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Total Surveillance Regime: Big Uncle is Watching You

Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism. As Joseph Goebbels professed:
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

The slide above is courtesy of The Guardian

Version 2.0, Oct 17, 2017

News National Security State Recommended Links Edward Snowden as Symbol of resistance to National Security State Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Vault 7 scandal NSA revelations fallout William Binney
Assange and Wikileaks Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? NSA Surveillance Industrial Espionage Data Stealing Trojans Flame Duqu Trojan Cyberstalking
Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Search engines privacy Google Toolbar Is Google evil? Keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance Facebook as Giant Database about Users The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies  
Damage to the US tech companies "Everything in the Cloud" Utopia Issues of security and trust in "cloud" env Email security How to analyze your own Web activity Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Steganography Building Snort-based IDS Infrastructure
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few   Nineteen Eighty-Four Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Cyberwarfare History of the USA total surveillance efforts Prizm-related humor Etc
 

Introduction

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

- Goethe

1984 is supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual

The troubling aspect about these disclosures is not so much their significance today, but what surveillance on the nation bodes for the future. Given human nature I am not optimistic.

Bill N. Cambridge MA, NYT.

NSA staff and private contractors have unfettered access to this information. I have a hard time believing that not one of them has used that access to information for personal or political gain. This system makes insider trading, industrial espionage, blackmail, and extortion an almost inevitable outcome. -- The Guardian (from comments).

A new round of debates about the dominance of military industrial complex and the level of control it exerts over the US civil society was caused by recent revelations about NSA activities in the USA.

It might well be the Rubicon was crossed around JFK assassination time. On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

In other words expansionism  and mission creep are immanent qualities, the second nature of large bureaucracies, and unless there is countervailing force. In the absence of countervailing forces they tend to escape from civil control and form a state within a state. In a way any state with powerful three-letter agencies stand with one leg in a tyranny, even if it calls itself a democracy. And that fact was already known to everybody in 1975 (Church Committee).  Actually just after president Kennedy assassination, which, no matter which version of events you adopt, in all cases indirectly pointed out that three letter agencies jumped out of control of civil government. As one Guardian reader commented "The pernicious thing is that it is in the nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight."

The nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible for civil authorities to control them. Recent stories about CIA spying on the US Senate Intelligence Committee  just prove this. 

In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them.  Recent stories about CIA spying on the US Senate Intelligence Committee (which is tasked with the oversight of the agency) just prove this simple fact (CIA apologizes for spying on Senate committee - CNNPolitics July 31, 2014 ). As NYT reported (Inquiry by C.I.A. Affirms It Spied on Senate Panel,  

A statement issued Thursday morning by a C.I.A. spokesman said that John O. Brennan, the agency’s director, had apologized to Ms. Feinstein and the committee’s ranking Republican, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and would set up an internal accountability board to review the issue. The statement said that the board, which will be led by a former Democratic senator, Evan Bayh of Indiana, could recommend “potential disciplinary measures” and “steps to address systemic issues.”

But anger among lawmakers grew throughout the day. Leaving a nearly three-hour briefing about the report in a Senate conference room, members of both parties called for the C.I.A. officers to be held accountable, and some said they had lost confidence in Mr. Brennan’s leadership. “This is a serious situation and there are serious violations,” said Mr. Chambliss, generally a staunch ally of the intelligence community. He called for the C.I.A. employees to be “dealt with very harshly.”

Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado and another member of the Intelligence Committee, demanded Mr. Brennan’s resignation. “The C.I.A. unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee computers,” he said in a written statement. “This grave misconduct not only is illegal but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation of powers.

You can't get a more solid proof of total surveillance...  Please note that Brennan continued his tenure as the head of CIA; attempts to depose him after the incident by some Senators failed. That suggest who was the winner in this skirmish.

That also means that contrary to common perception intelligence agencies are political players and as such are quite capable to defend their staffing and resource consumption levels, despite inefficient waist of resources as typical for large bureaucracies. In other words they are no longer technocratic, but tend to emerge as political bodies, the core of the "deep state" (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition). The story of John Brennan the former head of CIA in Obama administration tell volumes about such tendencies. During and after 2016 Presidential elections he emerged as a powerful political broker, later aligning with Hillary Clinton in efforts to form a political coalition capable of deposing President Trump.

We can admire the immortal foresight and moral courage of Secretary of State Henry Stimson's  who closed the Cipher Bureau in 1929.  But this highly ethical, moral and courageous act deprived the US of the capacity to read foreign diplomatic cables as world-wide threats grew.  So it was quickly reversed.

In a way technology dictates the level of government surveillance in the society and in "Internet society" it looks like this level is permanently set on "high". That does not mean that we can't fight it. Yes, we can and one factor that played into the hands of defenders of personal privacy is the you can't drink from a fire hose: as soon as you connect too much information it devalues itself. Also methods of "injecting" false metadata into your profile are reality available. for example for Internet browsing anybody with programmable keyboard can do that. That means that you the set of sites you visited no longer can be considered authentic in "Post-Snowden" world. That dooms effort to assign you a level of "loyalty" based on your browsing history, which is very temping for three letter agencies to do.  Recent failed attempt to create a site that claffies some sites are "Russian propaganda" sites belong to this category (Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group.) But such attempts were just shifted to another domain -- "leak prevention" training:

Part of the “Unauthorized Disclosure” training includes watching a Fox News clip on the crackdown on leaks and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ statement announcing an increase in criminal leak investigations. A student guide from the Insider Threat Awareness training includes the McCarthyesque request that employees report on each other for “general suspicious behaviors,” including “Questionable national loyalty” such as “Displaying questionable loyalty to US government or company” or “Making anti-U.S. comments.” Never mind that the only oath government employees take is to the US Constitution, not to any government official or the US government itself and certainly not to a private company.

This also opens people to browsing blackmail.  In this sense post-snowmen world is inherently more difficult for three-letter agencies to navigate.

Computer technology and digital communication as new frontiers for intelligence  agencies

Technology changes can really change the society. And not always in a beneficial for the society way. There is such thing as "blowback" in technologies. We can view recent NSA activities revealed by Snowden as a classic example of such blowback connected with the spread of Internet and cloud based technologies.  In a way Internet begets surveillance. And you can do nothing about it.  As former Sun CEO Scott McNealy (born November 13, 1954)  said  "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." (see also Privacy is Dead – Get Over It).  

I think that the first attempt to create a comprehensive nation-wide intelligence network that monitors sentiments of the citizens and hunt enemies of the state goes as far back as Napoleon and his famous minister of police Joseph Fouché. Or may be it even goes as far back as to Byzantine Empire with its first in history organized network of spies. As for recording of mail envelopes, we can even claim that this function for international mail (in a form of "black chambers") is as old as states are. In the USA it started in full force in August 1919 when J. Edgar Hoover became head of the Bureau of Investigation's new General Intelligence Division—also known as the Radical Division because its explicit goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals.

Recording of all email envelopes started long before email was invented and became established practice since the WWII for all regular mail entering or leaving the country.  It just got a new name now -- collection of metadata and the technology that allow correlation of multiple sets of metadata exposing hidden "networks".  Recording metadata of phone calls and often the calls themselves first started before WWII and technology was first polished on international calls, which for obvious reasons are of great interest to all governments.  As intelligence agencies were one of the first to deploy computers after WWII it would be naive to assume that IBM/360 mainframes were not used to analyze collection of metadata of international calls as early as in 1960th.

Hoover and his chosen assistant, George Ruch monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent to punish, arrest, or deport them. Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey; Rose Pastor Stokes and Cyril Briggs; Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, whom Hoover nicknamed as "the most dangerous man in the United States". So those radicals served a guinea pigs for polishing methods of collection of communications using electronic means of surveillance.

So it would be a mistake to assume that such activities started with 9/11 events and that Bush II was totally responsible for converting the USA into national-security state.  The technology was ready at least 15 years before 9/11 (explosive growth of internet in the USA started in 1996) and new methods of collection of information that are technically available are always adopted and used by clandestine agencies.  They tend to adopt technology as soon as it is available, being, in a pervert way,  classic "early adopters" of any communication or computer technology. And this happens not only in the USA,  although the USA as the  technological leader was probably most profoundly affected.

The creation and use of databases of personal information and the systematic records (archives) of communications of citizens started simultaneously with NSA creation. The first targets were mail and telegraph. Some of this experience came from specialists of Third Reich who were brought to the country after the WWII. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI. and Allen Dulles at the CIA. aggressively recruited former Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich. The agency hired one former SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor war crimes.” And in 1994, a lawyer with the CIA pressured prosecutors to drop an investigation into an ex-spy outside Boston implicated in the Nazis’ massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania, according to a government official (In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis - NYTimes.com).

We don't know when it was extended on domestic calls, but from purely technical perspective this was a trivial extension of already existing and polished capacity and probably abuse was stated gradually as soon as power of computers allow that. 

But what is true is that after 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act, the USA government got all the pre-conditions necessary for installing a regime of aggressive total surveillance. Which actually was a hidden intent and 9/11 was just a convenient pretext much like Tonkin incident in Vietnam war. And in this respect Ed Snowden, whatever is his motivation (which might be not as simple as most people assume), did the right thing, when he with the risk to his life informed the US public and the world about those activities. You may approve those revelations, you may disapprove them (and they did damage the USA as a state and devalue many methods which were extremely effective before the revelations), but keeping them secret from the US public is a crime.

NSA technically is a data collection agency. While it has legitimate function to monitor information that is crossing the national border as well as intercept communication of the US adversaries (which is a very flexible category those days ;-), we need to understand that the abuse of this function is inevitable. That actually the nature of the beast -- like any bureaucratic organizations they tend to expand their sphere of activities and escape form control -- and in this sense existence of powerful state intelligence agencies is incompatible with the democracy.  In this sense the appointment of Allan Dulles (who paradoxically was appointed the director under Eisenhower administration in 1952; Eisenhower warnings about the danger of military-industrial complex notwithstanding)  was really unfortunate.

But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real "state within the state" and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers and as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real "state within the state" and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

The immanent tendency of intelligence agencies to escape civil control
and in turn to establish indirect control of the government

There is deep analogy between financial services and intelligence services. Both try to escape from the control of democratic society. Both try to control the society instead of serve it. As they operate with large and uncontrolled amount of money soon after their creation inevitably the "the tail wagging the dog" (Merriam-Webster):

the tail wagging the dog used to describe a situation in which an important or powerful person, organization, etc., is being controlled by someone or something that is much less important or powerful

At some point the permanent unelected bureaucracy, became the shadow government instead of facilitating the decisions of elected officials. This process proceeds quicker if a sociopath manage to slip to the role of the head of such an organization. That's what the term "deep state" is about. Some authors such as  Douglas Horne view JFK assassination as a political coup d'état launched from the highest levels of US leadership (JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment Why Kennedy Was Assassinated). Here is a quote from the foreword by Jacob G. Hornberger:

By the end of November 1961, profoundly dissatisfied with his own national security advisory apparatus, President Kennedy had firmly pushed back against the national security establishment (in this case the NSC, the State Department, and the CIA) by purging and/or reshuffling many of the civilian hawks in his own administration into other positions, and by placing officials more in line with his own views into key positions. [A change in the top leadership at the Pentagon was to come later, in 1962.] Throughout 1961, the new President had painfully but quickly learned to be quite skeptical of the advice he was receiving, pertaining to matters of war and peace, from his hawkish advisors; and as 1961 progressed, John F. Kennedy repeatedly demonstrated what the hawks in government (the majority) no doubt considered a disturbingly independent (and increasingly all-too-predictable) frame of mind in regard to the national security recommendations he was receiving from the “sacred cows” and “wise men” in Washington, D.C. As I shall demonstrate in these essays, by the end of 1962, the national security establishment in Washington D.C., which had quickly come to know JFK as a skeptic during 1961, had come to view him as a heretic; and by November of 1963, the month he was assassinated, they no doubt considered him an apostate, for he no longer supported most of the so-called “orthodox” views of the Cold War priesthood. Increasingly alone in his foreign policy judgments as 1963 progressed, JFK was nevertheless proceeding boldly to end our “Holy War” against Communism, instead of trying to win it. In retrospect it is clear that the national security establishment wanted to win our own particular “jihad” of the post-WW II era by turning the Cold War against the USSR into a “hot war,” so that we could inflict punishing and fatal blows upon our Communist adversaries (and any other forces we equated with them) on the battlefield. It was this desire for “hot war” by so many within the establishment — their belief that conventional “proxy wars” with the Soviet Bloc were an urgent necessity, and that nuclear war with the USSR was probably inevitable — to which President Kennedy was so adamantly opposed. And it was JFK’s profound determination to avoid nuclear war by miscalculation, and to eschew combat with conventional arms unless it was truly necessary, that separated him from almost everyone else in his administration from 1961 throughout 1963, as events have shown us.

 

Against whom total surveillance is directed

Total surveillance is not so much about terrorism. It's also and mainly about the control of the society by unelected elite. Terrorism is a false pretext -- a smoke screen, if you like. Let's state clearly -- the main goal of total surveillance was the same since it was introduced in Nazi Germany: "Let them be afraid". It's the same as in former German Democratic Republic (with its famous Stasi). In all cases it is to prevent any challenge to the ruling elite or in the terminology of neoliberal "color revolutions" prevent  "regime change", unless it is initiated by more powerful foreign three letter agencies and significantly higher level of financial resources (that's why three letter agencies of newly minted xUSSR state in several cases were unable to prevent color revolutions of their territories).  

In other words surveillance and intelligence agencies are part and parcel of the totalitarian state. And Sheldon Volin actually created a term for such "pseudo-democratic" regime --  inverted totalitarism.  Unlike  classic totalitarism it generally tend to avoid using violence  to crush the dissidents and opposition to the current elite. More "soft" subversive methods are enough. In this sense the  story of crushing "of "Occupy Wall Street" movement is a testament of their efficiency. 

State actors and well funded terrorist organization are a difficult nut to crack.  Any "custom" encrypted communication is far more difficult for intercepting party to decode, then "standard" encryption methods.  Some encryption methods virtually guarantee that it is impossible without stealing the key. Even detecting the fact of communication for such parties nowadays is very difficult as it can be hidden in  some "carrier" transmission (steganography) or split into multiple channels.   Those who have access to technology and to "know how" including the most recent exploits are well armed to resist attempt to intercept their communication. That includes most powerful foreign states. 

That means that NSA has great difficulties intercepting and decoding traffic that is intended to be hidden from state actors.  Modern encryption systems such One-Time-Pad virtually guarantee that you get the "insider information" of the pad used (typically from a mole) they are impenetrable. Even regular encryption methods can be enhanced by additional step of compressing the files transmitted (which by and large eliminates redundancy if done properly and do not leave "tell" sign  of the method encryption used) . Decoding is easier when standard algorithms with possible backdoors are used but  even in this case I have doubts (Triple DEC).  That's why attempts to compensate this deficiency are being developed and one obvious path is intercepting regular citizen communication  of foreign countries which are considered to be unfriendly or adversarial to current the US foreign policy goals (which is the expansion and maintenance of global the Us-led neoliberal empire).

But the situation with  "open" traffic is completely different. Million of people outside the USA use Facebook, Amazon, Gmail and similar platforms. Which makes them a low hanging fruit and here NSA is the king of the hill.  Government officials also sometimes use regular  email and social sites (see Hillary Clinton email scandal). So intelligence agencies were provided with an important opening (and it might well be that the dramatic growth  of Webmail has something to do with their interests)

At the same time the abundance of information, as Biney mentioned, creates another problem --  the problem of "drinking from a fire hose" -- they tend to collect too much information and are swamped with the volume.  Of cause correlation of open traffic of "suspicious persons" can reveal some hidden information, but this is a pretty expensive undertaking, because by definition (unless this is Hillary Clinton ;-) those persons are aware that they are watched, typically are trained to avoid surveillance (including electronic) and behave accordingly.  for example General Petraeus used an interesting method to communicate with his biographer and mistress (The Washington Post) :

They wrote their "intimate messages" as draft e-mails in a shared Gmail account, according to the AP, allowing them to see one anothers' messages while leaving a much fainter data trail. When messages are sent and received, both accounts record the transmission as well as such metadata as the IP addresses on either end, something the two seemed to be seeking to avoid. 

Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teen-agers alike, to conceal their email traffic, one of the law enforcement officials said.

Rather than transmitting emails to the other's inbox, they composed at least some messages and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder or in an electronic "dropbox," the official said. Then the other person could log onto the same account and read the draft emails there. This avoids creating an email trail that is easier to trace.

With the power of modern computers, decoys and steganography offer almost unlimited possibility to obscure the traffic. 

The real questions about NSA activities


Concern about the NSA assault on our privacy is no paranoid fantasy. In the words of an agency PowerPoint slide released by Snowden, the goal is to "collect it all", "process it all" and "know it all". The massive surveillance program is a clear violation of the Forth amendment prohibiting "unreasonable searches" of "persons, houses, papers, and effects" without "probable cause."

- Gene Epstein. "In defence of Snowden",
review of "No Place to Hide" Barrons, Jan 5, 2015, p 17

According to UN Human Right Council Report (17 April 2013) innovations in technology not only have increased the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. They also simultaneously increased opportunities for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications facilitating to transformation of the state into National Security State, a form of corporatism characterized by continued and encompassing all forms of electronic communication electronic surveillance of all citizens.

Now every Internet or smartphone users probably understand that since probably 2003 or even earlier that that he/she is watched 24 by 7, or as Soviet dissidents called it "Was placed under the [surveillance] dome". Some question that we need to ask ourselves are:

All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism (or may be even neofascism -- as it is, essentially, the merger of corporate and state interests) in the US after 9/11. That's exactly what this "Internet-inspired" flavor of total surveillance due to modern technical capabilities means. There is also distinct shadow of STASI in all those activities. And some countries got into similar trap before, so nothing is new under the sun. As Reinhold Niebuhr noted:

"Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends."

There is actually little difference between total surveillance as practiced by NSA and what was practiced by three letters agencies of Eastern block dictatorships such as STASI and KGB. The key goal in both cases is protection and preservation of power of existing elite against the will of common people. So this is more about oppression of 99.9% from top 0.1% then surveillance per see.

Militarization of cyberspace makes Internet a very dangerous medium

We should view Snowden revelations in a larger context. Much of what he revealed about militarization of cyberspace was already known at the time when Flame and Stuxnet worms were discovered in 2011. He just dot the i's and cross the t's , so speak. As a result of his revelations, as The National Interest noted:

An increasing number of adversaries and even allies are coming to believe that the United States is militarizing cyberspace — and that impression of hubris and irresponsibility is beginning to have a real-world impact.

...The Snowden leaks have brought Stuxnet, the U.S.-Israeli program allegedly used to attack Iranian computer systems, back into public debate — and reminded us that the real damage of the Snowden revelations will be international.

...the perception that the United States has become a danger to the global internet is a cause for concern. In their understandable anger at the considerable damage Snowden has done (in the near term at the very least) to the operations of NSA and their allies, U.S. security officials should not lose sight of this fact.

Snowden’s claims build on the Stuxnet revelations. In doing so, they reinforce an impression of overbearing U.S. cyberpower (military and commercial) being used irresponsibly. That is strikingly at odds with the U.S. self-image as a standard bearer of internet freedom and “borderless” exchange, but it is a view that resonates around the world.

In fact the USA policies are stimulating economic and political rivals around the globe to organize and present unified front against this new and dangerous form of total surveillance. As well as implement similar domestic systems. In other words a new arm race started.

As methods and infrastructure of those activities are now revealed, the genie is out of the bottle and can't be put back -- the US now should expect the same or worse treatment from other nations. Which can be no less inventive, or even more inventive the USA specialists in this area. And in this new arm race economically weaker nations actually has some leverage. Blowback, a CIA term for unintended consequences of foreign, military, or clandestine policies, can be similar to the blowback of politically organizing Islamic radicals to fight Soviets in Afghanistan in the past.

Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and vengeance, the punisher of pride and hubris, probably already waits patiently for her meeting with the NSA brass.

Blowback can irreparably damage the ability of the United States to obtain crucial information in foreign environments that are poorly understood in Washington. The cultural divide that exists when operating away from home means that CIA and NSA frequently work overseas through a network of liaison contacts. This in theory limits their activity, but it broadens their ability to collect information that can only be plausibly obtained by a local organization with local capabilities. Though nearly everyone also operates clandestinely outside the parameters of the established relationships insofar as it is possible or expedient to do so, there is an awareness that being caught can cause grave damage to the liaison relationship. Because being exposed is nearly always very painful, such operations are normally limited to collection of critical information that the liaison partner would be unwilling to reveal.

So while it might be comforting to claim that “everyone does it” at least some of the time, and it may even be true that local spy agencies sometimes collaborated with NSA, the United States has a great deal to lose by spying on its friends. This is particularly true as Washington, uniquely, spies on everyone, all the time, even when there is no good reason for doing so.

NSA Blowback The American Conservative

Centralization of user activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, with email account mainly at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail along with many positive aspects has tremendous negative side effects. The most significant is that it created a way too easy opportunity both for those organizations as well as government agencies and large corporations to data mine email and Web communications of millions of Americans critical about government (see Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use those services (and that includes a significant part of European population and Russia, who have Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo accounts). The history of "total surveillance" suggests that it tends to be abused. It is also huge, irreparable breach on trust in relation to allies. Closely resembles the situation in family when wife or husband learn that the other hired detective to snoop on you.

The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the Soviet term for total surveillance was "to be under the 'dome' ") and, especially, Stasi (viewing the film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance") are way too close. At the same time there is an important difference: while such regime does mean indirect (and pretty effective) intimidation of dissidents, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data are either few or non existent, which is a big difference with KGB or Stasi practice. The latter aggressively pursued those who got in their net trying either to convert them into informers or charge them with the some suitable article of Criminal Code. In some cases that practice lead to suicides. So here we can talk more properly talk about total surveillance an instrument of Inverted Totalitarism, or totalitarism in velvet gloves.

We are talking about "passive total surveillance" and temporary (which might be several years or your lifetime) storage of all intercepted data. But in a way, Senator McCartney was probably right about "Communists sympathizers" and communist infiltration, he just was completely wrong about who they are ;-).

Every Breath You Take

Ich bin ein Berliner
J. F. Kennedy

The famous The Police hit Every Breath You Take should probably be the theme song for the NSA. As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his famous speech:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Snowden revelations are not something new. The only real revelation was how much of it was going on domestically and gory details of such activities. Before 9/11 the NSA was basically prohibited from operating domestically. Of course it violates those prohibitions, but there were no systematic internal, all encompassing technical surveillance infrastructure in place. Now it is build and is deployed nation-wide. And that's a big change, big difference. Due to "novel" interpretation of a few provisions in the Patriot Act they created domestic dragnet which encompass most types of Internet communications. In addition to intercepting more then 70% of Internet traffic they also enjoy direct access to major cloud providers.

Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression. And like in the USSR, it does change people behavior on the Web. People start thinking about consequences and this page is one of attempts to collect information that might help you to see "bigger picture".

The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after Snowden revelations...

The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after Snowden revelations...

For example, no one in sound mind can now trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. So attractiveness of Gmail, Hotmail and such are now different, then it was before. And separation of mail accounts between "junk mail" account and important mail account is something to think about. With the latter never in the cloud. In a way excessive using cloud services from a fashionable trend now became kind of indication of a person stupidity.

In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication of a person stupidity. There is no real justification of providing all your emails and address book to strangers who can abuse this information without your knowledge.

At the same time it is stupid to dramatize the situation. Still, what is really striking is the grotesque disproportionally of all this NSA surveillance "superdome" to the task of keeping the country safe from foreign enemies (NSA statute is about watching foreign communications), begging obvious questions of institutional sanity and competence. They turned all their super powerful collection mechanisms inside the country and now they drink from a firehouse. That means that the results and possibilities of abuse are pretty much predictable. Too many false positives create real danger of not to picking up weak signal. So the other question is "Who the hell made these decisions?" That's a lot of taxpayers money and I am not sure that they are well spend.

As for breach of privacy anyone with connected to Internet PC,  the first thing to understand that if somebody stores data in the cloud they should not expect any privacy, unless they encrypt them. Expecting that your unencrypted data are private is a sign of personal stupidity, no more no less. If somebody, who is keeping his address book in Google assumes that it remains private, that his own illusion. That has nothing to do with the reality.

And it not that only NSA threatens our privacy. After all there are millions of PC users that have computer(s) infected by spyware, which turns them into zombies, externally controlled monitoring devices. And such software BTW can pick up and offload, or encrypt for ransom all your data. I do not see much protest over this situation iether. Microsoft greed and stupidity is one reason for this dismal situation, but essentially any OS is vulnerable if enough money is invested in finding exploits.  And NSA actually created a market for such exploits. Now there are multiple "security firms" that do nothing then find "zero day" exploits and sell them to the highest bidder (which is of course government agencies).  Does not this reminds you 'war on drugs"?

In a way, any networked computer is an unsecure computer and should be treated as such. See Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone that is outside some metal box. That's two basic "laws of security" in the current environment.

But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but its interaction with self-profiling that you provide via social sites. If you are too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar site and engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity that simply means Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well in a humorous form in the following Amazon review of Orwell's novel 1984

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

This is not an instruction manual!, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual...

Now we know what would a perfect prototype of Bid Brother ;-). The song (Every Breath You Take ) should probably be the theme song for the NSA. And not only NSA, but its counterparts in other parts of the globe; I think, other things equal, citizens of some other countries would greatly prefer NSA to their domestic counterparts.

Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA and other similar agencies to build a dossier, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with him/her. And the number of people caught up in this dragnet can be huge. The NSA say it needs all this data to help prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11. They lie. In order to find the needle in the haystack, they argue, they need access to the whole haystack. But one interesting side effect is that now they are drinking from the fire hose, so to speak.

The power of meta data collection

Another interesting side-effect of the Snowden disclosures that the term ‘metadata’ became a common word in English language. With the growing understanding that metadata includes enough personal information to built a detailed profile of a person without even listening into content of communications. This technology was invented in Iraq war for fighting insurgents (were phone companies were controlled by US) and now is applied at home. In fact, by just using electronic communications, you are sharing a lot more personal information than you think. It's a reflection of a fact that it is very cheap to collect and analyses information about your electronic communications. The digital revolution which led to an explosion in cell phone and internet use, also led to an explosion of snooping after you by the governments.

We need to distinguish "total collection" of data from "total analysis" (or creation of dossiers on everybody as was practiced by STASI and friends). Raw data contain both "signal" and "noise". Analysis or data mining of those raw data is the process of extraction of useful signal from the noise. Of course we should be so naive that to assume that "signal" is related to purely terrorist activities. As recently published documents had shown, the NSA interests are much wider ;-). In bald terms, it sets out its mission:

“Leverage unique key corporate partnerships to gain access to high-capacity international fiber-optic cables, switches and/or routes throughout the world.”

Along with major fiber-optic cables in the US, the NSA has access to data gathered by close intelligence partners such as Britain’s GCHQ.

Sometimes it appear to me that like Uncle Sam got "red disease" and now is trying to imitate "total surveillance" mantra of KGB, STASI and similar agencies on a new technological level. And the key lesson from Soviet experience is fully applicable to the current situation in the USA: when government consider everybody as a potential enemy you better watch your back. And having a cyberstooge following your every step more closely that it was possible for STASI spooks and informers is something you need to react to. Reading your address book, mail, list of books that you bought or borrowed from the library, analyzing your circuit of friends is what STASI was really good at. And it might well be that some unemployed specialists have found a new territory to apply their substantial talents.

The Snowden documents show that the NSA runs these surveillance programs through “partnerships” with major US telecom and internet companies. That means that if you are customer of those major telecom and Internet companies you are like a bug under the microscope.

It is important to understand that metadata of your communications will always be exposed (it other words you are always walking "naked" on the Internet) because those new surveillance capabilities are immanent properties of Internet protocols, as we known it. There is no way to encrypt connection metadata: this is technically impossible unless you owns a vast private VPN network (some large corporations do), but even in this case I have doubts. Even snail-mail metadata are collected (and from 50th to 80th letters were opened and selectively copied by CIA). Diplomatic mail might still be secure, but that's about it.

