward Snowden, just granted a year’s temporary asylum [9] in Russia, a.k.a. the defender of human rights and freedom 2013, and so has been released from a Washington-imposed imprisonment in Moscow’s international air terminal and the threat of far worse [10].

Now, close your eyes, open them again, and for just a moment, doesn’t the world look a little more orderly?  After all, a draconian imperial power has taken one of its own dissidents, who wanted to reveal the truth about its cruel war practices and global diplomatic maneuverings, thrown him in prison without charges, abused and mistreated him, brought him before a drumhead military court and, on essentially trumped up charges of “espionage,” convicted him [11] of just what its leaders wanted to convict him of.  That power, of course, must be Russia and all’s right with the world... oops, I mean, that’s U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning [12] and the “evil empire” that mistreated him is... gulp... the United States.

Think about it for a moment: if Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a place of asylum for American dissidents and the U.S. is doing a reasonable job of imitating aspects of the old USSR, we are on Bizarro Earth, aren't we?
Today, former State Department whistleblower [13] Peter Van Buren, author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People [14], considers how America’s distant wars have come home and how, under that pressure, this country is morphing into something unrecognizable.  Worse yet, it’s quite possible that we’re only at the beginning of that transformation.  To give but a small example of what the future might hold, psychiatrist and author [15] Jonathan Shay, famous for his work with traumatized Vietnam veterans, suggested in Daedalus [16] in 2011 that no one knows what it means for similarly traumatized employees of our Warrior corporations [17], the rent-a-gun “veterans” of our recent war zones to come home to no health care and no support system.  And he offered an eerie, if provocative, comparison to the footloose German veterans of World War I who, in the 1920s, joined the Freikorps [18] and played their part in the radicalization and then Nazification of that country. 

“I am not saying,” he wrote, “that I know that the Weimar Republic would still exist today, with all that implies about a different course to history, if Germany had had Vet Centers and VA Mental Health Clinics. But historians generally agree that the Freikorps contributed to the weakening of the new German political fabric in the immediate aftermath of World War I.”  His is a chilling reminder that, wherever we are now, it might just be a rest stop on some bizarro road to hell. -Tom

Monday, August 05, 2013

in 2011 the fbi allowed informants to commit 5600 crimes

usatoday | The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation's top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.

The U.S. Justice Department ordered the FBI to begin tracking crimes by its informants more than a decade ago, after the agency admitted that its agents had allowed Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger to operate a brutal crime ring in exchange for information about the Mafia. The FBI submits that tally to top Justice Department officials each year, but has never before made it public.

Agents authorized 15 crimes a day, on average, including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies. FBI officials have said in the past that permitting their informants — who are often criminals themselves — to break the law is an indispensable, if sometimes distasteful, part of investigating criminal organizations.

"It sounds like a lot, but you have to keep it in context," said Shawn Henry, who supervised criminal investigations for the FBI until he retired last year. "This is not done in a vacuum. It's not done randomly. It's not taken lightly." 

USA TODAY obtained a copy of the FBI's 2011 report under the Freedom of Information Act. The report does not spell out what types of crimes its agents authorized, or how serious they were. It also did not include any information about crimes the bureau's sources were known to have committed without the government's permission.

Crimes authorized by the FBI almost certainly make up a tiny fraction of the total number of offenses committed by informants for local, state and federal agencies each year. The FBI was responsible for only about 10% of the criminal cases prosecuted in federal court in 2011, and federal prosecutions are, in turn, vastly outnumbered by criminal cases filed by state and local authorities, who often rely on their own networks of sources.

"The million-dollar question is: How much crime is the government tolerating from its informants?" said Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles who has studied such issues. "I'm sure that if we really knew that number, we would all be shocked." Fist tap Arnach.

fbi ran a child porn site for two weeks...,

gizmodo | Last November, the FBI raided a bulletin board-style site that was known to be a home of child pornography. But rather than shutting it down, they decided to keep it running—and see just how many users they could identify.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Bureau agents posed as child porn dealers, actively distributing pornography while the site was under their control—just as other agencies perform sting operations with drugs and prostitution. 

It's not yet clear if the technique worked that well: in the two week period, the FBI attempted to identify 5,600 users who had shared over 10,000 images of children, but s0 far it's only known that one suspect's computers have been seized. Still, it might be too early to judge. The investigation is still, apparently, in its early stages and, while nobody has yet been prosecuted, charges are believed to be forthcoming.

What can, perhaps, be judged, is the ethical position of distributing child pornography to incriminate suspects. Is it worse than supplying drugs in a sting? Or is it fair game given the end result? What do you think? [San Francisco Chronicle via Verge]

half of tor sites compromised, including tormail...,

twitlonger | The founder of Freedom Hosting has been arrested in Ireland and is awaiting extradition to USA.

In a crackdown that FBI claims to be about hunting down pedophiles, half of the onion sites in the TOR network has been compromised, including the e-mail counterpart of TOR deep web, TORmail.

This is undoubtedly a big blow to the TOR community, Crypto Anarchists, and more generally, to Internet anonymity. All of this happening during DEFCON.

If you happen to use and account name and or password combinations that you have re used in the TOR deep web, change them NOW.

Eric Eoin Marques who was arrested runs a company called Host Ultra Limited.

He has an account at WebHosting Talk forums.

A few days ago there were mass outages of Tor hidden services that predominantly effected Freedom Hosting websites.

"Down for Maintenance
Sorry, This server is currently offline for maintenance. Please try again in a few hours."

If you saw this while browsing Tor you went to an onion hosted by Freedom Hosting. The javascript exploit was injected into your browser if you had javascript enabled. Fist tap Arnach.

Logical outcomes from this?

1. FBI/NSA just shut down the #1 biggest hosting site and #1 most wanted person on Tor

2. Silkroad is next on their list, being the #2 most wanted (#1 was Child Porn, #2 is drugs)

3. Bitcoin and all crypto currenecies set to absolutely CRASH as a result since the feds can not completely control this currency as they please.

I don't always call the Feds agenda transparent, but when i do, I say they can be trying harder.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

All behavior begins as unconscious -the product of contingencies of reinforcement. We share unconscious behavior with the other animals. Behavior becomes conscious when society gives us reasons to examine ourselves...,

salon | A June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them. Life may or may not suck any more than it did a generation ago, but our belief in “progress” has increased expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment. For many of us, society has become increasingly alienating, isolating and insane, and earning a buck means more degrees, compliance, ass-kissing, shit-eating, and inauthenticity. So, we want to rebel. However, many of us feel hopeless about the possibility of either our own escape from societal oppression or that political activism can create societal change. So, many of us, especially young Americans, rebel by what is commonly called mental illness.

While historically some Americans have consciously faked mental illness to rebel from oppressive societal demands (e.g., a young Malcolm X acted crazy to successfully avoid military service), today, the vast majority of Americans who are diagnosed and treated for mental illness are in no way proud malingerers in the fashion of Malcolm X. Many of us, sadly, are ashamed of our inefficiency and nonproductivity and desperately try to fit in. However, try as we might to pay attention, adapt, adjust, and comply with our alienating jobs, boring schools, and sterile society, our humanity gets in the way, and we become anxious, depressed and dysfunctional.

the establishment is destroying american prospects both home and abroad...,

globalresearch | Congress seems unaware of its schizophrenia. On the one hand Congress is outraged about the National Stasi Agency’s illegal and unconstitutional spying--especially on Congress--and is attempting to defund the Stasi Agency’s surveillance program. The amendment to the military spending bill by Justin Amash, a Republican from Michigan, almost passed. The amendment was barely defeated by votes purchased by the spy industry.

On the other hand, despite its outrage over being spied upon, Congress wants the scalp of the brave hero, Edward Snowden, who informed them that they were being spied upon. Here we have a demonstration of the historical stupidity of government--shoot the messenger.