Technological blowback

Like with any new development there are countervailing trends that after Snowden revelation went in overdrive and can seriously affect NSA capabilities.

One is switching to encrypting communication with most websites such as YouTube. That prevent simple harvesting of video that you watched from HTTP logs (but does not prevent harvesting -- it can be done using other methods)

The second is usage of software like Tor, although I think all connection to Tor sites are closely monitored by NSA.

The third is usage of your own cashing DNS proxy to limit number of DNS requests you make.  

I also think that all those development might give steganography a huge boost.

The other areas of technology that might get huge boost due to Snowden revelations is "Browsing imitating internet robots" technology which permit to drown NSA collection devices in spam -- fake accesses to web sites that is very difficult to distinguish from real browsing, but that make all statistical metrics applied to your Web traffic useless.  For example top visited pages became completely bogus. 

Currently this requires some level of technical sophistication and available mostly to programmers and system administrators interested in "beating NSA back". Programs that have those capabilities are often marketed as proxy logs replayers,  or Apache logs replayers or debugging tools. See for example  Load Testing with JMeter Part 3 - Replaying Apache Logs and Charles Web Debugging Proxy  ( and http - Replaying a Charles proxy session and recording the results - Stack Overflow ). Actually good old Expect can do wonders here if logs are converted into expect scripts. Especially in combination with Javascript (Scalable, Flexible Performance Testing Replaying web server log)

Another danger to society: Lord Acton warning as applied to NSA

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Lord Acton(1834–1902)

As Lord Acton(1834–1902) noted long before NSA started collecting all Internet communications "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". The history of "total surveillance" suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution that conducts: such an institution tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow power, the element of "deep state". 

The first grave consequence of total surveillance is that it tends to be abused. The history of "total surveillance" suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution that conducts: such an institution tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow power, the element of "deep state".  

And the ability to intercept electronic communications gives those who are in charge of such collection  tremendous political power. Please remember that J. Edgar Hoover was director of FBI very long time partially because he dug a lot of dirt on politicians of his time including both Kennedys. According to President Harry S Truman, Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force. He used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods. Essentially for half of the century he and his organization were out of control "state within the state" and nobody could do anything about it. Only after his death some measures were taken.

It's not that expanding bureaucracy per se is a problem. I doubt that those in the bureaucracy of those agencies do not think about larger consequences for societies of their attempts to expand their sphere of influence. It is much worse: they definitely knew about possible consequences, but go "full forward' anyway preferring job promotions and expansion of their influence. Like bureaucrats often do, they betrayed their nations like nomenklatura betrayed the people of the USSR (with a similar fig leaf of nice slogans about freedom as a smoke screen for pretty nefarious activities).

Elimination of possibility of opposition to the current regime

In case of NSA, this data on you, or particular political or social movement (for example "Occupy Wall Street") can be mined at any time, and what is even worse can be used to destroy any new political movement. And please remember that NSA is a just part of military-industrial complex, an entity that has some interesting political characteristics related to the term "the acquisition of unwarranted influence" . As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his famous farewell speech (which introduced the term "military-industrial complex"):

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

People seldom understand that all three letter agencies are not just part of military industrial complex, but are the key parts. While ability of weapon manufactures to buy or just simply control Congress members matters, three-letter agencies is where "unwarranted influence" fully materialize. By definition they are out of control and as any bureaucracy they want to grow. That was clear to Senator Frank Church who stated on August 17, 1975 NBC's Meet the Press:

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

We can applaud his personal courage, but at this point it does not matter. The horse has left the barn. As sgtdoom commented The Guardian article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

...let us be realistic and not fall for the usual story of this being a discrete event (all the latest surveillance, that is).

This dates back to the founding of the Financial-Intelligence-Complex during and in the aftermath of World War II, by the Wall Streeters for their super-rich bosses, the Rockefellers, Morgans, du Ponts, Mellons, Harrimans (now Mortimers), etc.

The most important factor that needs to be taken into account is the total surveillance make organized opposition to the regime impossible. So welcome to nicer, gentler, but no less totalitarian world of 1984 (aka "Back in USSR"). The key equation is very simple:

total surveillance = total control

That simple fact was well understood by various dictators and totalitarian regimes long ago, but none of them has had even a tiny fraction of technical capabilities NSA has now. I think one of the reason that Occupy movement completely dissipated so fast was that they were like a bug under microscope of the government. And government want them to stop harassing Wall Street sharks for their 2008 crisis misdeeds.

Instilling fear

Another important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear that our thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that all the content we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw from public spaces like producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing certain sites, buying certain books, etc.

An important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear that our thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that all the content we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw from public spaces like producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing certain sites, buying certain books, etc.

In other words understanding that you are watched on 24 x 7 basis modifies behavior and makes self-censorship your second nature exactly the same way as in any totalitarian state, but without any physical coercion. Here is one telling comment from Secret to Prism program Even bigger data seizure

wtpayne

Indeed: The intentions and motivations of the agencies in question; the degree of oversight and so on; is almost irrelevant. To a certain extent, I am content to believe that the intentions of the perpetrators is good; and that the oversight and abuse prevention systems that they have in place are strong.

However, none of that matters if people self-censor; if people worry, not about what the government of today will find objectionable, but what the government of tomorrow will not like. In effect, we end up censoring ourselves from a hypothetical worst-case future government.

Loss of privacy as a side effect of cloud-based Internet technologies

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Maybe Dante had some serious vision.

The Guardian

We will concentrate on technical side of the this operation, trying to understand how much information can be stored about a regular "Joe Doer" based on technical capabilities that are available. Let's assume that we deal with mostly "passive surveillance": collection and storage of vast amount of Internet traffic on special computers using either mirrored ports on the key routers or special access to key providers of cloud services.

We can probably assume that several layers of storage of those data exist:

Technology development creates new types of communications as well as new types of government surveillance mechanisms (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance (Wikipedia), unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. A crucial element of such a state is that its data gathering, sorting and correlation on individual citizens are continuous, cover a large number of citizens and all foreigners, and those activities are seldom exposed.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails. You can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. This is a huge saving of computational efforts ;-).

It means two things:

It puts you essentially in a situation of a bug under microscope on Big Brother. And please understand that modern storage capabilities are such that it is easy to store several years of at least some of your communications, especially emails.

The same is true about your phone calls metadata, credit card transactions and your activities on major shopping sites such as Amazon, and eBay. But here you can do almost nothing. Still I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. Phones are traditional target of government three letter agencies (WSJ) since the WWII. Smartphones with GPS in addition to land line metadata also provide your current geo location. Some point out that using basic phone slightly preferable to smartphone (both in a sense of absence of geodata and the possibility to install spyware on it -- there is simply no RAM to do anything sophisticated). But I do not think you can do much here

I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. And paying cash in the store in not something that you should try to avoid because credit card returns you 1% of the cost of the purchase. This 1% is actually a privacy tax ;-)

Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression and it changes people behavior on the Web. In this sense, Senator McCartney was probably right about "Communists sympathizers" and "KGB infiltration", he just was completely wrong about who they are ;-).

The centralization of searches on Google (and to a lesser extent on Bing -- the latter is standard with new Windows installation) are also serious threats to your privacy. Here diversification between three or more search engines might help a bit.  But limited your time behind the computer is probably more efficient. Generally here I do not think much can be done. Growth of popularity of Duckduckgo suggests that people are vary of Google monopolizing the search, but it is unclear how big are the advantages. You can also save searches as many searches are recurrent and generally you can benefit from using your personal Web proxy with private cashing DNS server. This way to can "shrink" your radar picture, but that's about it. If you are conserved with you "search" profile, you can replay some searches to distort it. In any case,  search engines are now an integral part of our civilization, whether we want it or not.

Collection of your searches for the last several years can pretty precisely outline sphere of your interests. And again technical constrains on storage of data no longer exists: how we can talk about privacy at the age of 3 TB harddrives for $99. There are approximately 314 million of the US citizens and residents, so storing one gigabyte of information for each citizen requires just 400 petabytes.  Which is clearly within the current capabilities of storage technology. For comparison

Films to Understand the Phenomenon

The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the term was "to be under the "kolpak" (dome) ") and, especially, Stasi (viewing the film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance") are way too close. And psychological effects of anticipating that you are under total surveillance are well depicted in the final of the film The Conversation (1974) directed by famous Francis Ford Coppola

At the same time there is an important difference: while both regimes creates implicit intimidation and squash dissent, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data are either few or non existent. Which is a big difference with KGB or Stasi practice, which aggressively pursued those dissidents who got in their net, trying either to convert them into informers, or prosecute them using the existing articles of Criminal Code. In some cases that led to suicides. So here we can talk more about Inverted Totalitarism, a velvet gloves mode of suppressing of dissent.

Your email in toxic cloud

Still it is now dramatically more clear then before that centralization of email accounts and user activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, with email accounts mainly at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail is far from being a positive development. Along with many positive aspects has tremendous negative side effects. Essentially it turns users into spies on themselves in a way that would be a dream by Stasi. The most significant is that it created an easy opportunities to data mine email databases both for those organizations as well as various government agencies and, possibly (in a limited way for special payment) by large corporations.

Those tendencies probably should be at least resisted, but we do not have means to reverse them.

Attempts to data mine email and Web communications of millions of Americans critical about government (see Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use those services (and that includes a significant part of European population and xUSSR area, who often use Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo accounts) means that the country became a National Security State. With all relevant consequences of such a transformation.

And interest in content of your "cloud based" email is not limited to the government:

A sweeping Wall Street Journal investigation in 2010 found that the biggest U.S. websites have technologies tracking people who visit their pages, sometimes upwards of 100 tools per site. One intrusive string of code even recorded users’ keystrokes and transmitted them to a data-gathering firm for analysis.

“A digital dossier over time is built up about you by that site or third-party service or data brokers,” says Adam Thierer, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center’s Technology Policy Program at George Mason University. “They collect these data profiles and utilize them to sell you or market you better services or goods.”

This is what powers the free Internet we know and love; users pay nothing or next to nothing for services — and give up pieces of personal information for advertisers in exchange. If you search for a Mini Cooper on one website, you’re likely to see ads elsewhere for lightweight, fuel-efficient cars. Companies robotically categorize users with descriptions such as “urban upscale” to “rural NASCAR” to tailor the advertising experience, says Jim Harper of the libertarian Cato Institute. “They’ll use ZIP codes and census data to figure out what their lifestyle profile is.”

Tracking your Web access

Most of the site you visit those days was found via search engine, often Google. But Google is interested in more then search terms you use and sometimes plays with you a nasty trick: "Google may choose to exhibit its search results in the form of a 'URL redirector,'" reads Google's main privacy policy. That means that any time it wishes Google can spy on your Web activity:

"When Google uses a URL redirector, if you click on a URL from a search result, information about the click is sent to Google."

Few people check the URL before clicking on Google search results, so in a way this is perfect spying tool.

But there is another powerful spying tool in Google arsenal -- Google toolbar, and I am not sure that all those trick were not reused in Google browser. Google Toolbar sends all user clicks to Google, if advanced mode is enabled (and many people do enable it because they want to have spelling correction available which, conveniently for Google, belongs to the set of advanced features). This way you voluntarily subscribe to a 24x7 monitoring of your web activity using spyware that is installed on your computer with your consent. For the same reason recent smartphones fashion looks greatly misguided. It is better to use regular phone, then smartphone, and the last thing you probably want on your smartphone is Android OS or iOS, or windows 8 OS. In some deep way unlocked Nokia 1280 looks now much more attractive (and is way cheaper ;-).

Google Toolbar in advanced mode is another common snooping tool about your activities. It send each URL you visit to Google and you can be sure that from Google several three letter agencies get this information as well. After all Google has links to them from the very beginning:

Effects on behavior

As soon as they realize that they are watched, people start thinking about consequences and this article is a pretty telling (albeit slightly paranoid ;-) illustration of the effect. The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people preemptively change their behavior, if they know or suspect that they got "under the dome" of government surveillance, that all their emails are intercepted, all web site visits recorded, anything they buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control.

The angle under which will we try to cover the story is: the situation is such and such, now what? What are the most appropriate actions and strategy of behavior of people who are concerned about their privacy and no longer trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc ( and those who trust those providers should probably stop reading at this point). It is impossible to close all those accounts. But some can and should be closed; for example POP3 mail can replace web mail for all "important" mail; this way you avoid "cloud storage" of all your important correspondence. It is impossible not to use search engines, but you can chose which search language to use. It is impractical not to use smartphone and for Android phone you can't avoid registration -- that's the only way to get updates from Google, but you can root the phone, remove some snooping components and use Firefox instead of Chrome. But not it is clear that if mobile web browsing and checking email on your phone is not your thing you are better off with a very simple phone such as Nokia 1280.

The first and the most obvious "change we can believe in" is that we need to change our attitude toward cloud services and especially cloud services from large providers. Now the most reasonable assumption is that most national cloud providers including major retailers are in bed with the government three letter agencies. So you need to be careful what you browse for on Amazon, similarly to what you write from Gmail and Hotmail.

In a way, excessive usage of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became kind of indication of a person stupidity. It is important to understand that for anybody more or less competent with computers (or willing to learn), anything Facebook or Gmail or Hotmail can offer, regular small ISP account with Cpanel can offer with less risk for your privacy for, say, $5 a month or less. And your privacy definitely cost more then $60 a year.

In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication of a person stupidity. For anybody more or less competent with computers (or willing to learn), anything Facebook or Gmail can offer, regular ISP account with Cpanel can offer too with less risk for your privacy.

At the same time it is also stupid to over-dramatize the situation and isolate yourself by abandoning Internet communications and restricting usage of cell-phone. The reasonable hypothesis is that today’s surveillance is a side effect of new technological developments and it is a new fact of life. It is just a new level of information gathering, which has been going on since the Byzantine Empire. And it is still limited by technological capabilities of sifting through mass of communications. But at the same time, quantity does at one point turns into quality, so the danger is real and as such could providers are suspect by definition. In no way they are new level of technological development. In sense they are one step forward, two sets back.

Also being engages in foreign wars has an interesting side effect that technologies invented come home and used against citizens (naked capitalism). That's actually the origin of indiscriminant collection of metadata used now.

But at the same time we need to understand that there are millions of PC users that have computer(s) infected by spyware, which can make your computer a zombie. And world did not perished due to that.

Still the key lesson is unmistakable: from now on, any networked computer is an unsecure computer that can't be trusted really confidential information, unless it is isolated by firewall and proxy. And if we assume that it is unsecured computer, them it should be treated it as such. The first step is that all confidential data should be deleted and moved to removable storage. In case you need to work with it as much as possible should be done on non-networked computers, limiting the exposure of your data to bare minimum. And the less powerful computer you use for processing you confidential data, the best; the less powerful OS you use, the best (what about using Windows 98 or DOS for those who can still remember it ? ;-). From now on "retro-computing" movement now is inherently linked with the issues of security and privacy and might get a new life.

This retro-computing idea might create a new life for abandoned computers that are in excess in almost every family ;-) See Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone, which should be as simple as possible. Not all people really benefit from browsing the Web from their smartphones. If you are really paranoid you can think storing you cell phone at home in a metal box ;-).

In other words there are two new "laws of computer security":

But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but voluntarily self-profiling that you provide via social sites. If you are way too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar site and engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity you put yourselves voluntarily under surveillance. So not only Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well in a humorous form in the following Amazon review of Orwell's novel 1984

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

This is not an instruction manual!, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual...

BTW just after Prism program was revealed in June 2013, Nineteen Eighty-Four became a bestseller on Amazon. As of June 15, 2013 it was #87 in Fiction. If you never have a chance to read it, please do it now. and again, if you think that this revelation of Prism program is a big news, you probably are mistaken. Many people understood that as soon new technical capabilities of surveillance are available they are instantly put to use. As John H. Summers noted in his review (The Deciders - New York Times) of John Mill "Power elite":

...official secrecy steadily expanded its reach.

"For the first time in American history, men in authority are talking about an 'emergency' without a foreseeable end,"

Mills wrote in a sentence that remains as powerful and unsettling as it was 50 years ago.

"Such men as these are crackpot realists: in the name of realism they have constructed a paranoid reality all their own."

Adding insult to injury: Self-profiling

Facebook has nothing without people
silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing

The key problem with social sites is that many people voluntarily post excessive amount of personal data about themselves, including keeping their photo archives online, etc. So while East Germany analog of the Department of Homeland Security called Ministry for State Security (Stasi) needed to recruit people to spy about you, now you yourself serves as a informer voluntarily providing all the tracking information about your activities ;-).

Scientella, palo alto

...Facebook always had a very low opinion of peoples intelligence - and rightly so!

I can tell you Silicon Valley is scared. Facebook's very existence depends upon trusting young persons, their celebrity wannabee parents and other inconsequential people being prepared to give up their private information to Facebook.

Google, now that SOCIAL IS DEAD, at least has their day job also, of paid referral advertising where someone can without divulging their "social" identity, and not linking their accounts, can look for a product on line and see next to it some useful ads.

But Facebook has nothing without people silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing.

... ... ...

Steve Fankuchen, Oakland CA

Cook, Brin, Gates, Zuckerberg, et al most certainly have lawyers and public relations hacks that have taught them the role of "plausible deniability."

Just as in the government, eventually some low or mid-level flunkie will likely be hung out to dry, when it becomes evident that the institution knew exactly what was going on and did nothing to oppose it. To believe any of these companies care about their users as anything other than cash cows is to believe in the tooth fairy.

The amount of personal data which users of site like Facebook put voluntarily on the Web is truly astonishing. Now anybody using just Google search can get quit substantial information about anybody who actively using social sites and post messages in discussion he/she particulates under his/her own name instead of a nickname. Just try to see what is available about you and most probably your jaw would drop...

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves. We all should became more aware about the risks involved as well as real implications of the catch phase Privacy is Dead – Get Over It.

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves.

As Peter Ludlow noted in NYT (The Real War on Reality):

If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent weeks it is this: the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.

Citizens of foreign countries have accounts at Facebook and mail accounts in Gmail, hotmail and Yahoo mail are even in less enviable position then the US citizens. They are legitimate prey. No legal protection for them exists, if they use those services. That means that they voluntarily open all the information they posted about themselves to the US government in addition to their own government. And the net is probably more wide then information leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggests. For any large company, especially a telecom corporation, operating is the USA it might be dangerous to refuse to cooperate (Qwest case).

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, convicted of insider trading in April 2007, alleged in appeal documents that the NSA requested that Qwest participate in its wiretapping program more than six months before September 11, 2001. Nacchio recalls the meeting as occurring on February 27, 2001. Nacchio further claims that the NSA cancelled a lucrative contract with Qwest as a result of Qwest's refusal to participate in the wiretapping program.[13] Nacchio surrendered April 14, 2009 to a federal prison camp in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania to begin serving a six-year sentence for the insider trading conviction. The United States Supreme Court denied bail pending appeal the same day.[15]

It is not the case of some special evilness of the US government. It simply is more agile to understand and capitalize on those new technical opportunities. It is also conveniently located at the center of Internet universe with most traffic is flowing via US owned or controlled routers (67% or more). But it goes without saying that several other national governments and a bunch of large corporations also try to mine this new gold throve of private information on citizens. Probably with less sophistication and having less financial resources.

In many cases corporations themselves are interested in partnership with the government. Here is one telling comment:

jrs says on June 8, 2013

Yea in my experience that’s how “public/private partnerships” really work:

  1. Companies DO need protection FROM the government. An ill-conceived piece of legislation can put a perfectly decent out of business. Building ties with the government is protection.
  2. Government represents a huge market and eventually becomes one of the top customers for I think most businesses (of course the very fact that a government agency is a main customer is often kept hush hush even within the company and something you are not supposed to speak of as an employee even though you are aware of it)
  3. Of course not every company proceeds to step 3 -- being basically an arm of the government but ..

That means that not only Chinese citizens already operate on the Internet without any real sense of privacy. Even if you live outside the USA the chances are high that you automatically profiled by the USA instead of or in addition to your own government. Kind of neoliberalism in overdrive mode: looks like we all are already citizens of a global empire (Let's call it " Empire of Peace" ) with the capital in Washington.

It is reasonable to assume that a massive eavesdropping apparatus now tracks at least an "envelope" of every electronic communication you made during your lifetime. No need for somebody reporting about you like in "old" totalitarian state like East Germany with its analog of the Department of Homeland Security called the Ministry for State Security (Stasi). So in this new environment, you are like Russians used to say about dissidents who got under KGB surveillance is always "under the dome". In this sense this is just an old vine in a new bottles. But the global scope and lifetime storage of huge amount of personal information for each and every citizen is something new and was made possible the first time in world history by new technologies.

It goes without saying that records about time, sender and receiver of all your phone calls, emails, Amazon purchases, credit card transactions, and Web activities for the last decade are stored somewhere in a database and not necessary only government computers. And that means that your social circle (the set of people you associate with), books and films that you bought, your favorite websites, etc can be easily deducted from those records.

That brings us to an important question about whether we as consumers should support such ventures as Facebook and Google++ which profile you and after several years have a huge amount of pretty private and pretty damaging information about you, information which can get into wrong hands.

Recent discoveries about Prism program: quantity turned into quality.

The most constructive approach to NSA is to view is a large government bureaucracy that expanded to the extent that quantity turned into quality.

Any large bureaucracy is a political coalition with the primary goal of preserving and enhancing of its own power, no matter what are official declarations. And if breaching your privacy helps they will do it. Which is what Bush government did after 9/11. The question is how much bureaucratic bloat resulting in classic dynamics of organizational self-aggrandizement and expansionism happened in NSA. We don't know how much we got in exchange for undermining internet security and US constitution. But we do know the intelligence establishment happily appropriated billions of dollars, had grown by thousand of employees and got substantial "face lift" and additional power within the executive branch of government. To the extent that something it looks like a shadow government. And now they will fight tooth-and nail to protect the fruits of a decade long bureaucratic expansion. Now it is an Intelligence Church and like any religious organization they do not need fact to support their doctrine and influence.

Typically there is an infighting and many factions within any large hierarchical organization, some with and some without factual awareness of the rest. Basically any hierarchical institution corporate, religious, military will abuse available resources for internal political infighting. And with NSA "big data" push this is either happening or just waiting to happen. This is a danger of any warrantless wiretapping program: it naturally convert itself into a saga of eroding checks and disappearing balance. And this already happened in the past, so in a way it is just act two of the same drama (WhoWhatWhy):

After media revelations of intelligence abuses by the Nixon administration began to mount in the wake of Watergate, NSA became the subject of Congressional ire in the form of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities—commonly known as the “Church Committee” after its chair, Senator Frank Church (D-ID)—established on January 17, 1975. This ad-hoc investigative body found itself unearthing troves of classified records from the FBI, NSA, CIA and Pentagon that detailed the murky pursuits of each during the first decades of the Cold War. Under the mantle of defeating communism, internal documents confirmed the executive branch’s use of said agencies in some of the most fiendish acts of human imagination (including refined psychological torture techniques), particularly by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Cold War mindset had incurably infected the nation’s security apparatus, establishing extralegal subversion efforts at home and brutish control abroad. It was revealed that the FBI undertook a war to destroy homegrown movements such as the Black Liberation Movement (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), and that NSA had indiscriminately intercepted the communications of Americans without warrant, even without the President’s knowledge. When confronted with such nefarious enterprises, Congress sought to rein in the excesses of the intelligence community, notably those directed at the American public.

The committee chair, Senator Frank Church, then issued this warning about NSA’s power:

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. Telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The reforms that followed, as enshrined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC): a specially-designated panel of judges who are allowed to review evidence before giving NSA a warrant to spy on Americans (only in the case of overseas communication). Hardly a contentious check or balance, FISC rejected zero warrant requests between its inception in 1979 and 2000, only asking that two warrants be “modified” out of an estimated 13,000.

In spite of FISC’s rubberstamping, following 9/11 the Bush administration began deliberately bypassing the court, because even its minimal evidentiary standard was too high a burden of proof for the blanket surveillance they wanted. So began the dragnet monitoring of the American public by tapping the country’s major electronic communication chokepoints in collusion with the nation’s largest telecommunications companies.

When confronted with the criminal conspiracy undertaken by the Bush administration and telecoms, Congress confirmed why it retains the lowest approval rating of any major American institution by “reforming” the statute to accommodate the massive law breaking. The 2008 FISA Amendments Act [FAA] entrenched the policy of mass eavesdropping and granted the telecoms retroactive immunity for their criminality, withdrawing even the negligible individual protections in effect since 1979. Despite initial opposition, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama voted for the act as one of his last deeds in the Senate. A few brave (and unsuccessful) lawsuits later, this policy remains the status quo.

Similarly we should naturally expect that the notion of "terrorist" is flexible and in certain cases can be equal to "any opponent of regime". While I sympathize NYT readers reaction to this incident (see below), I think it is somewhat naive. They forget that they are living under neoliberal regime which like any rule of top 0.01% is afraid of and does not trust its own citizens. So massive surveillance program is a self-preservation measure which allow to crush or subvert the opposition at early stages. This is the same situation as existed with Soviet nomenklatura, with the only difference that Soviet nomenklatura was more modest pushing the USSR as a beacon of progress and bright hope of all mankind ;-). As Ron Paul noted:

Many of us are not so surprised.

Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance—not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.

We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the “crisis” has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand over our personal information to the government?

And while revealed sources of NSA Prism program include Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and others major Internet players, that's probably just a tip of the iceberg. Ask yourself a question, why Amazon and VISA and MasterCard are not on the list? According to The Guardian:

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

... ... ...

Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007. It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks

... ... ...

A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.

So while the document does not list Amazon, but I would keep fingers crossed.

Questions that arise

To be aware about a situation you need to be able to formulate and answer key questions about it. The first and the most important question is whether the government is engaged in cyberstalking of law abiding citizens. Unfortunately the answer is definite yes, as oligarchy needs total control of prols. As a result National Security State rise to prominence as a dominant social organization of neoliberal societies, the societies which characterized by very high level of inequality.

But there are some additional, albeit less important questions. The answers to them determine utility or futility of small changes of our own behavior in view of uncovered evidence. Among possible set of such question I would list the following:

There are also some minor questions about efficiency of "total surveillance approach". Among them:

The other part of understand the threat is understanding is what data are collected. The short answer is all your phone records and Internet activity (RT USA):

The National Security Agency is collecting information on the Internet habits of millions of innocent Americans never suspected of criminal involvement, new NSA documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden suggest.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Monday that top-secret documents included in the trove of files supplied by the NSA contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden reveal that the US intelligence community obtains and keeps information on American citizens accumulated off the Internet without ever issuing a search warrant or opening an investigation into that person.

The information is obtained using a program codenamed Marina, the documents suggest, and is kept by the government for up to a full year without investigators ever having to explain why the subject is being surveilled.

Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days' worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection,” the Guardian’s James Ball quotes from the documents.

According to a guide for intelligence analysts supplied by Mr. Snowden, “The Marina metadata application tracks a user's browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target.”

"This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development,” it continues.

Ball writes that the program collects “almost anything” a Web user does online, “from browsing history – such as map searches and websites visited – to account details, email activity, and even some account passwords.”

Only days earlier, separate disclosures attributed to Snowden revealed that the NSA was using a massive collection of metadata to create complex graphs of social connections for foreign intelligence purposes, although that program had pulled in intelligence about Americans as well.

After the New York Times broke news of that program, a NSA spokesperson said that “All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period.” As Snowden documents continue to surface, however, it’s becoming clear that personal information pertaining to millions of US citizens is routinely raked in by the NSA and other agencies as the intelligence community collects as much data as possible.

In June, a top-secret document also attributed to Mr. Snowden revealed that the NSA was collecting the telephony metadata for millions of Americans from their telecom providers. The government has defended this practice by saying that the metadata — rough information that does not include the content of communications — is not protected by the US Constitution’s prohibition against unlawful search and seizure.

Metadata can be very revealing,” George Washington University law professor Orin S. Kerr told the Times this week. “Knowing things like the number someone just dialed or the location of the person’s cellphone is going to allow them to assemble a picture of what someone is up to. It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect.”

According to the Guardian’s Ball, Internet metadata picked up by the NSA is routed to the Marina database, which is kept separate from the servers where telephony metadata is stored.

Only moments after the Guardian wrote of its latest leak on Monday, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project read a statement before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs penned by none other than Snowden himself.

When I began my work, it was with the sole intention of making possible the debate we see occurring here in this body,” Snowden said.

Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after being charged with espionage in the US, said through Raddack that “The cost for one in my position of returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile.”

Limits to spying via data collected about you

If the NSA's mining of data traffic is so effective, why weren't Tsarnaev's family's overseas calls predictive of a bombing at the Boston Marathon?

-Helen Corey WSJ.com

There are limits of this "powerful analytical software" as it currently used. As we mentioned above, even if NSA algorithms are incredibly clever they can't avoid producing large number of false positives. After two year investigation into the post 9/11 intelligence agencies, the Washington Post came to conclusion that they are collecting more information than anyone can comprehend ("drinking from a firehose" or "drowning is a sea of data"):

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billions e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases"

First of all there is a classic problem of "signal vs. noise" (infoglut) in any large scale data collection and presence of noise in the channel makes signal much more difficult to detect.

Analysts who make sense of document and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year -- a volume so large that many are routinely ignored

The enormity of the database exacerbate the problem. That's why NSA is hunting for email on cloud providers, where they are already filtered from spam, and processing required is much less then for emails intercepted from the wire data. Still even with the direct access to user accounts, the volume of data, especially graphic (pictures) and video data, is really huge and that stress the limits of processing capabilities and storage.

Existence of Snowden saga when a single analyst was able to penetrate the system and extract considerable amount information with impunity suggests that the whole Agency is mess, probably like is typical for any large organization with a lot of incompetents or, worse, careerists and psychopaths  at the helm (see Toxic Managers). Which is typical for government agencies and large corporations.

Still the level of logs collection and internal monitoring in NSA proved to be surprisingly weak, as there are indirect signs that the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands. In any case we, unless this is a very clever inside operation, we need to assume that Edward Snowden stole thousands of documents, abused his sysadmin position in the NSA, and was never caught. Here is one relevant comment from The Guardian

carlitoontour

Oh NSA......that´s fine that you cannot find something......what did you tell us, the World and the US Congress about the "intelligence" of Edward Snowden and the low access he had?

SNOWDEN SUSPECTED OF BYPASSING ELECTRONIC LOGS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. government's efforts to determine which highly classified materials leaker Edward Snowden took from the National Security Agency have been frustrated by Snowden's sophisticated efforts to cover his digital trail by deleting or bypassing electronic logs, government officials told The Associated Press. Such logs would have showed what information Snowden viewed or downloaded.

The government's forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden's apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the sensitive developments publicly.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NSA_SURVEILLANCE_SNOWDEN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-08-24-09-41-24

On the other hand government agencies were never good in making huge and complex software projects work. And large software projects are a very difficult undertaking in any case. Even in industry 50% of software projects fail, and anybody who works in the industry knows, that the more complex the project is the higher are chances that it will be mismanaged and its functionality crippled due to architectural defects ("a camel is a horse designed by a committee"). It is given that such project will be over budget. Possibly several times over...

But if money is not a problem such system will eventually be completed ("with enough thrust pigs can fly"). Still there’s no particular reason to think that corruption (major work was probably outsourced) and incompetence (on higher management levels and, especially on architectural level as in "camel is a horse designed by a committee") don't affect the design and functionality of such government projects. Now when this activity come under fire some adjustments might be especially badly thought out and potentially cripple the existing functionality.

As J. Kirk Wiebe, a NSA insider, noted

"The way the government was going about those digital data flows was poor formed, uninformed. There seen to be more of a desire to contract out and capture money flow then there was a [desire} to actually perform the mission".

See the interview of a trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers to USA TODAY ( J. Kirk Wiebe remarks starts at 2:06 and the second half of it continues from 6:10):

In military organizations the problem is seldom with the talent (or lack of thereof) of individual contributors. The problem is with the bureaucracy that is very effective in preventing people from exercising their talents at the service of their country. Such system is deformed in such a way that it hamstrings the men who are serving in it. As a results, more often then not the talents are squandered or misused by patching holes created by incompetence of higher-up or or just pushed aside in the interdepartmental warfare.

In a way, incompetence can be defined as the inability to avoid mistakes which, in a "normal" course of project development could and should be avoided. And that's the nature of military bureaucracy with its multiple layer of command and compete lack of accountability on higher levels.

In addition, despite the respectable name of the organization many members of technical staff are amateurs. They never managed to sharpen their technical skills, while at the same time acquiring the skills necessary to survive the bureaucracy. Many do not have basic academic education and are self-taught hackers and/or "grow on the job". Typically people at higher level of hierarchy, are simply not experts in software engineering, but more like typical corporate "PowerPoint" warriors. They can be very shred managers and accomplished political fighters, but that's it.

This is the same situation that exists in security departments of large multinationals, so we can extrapolate from that. The word of Admiral Nelson "If the enemy would know what officer corps will confront them, it will be trembling, like I am". Here is Bill Gross apt recollection of his service as naval officer (The Tipping Point) that illustrate the problems:

A few years ago I wrote about the time that our ship (on my watch) was almost cut in half by an auto-piloted tanker at midnight, but never have I divulged the day that the USS Diachenko came within one degree of heeling over during a typhoon in the South China Sea. “Engage emergency ballast,” the Captain roared at yours truly – the one and only chief engineer. Little did he know that Ensign Gross had slept through his classes at Philadelphia’s damage control school and had no idea what he was talking about. I could hardly find the oil dipstick on my car back in San Diego, let alone conceive of emergency ballast procedures in 50 foot seas. And so…the ship rolled to starboard, the ship rolled to port, the ship heeled at the extreme to 36 degrees (within 1 degree, as I later read in the ship’s manual, of the ultimate tipping point). One hundred sailors at risk, because of one twenty-three-year-old mechanically challenged officer, and a Captain who should have known better than to trust him.

Huge part of this work is outsourced to various contractors and this is where corruption really creeps in. So the system might be not as powerful as many people automatically assume when they hear the abbreviation of NSA. So in a way when news about such system reaches public it might serve not weakening but strengthening of the capabilities of the system. Moreover, nobody would question the ability of such system to store huge amount of raw or semi-processed data including all metadata for your transactions on the Internet.

Also while it is a large agency with a lot of top mathematic talent, NSA is not NASA and motivation of the people (and probably quality of architectural thinking about software projects involved) is different despite much better financing. While they do have high quality people, like most US agencies in general, large bureaucracies usually are unable to utilize their talent. Mediocrities with sharp elbows, political talent, as well as sociopaths typically rule the show.

That means two things:

So even with huge amount of subcontractors that can chase mostly "big fish". Although one open question is why with all those treasure trove of data organized crime is so hard to defeat. Having dataset like this should generally expose all the members of any gang. Or, say, network of blue collar insider traders. So in an indirect way the fact that organized crime not only exists and in some cities even flourish can suggest one of two things:

There is also a question of complexity of analysis:

Possibility of abuses of collected data

Errors in algorithms and bugs in those programs can bite some people in a different way then branding them as "terrorists". Such people have no way of knowing why all of a sudden, for example, they are paying a more for insurance, why their credit score is so low no matter what they do, etc. In no way government in the only one who are using the mass of data collected via Google / Facebook / Yahoo / Microsoft / Verizon / Optonline / AT&T / Comcast, etc. It also can lead to certain subtle types of bias if not error. And there are always problems of intentional misuse of data sets having extremely intimate knowledge about you.

Corporate corruption can lead to those data that are shared with the government can also be shared for money with private actors. Inept use of this unconstitutionally obtained data is a threat to all of us.

Then there can be cases when you can be targeted just because you are critical to the particular area of government policy, for example the US foreign policy. This is "Back in the USSR" situation in full swing, with its prosecution of dissidents. Labeling you as a "disloyal/suspicious element" in one of government "terrorism tracking" databases can have drastic result to your career and you never even realize whats happened. Kind of Internet era McCarthyism .

Obama claims that the government is aware about this danger and tried not to overstep, but he is an interested party in this discussion. In a way government is pushed in this area by the new technologies that open tremendous opportunities for collecting data and making some correlations.

That's why even if you are doing nothing wrong, it is still important to know your enemy, as well as avoid getting into some traps. One typical trap is excessive centralization of your email on social sites, including using a single Webmail provider. It is much safer to have mail delivery to your computer via POP3 and to use Thunderbird or other email client. If your computer is a laptop, you achieve, say, 80% of portability that Web-based email providers like Google Gmail offers. That does not mean that you should close your Gmail or Yahoo account. More important is separating email accounts into "important" and "everything else". "Junk mail" can be stored on Web-based email providers without any problems. Personal emails is completely another matter.

Conclusions

#14 Gus Hunt, the chief technology officer at the CIA: "We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever."

New Internet technology developments has huge "Externality":
Profiling is now really easy and almost automatic, especially with your own help

Technology development create new types of communications as well as new types of government surveillance mechanisms (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance (Wikipedia), unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. A crucial element of such a state is that its data gathering, sorting and correlation are continuous, cover a large number of citizens and all foreigners and those activities are seldom exposed.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" on third party servers have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails. You can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. Your address book is a bonus ;-). This is huge saving of computational efforts.

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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Total Surveillance Bulletin, 2014 Total Surveillance Bulletin, 2013

Total Surveillance Bulletin, 2012

[Jan 21, 2020] App Warning With One Photo, Strangers Can Find All Your Information

Women now can appreciate the usefulness of veil ;-)
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

An app called Clearview allows the user to snap a photo of anyone. Once that's done, the person who took your picture will have access to all of your information. Privacy is now all but obsolete.

People will not, for much longer, be able to walk down the street minding their own business anonymously. According to a report by The New York Times, it won't be long before anyone at any time knows exactly who you are while you're in public.

What if a stranger could snap your picture on the sidewalk then use an app to quickly discover your name, address and other details? A startup called Clearview AI has made that possible. Perhaps the worst news is that the police state is already using this technology in some parts of the "land of the free." The app is currently being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the United States, including the deep state FBI, says a Saturday report in The New York Times.

Our Orwellian future has arrived. We are to be tracked, monitored, spied on, and have no privacy whatsoever at any time. And now, other strangers will have access to your private information is you dare to show your face in public.

According to the Times, this human rights violating app works by comparing a photo snapped to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it's scraped off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those database photos originally appeared. A name might easily be unearthed, and from there, other info could be dug up online.

The size of the Clearview database dwarfs others in use by law enforcement. The FBI's own database, which taps passport and driver's license photos, is one of the largest, with over 641 million images of US citizens.

The Clearview app isn't currently available to the public, but the Times says police officers and Clearview investors think it will be in the future. – CNET

Even though law enforcement says they've used the app's technology to solve horrible crimes, human rights advocates warn that the privacy violations are going to be immense. Privacy advocates are warning that the app could return false matches to police and that it could also be used by stalkers and other creeps. They've also warned that facial recognition technologies , in general, could be used to conduct mass surveillance.

Most facial recognition technology is already used for Orwellian and tyrannical purposes by the powers that shouldn't be. It should come as no surprise that this will also be used by the ruling class to eliminate basic human rights.

[Jan 19, 2020] Facebook blocks documentary about Biden dealing in Ukraine from ukrainegate.info which sheds a new light on Ukrainegate

Jan 19, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Fran Macadam , January 14, 2020 at 07:28

You've been zucked.

[Jan 19, 2020] Amazon and MIC

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Jan 18 2020 19:44 utc | 167

What if the real "rebellion" consist on the intertwinning of the Executive, Military and Corporate factions to all feed on profit while at the same time better control population and above all dissidents through the control of and proffitering from big data?

MILITARY-DIGITAL COMPLEX: Why Amazon is going to become the next US MIC giant

....And perhaps the ultimate goal is not just more government contracts, but influence over regulations that could affect Amazon. Today, some of its biggest threats aren't competitors, but lawmakers and politicians arguing for antitrust moves against tech giants. (Or, perhaps, a president arguing it should pay more taxes.) And Bezos clearly understands that operating in Washington requires access to, and influence on, whoever is in the White House; in 2015 he hired Obama's former press secretary, Jay Carney, as a senior executive, and earlier this year AWS enlisted Jeff Miller, a Trump fund-raiser, to lobby on its behalf.

....Steve Aftergood, who runs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, has tracked intelligence spending and privacy issues for decades. I asked him if he has any concerns about Amazon's rapid expansion into national security. "We seem to be racing toward a new configuration of government and industry without having fully thought through all of the implications. And some of those implications may not be entirely foreseeable," he wrote in an email. "But any time you establish a new concentration of power and influence, you also need to create some countervailing structure that will have the authority and the ability to perform effective oversight. Up to now, that oversight structure doesn't seem to [be] getting the attention it deserves."

[Jan 08, 2020] Before his death in 2015, renowned British author and neurologist Oliver Sacks penned an essay lamenting society's limitless plunge into the personality-depriving depths of smart phones and social media.

Jan 08, 2020 | www.militarytimes.com

Before his death in 2015, renowned British author and neurologist Oliver Sacks penned an essay lamenting society's limitless plunge into the personality-depriving depths of smart phones and social media.

"Everything is public now, potentially: one's thoughts, one's photos, one's movements, one's purchases," he wrote in the essay published posthumously in The New Yorker. "There is no privacy and apparently little desire for it in a world devoted to non-stop use of social media. Every minute, every second, has to be spent with one's device clutched in one's hand."

Sacks' smart phone-induced melancholia, however, had yet to extend to the arena of national security.

But here we are.

Like the general population, today's troops entranced by the glowing hypnosis of iPhone and Android screens grow increasingly unaware of the security breach potential at their fingertips. Lurking enemies capable of crippling cybersecurity attacks seek to prey on the complacent, and junior personnel have shown little in the way of resistance -- opting instead to prioritize online popularity at the expense of information sharing and operational security.

A concerned Gen. Robert Neller, the now-retired former Marine Commandant, addressed this trend at a 2016 Center for Strategic and International Studies conference discussion in which he urged Marines to put down their inanimate soulmates and turn their focus to the mission.

"We're going to go to the field for 30 days; everybody leave your phone in the car and tell your significant other or your mom, your aunt, your uncle, that you're not going to get 75 texts each day and answer them," he said.

"You're living out of your pack, you're going to stop at night, you're going to dig a hole, you're going to camouflage, you're going to turn off all your stuff, and you're going to sit there. And you've got to be careful to not make any noise, and you're going to try to have absolutely no signature. Because if you can be seen, you will be attacked."

[Jan 04, 2020] Critical thinking is anathema to the neoliberal establishment. That s why they need to corrupt the language, to make the resistance more difficult and requiring higher level of IQ

Highly recommended!
Manipulation of the language is one of the most powerful Propaganda tool. See the original Orwell essay at George Orwell Politics and the English Language. among other things he stated "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."
Notable quotes:
"... we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying. ..."
"... It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BluebellWood -> Supermassive , 29 Nov 2018 12:41

Yep - education is the key.

I remember at school we read Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language in an English class and then we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying.

How many children in schools are taught such critical thinking these days, I wonder? It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them.

[Jan 02, 2020] Joe Rogan Experience #1368 - Edward Snowden

A very disappointing interview. I person that has no doubts about 9/11 doers not reserve our respect. He also might be a fake defector much like Oswald was. As simple as that. Snowden version of history is deeply wrong. He actually talk as a second rate journalist, not as a security specialist. If he thinks that bashing Russia and Putin will save him from being framed as a Russian agent, he is an idiot. It he things that 9/11 official story holds and can't be questioned he is iether a naive idiot or a Deep State stooge.
And repeating banalities about security risks in modern society do not bring you too far iether. That a very short summary of this two and a half hour narcissistic monolog, which for some reason is called interview.
In his interview Snowden mainly repeat things that became banalities and that you can learn for any other book on total surveillance.
What if this was yet another false flag operation? It looks like he was just certified Microsoft engineer, he was not Unix guy.
He views 9/11 disqualify his from providing the explanation of how the USA was converted into national security state.
His view of Putin are probably result of indoctrination in CIA and NSA, but that also means that he is not a deep thinker. Also it is strange after spending in the country several years and did not lean more about Russia and did not even try to learn the language.
BTW while his escape from the USA and attempt to provide materials did managed to focus attention of the public on total severance regime, almost nothing of Snowden materials were published. Almost everything died in the hand of selected journalists... Guardian published small fragments of one PRISM document. That's it. He is no Manning.
Snowden puts too much efforts in trying to justify his actions and at the end that became annoying and suspicious in its own right.
Notable quotes:
"... "patriotism isn't about the loyalty to government. Patriotism isn't a loyalty to anything. Patriotism is constant effort to do good for the people of your country" ..."
"... "I'd be working on umm economic takeover of Guatemala for example" Lol CIA's bread and butter ..."
"... While I'm not saying Snowden is wrong, it's important to realize that this is "his side of the story." ..."
"... Honestly don't know how so many can be shocked by these claims. Did you really think that your government sweetheart is trying to protect you? They collectively have an agenda to keep people asleep. ..."
"... Snowden is a D.S. Cutout. Period. Disinfo Personified. He didn't get out of Hong Kong W/O HELP ..."
"... Is anybody else kinda thrown off by how condescending and patronizing Snowden is towards Joe? ..."
"... I can't believe NSA and CIA hired someone that talks that much... ..."
"... So every politician I disagree with is a dictator or fascist. Seems someone hasn't learned much ..."
"... It was the Russian government that took him in, the alternative would be rotting in a dark off shore CIA prison. I would not bite the hand that saved me. Snowden is a good guy but i think he needs to learn gratitude. ..."
"... If this video is trending, this mean Snowden is a puppet to the NWO. NO WAY THEY WILL ALLOW A VIDEO LIKE THIS TO EVER TREND IN YOUTUBE OR ANY WHERE. ..."
"... there were numerous people warned not to fly/go to wtc on 911. Willie Brown, Salmon Rushdie, Israeli citizens, apparently the French knew as well... But Snowden says they didn't know ..."
"... With all do respect to snowden , 9 11 was an inside job The whole event was controlled. Controlled demolition , controlled airlines to launch them in to the towers. All orchestrated by elements of the CIA , FBI , and NSA ..."
Oct 25, 2019 | www.youtube.com

PDX LockPicker , 2 hours ago

"patriotism isn't about the loyalty to government. Patriotism isn't a loyalty to anything. Patriotism is constant effort to do good for the people of your country"

Forrest LeMay , 2 hours ago (edited)

"People talk about the deep state like it's a conspiracy theory of lizard people, it's not, its something much simpler, the deep state is the career government." - Edward Snowden

Free Ryder , 3 hours ago

"I'd be working on umm economic takeover of Guatemala for example" Lol CIA's bread and butter

Fuzzy Gaming , 2 hours ago

1:57:00 Snowden talks about how the Intelligence agencies can stonewall you and sabotage your presidency... Exactly what President Trump has been saying for years.

Khonh lo , 2 hours ago div class=

What I really got out of this episode is realization that companies and the government can now track where I have been on a particular date at a particular time forever. Its crazy what a time we live in.

Imagine kids born in 2006 or so until they expire. They government or companies can pull up data of their entire life timeline at any point in their lives. Example where were they on 2/15/2010 at 2:15 PM.

Someone born in 1965 can only recall memories of their pass experiences that only they know or the people around can remember whereas now days and beyond, they can pull that information out depending on how specific the query you want to obtain. This is not including all the other data such as relationship they have had, where they had lived, where they had eaten, what they had buy, etc...

postedhere9 , 1 hour ago

Pelosi's involvement in the impeachment sounds oddly familiar to her involvement in this scandal... hmm

Rasikh Ali , 3 hours ago

Mainstream media is only focusing on the alien comment. Scum of the earth.. smh 🤦🏽‍♂️

Mar Z , 1 hour ago

38:00 . CIA and FBI competing for clout . I'm sorry I know this is serious but just imagined them as annoying social media acc trying to get the most likes. But seriously, thanks Joe, you let your guest talk and it was so incredibly insightful!!

Christopher Mulvey , 1 hour ago

When this Edward Snowden thing first happened, the first thing I thought was wow this is a very very smart man but not smart enough to realize how stupid people are and how powerful mainstream media is when it comes to the general public's perception.

The general public doesn't realize that the mainstream news has nowhere near 5million views in 3 days but if it's not talked about on main stream news for a week or if the president does not acknowledge something then it does not exist. That's the truth.

M Somogyi , 2 hours ago

Snowden tries to advertise his book the whole time Rogan asks him a simple question.. Okay, I get it you go into details in the book... Just answer the question. "Oh yeah, let me give you a fast version....". 1 hr later - He still hasn't answered.

Joe Rogan is one patient ass man. Thanks for having such interesting and awesome content on your podcast! :)

Flash Harry , 4 hours ago

"> My obsevation is that if I was in charge of keeping our "They Live" clandestine alien government's secret, then I wouldn't allow that information wrote down on paper in a room with a computer even in it , let alone have it in a computer document.

Not many people should even be aware of the information and When they are they stick to analogue pens and paper other than when they are reverse engineering anything, When specialist use hardware/software it is in TOTAL contained environment .

And that dudes is how ya keeps a secret . Oh and the moon he is wrong with that and you can use the same reasoning, what did they do for example with all of the film tape recordings of all the footage of Apollo landing. Yes they taped over it, all of it. If you have ever seen moon landing footage it's a recording of a recording to hide multitudes of oversights. x

Wowbagger , 3 hours ago (edited)

09:45 Sounds more like escalating the surveillance of the general population was the main goal from the start. A slow subversion made palatable by a perceived threat.

JC Stuart , 1 day ago

"when we become fearful we become vulnerable, to anyone who promises to make things better, even if they will actively make things worse."

Tim Leniston , 2 hours ago

We need to stand up to this somehow. Just think of the chilling effect on anyone who might want to do a public service but fears exposure of some detail in their private life or their explorations or communications which could be used to silence or embarrass them. Bastards!

HyperActive7 , 3 hours ago

I can barely keep my eyes open with Snowden. You'd think to yourself, how come such a sleepy personality individual be so dangerous to the government elite?

Well, the proof is in what he's saying and it is the truth that 9/11 was a mass conspiracy aimed to change America and ruin The Will of The American people. I was his age when all this crap went down and I believed all of it like he and many of my generation did because we didn't have the Alex Jones of the world waking us up to this sick reality which is our government is treasonous against its own people.

Stacy Starnes , 3 hours ago

I guess that what Schumer meant when he said that the intelligence community has a million and one ways to get you. "Drain the swamp".

Benjamin Wright , 1 day ago

"The FBI has joined the chat"

GoogleSearch TheEsseneGospelOfPeace.#JesusGang , 1 day ago

Joe: Google searching "free proxy servers" before this interview

Reegan O'Hara , 4 hours ago

He was given the same speech training as Obama. Same cadence, same pauses, same use of "uhh", "right" and "Look...". The repeating of certain words quickly before finishing the main point is particularly noticeable, i.e. "th- the.." "th- that", "whe- when..."

Destinyxos , 4 hours ago

I feel like lack of communication is so the reason for a lot occupational struggles as well as in the government structures. It makes me sad to see that sharing and informing is just so hard for some people. And that negative energy rubs of on everyone else and I feel like it's a huge spiraling butterfly affect.

But I'm glad to see someone talking about the issues with our society so intensely and so carefully and so factually and I honestly love it. I feel included because of this video and for that, I am great full!

m1force , 1 hour ago

While I'm not saying Snowden is wrong, it's important to realize that this is "his side of the story." This is why fair trials are important.. He complains about the D.C. circuit and perhaps for good reason; I say fine, bring him to the 8th circuit and let's put all the cards on the table.

chilakil , 1 hour ago

I completely believe after following Rogan for a couple of Months that joe is complete controlled opposition

FatalFinality , 1 day ago

Well, this is definitely one of those mornings when being unemployed is convenient.

Tom Hol , 2 hours ago

Honestly don't know how so many can be shocked by these claims. Did you really think that your government sweetheart is trying to protect you? They collectively have an agenda to keep people asleep.

To keep them in their routines so that they don't ask questions. Also throw them a bone every now and then so that they feel as if they are getting rewarded while we extort them, spy on them and use them and then throw them away.

Raul Montes , 4 hours ago

This was longest plug for a book ever...

ck black , 33 minutes ago

Snowden is a D.S. Cutout. Period. Disinfo Personified. He didn't get out of Hong Kong W/O HELP This is pure Agregis B.S.

Mar Z , 35 minutes ago

"The public is not partnered with government. The public does not hold the leash to government. We are subject to them. Subordinate to government" " National security does not equal to public safety. National security is the safety of the state"

Guillermo Baltazar , 3 hours ago

44:20 he kinda dis Obama

Nicco Sanchez , 1 hour ago

Is anybody else kinda thrown off by how condescending and patronizing Snowden is towards Joe? He seems to be throwing low key shade/jabs about his preconceived notions about Joe based off his avatar.

I mean he could have spoken on his initial impression as a little anecdotal segway into how this interview came to fruition, but he seems arrogant to me. Like he feels the average layman is beneath him or of lessor intellectualism. Great interview nonetheless, but I just think Snowden comes off a little uppity (for lack of a better term)😒

Erma4ella Eu , 5 minutes ago

It wasn't Joe Rogan's podcast. It was a Snowden's podcast

Jakob , 1 day ago

Snowden made a "FBI has joined the chat" meme hahahaah

Carlo Anardu , 1 day ago

I can't believe NSA and CIA hired someone that talks that much...

Scott what , 2 hours ago

So every politician I disagree with is a dictator or fascist. Seems someone hasn't learned much

John B , 4 hours ago

It was the Russian government that took him in, the alternative would be rotting in a dark off shore CIA prison. I would not bite the hand that saved me. Snowden is a good guy but i think he needs to learn gratitude.

Scarack Truther , 4 hours ago

If this video is trending, this mean Snowden is a puppet to the NWO. NO WAY THEY WILL ALLOW A VIDEO LIKE THIS TO EVER TREND IN YOUTUBE OR ANY WHERE.

Szimba Zsununnu , 5 hours ago

Ed, you made one mistake: Americans are not "afraid"! US citizens did NOT vote for DT out of fear. They voted out of CONCERN. The average American? Goes to McD's once a month (they're lovin' it), buys their daughter an ice cream at Dairy Queen (or equivalent ice cream place in town), anticipates when is the most convenient day to schedule an oil change, etc. "Fear", "scared", "fearmonger"?

These are nonsensical words the other side likes to spew. Americans are c-o-n-c-e-r-n-e-d about their country. The British (and I speak on behalf of all Americans, British, and so forth - thank you, thank you) opted out of the EU because of CONCERN for their future. Not fear. You're a smart guy Ed, and this interview is very telling, (and we the people think you're gonna get your ass assassinated for speaking so freely like this), and although I only had the patience to sit through the first hour, this is a good video, and a memorable interview.

But just understand -- aside from North Koreans and maybe a Syrian here and there, citizens are not afraid. We are instead courageous. We CARE about the now. We care about the future. We support those that care as well. We're concerned, kiddo. Not fearful. Boris, Donald, Orban, that green-faced Putin opponent Alexei Navalny guy, Nigel, Milo, Geert, PJW, Brigitte Bardot, August Sabbe, Romas Kalanta, Joan of Arc (and countless others) - at risk of their safety / public standing / status quo / whatever - CARE.

Those are the leaders (ASS KICKERS) that we support and vote for. We are members of the human race. We are not afraid.

Grasshopper , 4 hours ago

#1 if people didn't realize this was going on before 2013, then I don't know where your brain was. #2 this guy may correct, but he's an opportunist.

He's spent a lot of time putting this story together. How can he say there are no bodies laying around when Obama was sending up drones that fired missles at cell phones? I worked in the telecom industry starting in the 90s... I was tracking calls on 9/11. I knew who was calling who, and the FBI didn't ask permission to see where the calls were going or coming from.