Only a few right-wing crazies believe that universal surveillance of every American is necessary to US security. The National Stasi Agency will fight hard and blackmail every member of the House and Senate, but the blackmail itself will lead to the National Stasi Agency’s wings being clipped, or so we can hope. If it is not done soon, the Stasi Agency will have time to organize a false flag event that will terrify the sheeple and bring an end to the attempts to rein in the rogue agency.

The United States is on the verge of economic collapse. The alleged “superpower,” a bankrupt entity, was unable after 8 years of efforts to occupy Iraq and had to give up. After 11 years the “superpower” has been defeated in Afghanistan by a few thousand lightly armed Taliban, and is now running for cover with its tail between its legs.

Washington compensates for its military impotency by committing war crimes against civilians. The US military is a great killer of women, children, village elders, and aid workers. All the mighty “superpower” can do is to lob missiles shot from pilotless drones into farm houses, mud huts, schools, and medical centers.

The schizophrenic denizens of Washington have made Americans a hated people. Those with the foresight to know to escape from the growing tyranny also know that wherever they might seek refuge, they will be seen as vermin from the most hated nation and subjected to being scapegoated as spies and evil influences, and at risk of being decimated in reprisals against Washington’s latest atrocity.

Washington has destroyed the prospects of Americans both at home and abroad.

everybody wants an admin account on unspeakable's global logging and monitoring system...,

NYTimes | The National Security Agency’s dominant role as the nation’s spy warehouse has spurred frequent tensions and turf fights with other federal intelligence agencies that want to use its surveillance tools for their own investigations, officials say. 

Agencies working to curb drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement complain that their attempts to exploit the security agency’s vast resources have often been turned down because their own investigations are not considered a high enough priority, current and former government officials say. 

Intelligence officials say they have been careful to limit the use of the security agency’s troves of data and eavesdropping spyware for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans’ privacy rights. 

The recent disclosures of agency activities by its former contractor Edward J. Snowden have led to widespread criticism that its surveillance operations go too far and have prompted lawmakers in Washington to talk of reining them in. But out of public view, the intelligence community has been agitated in recent years for the opposite reason: frustrated officials outside the security agency say the spy tools are not used widely enough. 

“It’s a very common complaint about N.S.A.,” said Timothy H. Edgar, a former senior intelligence official at the White House and at the office of the director of national intelligence. “They collect all this information, but it’s difficult for the other agencies to get access to what they want.” 

“The other agencies feel they should be bigger players,” said Mr. Edgar, who heard many of the disputes before leaving government this year to become a visiting fellow at Brown University. “They view the N.S.A. — incorrectly, I think — as this big pot of data that they could go get if they were just able to pry it out of them.” 

Smaller intelligence units within the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security have sometimes been given access to the security agency’s surveillance tools for particular cases, intelligence officials say. 

But more often, their requests have been rejected because the links to terrorism or foreign intelligence, usually required by law or policy, are considered tenuous. Officials at some agencies see another motive — protecting the security agency’s turf — and have grown resentful over what they see as a second-tier status that has undermined their own investigations into security matters.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

the nsa's hold on top people...,

peterbcollins | In our interview in June, NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice told Sibel Edmonds and PBC flatly that Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein was one of many targets of NSA surveillance, using wiretapping and other methods.  Big Question:  does Feinstein know this, or has NSA kept it secret even from its highest-ranking oversight official?We kept this interview brief, and to the point:  Is Sen. Feinstein unaware that NSA targets top elected leaders, including herself?  If she is aware, does she support domestic surveillance programs because she is compromised by blackmail or other leverage?  And even if she is not compromised, does she see the potential for abuse by a rogue NSA?