Z.A.C. , 1 day ago (edited)

He's had John McAfee, Rhonda Patrick, Mike Tyson, Graham Hancock, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Lance Armstrong, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Jay Leno, Anthony Bourdain, David Goggins, Ron White, Jordan Peterson, Everlast, Immortal Technique, Bernie Sanders, Ben Shapiro, George St.Pierre, Elon Musk, Alex Jones, and now Edward Snowden. Just to name a few.

Reuben Handel , 4 hours ago (edited)

But there were numerous people warned not to fly/go to wtc on 911. Willie Brown, Salmon Rushdie, Israeli citizens, apparently the French knew as well... But Snowden says they didn't know

Trey Wilson , 1 minute ago div cl

"Give me one good reason the government would have committed 9/11." - steel beams don't melt jet fuel, also watch this podcast and you'll wish you still lived in the matrix

Invincible Osprey , 4 hours ago

Ed Snowden is creepily still playing his role for the same people behind 9/11 and other False Flags...

J. Copache , 34 minutes ago (edited)

Right now, Chile, my home country, is going through a very difficult and delicate process of civil unrest that has been met with relentless repression at the hands of a government that works in favor of private interests and has been confirmed to commit several and systematic human rights violations, including torture, murder, rape, state terrorism, and the list goes on. Listening to this podcast right now really puts in perspective the extent to wich a State can manipulate, hide and forge information in order to limit civil rights with the excuse of protecting the people.

We NEED guys like Snowden to come forth and show governments around the world that any measures taken to protect order and national interests should always be second to the well-being, civil and human rights of the people that constitute the very foundation of what a country is.

People from the US are lucky to have true patriots like Snowden, willing to go against the rotten systems so deeply ingrained in their institutional complexes in order to uphold the ideals that gave birth to their country in the first place. We need help, and we need clarity. If y'all can, please get informed and divulge what you learn about our situation right now. Get people talking and get people acting.

No government that - literally- fires against its people should be left unchecked. Information is a tool, the greatest one we've got in this day and age, and we the people are more capable than ever of using it in our advantage.

Alek Kelly , 22 minutes ago

At 14:15 , he says he went to journalists with the information and gave them conditions on how that information could be published. Was this a trust or legal based transaction? If it was trust, would Snowden still be as confident in doing it that way in today's media climate?

Joseph Edward , 5 hours ago (edited)

34:50 . Our founding fathers are turning in their graves.

Brian Houck , 6 hours ago

So James Clapper just straight-up lied to Congress under oath and there were no repercussions, yet they did their best to hunt down Ed Snowden and treat him like a dirty dog? What is wrong with this picture? Besides everything, I mean.

Joseph Edward , 6 hours ago

Around 30:00 Snowden said that the highest members of our government have the lowest loyalty. (The ones at the top are the ones selling us out.)

therealjoelsalazar , 6 hours ago

The scary thing is, is that while Snowden is telling us what happened in the past, the government is actively abusing powers while looking for new ways to violate our rights. We need to really look at ourselves as citizens and make sure the people we vote for are actually serving the public no matter what party or tak they're on.

words wpns , 7 hours ago

With all do respect to snowden , 9 11 was an inside job The whole event was controlled. Controlled demolition , controlled airlines to launch them in to the towers. All orchestrated by elements of the CIA , FBI , and NSA

[Jan 02, 2020] The Ministry of Minority-Worship Gay Rights and Goals of Globohomo by Tobias Langdon

Aug 30, 2019 | www.unz.com

Totalitarian ideologies live by lies and contradiction. For example, the slave-state of North Korea , ruled by a hereditary dictatorship, proclaims itself a Democratic People's Republic when it is neither democratic, popular, nor a republic.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four , Orwell wrote of how "the names of the four Ministries by which [the oppressed population is] governed exhibit a sort of impudence in their deliberate reversal of the facts. The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation.

These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink ."

Defending the death-machine

You could, then, call GCHQ and the NSA part of the Ministry of Morality. While breaking laws against surveillance and trying to destroy freedom of expression and enquiry, they pretend that they're caring, ethical organizations who defend the oppressed and want to build a better world. In fact, of course, GCHQ and the NSA are defending the death-machine of the military-industrial complex , which has been wrecking nations and slaughtering civilians in the Middle East (and elsewhere ) for decades.

They're also defending the traitorous Western governments that first import millions of Third-Worlders , then use the resultant crime, terrorism and racial conflict to justify mass surveillance and harsh laws against free speech .


OzzyBonHalen , says: August 29, 2019 at 6:54 am GMT

Quote: Orwell didn't foresee the celebration of homosexuality by totalitarians, but he did explain it.

If you read Anthony Burgess' The Wanting Seed he writes about the roles of gays in dystopia. He also talks about race, two things that Orwell and Huxley didn't. The Wanting Seed is just as important in the world of dystopia as Brave New World or 1984.

Reg Cæsar , says: August 29, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT

one way George Orwell got the future completely wrong

That assumes he was writing about the future. He was mocking the Soviet "justice" system in the recent past. The man was a satirist, after all. How did Stalin's men treat sexual deviation?

... ... ...

Walter , says: August 29, 2019 at 9:40 am GMT
NSA needs to revisit their grammar studies. They may benefit from attention to the correct use of commas.

"At NSA, talented individuals of all backgrounds, contribute to something bigger than themselves: national security. #PrideMonth."

The globo-sodomy is one thing, but the torture of grammar! Ye gods!

MarkU , says: August 29, 2019 at 2:03 pm GMT
A few points.

1) The iniquities of the members of one skyfairy cult are not evidence for the virtues of another such organisation and never will be.

2) It seems likely to me that homosexuality is a feature of overpopulation and may be a natural population control mechanism. Experiments have shown that rats kept in overcrowded conditions exhibit homosexual tendencies and also become more violent towards other rats. I doubt that it is purely a coincidence that homosexuality first became notable round about the time that humans started living in cities.

Other species have means of controlling their populations, rabbits for example can reabsorb their embryos if the population count is too high, seals can freeze the development of their foetuses etc.

I see no rational purpose in demonising homosexuals and I am certainly not going to let the purveyors of ancient superstitious claptrap do my thinking for me. Cue howls of outrage from both skyfairy cultists and from queers (if they are happy to use the word I don't see why I shouldn't)

3) It seems to me that the Zionist bankers have essentially bankrupted the western world in an attempt to bring the rest of the world under their control, they have failed. They are now attempting to mobilise any and all sections of the population that identify as minorities as allies against the majorities in those countries, importing as many more as they can get away with. What sense does it make to reinforce their narrative that it is heterosexual whites v everyone else? because that is exactly what some people are doing. The Zionists are making their following as broad as possible while attempting to narrow ours, why play into their hands? Opposition to immigration for example does not have to be presented as a racial issue, many people here in the UK were opposed to mass immigration from eastern Europe on purely economic grounds, Poles and Lithuanians are not a different race and hardly even a different culture. Do you really think that Blacks and Latinos that have been in the US for generations are uniformly delighted about a new influx of cheap labour? Do you really believe that Muslims are the natural allies of Jews or of homosexuals? If you actually put some thought into the struggle rather than relying on superstitious claptrap and bigotry you might be able to start pushing back.

Liza , says: August 29, 2019 at 3:50 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

So, Western civilization is going to collapse because of a few fairies & fag hags?

Yes, it looks as if it will collapse. Not because the fairies and fag hags are all-powerful, but because we have had it so good & easy for so long that we've gotten weaker than any determined, focused fairy or hag.

Astonished , says: August 29, 2019 at 4:00 pm GMT
@MarkU I agree.

Leftism in general, which I characterize as a mass adoption of a "mental map" (the gross oversimplification of infinite reality people use to navigate their lives) highly estranged from underlying reality, is Nature's "suicide switch" for an organism that has grossly overgrown its ecological niche.

Today people believe palpably unreal things, in incredibly large numbers, with incredibly deep fervor. The poster-child is the belief in the efficacy of magical incantations (statute legislation) to change Actual Reality. If "we" want to end racism (however we define it in the Newspeak Dictionary) then we just pass a law and "pow!" it's gone. (When that doesn't work, we pass another law, and another and another and another, always expecting a different result.)

Ditto the banking (and monetary) system. Money used to be basically a "receipt" for actually having something IN HAND to take to the market and engage in trade. This was the essence of Say's Law, "in order to consume (buy something) you must first produce."

Some clever Machiavellians figured out that if you could "complexify" and obscure the monetary system enough, you could obtain the legal right to create from thin air the ability to enter that market and buy something, which stripped to its essence is the crime of fraud.

Banking has been an open fraud for a very long time, certainly since the era of naked fiat money was introduced in the 1960's. But as long as everyone went along with the gag, and especially once Credit Bubble Funny Money started fueling a debt orgy and rationalizing an asset price mania, everyone thought "we could all get rich."

Today we have vast claims on real wealth (real wealth is productive land, productive plant & equipment and capital you can hold in your hands, so to speak.) But we have uncountable claims on each unit of real capital. The Machiavellians think that they will end up holding title to it all, when the day comes to actually make an honest accounting. I suspect that they lack the political power to pull that off, but only time will tell.

When this long, insane boom is reconciled, a lot of productive capital will turn out to be nothing but vaporware and rusting steel. Entire industries arose to cater to credit-bubble-demand, and when the bubble eventually ceases to inflate, demand in (and the capital applied to) those industries will collapse. How many hospitals do you need when no one has the money to pay for their services, and the tax base has burned to the ground?

Nature's suicide switch.

gwynedd1 , says: August 29, 2019 at 5:36 pm GMT
Simple formula. Liberalism was the defense of the individual against the group.

All one needs to do is a simple substitution. Minorities , environment , animals etc are a means by witch one can make individuals into the institutionalized oppressor. Even better is the so called intersectional mini oppressions which make nearly all victims which in turns makes all guilty. State intervention must increase .Guilty people , as all religions of the world understand, are easily dominated and controlled.

The power the individual is destroyed by its own momentum.

Ris_Eruwaedhiel , says: August 29, 2019 at 10:25 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat The Bolsheviks first pushed "free love" – easy divorce, abortion and homosexuality. There even was serious discussion about whether or not to abolish marriage. They reversed themselves and by the time WWII broke out, the official culture of the Soviet Union was more socially conservative than that of the US. Even in the 1980s, the Commies were tough on gays, lesbians and druggies.

[Dec 29, 2019] "THE HAMMER" CIA Contractor-Turned Whistleblower Dennis Montgomery Makes Damming Confession On How Obama Ruthlessly Spied Trump A Zillion Times

Dec 29, 2019 | conservativesdaily.com

"THE HAMMER" CIA Contractor-Turned Whistleblower Dennis Montgomery Makes Damming Confession On How Obama Ruthlessly Spied Trump A Zillion Times

By CD's Team December 26, 2019

President Obama's Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper and his Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director John Brennan oversaw a secret supercomputer system known as "THE HAMMER," according to former NSA/CIA contractor-turned whistleblower Dennis Montgomery.

Clapper and Brennan were using the supercomputer system to conduct illegal and unconstitutional government data harvesting and wiretapping. THE HAMMER was installed on federal property in Fort Washington, Maryland at a complex which some speculate is a secret CIA and NSA operation operating at a US Naval facility.

President Trump's allegation that the Obama Administration was wiretapping him is not only supported by Montgomery's whistleblower revelations about Brennan's and Clapper's computer system THE HAMMER, but also by statements made this week by William Binney, a former NSA Technical Director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, by former CIA and State Department official Larry Johnson, and by Montgomery's attorney Larry Klayman.

Computer expert Dennis Montgomery developed software programs that could breach secure computer systems and collect massive amounts of data.

That system, THE HAMMER, according to the audio tapes, accessed the phone calls, emails and bank accounts of millions of ordinary Americans.

The tapes also reveal that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court (FISA), Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, 156 other judges, members of Congress, and Donald J. Trump were targeted by the HAMMER.

One of the audio tapes made public by Federal Judge G. Murray Snow revealed that Brennan and Clapper particularly targeted and wiretapped Donald Trump a " zillion times."

Must read: Ben carson breaks silence on impeachment,drop nuke on immature democrats

Montgomery also contends that the government can plant files such as child *********** or state secrets on a target's computer, setting up the owner of that device for blackmail or framed prosecution.

Former CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkisson Alleged In 2013 She Was Under Electronic Surveillance For At Least Two Years And That Three Classified Documents Were Planted On Her "Compromised" Computer.

The audio tapes were released by Federal Judge G. Murray Snow in Maricopa County, Arizona in the Justice Department's civil contempt case against Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio.

Attorney Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch, represented Montgomery before federal Judge Royce C. Lamberth. Klayman, who characterizes his client Montgomery as a "whistleblower," told Fox News that Montgomery "turned over 600 million plus pages of information to the FBI." Judge Lamberth was formerly the presiding judge over the FISA court.

After Montgomery produced his documentation, the FBI gave him two immunity agreements: one in the area of "production" and the other regarding "testimony."

The FBI then took possession of Montgomery's documentation.

Attorney Klayman asserts that this information precipitated James Clapper's resignation.

Clapper had gone before Congress to testify under oath that the NSA, and other intelligence agencies including the CIA," were not collecting massive amounts of telephonic and Internet metadata on hundreds of millions of innocent American citizens" according to Klayman.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations proved otherwise.

Hot now: Nancy Pelosi loses out, Republican controlled senate going ahead to acquit Trump without Article of impeachment

Clapper was subsequently found to be untruthful and resigned on November 17, 2016, effective January 20, 2017, the day Donald Trump was sworn in.

Clapper has not been prosecuted for perjury and we wonder why. 7 minutes ago Thanks Q! I bring up Montgomery all of the time here. The Eff Bee Eye and Dee oh Jay have all of the documents and are sitting on them. This is how the IC controls everything in the Swamp.

[Dec 29, 2019] BOMBSHELL CIA Whistleblower Leaked Proof Trump Under Systematic Illegal Surveillance Over Two Years Ago FBI Sat On It Zer

Dec 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

BOMBSHELL: CIA Whistleblower Leaked Proof Trump Under "Systematic Illegal" Surveillance Over Two Years Ago: FBI Sat On It by ZeroPointNow Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:37 0 SHARES

The same day House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes gave a press conference disclosing that President Trump had been under " incidental surveillance ," Attorney and FreedomWatch Chairman, Larry Klayman, sent a letter to the House Committee on Intelligence imploring them to pursue the claims and evidence presented under oath at a Washington DC FBI Field Office by his client - CIA / NSA Whistleblower Dennis Montgomery - who Klayman claims "holds the keys to disproving the false claims... ...that there is no evidence that the president and his men were wiretapped"

When Montgomery attempted to deliver this information through the appropriate channels two years ago , the former CIA and NSA contractor wasn't given the time of day:

[W]hen Montgomery came forward as a whistleblower to congressional intelligence committees and various other congressmen and senators, including Senator Charles Grassley , Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who, like Comey, once had a reputation for integrity, he was "blown off;" no one wanted to even hear what he had to say.

As a result, Montgomery went to attorney and FreedomWatch founder Larry Klayman - who then approached the FBI:

Under grants of immunity, which I obtained through Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Curtis, Montgomery produced the hard drives and later was interviewed under oath in a secure room at the FBI Field Office in the District of Columbia . There he laid out how persons like then-businessman Donald Trump were illegally spied upon by Clapper, Brennan, and the spy agencies of the Obama administration.

Montgomery left the NSA and CIA with 47 hard drives and over 600 million pages of information , much of which is classified, and sought to come forward legally as a whistleblower to appropriate government entities, including congressional intelligence committees, to expose that the spy agencies were engaged for years in systematic illegal surveillance on prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen such as Donald Trump , and even yours truly. Working side by side with Obama's former Director of National Intelligence (DIA), James Clapper, and Obama's former Director of the CIA, John Brennan, Montgomery witnessed "up close and personal" this "Orwellian Big Brother" intrusion on privacy , likely for potential coercion, blackmail or other nefarious purposes.

He even claimed that these spy agencies had manipulated voting in Florida during the 2008 presidential election , which illegal tampering resulted in helping Obama to win the White House.

Given the fact that the FBI had Montgomery's testimony and evidence for over two years, Klayman traveled to Washington DC last Thursday to meet with Committee Chairman Devin Nunes in the hopes that he would ask FBI Director Comey why the FBI hadn't pursued Montgomery's evidence. When Klayman arrived to speak with Nunes, he was "blown off" and instead shared his information with committee attorney Allen R. Souza - who Klayman requested in turn brief Nunes on the situation.

During my meeting with House Intelligence Committee counsel Allen R. Sousa I politely warned him that if Chairman Nunes, who himself had that same day undercut President Trump by also claiming that there is no evidence of surveillance by the Obama administration, I would go public with what would appear to be the House Intelligence Committee's complicity in keeping the truth from the American people and allowing the FBI to continue its apparent cover-up of the Montgomery "investigation."

And, that is where it stands today. The big question: will House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes do his job and hold FBI Director Comey's feet to the fire about the Montgomery investigation?

Klayman has detailed all of this in a NewsMax article , followed up with an official letter to Chairman Nunes today, requesting that he question Comey on Montgomery's evidence. Perhaps this explains Nunes' impromptu press conference today admitting that Trump's team was under " Incidental Surveillance " before making his way to the White House to discuss with the President.

So - we know that evidence exists from a CIA / NSA contractor turned whistleblower, detailing a massive spy operation on 156 judges, the Supreme Court, and high profile Americans including Donald Trump. See the letter below:

Freedom Watch bombshell letter to Rep. Devin Nunes1/4 https://t.co/CZ4haCVauK pic.twitter.com/NnKogSytSC

-- ZeroPointNow(@ZeroPointNow) March 23, 2017

Freedom Watch bombshell letter to Rep. Devin Nunes2/4 https://t.co/CZ4haCVauK pic.twitter.com/6Ls9a9kXAQ

-- ZeroPointNow(@ZeroPointNow) March 23, 2017

Freedom Watch bombshell letter to Rep. Devin Nunes3/4 https://t.co/CZ4haCVauK pic.twitter.com/90KUdW9eH1

-- ZeroPointNow(@ZeroPointNow) March 23, 2017

Freedom Watch bombshell letter to Rep. Devin Nunes 4/4 https://t.co/CZ4haCVauK pic.twitter.com/l29p9JzBsU

-- ZeroPointNow (@ZeroPointNow) March 23, 2017

[Dec 26, 2019] Real protections will come only if federal laws are passed to limit what companies can do with the data they collect. Until then, no matter what settings we choose, we're all at risk

Dec 26, 2019 | twitter.com

Max Coleman

"Real protections will come only if federal laws are passed to limit what companies can do with the data they collect. Until then, no matter what settings we choose, we're all at risk."

Freaked Out?

3 Steps to Protect Your Phone - The New York Times

https://www. nytimes.com/interactive/20 19/12/19/opinion/location-tracking-privacy-tips.html

[Dec 26, 2019] Colleges Track Hundreds Of Thousands Of Students Using Their Phones

Dec 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Colleges Track Hundreds Of Thousands Of Students Using Their Phones by Tyler Durden Wed, 12/25/2019 - 20:15 0 SHARES

"Graduates will be well prepared to embrace 24/7 government tracking and social credit systems ."

An app created to track the attendance of 'less academically inclined' college athletes is under fire, after over 40 schools have begun using the technology to monitor students campus-wide , according to the Washington Post .

Syracuse professor Jeff Rubin says his lectures have never been so full

Developed by former college basketball coach Rick Carter (who is currently under a restraining order by DePaul University for allegedly threatening the athletic director and head basketball coach), the Chicago-based SpotterEDU app uses Bluetooth beacons to ping a student's smartphone once they enter a lecture hall. About the size of a deck of cards, they are installed in covert locations on walls and ceilings.

School officials give SpotterEDU the students' full schedules , and the system can email a professor or adviser automatically if a student skips class or walks in more than two minutes late . The app records a full timeline of the students' presence so advisers can see whether they left early or stepped out for a break. - Washington Post

Syracuse University IT instructor Jeff Rubin uses the app to encourage his students to attend lectures - awarding "attendance points" to those who show up. Rubin is also notified when students skip classes.

"They want those points," said Rubin. " They know I'm watching and acting on it. So, behaviorally, they change. "

According to Rubin, his 340-student lecture has never been so full at around 90% attendance.

Double Secret Dystopia

Understandably, not everyone is thrilled with the intrusive new technology , which many argue breaches students' privacy rights on a massive scale.

" We're adults. Do we really need to be tracked? " said sophomore Robby Pfeifer, a student at Commonwealth University in Richmond, which recently began using the campus' WiFi network to track students. "Why is this necessary? How does this benefit us? And is it just going to keep progressing until we're micromanaged every second of the day? "

School and company officials, on the other hand, argue that monitoring students is a powerful motivator and will encourage students to adopt habits geared towards success.

"If they know more about where students are going, they argue, they can intervene before problems arise," according to the Post .

That said, some schools have taken things further - assigning "risk scores" to students based on factors such as whether they are going to the library enough .

The dream of some administrators is a university where every student is a model student, adhering to disciplined patterns of behavior that are intimately quantified, surveilled and analyzed .

But some educators say this move toward heightened educational vigilance threatens to undermine students' independence and prevents them from pursuing interests beyond the classroom because they feel they might be watched.

" These administrators have made a justification for surveilling a student population because it serves their interests , in terms of the scholarships that come out of their budget, the reputation of their programs, the statistics for the school," said Kyle M. L. Jones, an Indiana University assistant professor who researches student privacy.

" What's to say that the institution doesn't change their eye of surveillance and start focusing on minority populations, or anyone else? " he added. Students "should have all the rights, responsibilities and privileges that an adult has. So why do we treat them so differently?" - Washington Post

"It embodies a very cynical view of education -- that it's something we need to enforce on students, almost against their will," said UCSD digital scholarship librarian Erin Rose Glass. "We're reinforcing this sense of powerlessness when we could be asking harder questions, like: Why are we creating institutions where students don't want to show up? "

Hilariously, creators of the dystopian surveillance app have tried to make things 'more fun,' by 'gamifying students' schedules with colorful Bitmoji or digital multiday streaks.'

That said, " the real value may be for school officials, who Carter said can split students into groups, such as "students of color" or "out-of-state students," for further review ."

When asked why an official would want to segregate out data on students of color, Carter said many colleges already do so, looking for patterns in academic retention and performance , adding that it "can provide important data for retention. Even the first few months of recorded data on class attendance and performance can help predict how likely a group of students is to" stay enrolled.

Students' attendance and tardiness are scored into a point system that some professors use for grading, Carter said, and schools can use the data to "take action" against truant students, such as grabbing back scholarship funds. - Washington Post

Meanwhile, another app from Austin-based start-up Degree Analytics uses WiFi check-ins to track around 200,000 students across 19 state universities, private colleges and other schools , according to the Post.

Founded in 2017 by data scientist Aaron Benz, the company claims that every student can graduate with "a proper environment and perhaps a few nudges along the way."

According to Benz, his system can solve "a real lack of understanding about the student experience" by using campus WiFi data to measure and analyze 98% of students.

But the company also claims to see much more than just attendance. By logging the time a student spends in different parts of the campus, Benz said, his team has found a way to identify signs of personal anguish: A student avoiding the cafeteria might suffer from food insecurity or an eating disorder; a student skipping class might be grievously depressed. The data isn't conclusive, Benz said, but it can "shine a light on where people can investigate, so students don't slip through the cracks."

To help find these students, he said, his team designed algorithms to look for patterns in a student's "behavioral state" and automatically flag when their habits change. He calls it scaffolding -- a temporary support used to build up a student, removed when they can stand on their own.

At a Silicon Valley summit in April, Benz outlined a recent real-life case: that of Student ID 106033, a depressed and "extremely isolated" student he called Sasha whom the system had flagged as "highly at-risk" because she only left her dorm to eat. "At every school, there are lots of Sashas," he said. "And the bigger you are, the more Sashas that you have." - Washington Post

Read the rest of the report here .

[Dec 21, 2019] How Jeff Bezos Became Santa and Changed Our Holidays Forever

Dec 21, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Around half of Americans surveyed this year said they are planning to buy their holiday gifts from Amazon and three quarters said they compare prices with Amazon before buying elsewhere. Approximately half of all the money spent online by Americans is estimated to have gone to Amazon products and services over the past few years. The company sells more toys, books, clothing, and electronics than any other business and its Amazon Prime service has more than half of all American households under its umbrella. There is evidence to suggest that Amazon intentionally delays shipping times for those who don't have Prime. And once customers do sign up, they rarely shop online elsewhere, leaving third parties a stark choice: close up shop or sell according to Amazon's rules and fees.

Of course, there's no law saying holiday shoppers are required to patronize Amazon. Nonetheless, most Americans continue to log on and load up on holiday gifts just like they did last year. This year's "Cyber Monday" saw the biggest sales in Amazon's history, as the company announced that it had shipped out "hundreds of millions" of products. These kinds of massive sales figures are the new normal for Amazon, as its predatory pricing scheme starts paying sky-high dividends. By holding Prime Day in the summer, Amazon also forces the Christmas and holiday shopping cycle to begin half a year early .

Of the more than 350 million products sold on Amazon, only around 12 million are sold directly by them ; many others are sold by third parties. Amazon is not primarily interested in being the biggest player in the market; rather, it wants to become the market . With increasing numbers of people searching for items to buy on Amazon directly rather than through a search engine, the site has moved closer to just that kind of dominance.

Transforming from a small internet start-up in the mid-1990s that ran on almost no profit for two decades into the booming behemoth it has become today, the Seattle-based giant is a true blue American success story. In fact, it's such a success story that there are serious concerns that it has become economically exploitative. Amazon artfully dodges corporate taxes and keeps expanding its reach into every nook and cranny of our lives (hello there, Alexa). By selling at a loss and then raising prices -- cushioned by the enormous profits from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) -- Amazon forces other companies to ride or die.

Although Amazon is not a legally defined monopoly according to the Department of Justice's cautious parameters, it falls right in line with any other historical monopoly, in that it stifles competition and significantly shapes the contours of its own market. In other words, it is a monopoly . President Trump appears to agree, having referred previously to the company's "huge antitrust problem," although ironically Amazon has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Trump's corporate tax cuts. As the company begins gobbling up more of the market, traditional antitrust precedent may need to be expanded in order to take it on and protect consumers and workers. It may also be necessary to crack down on the profusion of counterfeit products and scams that use Amazon to hawk their wares.

There's a credible argument to be made that Amazon is also a monopsony, referring to an economic scenario in which one market-dominating buyer can artificially set prices to sellers because it is also their primary customer. This phenomenon can be seen in situations like Amazon's heavy influence on courier companies like FedEx, which might well be sleeping with the fishes without Bezos' business coming their way (and in fact, they could be history in any case, since their business is being supplanted by Amazon's private fleet of aircraft and bevy of drones and trucks). As the job provider par excellence, Amazon also creates various neo-feudalist fiefdoms in communities where it provides the vast majority of jobs, allowing it to push employee wages to the bottom of the barrel. Meanwhile the company has hundreds of employees working in artificial intelligence as it continues to phase in more advanced automation technology and expand its drone delivery services.

There are dozens of companies Amazon could well crush in just the near future, including auto parts stores, pharmacies, bookstores, food delivery services, courier services like UPS and FedEx, office supply stores, fabric stores, and various online platforms for gaming and streaming.

As figures on the left like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have pointed out, Amazon is getting away with way too much. Sanders wants Amazon to pay its fair share of taxes, while Warren wants to break them up. There has been significant criticism of Amazon on the right as well, by commentators like Fox News host Tucker Carlson , who has slammed the company for leeching off of the American economic system to the detriment of workers and communities.

None of this is subtle: Amazon hurts workers and small business. It hurts workers by creating a one-stop employment environment that leaves employees taking the scraps from Jeff Bezos' table. Amazon contract workers have sued the company, alleging it paid them less than minimum wage , while allegations of harsh worker conditions are rampant. Amazon workers might not be living in cardboard boxes (no guarantee) but they're certainly packing them with your orders for a depressingly low amount of compensation under major pressure. Amazon frequently uses "seasonal" contract labor and "permatemps," who are hired temporarily despite working full-time, so as to avoid paying benefits or giving raises.

Amazon pays low wages -- often below industry standards -- and had already indirectly caused the loss of 149,000 American retail jobs as of 2016, as well as 22,000 businesses. Same-day delivery has pushed Amazon's contract workers into such desperation that there have been numerous fatal crashes and pile-ups. Other drivers have had to urinate in their own vans in order to deliver packages on time.

Amazon's control also cuts into the experiences that surround holiday gift giving and browsing. Gift-buying is supposed to be fun , part of a day out with the family or a nice stroll downtown. Now it's become a stressful exercise in trying to click on all the right items while typing in a credit card number hunched in front of a glaring screen. Amazon is constantly gathering data on its consumers and using it to target them. It's been criticized for "surge pricing" where it raises prices algorithmically.

Limiting Amazon via antitrust law hasn't been tried yet, but there is no reason to think that lobbyists will have their way forever, particularly when a credible argument exists that Amazon has in fact provably and specifically broken antitrust law by disguising predatory pricing through revenue declaration loopholes.

It's time for legislators to act both to prevent Amazon from further excesses and to set a precedent. This Christmas, after eating a delicious turkey from Whole Foods (oops), we can hope that Casa Amazon also receives a special, glittering gift under the tree: antitrust action. Merry Christmas, Mr. Bezos.

Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for the BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy , and contributed to The Week, The Federalist, and others. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com .

This article was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors.

[Dec 20, 2019] Did John Brennan's CIA Create Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Gossufer2.0 and CrowdStrike are the weakest links in this sordid story. CrowdStrike was nothing but FBI/CIA contractor.
So the hypothesis that CrowdStrike employees implanted malware to implicate Russians and created fake Gussifer 2.0 personality is pretty logical.
Notable quotes:
"... Not one piece of corroborating intelligence. It is all based on opinion and strong belief. There was no human source report or electronic intercept pointing to a relationship between the GRU and the two alleged creations of the GRU--Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com. Now consider the spin that Robert Mueller put on this opinion in his report on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Mueller bluffs the unsuspecting reader into believing that it is a proven fact that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were Russian assets. But he is relying on a mere opinion from a handpicked group of intel analysts working under the direction of then CIA Director John Brennan ..."
"... In October 2015 John Brennan reorganized the CIA . As part of that reorganization he created a new directorate--DIRECTORATE OF DIGITAL INNOVATION. Its mission was to "manipulate digital footprints." In other words, this was the Directorate that did the work of creating Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. One of their specialties, creating Digital Dust. ..."
"... We also know, thanks to Wikileaks, that the CIA was using software specifically designed to mask CIA activity and make it appear like it was done by a foreign entity. Wikipedia describes the Vault 7 documents : ..."
"... Exhibit A in the case is this document created and later edited in the ubiquitous Microsoft Word format. Metadata left inside the file shows it was last edited by someone using the computer name "Феликс Эдмундович." That means the computer was configured to use the Russian language and that it was connected to a Russian-language keyboard. More intriguing still, "Феликс Эдмундович" is the colloquial name that translates to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the 20th Century Russian statesman who is best known for founding the Soviet secret police. (The metadata also shows that the purported DNC strategy memo was originally created by someone named Warren Flood, which happens to be the name of a LinkedIn user claiming to provide strategy and data analytics services to Democratic candidates.) ..."
"... Why would the CIA do this? The CIA knew that Podesta's emails had been hacked and were circulating on the internet. But they had no evidence about the identity of the culprit. If they had such evidence, they would have cited it in the 2017 ICA. ..."
"... The U.S. intelligence community became aware around May 26, 2016 that someone with access to the DNC network was offering those emails to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Julian Assange and people who spoke to him indicate that the person was Seth Rich. Whether or not it was Seth, the Trump Task Force at CIA was aware that the emails, which would be embarrassing to the Clinton campaign, would be released at some time in the future. Hence the motive to create Guccifer 2.0 and pin the blame on Russia. ..."
"... The only source for the claim that Russia hacked the DNC is a private cyber security firm, CrowdStrike. ..."
"... Time for the common sense standard again. Crowdstrike detected the Russians on the 6th of May, according to CEO Dimitri Alperovitch, but took no steps to shutdown the network, eliminate the malware and clean the computers until 34 days later, i.e., the 10th of June. That is 34 days of inexcusable inaction. ..."
"... The actions attributed to DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 should be priority investigative targets for U.S. Attorney John Durham's team of investigators. This potential use of a known CIA tool, developed under Brennan with the sole purpose to obfuscate the source of intrusions, pointing to another nation, as a false flag operation, is one of the actions and issues that U.S. Attorney John Durham should be looking into as a potential act of "Seditious conspiracy. It needs to be done. To quote the CIA, I strongly assess that the only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU. ..."
"... LJ bottom line: "The only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU." ..."
"... ICA which seemed to have been framed to allow journalists or the unwary to link the ICA with more rigorous standards used by more authentic assessments? ..."
"... With the Russians not having the advantages that the NSA does (back doors in all US-designed network hardware/software and taps all over the internet), would Russia reveal anything unless it involved an immediate major national security threat. I doubt that would cover Trump. ..."
Dec 20, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report insists that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were created by Russia's military intelligence organization, the GRU, as part of a Russian plot to meddle in the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election. But this is a lie. Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were created by Brennan's CIA and this action by the CIA should be a target of U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation. Let me explain why.

Let us start with the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment aka ICA. Only three agencies of the 17 in the U.S. intelligence community contributed to and coordinated on the ICA--the FBI, the CIA and NSA. In the preamble to the ICA, you can read the following explanation about methodology:

When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as "we assess" or "we judge," they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment

To be clear, the phrase,"We assess", is intel community jargon for "opinion". If there was actual evidence or source material for a judgment the writer of the assessment would state, "According to a reliable source" or "knowledgeable source" or "documentary evidence."

Pay close attention to what the analysts writing the ICA stated about the GRU and Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks:

We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets.

  • Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be an independent Romanian hacker, made multiple contradictory statements and false claims about his likely Russian identity throughout the election. Press reporting suggests more than one person claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 interacted with journalists.
  • Content that we assess was taken from e-mail accounts targeted by the GRU in March 2016 appeared on DCLeaks.com starting in June.

We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks. Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.

Not one piece of corroborating intelligence. It is all based on opinion and strong belief. There was no human source report or electronic intercept pointing to a relationship between the GRU and the two alleged creations of the GRU--Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com. Now consider the spin that Robert Mueller put on this opinion in his report on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Mueller bluffs the unsuspecting reader into believing that it is a proven fact that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were Russian assets. But he is relying on a mere opinion from a handpicked group of intel analysts working under the direction of then CIA Director John Brennan.

Here's Mueller's take (I apologize for the lengthy quote but it is important that you read how the Mueller team presents this):

DCLeaks

"The GRU began planning the releases at least as early as April 19, 2016, when Unit 26165 registered the domain dcleaks.com through a service that anonymized the registrant.137 Unit 26165 paid for the registration using a pool of bitcoin that it had mined.138 The dcleaks.com landing page pointed to different tranches of stolen documents, arranged by victim or subject matter. Other dcleaks.com pages contained indexes of the stolen emails that were being released (bearing the sender, recipient, and date of the email). To control access and the timing of releases, pages were sometimes password-protected for a period of time and later made unrestricted to the public.


Starting in June 2016, the GRU posted stolen documents onto the website dcleaks.com, including documents stolen from a number of individuals associated with the Clinton Campaign. These documents appeared to have originated from personal email accounts (in particular, Google and Microsoft accounts), rather than the DNC and DCCC computer networks. DCLeaks victims included an advisor to the Clinton Campaign, a former DNC employee and Clinton Campaign employee, and four other campaign volunteers.139 The GRU released through dcleaks.com thousands of documents, including personal identifying and financial information, internal correspondence related to the"Clinton Campaign and prior political jobs, and fundraising files and information.140


GRU officers operated a Facebook page under the DCLeaks moniker, which they primarily used to promote releases of materials.141 The Facebook page was administered through a small number of preexisting GRU-controlled Facebook accounts.142


GRU officers also used the DCLeaks Facebook account, the Twitter account @dcleaks__, and the email account dcleaksproject@gmail.com to communicate privately with reporters and other U.S. persons. GRU officers using the DCLeaks persona gave certain reporters early access to archives of leaked files by sending them links and passwords to pages on the dcleaks.com website that had not yet become public. For example, on July 14, 2016, GRU officers operating under the DCLeaks persona sent a link and password for a non-public DCLeaks webpage to a U.S. reporter via the Facebook account.143 Similarly, on September 14, 2016, GRU officers sent reporters Twitter direct messages from @dcleaks_, with a password to another non-public part of the dcleaks.com website.144


The dcleaks.com website remained operational and public until March 2017."

Guccifer 2.0

On June 14, 2016, the DNC and its cyber-response team announced the breach of the DNC network and suspected theft of DNC documents. In the statements, the cyber-response team alleged that Russian state-sponsored actors (which they referred to as "Fancy Bear") were responsible for the breach.145 Apparently in response to that announcement, on June 15, 2016, GRU officers using the persona Guccifer 2.0 created a WordPress blog. In the hours leading up to the launch of that WordPress blog, GRU officers logged into a Moscow-based server used and managed by Unit 74455 and searched for a number of specific words and phrases in English, including "some hundred sheets," "illuminati," and "worldwide known." Approximately two hours after the last of those searches, Guccifer 2.0 published its first post, attributing the DNC server hack to a lone Romanian hacker and using several of the unique English words and phrases that the GRU officers had searched for that day.146

That same day, June 15, 2016, the GRU also used the Guccifer 2.0 WordPress blog to begin releasing to the public documents stolen from the DNC and DCCC computer networks.

The Guccifer 2.0 persona ultimately released thousands of documents stolen from the DNC and DCCC in a series of blog posts between June 15, 2016 and October 18, 2016.147 Released documents included opposition research performed by the DNC (including a memorandum analyzing potential criticisms of candidate Trump), internal policy documents (such as recommendations on how to address politically sensitive issues), analyses of specific congressional races, and fundraising documents. Releases were organized around thematic issues, such as specific states (e.g., Florida and Pennsylvania) that were perceived as competitive in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Beginning in late June 2016, the GRU also used the Guccifer 2.0 persona to release documents directly to reporters and other interested individuals. Specifically, on June 27, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 sent an email to the news outlet The Smoking Gun offering to provide "exclusive access to some leaked emails linked [to] Hillary Clinton's staff."148 The GRU later sent the reporter a password and link to a locked portion of the dcleaks.com website that contained an archive of emails stolen by Unit 26165 from a Clinton Campaign volunteer in March 2016.149 "That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.150

The GRU continued its release efforts through Guccifer 2.0 into August 2016. For example, on August 15, 2016, the Guccifer 2.0 persona sent a candidate for the U.S. Congress documents related to the candidate's opponent.151 On August 22, 2016, the Guccifer 2.0 persona transferred approximately 2.5 gigabytes of Florida-related data stolen from the DCCC to a U.S. blogger covering Florida politics.152 On August 22, 2016, the Guccifer 2.0 persona sent a U.S. reporter documents stolen from the DCCC pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement.153"

Wow. Sounds pretty convincing. The documents referencing communications by DCLeaks or Guccifer 2.0 with Wikileaks are real. What is not true is that these entities were GRU assets.

In October 2015 John Brennan reorganized the CIA . As part of that reorganization he created a new directorate--DIRECTORATE OF DIGITAL INNOVATION. Its mission was to "manipulate digital footprints." In other words, this was the Directorate that did the work of creating Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. One of their specialties, creating Digital Dust.

We also know, thanks to Wikileaks, that the CIA was using software specifically designed to mask CIA activity and make it appear like it was done by a foreign entity. Wikipedia describes the Vault 7 documents :

Vault 7 is a series of documents that WikiLeaks began to publish on 7 March 2017, that detail activities and capabilities of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency to perform electronic surveillance and cyber warfare. The files, dated from 2013–2016, include details on the agency's software capabilities, such as the ability to compromise cars, smart TVs,[1] web browsers (including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera Software ASA),[2][3][4] and the operating systems of most smartphones (including Apple's iOS and Google's Android), as well as other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux[5][6

One of the tools in Vault 7 carries the innocuous name, MARBLE. Hackernews explains the purpose and function of MARBLE:

Dubbed "Marble," the part 3 of CIA files contains 676 source code files of a secret anti-forensic Marble Framework, which is basically an obfuscator or a packer used to hide the true source of CIA malware.
The CIA's Marble Framework tool includes a variety of different algorithm with foreign language text intentionally inserted into the malware source code to fool security analysts and falsely attribute attacks to the wrong nation.

Marble is used to hamper[ing] forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA," says the whistleblowing site.

"...for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion," WikiLeaks explains.

So guess what gullible techies "discovered" in mid-June 2016? The meta data in the Guccifer 2.0 communications had "Russian fingerprints."

We still don't know who he is or whether he works for the Russian government, but one thing is for sure: Guccifer 2.0 -- the nom de guerre of the person claiming he hacked the Democratic National Committee and published hundreds of pages that appeared to prove it -- left behind fingerprints implicating a Russian-speaking person with a nostalgia for the country's lost Soviet era.

Exhibit A in the case is this document created and later edited in the ubiquitous Microsoft Word format. Metadata left inside the file shows it was last edited by someone using the computer name "Феликс Эдмундович." That means the computer was configured to use the Russian language and that it was connected to a Russian-language keyboard. More intriguing still, "Феликс Эдмундович" is the colloquial name that translates to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the 20th Century Russian statesman who is best known for founding the Soviet secret police. (The metadata also shows that the purported DNC strategy memo was originally created by someone named Warren Flood, which happens to be the name of a LinkedIn user claiming to provide strategy and data analytics services to Democratic candidates.)

Just use your common sense. If the Russians were really trying to carry out a covert cyberattack, do you really think they are so sloppy and incompetent to insert the name of the creator of the Soviet secret police in the metadata? No. The Russians are not clowns. This was a clumsy attempt to frame the Russians.

Why would the CIA do this? The CIA knew that Podesta's emails had been hacked and were circulating on the internet. But they had no evidence about the identity of the culprit. If they had such evidence, they would have cited it in the 2017 ICA.

The U.S. intelligence community became aware around May 26, 2016 that someone with access to the DNC network was offering those emails to Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Julian Assange and people who spoke to him indicate that the person was Seth Rich. Whether or not it was Seth, the Trump Task Force at CIA was aware that the emails, which would be embarrassing to the Clinton campaign, would be released at some time in the future. Hence the motive to create Guccifer 2.0 and pin the blame on Russia.

It is essential to recall the timeline of the alleged Russian intrusion into the DNC network. The only source for the claim that Russia hacked the DNC is a private cyber security firm, CrowdStrike. Here is the timeline for the DNC "hack."

Here are the facts on the public record. They are at odds with the claims of the Intelligence Community:

  1. It was 29 April 2016 , when the DNC claims it became aware its servers had been penetrated. No claim yet about who was responsible. And no claim that there had been a prior warning by the FBI of a penetration of the DNC by Russian military intelligence.
  2. According to CrowdStrike founder , Dimitri Alperovitch, his company first supposedly detected the Russians mucking around inside the DNC server on 6 May 2016. A CrowdStrike intelligence analyst reportedly told Alperovitch that:
    • Falcon had identified not one but two Russian intruders: Cozy Bear, a group CrowdStrike's experts believed was affiliated with the FSB, Russia's answer to the CIA; and Fancy Bear, which they had linked to the GRU, Russian military intelligence.
  3. The Wikileaks data shows that the last message copied from the DNC network is dated Wed, 25 May 2016 08:48:35.
  4. 10 June 2016 --CrowdStrike waited until 10 June 2016 to take concrete steps to clean up the DNC network. Alperovitch told Esquire's Vicky Ward that: 'Ultimately, the teams decided it was necessary to replace the software on every computer at the DNC. Until the network was clean, secrecy was vital. On the afternoon of Friday, June 10, all DNC employees were instructed to leave their laptops in the office."
  5. On June 14, 2016 , Ellen Nakamura, a Washington Post reporter who had been briefed by computer security company hired by the DNC -- Crowdstrike--, wrote:
    • Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.
    • The intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC's system that they also were able to read all email and chat traffic, said DNC officials and the security experts.
    • The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some Republican political action committees, U.S. officials said. But details on those cases were not available.
  6. 15 June, 2016 , an internet "personality" self-described as Guccifer 2.0 surfaces and claims to be responsible for the hacks but denies being Russian. The people/entity behind Guccifer 2.0:

The only thing that the Guccifer 2.0 character did not do to declare its Russian heritage was to take out full page ads in the New York Times and Washington Post. But the "forensic" fingerprints that Guccifer 2.0 was leaving behind is not the only inexplicable event.

Time for the common sense standard again. Crowdstrike detected the Russians on the 6th of May, according to CEO Dimitri Alperovitch, but took no steps to shutdown the network, eliminate the malware and clean the computers until 34 days later, i.e., the 10th of June. That is 34 days of inexcusable inaction.

It is only AFTER Julian Assange announces on 12 June 2016 that WikiLeaks has emails relating to Hillary Clinton that DCLeaks or Guccifer 2.0 try to contact Assange.

The actions attributed to DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 should be priority investigative targets for U.S. Attorney John Durham's team of investigators. This potential use of a known CIA tool, developed under Brennan with the sole purpose to obfuscate the source of intrusions, pointing to another nation, as a false flag operation, is one of the actions and issues that U.S. Attorney John Durham should be looking into as a potential act of "Seditious conspiracy. It needs to be done. To quote the CIA, I strongly assess that the only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU.

Posted at 02:13 PM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink


Factotum , 20 December 2019 at 02:45 PM

LJ bottom line: "The only intelligence agency that evidence indicates was meddling via cyber attacks in the 2016 Presidential election was the CIA, not the GRU."
Paul Damascene , 20 December 2019 at 02:54 PM
Larry, thanks -- vital clarifications and reminders. In your earlier presentation of this material did you not also distinguish between the way actually interagency assessments are titled, and ICA which seemed to have been framed to allow journalists or the unwary to link the ICA with more rigorous standards used by more authentic assessments?
walrus , 20 December 2019 at 03:51 PM
Thank you Larry. You have discovered one more vital key to the conspiracy. We now need the evidence of Julian Assange. He is kept incommunicado and He is being tortured by the British in jail and will be murdered by the American judicial system if he lasts long enough to be extradited.

You can be sure he will be "Epsteined" before he appears in open court because he knows the source of what Wikileaks published. Once he is gone, mother Clinton is in the clear.

Ghost Ship , 20 December 2019 at 04:04 PM
I can understand the GRU or SVR hacking the DNC and other e-mail servers because as intelligence services that is their job, but can anyone think of any examples of Russia (or the Soviet Union) using such information to take overt action?

With the Russians not having the advantages that the NSA does (back doors in all US-designed network hardware/software and taps all over the internet), would Russia reveal anything unless it involved an immediate major national security threat. I doubt that would cover Trump.

[Dec 20, 2019] Alarming NYT Op-Ed Reveals Disturbing Secretive Surveillance State Powered By Your Phone's Location Services Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... detailed smartphone tracking is far more ubiquitous than many think , despite the ongoing claims by companies that people's data is "anonymous". ..."
"... describing location data as anonymous is "a completely false claim that has been debunked in multiple studies." ..."
"... "Really precise, longitudinal geolocation information is absolutely impossible to anonymize. D.N.A. is probably the only thing that's harder to anonymize than precise geolocation information." ..."
"... The op-ed looked at trying to identify people in positions of power. It identified and tracked "scores" of notable people, like military officials with security clearances, as they drove home at night. They also tracked law enforcement officials and high powered lawyers. Though they didn't name any of the people, they followed them on private jets, vacations and taking their kids to school. ..."
"... "That makes me uncomfortable. I'm sure that makes every other person uncomfortable, to know that companies can have free rein to take your data, locations, whatever else they're using. It is disturbing," she continued. ..."
"... These companies downplay the risks of collecting such revealing data at scale. Brian Czarny, chief marketing officer at Factual, one such company, said: "No, it doesn't really keep us up at night. Factual does not resell detailed data like the information [The Times] reviewed. We don't feel like anybody should be doing that because it's a risk to the whole business." ..."
"... Companies are required to disclose "very little" about data collection, but rather are only required to describe their practices in their privacy policies. ..."
"... Companies like Verizon and AT&T have been selling the data for years. Last year, Vice found that data being sold was being used by bounty hunters to find specific cell phones in real time. Telecom companies pledged, after the scandal, to stop selling the data. But there is still no law that prevents it. ..."
"... In one case, we observed a change in the regular movements of a Microsoft engineer. He made a visit one Tuesday afternoon to the main Seattle campus of a Microsoft competitor, Amazon. The following month, he started a new job at Amazon. It took minutes to identify him as Ben Broili, a manager now for Amazon Prime Air, a drone delivery service. ..."
Dec 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Millions of Americans are walking around with phones that have, unknowingly, created one of the most disturbing and unintentional "surveillance states" to ever exist. An explosive new opinion piece in the NY Times aims to demonstrate that detailed smartphone tracking is far more ubiquitous than many think , despite the ongoing claims by companies that people's data is "anonymous".

Paul Ohm, a law professor and privacy researcher at the Georgetown University Law Center, said that describing location data as anonymous is "a completely false claim that has been debunked in multiple studies."

He added: "Really precise, longitudinal geolocation information is absolutely impossible to anonymize. D.N.A. is probably the only thing that's harder to anonymize than precise geolocation information."

The op-ed looked at trying to identify people in positions of power. It identified and tracked "scores" of notable people, like military officials with security clearances, as they drove home at night. They also tracked law enforcement officials and high powered lawyers. Though they didn't name any of the people, they followed them on private jets, vacations and taking their kids to school.

Despite some of the data pointing to "scandal and crime", the purpose of tracking them was to document the risk of under-regulated surveillance.

One person identified was Mary Millben, a singer based in Virginia who has performed for three Presidents. When told her phone was putting her "on the map" for everyone to see, she said: "To know that you have a list of places I have been, and my phone is connected to that, that's scary. What's the business of a company benefiting off of knowing where I am? That seems a little dangerous to me."

She couldn't name the app that shared her location, despite saying she was "careful" about which apps she allowed to share her location.

"That makes me uncomfortable. I'm sure that makes every other person uncomfortable, to know that companies can have free rein to take your data, locations, whatever else they're using. It is disturbing," she continued.

On inauguration weekend, the authors were able to track "elite attendees at presidential ceremonies, religious observers at church services, supporters assembling across the National Mall", as well as protesters. They even spotted a senior official at the DOD walking through the Women's March, along with his wife.

Yet companies that take your location data collect "orders of magnitude" more that what the Times opinion writers had access to.

There are dozens of companies out there that profit from this data. Many use "technical and nuanced language that may be confusing to average smartphone users." Many company names would likely be unfamiliar to most Americans.

These companies downplay the risks of collecting such revealing data at scale. Brian Czarny, chief marketing officer at Factual, one such company, said: "No, it doesn't really keep us up at night. Factual does not resell detailed data like the information [The Times] reviewed. We don't feel like anybody should be doing that because it's a risk to the whole business."

But without federal privacy laws, the industry has largely been self-regulated. Several groups have offered ethical guidelines and groups like the Mobile Marketing Association are drafting pledges to improve this self-regulation.

But states are starting to respond. For instance, the California Consumer Protection Act takes effect next year and allows residents to ask companies to delete their data or prevent its sale. But legally, the law could leave the industry free to do whatever it wants.

Calli Schroeder, a lawyer for the privacy and data protection company VeraSafe said: "If a private company is legally collecting location data, they're free to spread it or share it however they want."

Companies are required to disclose "very little" about data collection, but rather are only required to describe their practices in their privacy policies.

Location data, gathered by latitude and longitude, coupled with time spent in an area, feed a lucrative secondary business of analyzing, licensing and transferring that information to third parties. Here's what that data looks like:

The data provides intelligence for big businesses, as well:

The Weather Channel app's parent company, for example, analyzed users' location data for hedge funds, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles this year that was triggered by Times reporting. And Foursquare received much attention in 2016 after using its data trove to predict that after an E. coli crisis, Chipotle's sales would drop by 30 percent in the coming months. Its same-store sales ultimately fell 29.7 percent.

Companies like Verizon and AT&T have been selling the data for years. Last year, Vice found that data being sold was being used by bounty hunters to find specific cell phones in real time. Telecom companies pledged, after the scandal, to stop selling the data. But there is still no law that prevents it.

Additionally, the piece notes "everything can be hacked". That means that any server that houses this data is susceptible to having it wind up in the wrong hands.

Broili/NYT

For most Americans, the distribution of this information could result in embarrassment or inconvenience. But for people like survivors of abuse, it could come with substantially more risks.

And the ability to identify individuals was stunning:

In one case, we observed a change in the regular movements of a Microsoft engineer. He made a visit one Tuesday afternoon to the main Seattle campus of a Microsoft competitor, Amazon. The following month, he started a new job at Amazon. It took minutes to identify him as Ben Broili, a manager now for Amazon Prime Air, a drone delivery service.

Broili commented: "I can't say I'm surprised. But knowing that you all can get ahold of it and comb through and place me to see where I work and live -- that's weird."

He continued: "It's an awful lot of data. And I really still don't understand how it's being used. I'd have to see how the other companies were weaponizing or monetizing it to make that call."

You can read the full long form op-ed here .

[Dec 19, 2019] YouTube recently changed its policy on retention of videos and I expect it covers their ass for responding to "Winston Smith" types of requests from late empire trying to rewrite history.

Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Dec 19 2019 22:10 utc | 25

@ Posted by: WJ | Dec 19 2019 21:42 utc | 21 with the reporting about YouTube deleting videos that support b's postings

I am not surprised. YouTube recently changed its policy on retention of videos and I expect it covers their ass for responding to "Winston Smith" types of requests from late empire trying to rewrite history.

[Dec 15, 2019] The current system of unlimited domestic spying on population which reminds STASI was built by both parties

Dec 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

In case of Page it was much worse the Glenn Greenwald claims. The most probably scenario that he was directed to join Trump compain and then to contact Russian government so that this false flag operatin can be used for establishing surveillance. Why they need to establish surveillance on CIA/FBI informant? Because he called people they really wanted to survail.

IG Report On FBI Spying Exposes Scandal Of Historic Magnitude For US Media Glenn Greenwald

IG Report On FBI Spying Exposes "Scandal Of Historic Magnitude" For US Media

by Tyler Durden Sat, 12/14/2019 - 13:30 0 SHARES

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via The Intercept,

Just as was true when the Mueller investigation closed without a single American being charged with criminally conspiring with Russia over the 2016 election, Wednesday's issuance of the long-waited report from the Department of Justice's Inspector General reveals that years of major claims and narratives from the U.S. media were utter frauds .

Before evaluating the media component of this scandal, the FBI's gross abuse of its power – its serial deceit – is so grave and manifest that it requires little effort to demonstrate it. In sum, the IG Report documents multiple instances in which the FBI – in order to convince a FISA court to allow it spy on former Trump campaign operative Carter Page during the 2016 election – manipulated documents, concealed crucial exonerating evidence, and touted what it knew were unreliable if not outright false claims.

If you don't consider FBI lying, concealment of evidence, and manipulation of documents in order to spy on a U.S. citizen in the middle of a presidential campaign to be a major scandal, what is? But none of this is aberrational: the FBI still has its headquarters in a building named after J. Edgar Hoover – who constantly blackmailed elected officials with dossiers and tried to blackmail Martin Luther King into killing himself – because that's what these security state agencies are. They are out-of-control, virtually unlimited police state factions that lie, abuse their spying and law enforcement powers, and subvert democracy and civic and political freedoms as a matter of course.