We open with a quick summary of Tice’s background, and then he details the wiretapping of Feinstein’s offices, homes, and family.  Tice also says NSA used other surveillance methods on Feinstein, and places the initiation of wiretaps in 2004 or 2005.  He responds to questions about evidence for his disclosures, and his motive for revealing them now.

And he recaps the story of his appearance with Feinstein and Sen. Orrin Hatch on CNN’s Larry King show, where the senators defended the programs that Tice knew were also monitoring them.

Please share this widely:  if Feinstein will answer these questions honestly, we might see a break in the hold NSA appears to have over top elected officials.

everything snowden said was true, and then some...,

slate | If you have ever searched the Internet for something the NSA has deemed “suspicious,” you may have found yourself flagged up on the screen of a government spy. At least, that’s what a series of newly published secret documents suggest—raising fresh privacy concerns about the pervasive reach of the NSA’s global surveillance programs.

On Wednesday, the Guardian disclosed a range of new details about an NSA program called “XKEYSCORE,” which is an international system used by the NSA to secretly siphon data directly off of Internet networks. A small amount of information was first revealed about this system earlier this month by Brazilian newspaper O Globo, which published secret documents that appeared to show how the NSA was able to use XKEYSCORE to spy on Google maps searches.

The new release compounds the earlier disclosures, revealing how the NSA can use XKEYSCORE to collect and monitor huge troves of data on unencrypted Internet browsing sessions in countries across the world. In one 30-day period in 2012, at least 41 billion total records were collected and stored in XKEYSCORE, according to the Guardian. The NSA claims to have more than 700 XKEYSCORE servers located around the world at approximately 150 sites. At some of these locations the NSA claims it gobbles up more than 20 terabytes of data every day—the equivalent of about 20,000 copies of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Metadata collected by the system is typically retained, according to the slides, for 30 days at a time. It also appears to be able to sift through the content of unencrypted communications sent over the Internet.

Particularly notable is a series of secret NSA slides on the program, dated from 2008. The slides are marked “release to” United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, suggesting XKEYSCORE is accessible to spy agencies in each of these countries. (It is also reportedly used by German authorities.) They show how the NSA collects data on emails, browsing sessions, and what people are searching for online—“nearly everything a typical user does on the internet,” as one slide puts it. The system enables analysts to trawl through this information in order to find what is described in the slides as “anomalous events.” Anyone sending encrypted emails or documents, searching for things deemed “suspicious stuff,” or using a language that is “out of place” for the region they are in may get flagged up as a potential target for further surveillance.
However, the increasing adoption of encryption in recent years may have to some degree thwarted the scope of XKEYSCORE’s capabilities. Back in 2008, the NSA could certainly use the XKEYSCORE program to mine vast quantities of data directly from networks about Google searches, email correspondence, and Facebook chats.

Friday, August 02, 2013

with nothing obvious to struggle against, who you obliged to struggle for?

theroot | We've been here before: Both Lemon and Cosby approach the growing crisis of racial injustice and economic inequality in America from the view of "racial uplift." In the 19th century, "racial uplift" meant that respectable black women and men projected an air of education and erudition that, in many instances, aped that of their white counterparts. The crucial difference was the way in which the "Talented Tenth" openly struggled against Jim Crow, racism and white supremacy. But even the most passionate black social reformers, including W.E.B. Du Bois, at times felt unease about the way in which poor blacks (and their behavior, penchant for crime, proliferating children) cast a long, negative shadow on the entire race.

Some went even further. Unable or unwilling to confront racism's brutal institutional, political and cultural manifestations, they settled on demonizing poor blacks. Arguing that pathological behavior resulted in social marginalization and economic misery, the most conservative "race" men and women of the era distanced themselves from the black poor even as they fought mightily to gain access to predominantly white institutions.

By the 1960s, with the release of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's report on the black family, myths of black pathology became enshrined in our national discourse. The erroneous idea that African Americans were stuck in a generational culture of poverty because of their own deviant behavior (reflected primarily although not exclusively in the high rates of out-of-wedlock births) informed debates over race and poverty in the post-civil rights era. What became known as America's urban "underclass" was rooted in a long-standing racial, cultural and political stereotyping of the black poor.