In this case, no rational person should allow standard partisan bickering to distort or hide this severe FBI corruption. The IG Report leaves no doubt about it. It's brimming with proof of FBI subterfuge and deceit, all in service of persuading a FISA court of something that was not true: that U.S. citizen and former Trump campaign official Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government and therefore needed to have his communications surveilled.

Just a few excerpts from the report should suffice to end any debate for rational persons about how damning it is. The focus of the first part of the IG Report was on the warrants obtained by the DOJ, at the behest of the FBI, to spy on Carter Page on the grounds that there was probable cause to believe he was an agent of the Russian government. That Page was a Kremlin agent was a widely disseminated media claim – typically asserted as fact even though it had no evidence. As a result of this media narrative, the Mueller investigation examined these widespread accusations yet concluded that "the investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election."

The IG Report went much further, documenting a multitude of lies and misrepresentations by the FBI to deceive the FISA court into believing that probable cause existed to believe Page was a Kremlin agent. The first FISA warrant to spy on Page was obtained during the 2016 election, after Page had left the Trump campaign but weeks before the election was to be held.

About the warrant application submitted regarding Page, the IG Report, in its own words, "found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure that all factual statements in a FISA application are 'scrupulously accurate.'" Specifically, "we identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed."

It's vital to reiterate this because of its gravity: we identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.

The specifics cited by the IG Report are even more damning. Specifically, "based upon the information known to the FBI in October 2016, the first application contained [] seven significant inaccuracies and omissions." Among those "significant inaccuracies and omissions": the FBI concealed that Page had been working with the CIA in connection with his dealings with Russia and had notified CIA case managers of at least some of those contacts after he was "approved as an 'operational contact'" with Russia; the FBI lied about both the timing and substance of Page's relationship with the CIA; vastly overstated the value and corroboration of Steele's prior work for the U.S. Government to make him appear more credible than he was; and concealed from the court serious reasons to doubt the reliability of Steele's key source.

... ... ..

Among the most significant new acts of deceit was that the FBI "omitted the fact that Steele's Primary Subsource, who the FBI found credible, had made statements in January 2017 raising significant questions about the reliability of allegations included in the FISA applications, including, for example, that he/she did not recall any discussion with Person 1 concerning Wikileaks and there was 'nothing bad' about the communications between the Kremlin and the Trump team, and that he/she did not report to Steele in July 2016 that Page had met with Sechin."

In other words, Steele's own key source told the FBI that Steele was lying about what the source said: an obviously critical fact that the FBI simply concealed from the FISA court because it knew how devastating that would be to being able to continue to spy on Page. As the Report put it, "among the most serious of the 10 additional errors we found in the renewal applications was the FBI's failure to advise [DOJ] or the court of the inconsistences, described in detail in Chapter Six, between Steele and his Primary Sub-source on the reporting relied upon in the FISA applications."

The IG Report also found that the FBI hid key information from the court about Steele's motives: for instance, it "omitted information obtained from [Bruce] Ohr about Steele and his election reporting, including that (1) Steele's reporting was going to Clinton's presidential campaign and others, (2) [Fusion GPS's Glenn] Simpson was paying Steele to discuss his reporting with the media, and (3) Steele was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S. President."

If it does not bother you to learn that the FBI repeatedly and deliberately deceived the FISA court into granting it permission to spy on a U.S. citizen in the middle of a presidential campaign, then it is virtually certain that you are either someone with no principles, someone who cares only about partisan advantage and nothing about basic civil liberties and the rule of law, or both. There is simply no way for anyone of good faith to read this IG Report and reach any conclusion other than that this is yet another instance of the FBI abusing its power in severe ways to subvert and undermine U.S. democracy. If you don't care about that, what do you care about?

* * * * *

But the revelations of the IG Report are not merely a massive FBI scandal. They are also a massive media scandal, because they reveal that so much of what the U.S. media has authoritatively claimed about all of these matters for more than two years is completely false.

Ever since Trump's inauguration, a handful of commentators and journalists – I'm included among them – have been sounding the alarm about the highly dangerous trend of news outlets not merely repeating the mistake of the Iraq War by blindly relying on the claims of security state agents but, far worse, now employing them in their newsrooms to shape the news. As Politico's media writer Jack Shafer wrote in 2018, in an article entitled "The Spies Who Came Into the TV Studio" :

In the old days, America's top spies would complete their tenures at the CIA or one of the other Washington puzzle palaces and segue to more ordinary pursuits. Some wrote their memoirs . One ran for president . Another died a few months after surrendering his post. But today's national-security establishment retiree has a different game plan. After so many years of brawling in the shadows, he yearns for a second, lucrative career in the public eye. He takes a crash course in speaking in soundbites, refreshes his wardrobe and signs a TV news contract. Then, several times a week, waits for a network limousine to shuttle him to the broadcast news studios where, after a light dusting of foundation and a spritz of hairspray, he takes a supporting role in the anchors' nighttime shows. . . .

[T]he downside of outsourcing national security coverage to the TV spies is obvious. They aren't in the business of breaking news or uncovering secrets. Their first loyalty -- and this is no slam -- is to the agency from which they hail. Imagine a TV network covering the auto industry through the eyes of dozens of paid former auto executives and you begin to appreciate the current peculiarities.

In a perfect television world, the networks would retire the retired spooks from their payrolls and reallocate those sums to the hiring of independent reporters to cover the national security beat. Let the TV spies become unpaid anonymous sources because when you get down to it, TV spies don't want to make news -- they just want to talk about it.

It's long been the case that CIA, FBI and NSA operatives tried to infiltrate and shape domestic news, but they at least had the decency to do it clandestinely. In 2008, the New York Times' David Barstow won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing a secret Pentagon program in which retired Generals and other security state agents would get hired as commentators and analysts and then – unbeknownst to their networks – coordinate their messaging to ensure that domestic news was being shaped by the propaganda of the military and intelligence communities.

But now it's all out in the open. It's virtually impossible to turn on MSNBC or CNN without being bombarded with former Generals, CIA operatives, FBI agents and NSA officials who now work for those networks as commentators and, increasingly, as reporters.

Congrats to my friend @joshscampbell , CNN's newest national Correspondent. His passion for going where the news is and covering important stories will continue to benefit viewers. pic.twitter.com/j49k0KOzNj

-- Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) November 19, 2019

The past three years of "Russiagate" reporting – for which U.S. journalists have lavished themselves with Pulitzers and other prizes despite a multitude of embarrassing and dangerous errors about the Grave Russian Threat – has relied almost exclusively on anonymous, uncorroborated claims from Deep State operatives (and yes, that's a term that fully applies to the U.S.). The few exceptions are when these networks feature former high-level security state operatives on camera to spread their false propaganda, as in this enduringly humiliating instance:

John Brennan has a lot to answer for -- going before the American public for months, cloaked with CIA authority and openly suggesting he's got secret info, and repeatedly turning in performances like this. pic.twitter.com/EziCxy9FVQ

-- Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) March 25, 2019

All of this has meant that U.S. discourse on these national security questions is shaped almost entirely by the very agencies that are trained to lie: the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, the FBI. And their lying has been highly effective.

For years, we were told by the nation's leading national security reporters something that was blatantly false: that the FBI's warrants to spy on Carter Page were not based on the Steele Dossier. GOP Congressman Devin Nunes was widely vilified and mocked by the super-smart DC national security reporters for issuing a report claiming that this was the case. The Nunes memo in essence claimed what the IG Report has corroborated: that embedded within the FBI's efforts to obtain FISA court authorization to spy on Carter Page was a series of misrepresentations, falsehoods and concealment of key evidence:

As the Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi – one of the few left/liberal journalists with the courage and integrity to dissent from the DNC/MSNBC script on these issues – put it in a detailed article :

"Democrats are not going to want to hear this, since conventional wisdom says former House Intelligence chief Devin Nunes is a conspiratorial evildoer, but the Horowitz report ratifies the major claims of the infamous ' Nunes memo .'"

That the Page warrant was based on the Steele Dossier was something that the media servants of the FBI and CIA rushed to deny. Did they have any evidence for those denials? That would be hard to believe, given that the FISA warrant applications are highly classified. It seems far more likely that – as usual – they were just repeating what the FBI and CIA (and the pathologically dishonest Rep. Adam Schiff) told them to say, like the good and loyal puppets that they are. But either way, what they kept telling the public – in highly definitive tones – was completely false, as we now know from the IG Report:

Yes. I am telling you the dossier was not used as the basis for a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

-- Shane Harris (@shaneharris) January 12, 2018

New: Two Democratic members of House Intel tell me McCabe did not say dossier was basis of FISA warrant, disputing central claim of #NunesMemo

-- Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) February 2, 2018

Over and over, the IG Report makes clear that, contrary to these denials, the Steele Dossier was indeed crucial to the Page eavesdropping warrant. "We determined that the Crossfire Hurricane team's receipt of Steele's election reporting on September 19, 2016 played a central and essential role in the FBI's and Department's decision to seek the FISA order," the IG Report explained. A central and essential role .

Just compare the pompous denials from so many U.S. national security reporters at the nation's leading news outlets – that the Page warrant was not based on the Steele Dossier – to the actual truth that we now know :

"in support of the fourth element in the FISA application-Carter Page's alleged coordination with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities, the application relied entirely on the following information from Steele Reports 80, 94, 95, and 102″ (emphasis added).

Indeed, it was the Steele Dossier that led FBI leadership, including Director James Comey and Deputy Diretor Andrew McCabe, to approve the warrant application in the first place despite concerns raised by other agents that the information was unreliable. Explains the IG Report:

FBI leadership supported relying on Steele's reporting to seek a FISA order on Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by Stuart Evans, then NSD's Deputy Assistant Attorney General with oversight responsibility over QI, that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with presidential candidate Clinton or the DNC, and that the foreign intelligence to be collected through the FISA order would probably not be worth the 'risk' of being criticized later for collecting communications of someone (Carter Page) who was "politically sensitive."

The narrative manufactured by the security state agencies and laundered by their reliable media servants about these critical matters was a sham, a fraud, a lie. Yet again, U.S. discourse was subsumed by propaganda because the U.S. media and key parts of the security state have decided that subverting the Trump presidency is of such a high priority – that their political judgment outweighs the results of the election – that everything, including outright lying even to courts let alone the public, is justified because the ends are so noble.

As Taibbi put it:

"No matter what people think the political meaning of the Horowitz report might be, reporters who read it will know: Anybody who touched this nonsense in print should be embarrassed."

No matter how dangerous you believe the Trump presidency to be, this is a grave threat to the pillars of U.S. democracy, a free press, an informed citizenry and the rule of law.* * * * *

Underlying all of this is another major lie spun over the last three years by the newly-minted media stars and liberal icons from the security state agencies. Ever since the Snowden reporting – indeed, prior to that, when the New York Times' Eric Lichtblau and Jim Risen (now with the Intercept) revealed in 2005 that the Bush-era NSA was illegally spying on U.S. citizens without the warrants required by law – it was widely understood that the FISA process was a rubber-stamping joke, an illusory safeguard that, in reality, offered no real limits on the ability of the U.S. Government to spy on its own citizens. Back in 2013 at the Guardian, I wrote a long article , based on Snowden documents, revealing what an empty sham this process was.

But over the last three years, the strategy of Democrats and liberals – particularly their cable outlets and news sites – has been to venerate and elevate security state agents as the noble truth-tellers of U.S. democracy. Once-reviled-by-liberal sites such as Lawfare – composed of little more than pro-NSA and pro-FBI apparatchiks – gained mainstream visibility for the first time on the strength of a whole new group of liberals who decided that the salvation of U.S. democracy lies not with the political process but with the dark arts of the NSA, the FBI and the CIA.

Sites like Lawfare – led by Comey-friend Benjamin Wittes and ex-NSA lawyer Susan Hennessey – became Twitter and cable news stars and used their platform to resuscitate what had been a long-discredited lie: namely, that the FISA process is highly rigorous and that the potential for abuse is very low. Liberals, eager to believe that the security state agencies opposed to Trump should be trusted despite their decades of violent lawlessness and systemic lying, came to believe in the sanctity of the NSA and the FISA process.

The IG Report obliterates that carefully cultivated delusion. It lays bare what a sham the whole FISA process is, how easy it is for the NSA and the FBI to obtain from the FISA court whatever authorization it wants to spy on any Americans they want regardless of how flimsy is the justification. The ACLU and other civil libertarians had spent years finally getting people to realize this truth, but it was wiped out by the Trump-era veneration of these security state agencies.

In an excellent article on the fallout from the IG Report , the New York Times' Charlie Savage, long one of the leading journalistic experts on these debates, makes clear how devastating these revelations are to this concocted narrative designed to lead Americans to trust the FBI and NSA's eavesdropping authorities :

At more than 400 pages, the study amounted to the most searching look ever at the government's secretive system for carrying out national-security surveillance on American soil. And what the report showed was not pretty.

The Justice Department's independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, and his team uncovered a staggeringly dysfunctional and error-ridden process in how the F.B.I. went about obtaining and renewing court permission under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

"The litany of problems with the Carter Page surveillance applications demonstrates how the secrecy shrouding the government's one-sided FISA approval process breeds abuse," said Hina Shamsi, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project. "The concerns the inspector general identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims, and far better safeguards against abuse are necessary."

His exposé left some former officials who generally defend government surveillance practices aghast.

"These errors are bad," said David Kris, an expert in FISA who oversaw the Justice Department's National Security Division in the Obama administration. "If the broader audit of FISA applications reveals a systematic pattern of errors of this sort that plagued this one, then I would expect very serious consequences and reforms" .

Civil libertarians for years have called the surveillance court a rubber stamp because it only rarely rejects wiretap applications. Out of 1,080 requests by the government in 2018, for example, government records showed that the court fully denied only one.

Defenders of the system have argued that the low rejection rate stems in part from how well the Justice Department self-polices and avoids presenting the court with requests that fall short of the legal standard. They have also stressed that officials obey a heightened duty to be candid and provide any mitigating evidence that might undercut their request. . . .

But the inspector general found major errors, material omissions and unsupported statements about Mr. Page in the materials that went to the court. F.B.I. agents cherry-picked the evidence, telling the Justice Department information that made Mr. Page look suspicious and omitting material that cut the other way, and the department passed that misleading portrait onto the court.

This system of unlimited domestic spying was built by both parties, which only rouse themselves to object when the power lies in the other side's hands. Just last year, the vast majority of the GOP caucus joined with a minority of Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff to hand President Trump all-new domestic spying powers while blocking crucial reforms and safeguards to prevent abuse. The spying machinery that Edward Snowden risked his life and liberty to expose always has been, and still is, a bipartisan creation.

Perhaps these revelations will finally lead to a realization about how rogue, and dangerous, these police state agencies have become, and how urgently needed is serious reform. But if nothing else, it must serve as a tonic to the three years of unrelenting media propaganda that has deceived and misled millions of Americans into believing things that are simply untrue.

None of these journalists have acknowledged an iota of error in the wake of this report because they know that lying is not just permitted but encouraged as long as it pleases and vindicates the political beliefs of their audiences . Until that stops, credibility and faith in journalism will never be restored, and – despite how toxic it is to have a media that has no claim on credibility – that despised status will be fully deserved.

... ... ...


Great Deceivah2 , 6 minutes ago link

((((Glenn Greenwald))) via The Intercept,

The former (((Guardian))) "journalist" *** libtard Joo who lives in Brazil with his boyfriend, is going to tell us the truth about the (((FBI))) and the (((Deep State)))????

LOL

The (((Intercept))) has already ratted out at least one whistleblower to the Deep State, so be careful on who do you believe in..

https://www.mintpressnews.com/bad-track-record-gets-worse-new-whistleblower-outed-intercept/239822/

Xena fobe , 7 minutes ago link

MSM news never was trustworthy. At least not in my lifetime.

Soloamber , 10 minutes ago link

Don't wait for an apology from a cult . Simply shut them off .

How many businesses can get away with routinely lying to their customers .

For those die hard cult members you can say anything . Hello CNN , MSNBC , ABC .

Even FOX causes a gag reflex at times . Way too much preachy " info news " .

The format doesn't allow of these stations balanced or complete discussion .

I am sick of these people cutting off panelists . Anyone going on those shows better be able to say what they want in about

20 seconds .

Darracq , 53 minutes ago link

The most important point of the FISA abuse for surveillance authorization of 4 US citizens was for the purpose of collateral surveillance of all of their contacts with the Trump campaign, transition and White House

CashMcCall , 1 hour ago link

This story ain't got any legs at all...

Reality_checkers , 1 hour ago link

It's not a story, it's an insane rant by emotional cripple Glenn Greenwald.

Asoka_The_Great , 56 minutes ago link

Don't be fooled. Glenn Greenwald is one of those US Dark State/Mi6 operative, masquerade as a "journalist".

He here to fool the potential whistleblowers to come to him, so they will be disappeared into the CIA dungeons.

devnickle , 48 minutes ago link

So telling the truth makes you a tool?

I feel sorry for you.

Asoka_The_Great , 32 minutes ago link

He just trying to gain some credibility, not telling the Truth.

vienna_proxy , 1 hour ago link

investigate the 17 intel agencies that unanimously said Russia 'meddled' in the 2016 election. if they lied for political gain, then they are traitors for trying to start a war with Russia that endangers all Americans

Fluff The Cat , 1 hour ago link

I honestly don't care either way. The entire system is corrupt and overrun with Zionists from top to bottom, including of course the MSM. All this theater of a witch hunt against Trump is for show; in reality they're all on the same page, playing the American public for fools. That's why nothing significant ever changes no matter who gets into office. Always more wars for faux-Israel and the MIC, staged coups and proxy wars abroad, more regulatory capture, the national debt skyrocketing into oblivion, no border security, special privileges for a (((chosen few))) which violate Constitutional law, massive bailouts at taxpayers' expense, and on it goes.

CogitoMan , 1 hour ago link

I did not waste my time reading it all. Just skimmed few paragraphs to confirm that all of this was known to everybody long time ago.

To me the basic question is why Trump is a such *****. He should fire long time ago 3/4 of CIA, FBI, Justice Department and many other three letter government employers. He has full right as a president to do this. If he doesn't do that they eventually will destroy him.

Instead he is pussying around those grave issues and nobody gets punished for high crimes they committed. He is just tweeting crap that bear no consequences to anybody.

This is the best chance he's got to drain the swamp. But I am pretty sure swamp will stink for a long time after he is gone. In short, he is sissy unable to do the job he promised to do to the people who voted for him.

Damn loser!

[Dec 14, 2019] We Just Got a Rare Look at National Security Surveillance. It Was Ugly

NYT fails to state that the most plausible scenario was that CIA send Page to join Trump campaign, then to establish contacts with Russians and after that obtain FICA warrants in a typical false flag operation manner. Essentially Trump campaign was entrapped.
Dec 14, 2019 | www.msn.com

First, when agents initially sought permission for the wiretap, F.B.I. officials scoured information from confidential informants and selectively presented portions that supported their suspicions that Mr. Page might be a conduit between Russia and the Trump campaign's onetime chairman, Paul Manafort.

But officials did not disclose information that undercut that allegation -- such as the fact that Mr. Page had told an informant in August 2016 that he "never met" or "said one word" to Mr. Manafort, who had never returned Mr. Page's emails. Even if the investigators did not necessarily believe Mr. Page, the court should have been told what he had said.

Second, as the initial court order was nearing its expiration and law-enforcement officials prepared to ask the surveillance court to renew it, the F.B.I. had uncovered information that cast doubt on some of its original assertions. But law enforcement officials never reported that new information to the court.

Specifically, the application included allegations about Mr. Page contained in a dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent whose research was funded by Democrats. In January 2017, the F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Steele's own primary source, and he contradicted what Mr. Steele had written in the dossier.

The source for Mr. Steele may, of course, have been lying. But either way, officials should have flagged the disconnect for the court. Instead, the F.B.I. reported that its agents had met with the source to "further corroborate" the dossier and found him to be "truthful and cooperative," leaving a misleading impression in renewal applications.

Finally, the report stressed Mr. Page's long history of meeting with Russian intelligence officials. But he had also said that he had a relationship with the C.I.A., and it turns out that he had for years told the agency about those meetings -- including one that was cited in the wiretap application as a reason to be suspicious of him.

That relationship could have mitigated some suspicions about his history. But the F.B.I. never got to the bottom of it, and the court filings said nothing about Mr. Page's dealings with the C.I.A.

The inspector general's report contains many more examples of errors and omissions. Mr. Horowitz largely blamed lower-level F.B.I. agents charged with preparing the evidence, but he also faulted high-level supervisors for permitting a culture in which the inaccuracies took place.

[Dec 14, 2019] FISA Court Falls Under Congressional Scrutiny Following IG Report

Notable quotes:
"... And in the case of Carter Page, the FISA judges initially denied a warrant to surveil the former Trump aide until the agency padded the application with the wildly unverified Steele Report , lying about Steele's credibility, and then fabricating evidence to specifically say Page was not an "operational contact" for the CIA , when in fact he was - and had a "positive assessment." ..."
"... Let's not forget that FISA court judge Rudolph Contreras recused himself from overseeing the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn due to his personal friendship with former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok. ..."
"... And the only reason Contreras did so was because his friendship with Strzok was revealed in their anti-Trump text messages found by the Inspector General. ..."
Dec 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The shadowy Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court) and the processes behind obtaining a warrant from it has fallen under harsh scrutiny by lawmakers following the release of the DOJ Inspector General's report which found that the FBI was able to easily mislead the judges to surveil Trump adviser Carter Page.

FISA Judge Rudolph Contreras, who recused himself from the Mike Flynn case after his friendship with former FBI agent Peter Strzok was revealed in text messages.

"The goal is to make sure this doesn't happen again, so you tighten up the system right," said Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), adding: "Quite frankly, I'm looking at the FISA court itself. ... I'm looking for the court to tell the public, 'Hey, we're upset about this too,' and, you know, take some corrective steps."

Graham said his committee will look into legislation to introduce more "checks and balances" to the FISA process, according to The Hill .

When asked if he thought there would be bipartisan support for FISA reform, Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL) said "I hope so," adding "This was a real wake-up call that three different teams can screw this up at the FBI."

The renewed interest comes after five hours of partisan barb trading during a Judiciary hearing Wednesday with Horowitz that resulted in one clear bipartisan interest: overhauling the FISA court.

"One of the only points I've heard with bipartisan agreement today is a renewed interest in reforming the FISA process," said Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.). - The Hill

Created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, the FISA court is made up of 11 judges who are chosen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court to serve seven-year terms. They are responsible for approving warrant applications for intelligence gathering purposes and national security operations, which - as The Hill notes, "more often than not, they sign off."

And in the case of Carter Page, the FISA judges initially denied a warrant to surveil the former Trump aide until the agency padded the application with the wildly unverified Steele Report , lying about Steele's credibility, and then fabricating evidence to specifically say Page was not an "operational contact" for the CIA , when in fact he was - and had a "positive assessment."

Last year the government filed 1,117 FISA warrant applications, including 1,081 for electronic monitoring. The court signed off on 1,079 according to a DOJ report.

That said, reform may come slowly.

But the timeline for any legislative reforms is unclear. Congress already faces a mid-March deadline to extend expiring surveillance authorities under the USA Freedom Act.

Durbin suggested the discussions could merge, while Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a longtime privacy advocate, appeared skeptical that Republicans would ultimately get on board with broader changes to surveillance powers.

"Why after YEARS of blocking bipartisan FISA reforms are senior Republicans suddenly interested in it? There is no question that we need to improve transparency, accountability and oversight of the FISA process," Wyden tweeted. - The Hill

Still, the IG report appears to have 'enlightened' some GOP lawmakers who previously resisted the notion of reining in FISA courts . Several GOP senators gave credit to their libertarian-minded colleagues on the hill, who have pushed for surveillance reform after accurately predicting the potential for abuse.

Those who have long-advocated for reform include GOP Sens. Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Ben Sasse (Neb.), according to Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

"I wish Mike Lee weren't sitting here two people from me right now, because as a national security hawk I've argued with Mike Lee in the 4 1/2 or five years that I've been in the Senate that stuff just like this couldn't possibly happen at the FBI and at the Department of Justice," said Sasse during the Horowitz testimony, who added that the IG's findings marked a "massive crisis of public trust" since we should know about FISA applications that aren ' t as high-profile as Page's.

Horowitz reported a total of 17 "significant inaccuracies and omissions" in the applications to monitor Page , taking particular issue with applications to renew the FISA warrant and chastising the FBI for a lack of satisfactory explanations for those mistakes.

Horowitz stressed that he would not have submitted the follow-up applications as they were drafted by the FBI . Kevin Clinesmith, an FBI lawyer, altered an email related to the warrant renewal application, according to Horowitz's report.

" [The] applications made it appear as though the evidence supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case ," Horowitz said. " We also found basic, fundamental and serious errors during the completion of the FBl's factual accuracy reviews. "

Horowitz also found that there were errors that "represent serious performance failures by the supervisory and non-supervisory agents with responsibility over the FISA applications." - The Hill

Let's not forget that FISA court judge Rudolph Contreras recused himself from overseeing the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn due to his personal friendship with former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok.

And the only reason Contreras did so was because his friendship with Strzok was revealed in their anti-Trump text messages found by the Inspector General.

[Dec 14, 2019] An Amazon surveillance device in your child's bedroom, what could possibly go wrong?

Dec 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

notabanker , December 13, 2019 at 6:02 pm

An Amazon surveillance device in your child's bedroom, what could possibly go wrong?

I'm past the point of blaming big tech companies. If you are fool enough to pay money to do this, you deserve what you get. American Idiots.

[Dec 13, 2019] Review of Michael Rectenwald's book "Google Archipelago"

Notable quotes:
"... In his latest book, Google Archipelago , Rectenwald outlines how this system works, why leftism is synonymous with oppression, and how the Google Archipelago's regime of "simulated reality" "must be countered, not only with real knowledge, but with a metaphysics of truth." ..."
"... Gradually, Rectenwald began to realize that PC was not a philosophy, but the enemy of open inquiry. For this reason, and because Rectenwald is an expert in the so-called digital humanities and the long history of scientific (and pseudo-scientific) thinking that feeds into it, Google Archipelago is not just a dry monograph about a social issue. By turns memoir, Kafkaesque dream sequence, trenchant rebuke of leftist censorship, and intellectual history of woke corporate political correctness, Google Archipelago is a welcoming window into a mind working happily in overdrive. ..."
"... There is much in Google Archipelago addressing the lie that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are neutral platforms for free-ranging debate. This is not so much, because, statistically and empirically, it is irrefutable that Silicon Valley is hostile to non-Beltway-leftist opinions, but because, much more damningly, their woke-capital corporate structures are themselves iterations of massification, propaganda, and deep social control. For Rectenwald, the "Google archipelago" is not PC version 2.0; it is Marxism, version 1,000 (and raised by several orders of magnitude to boot). ..."
Dec 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

It is tempting to see this as a function of political correctness. Americans, and others around the world, who have found themselves on the "wrong side of history" (as determined by the cultural elite in an endless cycle of epistemological door closing) have long been shut out of conversations, their views deemed beyond the pale of acceptable discourse in enlightened modern societies. Google, Facebook, Twitter -- are these corporations, and their uber-woke CEOs, just cranking the PC up to eleven and imposing their schoolmarmish proclivities on the billions of people who want to scrawl messages on their electronic chalkboards?

Not so, says reformed leftist -- and current PC target -- Michael Rectenwald. The truth of Stanford and Harvard alumni's death grip on global discourse is much more complicated than just PC run amok. It is not that the Silicon Valley giants are agents of mass surveillance and censorship (although mass surveillance and censorship are precisely the business they're in). It's that the very system they have designed is, structurally, the same as the systems of oppression that blanketed and smothered free expression in so much of the world during the previous century.

In his latest book, Google Archipelago , Rectenwald outlines how this system works, why leftism is synonymous with oppression, and how the Google Archipelago's regime of "simulated reality" "must be countered, not only with real knowledge, but with a metaphysics of truth."

Google Archipelago is divided into eight chapters and is rooted in both Rectenwald's encyclopedic knowledge of the history of science and corporate control of culture, as well as in his own experiences. Before retiring, Rectenwald had been a professor at New York University, where he was thoroughly entrenched in the PC episteme that squelches real thought at universities across North America and beyond. Gradually, Rectenwald began to realize that PC was not a philosophy, but the enemy of open inquiry. For this reason, and because Rectenwald is an expert in the so-called digital humanities and the long history of scientific (and pseudo-scientific) thinking that feeds into it, Google Archipelago is not just a dry monograph about a social issue. By turns memoir, Kafkaesque dream sequence, trenchant rebuke of leftist censorship, and intellectual history of woke corporate political correctness, Google Archipelago is a welcoming window into a mind working happily in overdrive.

There is much in Google Archipelago addressing the lie that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are neutral platforms for free-ranging debate. This is not so much, because, statistically and empirically, it is irrefutable that Silicon Valley is hostile to non-Beltway-leftist opinions, but because, much more damningly, their woke-capital corporate structures are themselves iterations of massification, propaganda, and deep social control. For Rectenwald, the "Google archipelago" is not PC version 2.0; it is Marxism, version 1,000 (and raised by several orders of magnitude to boot).

For example, in the first and second chapters of Google Archipelago , Rectenwald lays out how the various elements of woke-capitalist ideological repression work together in actual practice. Rectenwald's chief example is the Gillette ad campaign of January 2019, in which a company whose products (razor blades and shaving cream) are purchased, of course, was said to insult the very essence of its customers by belittling manhood as "toxic." Why would a razor blade company go out of its way to alienate the people who buy the majority of razorblades? The answer is surprising. Rectenwald tells us Gillette was not simply responding to a renewed PC craze by running the "toxic masculinity" ad. Gillette, from the beginning, has been a pioneer in designing systems to mold public opinion and shape individuals into easily pliable socialist masses. King Camp Gillette, the founder of what is now the Gillette company, hated competition and sought to make, as he put it, a "world corporation." Through this corporation, the ignorant plebs around the globe could be impelled to do what their social and intellectual superiors -- the leaders of the "world corporation" -- thought was in their best interest. This "singular monopoly," as Rectenwald puts it, would control the material and mental makeup of the entire world. Quoting King Camp Gillette's biographer, Rectenwald adds, "It was almost as if Karl Marx had paused between The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital to develop a dissolving toothbrush or collapsible comb."

Rectenwald outlines a direct line of descent from this earlier corporate socialism of razor blades and "collapsible comb[s]" to the "authoritarian leftism" of the present digital age, authoritarian leftism being "the operational ethos of the Google Archipelago." The Google Archipelago's "wokeforce" practices what Rectenwald calls "avant-garde identity politics extremism," the organizing principle for deciding which parts of society are in revolt against PC and need to be excised from the archipelago of allowed opinion. The internet did create the "information superhighway," as was endlessly exclaimed by politicians and nascent digitalistas during the late 1990s. But it also amplified the structures of woke corporate control that had been in place since the beginning of globalized leftism, Marxian "capitalist" finance, and elite-led collectivism -- precisely the kind of inversion of free enterprise and perversion of the free market practiced by King Camp Gillette and his socialist comrades a hundred and more years before. The Google Archipelago is not a product of the personal computer, but of another kind of political correctness, the PC that is the manifestation of the same old human urge to control others and bring the world under the sway of one's will.

[Dec 10, 2019] The revealed face of the the USA ruling class during Trump impeachment is Neo-Orwellian.

Dec 10, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

clarky90 , , December 9, 2019 at 7:06 pm

The MSM is reporting the "impeachment" as if it was a serious (approved by expert academics) endeavor. However, the veil is lifting. The revealed face of the ruling class is Neo-Orwellian.

"Nadler's committee will likely vote to impeach Trump. In a report defining what it considers impeachable offenses, the committee states that even if Trump did not actually break any laws in his supposed "quid pro quo" dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he can still be impeached for his unstated motives.

"The question is not whether the president's conduct could have resulted from permissible motives. It is whether the president's real reasons, the ones in his mind at the time, were legitimate, " it stated."

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980918000328

Certainly they are working on mind wave tech, to scan us for "unstated motives" as we live our day to day lives?

[Dec 02, 2019] Cheap, ubiquitous cameras, microphones, and location trackers are the real issue. If the state can track everyone's movements and conversations, then it can build a better Stasi even with crude, simple AI

Notable quotes:
"... Seeing Like a State ..."
"... More generally, I think AI gets far too much of the billing in authoritarian apocalypse forecasts. Cheap, ubiquitous cameras, microphones, and location trackers are the real issue. If the state can track everyone's movements and conversations, then it can build a better Stasi even with crude, simple ai. ..."
Dec 02, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

The theory behind this is one of strength reinforcing strength – the strengths of ubiquitous data gathering and analysis reinforcing the strengths of authoritarian repression to create an unstoppable juggernaut of nearly perfectly efficient oppression. Yet there is another story to be told – of weakness reinforcing weakness. Authoritarian states were always particularly prone to the deficiencies identified in James Scott's Seeing Like a State – the desire to make citizens and their doings legible to the state, by standardizing and categorizing them, and reorganizing collective life in simplified ways, for example by remaking cities so that they were not organic structures that emerged from the doings of their citizens, but instead grand chessboards with ordered squares and boulevards, reducing all complexities to a square of planed wood . The grand state bureaucracies that were built to carry out these operations were responsible for multitudes of horrors, but also for the crumbling of the Stalinist state into a Brezhnevian desuetude, where everyone pretended to be carrying on as normal because everyone else was carrying on too. The deficiencies of state action, and its need to reduce the world into something simpler that it could comprehend and act upon created a kind of feedback loop, in which imperfections of vision and action repeatedly reinforced each other.

So what might a similar analysis say about the marriage of authoritarianism and machine learning? Something like the following, I think. There are two notable problems with machine learning. One – that while it can do many extraordinary things, it is not nearly as universally effective as the mythology suggests. The other is that it can serve as a magnifier for already existing biases in the data. The patterns that it identifies may be the product of the problematic data that goes in, which is (to the extent that it is accurate) often the product of biased social processes. When this data is then used to make decisions that may plausibly reinforce those processes (by singling e.g. particular groups that are regarded as problematic out for particular police attention, leading them to be more liable to be arrested and so on), the bias may feed upon itself.

This is a substantial problem in democratic societies, but it is a problem where there are at least some counteracting tendencies. The great advantage of democracy is its openness to contrary opinions and divergent perspectives . This opens up democracy to a specific set of destabilizing attacks but it also means that there are countervailing tendencies to self-reinforcing biases. When there are groups that are victimized by such biases, they may mobilize against it (although they will find it harder to mobilize against algorithms than overt discrimination). When there are obvious inefficiencies or social, political or economic problems that result from biases, then there will be ways for people to point out these inefficiencies or problems.

These correction tendencies will be weaker in authoritarian societies; in extreme versions of authoritarianism, they may barely even exist. Groups that are discriminated against will have no obvious recourse. Major mistakes may go uncorrected: they may be nearly invisible to a state whose data is polluted both by the means employed to observe and classify it, and the policies implemented on the basis of this data. A plausible feedback loop would see bias leading to error leading to further bias, and no ready ways to correct it. This of course, will be likely to be reinforced by the ordinary politics of authoritarianism, and the typical reluctance to correct leaders, even when their policies are leading to disaster. The flawed ideology of the leader (We must all study Comrade Xi thought to discover the truth!) and of the algorithm (machine learning is magic!) may reinforce each other in highly unfortunate ways.

In short, there is a very plausible set of mechanisms under which machine learning and related techniques may turn out to be a disaster for authoritarianism, reinforcing its weaknesses rather than its strengths, by increasing its tendency to bad decision making, and reducing further the possibility of negative feedback that could help correct against errors. This disaster would unfold in two ways. The first will involve enormous human costs: self-reinforcing bias will likely increase discrimination against out-groups, of the sort that we are seeing against the Uighur today. The second will involve more ordinary self-ramifying errors, that may lead to widespread planning disasters, which will differ from those described in Scott's account of High Modernism in that they are not as immediately visible, but that may also be more pernicious, and more damaging to the political health and viability of the regime for just that reason.

So in short, this conjecture would suggest that the conjunction of AI and authoritarianism (has someone coined the term 'aithoritarianism' yet? I'd really prefer not to take the blame), will have more or less the opposite effects of what people expect. It will not be Singapore writ large, and perhaps more brutal. Instead, it will be both more radically monstrous and more radically unstable.

Like all monotheoretic accounts, you should treat this post with some skepticism – political reality is always more complex and muddier than any abstraction. There are surely other effects (another, particularly interesting one for big countries such as China, is to relax the assumption that the state is a monolith, and to think about the intersection between machine learning and warring bureaucratic factions within the center, and between the center and periphery).Yet I think that it is plausible that it at least maps one significant set of causal relationships, that may push (in combination with, or against, other structural forces) towards very different outcomes than the conventional wisdom imagines. Comments, elaborations, qualifications and disagreements welcome.


Ben 11.25.19 at 6:32 pm (no link)

This seems to equivocate between two meanings of bias. Bias might mean a flaw that leads to empirically incorrect judgements and so to bad decisions, and it's true that that type of bias could destabilize an authoritarian state. But what we usually worry about with machine learning is that the system will find very real, but deeply unjust, patterns in the data, and reinforce those pattern. If there's a particular ethnic group that really does produce a disproportionate number of dissidents, and an algorithm leads to even-more-excessive repression of that group -- I'm not sure why an authoritarian state would see a stability threat in that tendency.

More generally, I think AI gets far too much of the billing in authoritarian apocalypse forecasts. Cheap, ubiquitous cameras, microphones, and location trackers are the real issue. If the state can track everyone's movements and conversations, then it can build a better Stasi even with crude, simple ai.

faustusnotes 11.26.19 at 1:00 am (no link)
I'd just like to point out (re: the tweet in the original post) that the "Uighur face-matching AI" idea is bullshit invented by scaremongers, with no basis in fact and traceable to a shoddy reddit thread. The Chinese government is not using facial recognition to identify Uighur, and the facial recognition fears about the Chinese government are vastly overstated.

Australia's border control facial recognition software is far more advanced than China's, as is the UK's, and facial recognition is actually pretty common in democracies. See e.g. the iPhone.

The main areas in which China uses facial recognition are in verifying ID for some high cost functions (like buying high speed rail tickets), and it's quite easy to avoid these functions by joining a queue and paying a human. The real intrusiveness of the Chinese security state is in its constant bag searches and very human-centric abuses of power in everyday life in connection with "security". Whether you get stopped and searched depends a lot on very arbitrary and error prone judgments by bored security staff at railway stations, in public squares, and on buses, not some evil intrusive state technology.

Conversely, the UK is a world leader in installing and using CCTV cameras, and has been for a long time. Furthermore, these CCTV cameras are a huge boon to law-abiding citizens, since they act as both excellent forms of crime prevention (I have had this experience myself) and for finding serious criminals. The people responsible for the death of those 39 Vietnamese labourers in the ice truck were caught because of CCTV; so was the guy who murdered that woman on the street in Melbourne a few years ago.

Finally to address another point that's already been raised (sadly): China no longer harvests organs, and the 2019 report that says it does is a sham. The social credit system is also largely a myth, and nobody from China even seems to know wtf it is.

If you're going to talk about how state's work, and the relative merits of autocratic vs. democratic states and their interaction with technology, it's a really good idea to get the basic facts right first.

Nathanael 11.26.19 at 6:10 am (no link)
I'll add that John Quiggin's point that Xi has already lost control of the provinces is correct -- but it DOES threaten his position as dictator. Once the provincial governors know they can act with impunity, it is absolutely standard for the next step to be getting rid of that annoying guy who is pretending to be dictator. It may take a few years but Xi now has dozens of powerful insiders who know that he's a weakling. They'll bide their time but when he crosses too many of them they'll take him out. And if China doesn't shut down coal, he's going to look like a weakling internationally too, in a couple of years. This will create a new group of ambitious insiders with a different reason to take him out.

Xi broke the "technocratic consensus" which was present after Deng, of central committee members who strove for competence and fact-based decision-making. That was a surprisingly effective type of junta government which led to lots of thinkpieces about whether authoritarian China would beat the democratic west. But it succumbed to the succession problem, like all authoritarian systems; Xi made himself Premier-for-life and the country is now exhibiting all the usual failures of authoritarian countries.

Hidari 11.26.19 at 9:08 am (no link)
@11 Yes it's strange that allegations of Chinese use of facial recognition software is gaining so much traction at a time when the Trump regime is deliberately ratcheting up tensions with China to pursue nakedly imperial goals, when the objective facts of Israeli use of similar software, which the Israelis boast about ( https://www.nbcnews.com/news/all/why-did-microsoft-fund-israeli-firm-surveils-west-bank-palestinians-n1072116 ) doesn't cause so much interest, at a time when the Trump regime has simple decreed that the Israeli invasion/colonisation of Palestine is 'legal under international law'.

One of life's little mysteries I guess.

If we must talk about China could we at least bring it back to areas where we are responsible and where, therefore, we can do something about it?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/01/blackwater-founder-erik-prince-to-build-training-camp-in-chinas-xinjiang

[Nov 27, 2019] A cage went in search of a bird

Nov 27, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Publishing here my afterword for "2030, A New Vision for Europe", the manifesto for European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, who died this summer. The manifesto was developed by Christian D'Cunha, who works in the EDPS office, based on his many conversations with Giovanni.

"A cage went in search of a bird"

Franz Kafka certainly knew how to write a story. The eight-word aphorism he jotted down in a notebook a century ago reveals so much about our world today. Surveillance goes in search of subjects. Use-cases go in search of profit. Walled gardens go in search of tame customers. Data-extractive monopolies go in search of whole countries, of democracy itself, to envelop and re-shape, to cage and control. The cage of surveillance technology stalks the world, looking for birds to trap and monetise. And it cannot stop itself. The surveillance cage is the original autonomous vehicle, driven by financial algorithms it doesn't control. So when we describe our data-driven world as 'Kafka-esque', we are speaking a deeper truth than we even guess.

Giovanni knew this. He knew that data is power and that the radical concentration of power in a tiny number of companies is not a technocratic concern for specialists but an existential issue for our species. Giovanni's manifesto, Privacy 2030: A Vision for Europe, goes far beyond data protection. It connects the dots to show how data-maximisation exploits power asymmetries to drive global inequality. It spells out how relentless data-processing actually drives climate change. Giovanni's manifesto calls for us to connect the dots in how we respond, to start from the understanding that sociopathic data-extraction and mindless computation are the acts of a machine that needs to be radically reprogrammed.

... ... ...

In October 2018, the Vatican's Papal Nuncio to the European Union wrote to Giovanni to support the work of the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. He said technology is a precious resource when it's working for everyone, but that technology alone cannot set the direction of human progress. You don't have to be a Catholic to insist that we ditch cute, reductionist mind-games like the 'trolley problem' to decide who wins and who loses, and insist that technology ethics are instead grounded in respect for people. And you shouldn't have to sound radical to insist that tech business models must serve and be accountable to us, not the other way around.

The manifesto and its Ten-Point Plan for Sustainable Privacy show there is another digital path forward. Not the oppressive brittleness of China's state sovereignty model, and not the colonialist extraction of Silicon Valley. There is a European Union version of the Internet that starts with the society we as citizens want to live in, and then figures out how to get there. It recognises that just as we don't live our lives to serve corporate interests, nor must we sacrifice our private and public spaces to serve the state. Because in any future we actively want to live in, autonomy is for humans, not machines.

The European vision of our digital future will take the work of many of our lifetimes to achieve. That eight-word story doesn't have an ending we can yet see. The surveillance cage cannot help but try to trap birds. That's its programming. That's just what it does. But the cage isn't the technology; the cage is our flawed and narrow assumptions about what technology can do.

notGoodenough 11.19.19 at 11:02 am (no link)

Gareth Wilson @ 1

With respect, nowhere in the post has it been implied that iris scanners are required for refugee camps, so you would appear to be disagreeing with a position that hasn´t been proposed.

I won´t speak for the OP, but I think it is not a particularly controversial idea that technology can facilitate things (for good or ill), and so it would seem not unreasonable that there should be at least some consideration of potential ethical and social ramifications during the process of implementation.

For example, most people using modern technology generate information about themselves (the websites they visit, who they follow on the twitters, who is facebook friends, etc.). What should be that person´s right to privacy and control over their information? I don´t think it requires the most active imagination to think of ways this could be exploited (and indeed, one might be able to find examples even now), and leaving these things unregulated does rather open that possibility.

While people may disagree whether or not it is problematic for companies to undertake commodification our electronic information (and to what extent, if any, this should be regulated), I would hope you agree that the conversation is worth having?

[Nov 26, 2019] The problem with the loyalty of government employees in the state that strive to dominate the world

Notable quotes:
"... America was feared by many intellectuals, both in the United States and Britain of the 1940s and 1950s, and their fears were not unwarranted. ..."
"... Big, brawny America – its power establishment – very much was inclined towards dominating the world after WWII. The whole tone of the American press and speeches of major political figures in the period was actually quite frightening. Any highly intelligent, sensitive type would be concerned by it. ..."
"... America wanted a monopoly on nuclear weapons, so that it would be in an unassailable position as it built its imperial apparatus after WWII, the time effectively it "took over" as world imperial power with so many potential competitors flattened. ..."
"... Later, the Pentagon actually planned things like an all-out first strike on the Soviets – it did that more once as well as doing so later for China – so there were indeed plenty of dark intentions in Washington. ..."
"... Spies and ex-spies often put disinformation into their books. Sometimes officials even insist they do so. ..."
Nov 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Comments below are from Was Robert Oppenheimer a Soviet Agent, by John Wear - The Unz Review


JOHN CHUCKMAN , says: Website November 25, 2019 at 8:59 am GMT

The motives for so many Western spies serving the Soviet Union – and in the 1940s and 1950s the Soviets had the best "humint" on earth – were rather idealistic. This was largely true for the Cambridge Circle in Britain. They were concerned that America was going to "lord it over" the Russians and everyone else.

America was feared by many intellectuals, both in the United States and Britain of the 1940s and 1950s, and their fears were not unwarranted.

Big, brawny America – its power establishment – very much was inclined towards dominating the world after WWII. The whole tone of the American press and speeches of major political figures in the period was actually quite frightening. Any highly intelligent, sensitive type would be concerned by it.

You certainly did not have to be a communist to feel that way, but being one assisted with access to important Soviet contacts. They sought you out.

America wanted a monopoly on nuclear weapons, so that it would be in an unassailable position as it built its imperial apparatus after WWII, the time effectively it "took over" as world imperial power with so many potential competitors flattened.

It made little secret of its desire to keep such a monopoly, so brilliant people like Oppenheimer would be well aware of something they might well regard as ominous.

Later, the Pentagon actually planned things like an all-out first strike on the Soviets – it did that more once as well as doing so later for China – so there were indeed plenty of dark intentions in Washington.

A hugely important general like MacArthur was unblinkingly ready in 1950 to use atomic weapons in the Korean War to destroy North Korea's connections with China.

I read several major biographies of Oppenheimer, and there is little to nothing concerning Soviet intelligence work. When I came across the Sudoplatov book with its straightforward declaration of Oppenheimer's assistance, it was difficult to know how to weigh the claim.

Spies and ex-spies often put disinformation into their books. Sometimes officials even insist they do so.

Judging by what is suggested here, if Oppenheimer did help, it was in subtle ways like letting Klaus Fuchs, a fellow scientist and a rather distinguished one (but a Soviet spy), look at certain papers. But the scientific community always has some considerable tendency to share information, a tendency having nothing to do with spying.

In general, it should be understood, that Oppenheimer, despite all his brilliance, was a rather disturbed man all his life. Quite early on, as just one example, he attempted to poison someone he did not like. Only pure luck prevented the man's eating a lethally-laced apple. There were other disturbing behaviors too.

He was subject to severe emotional breakdowns.

SolontoCroesus , says: November 25, 2019 at 12:10 pm GMT

"the[y] . . . saw themselves as a new breed of superstatesmen whose mandate transcended national boundaries"

Like Vindman

another anon , says: November 25, 2019 at 12:20 pm GMT

Later they believed that equality of superpower status for the Soviet Union would contribute to world peace.

How dumb were these "scientists". Everyone knows that once Soviet Union fell, peace and freedom and democracy are flowering all over the world and United States are not waging any wars anymore.

[Nov 21, 2019] The Origins Of Thought Police... And Why They Should Scare Us

Notable quotes:
"... Finally, the Thought Police were also inspired by the human struggle for self-honesty and the pressure to conform. "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe," Rudyard Kipling once observed. ..."
"... The struggle to remain true to one's self was also felt by Orwell, who wrote about "the smelly little orthodoxies" that contend for the human soul. Orwell prided himself with a "power of facing unpleasant facts" -- something of a rarity in humans -- even though it often hurt him in British society. ..."
"... In a sense, 1984 is largely a book about the human capacity to maintain a grip on the truth in the face of propaganda and power. ..."
"... The new Thought Police may be less sinister than the ThinkPol in 1984 , but the next generation will have to decide if seeking conformity of thought or language through public shaming is healthy or suffocating. FEE's Dan Sanchez recently observed that many people today feel like they're "walking on eggshells" and live in fear of making a verbal mistake that could draw condemnation. ..."
"... When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi , East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what's frightening is that the organization had almost double that in informants, including children. And it wasn't just children reporting on parents; sometimes it was the other way around." ..."
"... Movies like the Matrix actually helped people to question everything. What is real and not. Who is the enemy, and can we be sure. And when Conspiracy theories become fact, people learn. The problem is in later generations who get indoctrinated at school and college to not think, not question. Rational examination is forbidden. ..."
Nov 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Origins Of Thought Police... And Why They Should Scare Us by Tyler Durden Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:25 0 SHARES

Authored by Jon Miltimore via The Foundation for Economic Education,

There are a lot of unpleasant things in George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 . Spying screens. Torture and propaganda. Victory Gin and Victory Coffee always sounded particularly dreadful. And there is Winston Smith's varicose ulcer, apparently a symbol of his humanity (or something), which always seems to be "throbbing." Gross.

None of this sounds very enjoyable, but it's not the worst thing in 1984 . To me, the most terrifying part was that you couldn't keep Big Brother out of your head.

Unlike other 20th-century totalitarians, the authoritarians in 1984 aren't that interested in controlling behavior or speech. They do, of course, but it's only as a means to an end. Their real goal is to control the gray matter between the ears.

"When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will," O'Brien (the bad guy) tells the protagonist Winston Smith near the end of the book.

We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him.

Big Brother's tool for doing this is the Thought Police, aka the ThinkPol, who are assigned to root out and punish unapproved thoughts. We see how this works when Winston's neighbor Parsons, an obnoxious Party sycophant, is reported to the Thought Police by his own child, who heard him commit a thought crime while talking in his sleep.

"It was my little daughter," Parsons tells Winston when asked who it was who denounced him.

"She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh?"

Who Are These Thought Police?

We don't know a lot about the Thought Police, and some of what we think we know may actually not be true since some of what Winston learns comes from the Inner Party, and they lie.

What we know is this: The Thought Police are secret police of Oceania -- the fictional land of 1984 that probably consists of the UK, the Americas, and parts of Africa -- who use surveillance and informants to monitor the thoughts of citizens. The Thought Police also use psychological warfare and false-flag operations to entrap free thinkers or nonconformists.

Those who stray from Party orthodoxy are punished but not killed. The Thought Police don't want to kill nonconformists so much as break them. This happens in Room 101 of the Ministry of Love, where prisoners are re-educated through degradation and torture. (Funny sidebar: the name Room 101 apparently was inspired by a conference room at the BBC in which Orwell was forced to endure tediously long meetings.)

The Origins of the Thought Police

Orwell didn't create the Thought Police out of thin air. They were inspired to at least some degree by his experiences in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), a complicated and confusing affair. What you really need to know is that there were no good guys, and it ended with left-leaning anarchists and Republicans in Spain crushed by their Communist overlords, which helped the fascists win.

Orwell, an idealistic 33-year-old socialist when the conflict started, supported the anarchists and loyalists fighting for the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, which received most of its support from the Soviet Union and Josef Stalin. (That might sound bad, but keep in mind that the Nazis were on the other side.) Orwell described the atmosphere in Barcelona in December 1936 when everything seemed to be going well for his side.

The anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing ... It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle,

he wrote in Homage to Catalonia.

[E]very wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle ... every shop and café had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized.

That all changed pretty fast. Stalin, a rather paranoid fellow, was bent on making Republican Spain loyal to him . Factions and leaders perceived as loyal to his exiled Communist rival, Leon Trotsky , were liquidated. Loyal Communists found themselves denounced as fascists. Nonconformists and "uncontrollables" were disappeared.

Orwell never forgot the purges or the steady stream of lies and propaganda churned out from Communist papers during the conflict. (To be fair, their Nationalist opponents also used propaganda and lies .) Stalin's NKVD was not exactly like the Thought Police -- the NKVD showed less patience with its victims -- but they certainly helped inspire Orwell's secret police.

The Thought Police were not all propaganda and torture, though. They also stem from Orwell's ideas on truth. During his time in Spain, he saw how power could corrupt truth, and he shared these reflections in his work George Orwell: My Country Right or Left, 1940-1943 .

...I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened.

In short, Orwell's brush with totalitarianism left him worried that "the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world."

This scared him. A lot. He actually wrote, "This kind of thing is frightening to me."

Finally, the Thought Police were also inspired by the human struggle for self-honesty and the pressure to conform. "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe," Rudyard Kipling once observed.

The struggle to remain true to one's self was also felt by Orwell, who wrote about "the smelly little orthodoxies" that contend for the human soul. Orwell prided himself with a "power of facing unpleasant facts" -- something of a rarity in humans -- even though it often hurt him in British society.

In a sense, 1984 is largely a book about the human capacity to maintain a grip on the truth in the face of propaganda and power.

It might be tempting to dismiss Orwell's book as a figment of dystopian literature. Unfortunately, that's not as easy as it sounds. Modern history shows he was onto something.

When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi, East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000.

When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi , East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what's frightening is that the organization had almost double that in informants, including children. And it wasn't just children reporting on parents; sometimes it was the other way around.

Nor did the use of state spies to prosecute thoughtcrimes end with the fall of the Soviet Union. Believe it or not, it's still happening today. The New York Times recently ran a report featuring one Peng Wei, a 21-year-old Chinese chemistry major. He is one of the thousands of "student information officers" China uses to root out professors who show signs of disloyalty to President Xi Jinping or the Communist Party.

The New Thought Police?

The First Amendment of the US Constitution, fortunately, largely protects Americans from the creepy authoritarian systems found in 1984 , East Germany, and China; but the rise of "cancel culture" shows the pressure to conform to all sorts of orthodoxies (smelly or not) remains strong.

The new Thought Police may be less sinister than the ThinkPol in 1984 , but the next generation will have to decide if seeking conformity of thought or language through public shaming is healthy or suffocating. FEE's Dan Sanchez recently observed that many people today feel like they're "walking on eggshells" and live in fear of making a verbal mistake that could draw condemnation.

That's a lot of pressure, especially for people still learning the acceptable boundaries of a new moral code that is constantly evolving. Most people, if the pressure is sufficient, will eventually say "2+2=5" just to escape punishment. That's exactly what Winston Smith does at the end of 1984 , after all. Yet Orwell also leaves readers with a glimmer of hope.

"Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad," Orwell wrote.

"There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad."

In other words, the world may be mad, but that doesn't mean you have to be.


Cardinal Fang , 40 minutes ago link

Frank Zappa asked this very question decades ago...

Who Are The Brain Police?

https://youtu.be/DuABc9ZNtrA

sbin , 1 hour ago link

Was raised reading

  • Orwell has many good books.
  • Burmese days
  • Down and out in Paris and London

Nice that an author referenced Orwell but if you do not understand the original works then the authors reference is meaningless.

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 , 1 hour ago link

" When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi, East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000.

When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi , East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what's frightening is that the organization had almost double that in informants, including children. And it wasn't just children reporting on parents; sometimes it was the other way around."