This stereotype is deceptively simple. If young black men could just pull their pants up, stop using the n-word and go to school and get a job, their lives would be transformed. Similarly, if young black women abandoned teen-age promiscuity and delved instead into academic studies, black poverty rates would be dramatically reduced. What this story ignores is the links between institutions and behavior, the binds that tie public policy to positive and negative outcomes large enough to affect whole neighborhoods, towns, cities, states and nations.

community consciousness: individual vs collective empowerment in the fin d'siecle

theroot | Although inelegantly expressed, Jay Z's position that his presence, along with that of President Obama, provides resources for the black community deserves closer examination. Insofar as Obama's watershed presence in American culture promoted a renaissance of interest in race and African-American history in politics, cable news, publishing and universities throughout the nation, Jay Z's point is well-made. Similarly, Shawn Carter's own burgeoning iconography has helped make hip-hop into a global phenomenon and inspired countless black entrepreneurs and artists to follow his example. In many respects, Michael Jordan innovated the model of the apolitical black superstar that subsequent generations in sports and entertainment have adopted. Belafonte has every right, of course, to criticize such a perspective, especially since it flies in the face of the ethos of collective and group empowerment upon which the civil rights and Black Power eras were built.

Jay Z's acknowledgement that he spent two sleepless nights in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict included an admission that America still has residues of past racial discrimination. Beyond this fleeting recognition, however, racism appears as ghosts from the nation's dark past, shadowy apparitions that are not easily recognizable and almost impossible to fight.

This narrative views racism as more of an antiquated series of individual prejudices, pernicious stereotypes and ancient wrongs committed lifetimes ago than a systematic and institutional phenomenon that persists in every facet of American life. When Jay Z points to hip-hop's multicultural audience as providing not just a balm for past racial discrimination but, in fact, a cure, he means it. The shared experiences of a multicultural hip-hop generation represent the culmination of the civil rights movement's search for transcendent racial justice. Although this ignores the most important aspect of contemporary racism -- unequal outcomes -- it's a comforting myth that has been propagated by our "postracial" moment.

Jay Z sees his own wealth and status, along with the election of Barack Obama, as examples of racism's decline. In other words, he mistakes individual achievement for collective advancement. While Jay Z's individual entrepreneurial spirit, musical genius and discipline facilitated his escape from Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Marcy Projects, he doesn't see the value in committing his time, resources and talent in political causes that might help those left behind in America's countless urban and rural ghettoes.

Belafonte's generation grew up believing that the ascendance of black faces in higher places carried less weight and meaning if the entire community could not be uplifted as well.

lawsy, what's goin'on by the woodpile out behind the big house?!?!?!?

people |  U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and his wife Cindy shared in a happy occasion Saturday night – the wedding of their son Jack McCain to Renee Swift, the senator's rep confirms.

The younger McCain, 27, serves as a lieutenant in the Navy, stationed in Guam where he is a helicopter pilot. Swift, 29, a Bay area native, is a captain in the USAF reserve. The couple met in Guam.

The wedding ceremony was held at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, with a reception following at the California Academy of Sciences, said the rep.

The festivities were attended by all of the McCain children, reports The Washington Post. Also attending the couple's rehearsal dinner Friday night at the Tonga Room of the Fairmont Hotel, said the newspaper: former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
The groom's sister, Meghan McCain, 28, shared the joyous occasion through live Tweets throughout the weekend.

The couple planned to honeymoon in Africa, after which Jack McCain is slated for another deployment.

you know of course that the first black speaker of the house's orange daughter married a rasta?

dontgetherhairwet | The Root and other media outlets are reporting that Lindsay Boehner, daughter of Speaker of the House John Boehner recently married Dominic Lakhan,  ”a Jamaican-born construction worker” , who in the words of Root author Keli Goff  ”happens to be black.”  She goes on to say ” he also happens to have been previously arrested for marijuana possession.”

Umm ok. . . weird wording and perhaps unnecessary information, but nevertheless, good for everybody involved.  As opposed to some websites that see this as a gleeful excuse to write headlines like “NO JOKE: John Boehner’s Daughter to Marry Jamaican Pothead Construction Worker With Criminal Record”  I see this as an awesome thing. Who cares! They are happy, they want to be together. Let’s all love one another! . . . Republicans. . . I tell you, just when I start to paint you all with the same sweeping stereotyping, generalizing brush, you go ahead and surprise me.

Here are two extremely fuzzy aerial shots of the wedding obtained by the Daily Mail UK. I think the second pic is supposed to be of John Boehner, enjoying himself at the wedding. Or at the very least attending the wedding.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

"my presence is charity...,"

counterpunch | Veteran civil rights activist and world-renowned entertainer Harry Belafonte hit a raw nerve last year when he suggested Black artists be more outspoken about their besieged communities.

“I think one of the great abuses of this modern time,” he observed, “is that we have such high-profile artists and powerful celebrities, but they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay Z and Beyoncé, for example.”

Even though Belafonte continuously emphasizes his remarks were not intended to be personal and that he earnestly desires a private, fraternal conversation not a public dispute, Jay Z clearly took it all very personal, criticizing Belafonte in the media and on the title track of his new album, “Magna Carta…Holy Grail.”

Jay Z also responded by elaborating his own alternative version of “social responsibility.”

He told the press that “I’m offended…and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation and outside of America is enough.”

On this point, I beg to differ. Preaching hope is not enough to solve our problems, not by a long shot. Neither do charitable donations even comes close to fulfilling basic social needs.

Leaving aside self-serving tax benefits, mostly accruing to the wealthiest donors who itemize a myriad of exemptions, individual handouts, no matter how well-intentioned and admirable, cannot solve deeply rooted problems of our day.

Plus, with a July 28, 2013 AP wire service report indicating four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, there is absolutely no justification for government to abandon its social contract with the people.

It would be yet another bad example of outsourcing state duties to the profit sector. Fist tap DD.

jay-z: objectivist exemplar...,

nydailynews | Thanks to Keli Goff of The Root for writing the definitive word on the war of words between singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte and Jay Z, the budding sports agent, Atlantic Yards cheerleader and former owner of a tiny sliver of the Nets.

“These men are not equals in any way,” Goff writes. “Jay Z will never be in Belafonte's league, no matter how many CDs he sells or millions he earns (or how many presidents he pays to hang out with through political fundraisers). The only thing making this fake ‘feud’ marginally interesting is that Jay Z seems oblivious to this fact, as do some of his fans, a few of whom are so intellectually lacking that they are unaware of how much greater Belafonte's legacy is and will always be than that of ‘Hova.’

Goff follows up with five reasons why Belafonte is “more relevant and more of a man than Jay Z will ever be.”

She notes that Belafonte provided financial support to Martin Luther King Jr. and his family when the civil rights icon was a struggling pastor and even helped bail King out of jail following his arrest in Alabama. She also points out that Belafonte helped fund the freedom rides.

Jay Z, meanwhile, donated just $6,431 of the $63 million he earned in 2010 – and that money went to his own charity.

Meanwhile, over at Atlantic Yards Report, Norman Oder examines Jay Z’s claim that his very presence is charity and that his rise from crack dealer to hip-hop star is inspiring.

“Jay Z has a point: many, many people (like NPR's Frannie Kelley) found the presence of Jay Z opening the Barclays Center trumping any controversy: ‘The Barclays Center is fraught, but watching Jay open it was touching, and that night, I did not feel complicated about him.’

“And Jay-Z neutralized/deflected a lot of criticism of the arena and Atlantic Yards project.

“But ‘my presence is charity?’ Puh-leeze. He's a business, man.”