Confidential informants should be illegal.

How many people are employed by the various Federal intelligence agencies, of which there are 17 the last time I heard. Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees, protected by strong government employee unions.

When this shitshow goes live, it will only take a small team to shut off the water that is necessary to keep the NSA servers cool in Utah.

New_Meat , 2 hours ago link

"Unlike other 20th-century totalitarians, ..."

I offer DPRK and in many ways PRC as counter-examples.

Thom Paine , 2 hours ago link

Movies like the Matrix actually helped people to question everything. What is real and not. Who is the enemy, and can we be sure. And when Conspiracy theories become fact, people learn. The problem is in later generations who get indoctrinated at school and college to not think, not question. Rational examination is forbidden.

[Nov 14, 2019] Alert! Court Actually Claws Back Post-9-11 Search Creep by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Notable quotes:
"... "The border has become a rights-free zone for Americans who have to travel," Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement given to Boland at the time. "The founders never could have imagined that the government would be able to sift through your entire digital life, from pictures to emails and even where you've been, just because you decide to take a vacation or travel for work." ..."
Nov 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Alert! Court Actually Claws Back Post-9/11 Search Creep

New ruling puts the brakes on practice of seizing travelers' laptops and cell phones. (Shutterstock/By Carolina K. Smith MD)

At last a victory for citizens. For nearly 20 years, the federal government has used and abused the memory of the 9/11 attacks to expand its law enforcement authorities at the nation's airports, even if that has meant broaching one of our most sacrosanct constitutional freedoms: the right against illegal search and seizure, otherwise known as the 4th Amendment.

On Tuesday, a federal court in Boston ruled that the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can no longer detain Americans coming back over the border to search their laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices, without cause. One would think this is a no-brainer, but the number of these incidents has actually escalated to over 33,000 last year -- nearly four times as many as the previous three years, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The ruling came in a lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan , filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and ACLU of Massachusetts, on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.

International travelers returning to the United States have reported numerous cases of abusive searches in recent months. While searching through the phone of Zainab Merchant, a plaintiff in the Alasaad case, a border agent knowingly rifled through privileged attorney-client communications. An immigration officer at Boston Logan Airport reportedly searched an incoming Harvard freshman's cell phone and laptop, reprimanded the student for friends' social media postings expressing views critical of the U.S. government, and denied the student entry into the country following the search.

According to EFF, border officers "must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of illegal contraband before they can search a traveler's device."

TAC's Barbara Boland reported on this over the summer . The number of electronic devices accessed in 2018 was six times the number in 2012, suggesting that this is not only a post-9/11 issue, but that somewhere along the line the Trump Administration signaled to these agencies, which are all under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security, that it was gloves-off at the border -- even for American citizens. Lest you think this is just an extension of the president's tough illegal immigration policies, be warned, many of the folks targeted were typical international visitors and U.S. citizens -- think students, journalists, academics, doctors -- and not travelers to this country for the first time. And they were treated like they were coming into the Third World. From Boland:

One person detailed to Amnesty International how she was selected for secondary screening at the border, locked in a cramped, narrow concrete cell, and subjected to an invasive body search. Her requests for a lawyer and medical treatment were denied. The supervisor told her she would be held indefinitely.

When she told him that she is an American citizen, he replied: "The Fourth Amendment doesn't apply here. We can hold you for as long as we want to."

She was released after four hours.

Journalist Seth Harp wrote a similarly disturbing story about what happened when he was singled out for a "secondary screening" at the Austin Airport in Texas. CBP agents pried him for information about what he was writing, his sources, his reporting as a war correspondent, and his discussions with his editors.

"The border has become a rights-free zone for Americans who have to travel," Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement given to Boland at the time. "The founders never could have imagined that the government would be able to sift through your entire digital life, from pictures to emails and even where you've been, just because you decide to take a vacation or travel for work."

Let's hope that Tuesday's order fixes that -- though it might take a Supreme Court ruling to put an end to it for good.

[Nov 14, 2019] You know what will be the next big headline with Google and health services? It will be the discovery that Google has secretly purchased access to people's DNA from Ancestry or 23andMe and now they will link your DNA with all those health records. Can't tell me that they are not negotiating for it.

Nov 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , November 12, 2019 at 9:18 am

I've seen this movie before. After a lot of legal wrangling, Google will admit they they might have bent the rules a bit and will have to pay a few billion in fines which they will proceed to claim back on their next tax form. They will ensure, however, that they do not admit doing something illegal in court and so no executives will go to the slammer to stop this happening again. Google will also promise to delete that data.

Meanwhile, a copy of all these files will have gone to a set of their servers in a country that the US legal system cannot access where it will be analyzed further. Perhaps Google techs will be able to access it in California on a secured line. Non Disclosure Agreements will ensure that nobody talks about this work.

You know what will be the next big headline with Google and health services? It will be the discovery that Google has secretly purchased access to people's DNA from Ancestry or 23andMe and now they will link your DNA with all those health records. Can't tell me that they are not negotiating for it.

petal , November 12, 2019 at 9:42 am

Google is a minority investor in 23andMe. I don't have time to go digging about data sharing/purchasing, though. Maybe someone else can?

The Rev Kev , November 12, 2019 at 9:52 am

Thanks for that petal. Looks like it is going to be 23andMe and not Ancestry. Want a fun fact that I have just discovered? And I quote-

Sergey Brin, president of technology and a co-founder of Google is the husband of 23andMe Co-founder Anne Wojcicki. He previously invested around $10 million of his own money in 23andMe's convertible debt financing, which was converted into Series B preferred stock as part of 23andMe's Series B round.

How about that! Article at-

https://www.genomeweb.com/dxpgx/google-invests-another-26m-23andme

petal , November 12, 2019 at 10:13 am

Oh yes, was aware of that for quite a while now. The companies have been attached at the hip from the beginning. Pillow talk? They are no longer together(Brin and Wojcicki). She was linked with ARod for awhile haha. Interesting group of characters involved.

Krystyn Walentka , November 13, 2019 at 12:24 pm

My one regret was using 23andme, but I have to say it helped me so much it tempers the fact that I know parts of my "unidentifiable" genome is flying around out there somewhere. I think using gmail is more of a risk in reality. There is a lot more regulation risk pertaining to DNA data already on the books. Not saying it would stop them.

I was already degoogled before this Ascension news, but I just told my friends that I will not email them if they have a gmail address. A total boycott of google from me.

Otis B Driftwood , November 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

I work in healthcare IT, and I can certainly attest to the fact that insurance companies are keenly interested in acquiring clinical data. The term of art for this is "chart chasing", and right now it is pretty much a manual process wherein the patient data is gathered by insurance company workers or their subcontractors reaching out to medical facilities for the patient data residing in file cabinets or computers.

It should come as no surprise that healthcare IT companies see a business opportunity in making this work more efficiently for payers – to suck in data at a rate that is orders of magnitude faster than currently possible. And you can be certain they are working on this right now.

What Google may or may be up to with patient data is another issue entirely.

Under HIPAA, a covered entity may acquire access to patient data under a so-called "purpose of use" that include Treatment, Payment or Operations.

The purpose of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to introduce restrictions on the allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information, stipulating when, with whom, and under what circumstances, health information could be shared. Another important purpose of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to give patients access to their health data on request. The purpose of the HIPAA Security Rule is mainly to ensure electronic health data is appropriately secured, access to electronic health data is controlled, and an auditable trail of PHI activity is maintained.

Full article here: https://www.hipaajournal.com/purpose-of-hipaa/

If Google is developing software to analyze data on behalf of Ascension, that's one thing. They should not have access to the data itself. It's an important distinction. And I don't trust Google to do the right thing.

As a patient, I would advise anyone who is worried about their data being shared with third parties to contact their doctor and ask them about their policy with respect to release of their data. You may find that the facility is releasing your information as they have an "opt-out" policy. If so, demand that your data not be shared without your explicit consent.

Google tried their hand at healthcare about 10 years ago with their failed Google Health project. They staffed the team with people who had no background in healthcare, but were otherwise the best and the brightest.

See https://www.mobihealthnews.com/11480/10-reasons-why-google-health-failed/

Incidentally, Microsoft's Healthvault project only faired somewhat better. MS shutdown the project this month.

Finally, as someone who has worked in healthcare interoperability I disagree strongly that digitizing health data has been a one-sided disaster. On the contrary, giving clinicians access to health information about patients across different settings of care has in fact improved the quality of care and saved lives. I'm proud of my work in helping make this happen.

I should also note that making de-identified healtchare data available for population-based analytics is also a good thing. It's not always about squeezing more $$$ out of patients.

Carolinian , November 12, 2019 at 9:48 am

Thanks for the post. The Affordable Care Act was an IT mess too. Perhaps Obama should have paid more attention during those meetings with what he called his "propeller heads" instead of playing with his Blackberry. But Al "streamlining government" Gore comes in for some blame too. These days we seem to barely regulate anything (except consumers trying to bring in drugs from overseas).

Some of us used to defend Google around here but that's long gone. Bezos has talked about trying to get involved in health care as well. Perhaps Google felt they had to beat him to the punch.

David Carl Grimes , November 12, 2019 at 10:13 am

Google also bought Fitbit giving them access to our exercise records

[Nov 14, 2019] Google Collecting Medical Data on Millions Without Informing Patients or Doctors

Nov 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 12, 2019 by Yves Smith The Wall Street Journal has broken an important story on Google's foray into the medical arena . Without notifying patients or doctors, much the less obtaining their consent, the search giant has obtained the medical records of "tens of millions of people" in 21 states, all patients of Ascension, a St. Louis-based chain of 2600 hospitals.

Moreover, you can see that the effort is aggressive, with the aim of generating patient medical histories, linking individuals to family members, and making staffing and treatment suggestions .as well as identifying opportunities for upcoding and other ways to milk patients.

... ... ...

However, Journal readers (at least as far as I read, and I got pretty far into the hundreds of comments) were without exception very upset about the prospect of Google having access to their medical data. Given that Big Tech is in the crosshairs of more than a few Congresscritters, one can hope that Google and Ascension officials will soon have to 'splain themselves.

A few examples:

stuart jenner

NO. I use Google AdWords They provide the data that they need in order to sell us .

No, I don't trust Google with my information. They will set their systems to disadvantage patients, they will jerk partners around & and they will take away info people rely on in order to raise their prices -- examples galore.

David Kessinger

Who will Google sell this information to? If they can't sell it in some form they wouldn't bother with it. Google at it's core has no ethics beyond how to get money – to heck with who gets hurts.

STEVEN FRANKEL

This is not comforting. Rest assured this most personal information will be accessed by people you do not want anywhere near your personal information at some time. What would it take for Google or any other company or government employee to allow unauthorized people to your information? Probably not very much. And even a subpoena, how tough is that to obtain with the flimsiest of pretexts, especially with government employees not accountable for perjury, even to a FISA court? I would not give my doctor any information if it goes into a computer; I would rather pay cash and have no records other than the ones I would keep on flash drive.

It's not hard to understand some of the motives for an initiative like this. As we've repeatedly posted, relying on the considerable work of the Health Care Renewal blog, electronic health records are a train wreck. They are designed around billing, not around doctor needs. Health Care Renewal has stressed that they if anything have made matters worse for doctors by diverting attention from patients and making it harder to find relevant information to the degree that they undermine care . They have been cited as a contributor to doctor burnout and even the reason some doctors stop practicing . An authoritative body, the ECRI Institute, even listed health care information technology as its number one patient risk in large health care organizations .

They are also often designed by relatively small players, so not only are they kludgy, but they are seldom compatible across health care organizations.

So you can see why there would be demand for a health care information system that is actually about health care. But given that Ascension has explicit upcoding and upselling motives, will that really result, or will this just be a less terrible, more portable version of the current EHRs?

Oh, and if you believe Google, this won't just be about EHRs and helping organizations like
Ascension pull in more revenues (which translates into making health care an even bigger percentage of GDP), but bring techno hocus pocus to medicine. We quoted this section earlier:

Google in this case is using the data in part to design new software, underpinned by advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, that zeroes in on individual patients to suggest changes to their care.

Notice that this is vaporware: Google hopes to do all of this but it remains to be seen what it can do. And it's not clear that even with data on so many patients that it could develop decent AI for medical purposes. Bias in studies is already a big problem with medical research. One problem is that some populations are very much under-represented. Women are under-treated for heart disease in part because doctors see men as being at more risk, which is reinforced by studied being done mainly on men. Similarly, women have more trouble with hip replacements than men do because the studies were done on men but women are not small men. They load their hips differently.

[Oct 27, 2019] Edward Snowden And Turnkey Tyranny

Oct 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

My intent here is not to summarize Snowden's entire interview. I want to focus on some points he made that I found especially revealing, pertinent, and insightful.

Without further ado, here are 12 points I took from this interview:

1. People who reach the highest levels of government do so by being risk-averse. Their goal is never to screw-up in a major way. This mentality breeds cautiousness, mediocrity, and buck-passing. (I saw the same in my 20 years in the U.S. military.)

2. The American people are no longer partners of government. We are subjects. Our rights are routinely violated even as we become accustomed (or largely oblivious) to a form of turnkey tyranny.

3. Intelligence agencies in the U.S. used 9/11 to enlarge their power. They argued that 9/11 happened because there were "too many restrictions" on them. This led to the PATRIOT Act and unconstitutional global mass surveillance, disguised as the price of being kept "safe" from terrorism. Simultaneously, America's 17 intelligence agencies wanted most of all not to be blamed for 9/11. They wanted to ensure the buck stopped nowhere. This was a goal they achieved.

4. Every persuasive lie has a kernel of truth. Terrorism does exist - that's the kernel of truth. Illegal mass surveillance, facilitated by nearly unlimited government power, in the cause of "keeping us safe" is the persuasive lie.

5. The government uses classification ("Top Secret" and so on) primarily to hide things from the American people, who have no "need to know" in the view of government officials. Secrecy becomes a cloak for illegality. Government becomes unaccountable; the people don't know, therefore we are powerless to rein in government excesses or to prosecute for abuses of power.

6. Fear is the mind-killer (my expression here, quoting Frank Herbert's Dune ). Snowden spoke much about the use of fear by the government, using expressions like "they'll be blood on your hands" and "think of the children." Fear is the way to cloud people's minds. As Snowden put it, you lose the ability to act because you are afraid.

7. What is true patriotism? For Snowden, it's about a constant effort to do good for the people. It's not loyalty to government. Loyalty, Snowden notes, is only good in the service of something good.

8. National security and public safety are not synonymous. In fact, in the name of national security, our rights are being violated. We are "sweeping up the broken glass of our lost rights" in today's world of global mass surveillance, Snowden noted.

9. We live naked before power. Companies like Facebook and Google, together with the U.S. government, know everything about us; we know little about them. It's supposed to be the reverse (at least in a democracy).

10. "The system is built on lies." James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, lies under oath before Congress. And there are no consequences. He goes unpunished.

11. We own less and less of our own data. Data increasingly belongs to corporations and the government. It's become a commodity. Which means we are the commodity. We are being exploited and manipulated, we are being sold, and it's all legal, because the powerful make the policies and the laws, and they are unaccountable to the people.

12. Don't wait for a hero to save you. What matters is heroic decisions. You are never more than one decision away from making the world a better place.

In 2013, Edward Snowden made a heroic decision to reveal illegal mass surveillance by the U.S. government, among other governmental crimes. He has made the world a better place, but as he himself knows, the fight has only just begun against turnkey tyranny.


ohm , 14 minutes ago link

Governments using fear for control is nothing new.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken

Ruler , 2 minutes ago link

People under stress spend money. Mostly on low cost frivolous things that have no return.

That's why doom **** and yellow journalism exist.

Gobble D. Goop , 14 minutes ago link

Sorry folks. In time you will see that Snowden was, is, and always will be CIA (black hat). The whistle blowing was a CIA attempt to shut down the NSA (white hat) leaving no one to watch over the black hats whilst they conduct thier drug running and regime changing, and MK ultra operations. Ask Kennedy. Oh wait CIA and daddy Bush blew his head off.

Youri Carma , 47 minutes ago link

Joe Rogan Experience – Edward Snowden
Oct 23, 2019 PowerfulJRE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efs3QRr8LWw

Wild Bill Steamcock , 56 minutes ago link

Snowden, in my opinion, is a limited hangout. Not necessarily aware of it, he could just be a convenient dupe.

If there's this much surveillance, how in the Hell did he exfiltrate that much data AND be able to leave the country? Why did it take so long to track him down and revoke his passport? It makes no sense. Why didn't he go to Wikileaks, who has a proven and reliable track record but instead went to MSM?

I think he is probably genuine in his beliefs, but still see him as a limited hangout.

He has made the world a better place

How? Uncle Scam still has all it's capabilities. That big *** data center in Utah. Nothing's changed except we were told about it- again. Remember Drake, Wiebe and Binney spilled the beans in 2004.

Wild Bill Steamcock , 51 minutes ago link

And even then it wasn't new or surprising. ECHELON and the five eyes was talked about in the '70s

Wild Bill Steamcock , 49 minutes ago link

And how does a guy go from CIA janitor to effectively an NSA systems admin? Seriously, not to **** on janitors, but how in the actual **** does that happen?

freedogger , 36 minutes ago link

All your questions are answered in his book. Wkileaks wasn't an option because they release en masse without any vetting. He didn't want people to die from release of some of the docs he had.

AlexanderHistoryX , 24 minutes ago link

They are just now getting to the point where they have the tech to effectively sort and search through all that data. Plus. He tapped it from the source.

The real shame is how little resulted from the exposure. Nothing changed, no one was held to account, and we the people did nothing. We are a nation of contented slaves, for now.

Sam Spayed , 1 hour ago link

"Intelligence agencies in the U.S. used 9/11 to enlarge their power. "

And their power was supposed to be limited to foreign actors. The skinny, jug-eared, gay guy and his acolytes thought up sinister illegal ways to extend that power to private US citizens and the gay guy's political enemies.

One-Hung-Lo , 1 hour ago link

Most of these problems were predicted centuries ago when the founders feared a standing army that could be turned against the people. Now we have standing armies, and civilian paramilitaries in every county and big city, local cops, city cops, state police. We have ATF, FBI, CIA, NSA, IRS, and dozens of other armed alphabet soup agencies.

With We THE People are gonna regain our country again and many people will die again, and with luck all the traitors will hang by the neck until dead.

The elites who think it is their birthright to lord over us need to be reminded that they serve us. All the communist democrats are in need of reminders and quick drop at the end of a rope.

ToSoft4Truth , 56 minutes ago link

You mention a lot of people. Some of them must be sitting across from us at Thanksgiving dinner.

Scipio Africanuz , 1 hour ago link

It's heartening to know Snowden is a martial alumni..

And speaking of tyranny, we came across a gem, a most enlightening gem thus..

"If you take me down, I'll come after you with everything I've got It will become my life's mission."

"These are the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes in a recording that has become central evidence in a corruption case against Netanyahu, as revealed Saturday by Channel 13 journalist Raviv Drucker.."

So why have we brought this to your attention?

So you may understand that Liberty is not for the lily livered. If Jefferson and Co had been squeamish, Americans would still be serfs..

If MLK had been squeamish, negros would not be free today, to be in position to advocate for rights..

And if Cesar Chavez had adopted cowardice, then Latinos would have no mojo to advocate..

And if Hugo Chavez had not given his life to Venezuela, it's doubtful that Maduro would have had a leg to stand on..

And yet, Lula is imprisoned..just like Nelson Mandela, for the best years of his life..

My friends, mortality eventually ends, that's a certainty..what you do with yours, is consequential, for good or ill..

When the depraved hurl threats, it means they're afraid, and in that event, increase the artillery barrage of truth..cheers...

Edited:

Here's the link to the quote..

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-netanyahu-recordings-revealed-i-ll-come-after-you-with-everything-i-ve-got-1.8029010

abgary1 , 1 hour ago link

The digital world has become disturbingly invasive and the source of the data the governments uses against us.

Abstain.

Get off of social media, limit net time, encrypt communications, leave our mobile devices at home and use cash.

Anything that leaves a digital footprint is being tracked.

The loss of our privacy is the loss of our freedom.

To return democracy to the people we need to do the following:

-Term limits of 8 years at any one level of government for the politicians, diplomats, bureaucrats and senior civil servants. If our legislators know they will spend the majority of their working lives in the private sector they will not pass laws that solely benefit the public sector.

-Recall legislation to hold our legislators accountable.

-Balance budget laws that require referendums to amend or repeal.

-Zero tax increase laws that require referendums to amend or repeal.

We need to return democracy to the people and we do that by demanding change at the grassroots levels.

elitist99percenter , 1 hour ago link

These days , The Shang Dynasty's moral decay quickly comes to mind, as outlined in The Art of War : lies, deceit and diffusion were the norm; unaccountable leaders immersed themselves in debauchery, orgies and lavish self-profiting (today's Epsteinism in full-swing); brutally-enforced high taxes & wage thefts levied on citizens; government's increased violence against state residents, particularly those brave enough to resist widespread tyranny; escalated harmful interference in the country's agricultural operations; and knee-jerked, violent responses with heavy-handed, inhuman punishments (like SWAT teams blowing away innocents -- women & children -- over minor, inconsequential infractions), especially violation of peoples' guaranteed civil liberties, as well as their sovereign dignities and property rights, under the guise of ridiculously concocted "boogeymen" nonsense.

Hmm, sounds familiar.

Lumberjack , 1 hour ago link

During the Rogan interview, Snowden said that all the corrupt creatures live in the suburbs within a 200 mile radius of DC. Just sayin...

Wolfbay , 37 minutes ago link

It's also interesting that this area has more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in America. It's not a high tech area, no manufacturing, and no big agriculture. Sucking the tit of our taxes.

Arising , 1 hour ago link

Snowden must be a ZHer.

All his points are pretty basic stuff for me and a large portion of the people here.

I learned very early in life, and I teach my kids today that Govt, Banks and Media are not, have never and will never be your friends.

If you understand this at an early age everything else becomes much less cloudy in life.

[Oct 26, 2019] Trump Accuses Obama Of Treason by Paul Bedard

Notable quotes:
"... "What they did was treasonous, OK? It was treasonous," he told author Doug Wead for his upcoming book, " Inside Trump's White House: The Real Story of His Presidency." ..."
"... "Obama." ..."
Oct 25, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Paul Bedard via WashingtonExaminer.com,

President Trump has ratcheted up his claim that the Obama White House spied on his 2016 campaign, charging in a new book that it was a "treasonous" act by the former Democratic president.

"What they did was treasonous, OK? It was treasonous," he told author Doug Wead for his upcoming book, " Inside Trump's White House: The Real Story of His Presidency."

"The interesting thing out of all of this is that we caught them spying on the election. They were spying on my campaign. So you know? What is that all about?" said Trump.

"I have never ever said this, but truth is, they got caught spying. They were spying," said Trump who then added, "Obama."

In 2017, Trump tweeted that he felt the Obama White House "had my wires tapped" in Trump Tower. He later said he didn't mean it literally but that he felt his campaign was being spied on.

Attorney General William Barr earlier this year said he was looking into whether "improper surveillance" may have occurred in 2016.

" I think spying did occur, " he said.

He has tasked a prosecutor to look into Obama officials and other officials who sparked the Russia collusion investigation into Trump after a report showed no collusion. New reports on that investigation described it as "criminal" in nature.

"It turned out I was right. By the way," Trump told Wead in excerpts provided to Secrets.

"In fact, what I said was peanuts compared to what they did. They were spying on my campaign. They got caught and they said, 'Oh we were not spying. It was actually an investigation.' Can you imagine an administration investigating its political opponents?" said the president.

In the book, Trump said that the Russia investigation undercut his presidency.

" Anybody else would be unable to function under the kind of pressure and distraction I had. They couldn't get anything done. No other president should ever have to go through this. But understand, there was no collusion. They would have had to make something up," he said.


Demeter55 , 11 minutes ago link

Technically, it was sedition, unless Trump can show that Obama was acting for a foreign power. There definitely were foreign powers involved, the question is who was in charge?

dibiase , 9 minutes ago link

Is the CIA a foreign power? Sure seems like an occupying force to me.

TheSharpenedPen , 24 minutes ago link

The attempt to circumvent democracy and ensure Hillary's victory in the elections with falsified Russian collusion allegations along with a constant communist media bombardment to discredit Trump, absolutely constitutes treason. What you need to understand is that socialist progressives serve a different god - lucifer - and a different nation - Israel; that they do not have your best interests at heart is a given.

Everything they do is to undermine traditional morality and the moral fabric that holds civilization together. Ordo Ab Cao.

punchasocialist , 23 minutes ago link

This is treason.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQgDgMGuDI0

and nothing to see here either: https://www.exposetheenemy.com/israel-russia

[Oct 24, 2019] Empire Interventionism Versus Republic Noninterventionism by Jacob Hornberger

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world. ..."
"... That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security." ..."
"... The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap. ..."
"... There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

The chaos arising from U.S. interventionism in Syria provides an excellent opportunity to explore the interventionist mind.

Consider the terminology being employed by interventionists: President Trump's actions in Syria have left a "power vacuum," one that Russia and Iran are now filling. The United States will no longer have "influence" in the region. "Allies" will no longer be able to trust the U.S. to come to their assistance. Trump's actions have threatened "national security." It is now possible that ISIS will reformulate and threaten to take over lands and even regimes in the Middle East.

This verbiage is classic empire-speak. It is the language of the interventionist and the imperialist.

Amidst all the interventionist chaos in the Middle East, it is important to keep in mind one critically important fact: None of it will mean a violent takeover of the U.S. government or an invasion and conquest of the United States. The federal government will go on. American life will go on. There will be no army of Muslims, terrorists, Syrians, ISISians, Russians, Chinese, drug dealers, or illegal immigrants coming to get us and take over the reins of the IRS.

Why is that an important point? Because it shows that no matter what happens in Syria or the rest of the Middle East, life will continue here in the United States. Even if Russia gets to continue controlling Syria, that's not going to result in a conquest of the United States. The same holds true if ISIS, say, takes over Iraq. Or if Turkey ends up killing lots of Kurds. Or if Syria ends up protecting the Kurds. Or if Iran continues to be controlled by a theocratic state. Or if the Russians retake control over Ukraine.

It was no different than when North Vietnam ended up winning the Vietnamese civil war. The dominoes did not fall onto the United States and make America Red. It also makes no difference if Egypt continues to be controlled by a brutal military dictatorship. Or that Cuba, North Korea, and China are controlled by communist regimes. Or that Russia is controlled by an authoritarian regime. Or that Myanmar (Burma) is controlled by a totalitarian military regime. America and the federal government will continue standing.

America was founded as a limited government republic, one that did not send its military forces around the world to slay monsters. That's not to say that bad things didn't happen around the world. Bad things have always happened around the world. Dictatorships. Famines. Wars. Civil wars. Revolutions. Empires. Torture. Extra-judicial executions. Tyranny. Oppression. The policy of the United States was that it would not go abroad to fix or clear up those types of things.

All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world.

That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security."

That's when U.S. forces began invading and occupying other countries, waging wars of aggression against them, intervening in foreign wars, revolutions, and civil wars, initiating coups, destroying democratic regimes, establishing an empire of domestic and foreign military bases, and bombing, shooting, killing, assassinating, spying on, maiming, torturing, kidnapping, injuring, and destroying people in countries all over the world.

The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap.

The shift toward empire and interventionism has brought about the destruction of American liberty and privacy here at home. That's what the assassinations, secret surveillance, torture, and indefinite detentions of American citizens are all about -- to supposedly protect us from the dangers produced by U.S. imperialism and interventionism abroad. One might call it waging perpetual war for freedom and peace, both here and abroad.

There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land.

[Oct 24, 2019] Snowden behaviour toward Russia is highly suspecious: The Russian government has saved his bacon and has given him refuge with great freedoms he would not have in the USA -- or Airstrip One ... or, HK, or any South American backyard colony. And yet he makes no attempt to thank them and even virtually panders to the American anti-Russian meme

Is/was he a plant like Oswald in the past?
Notable quotes:
"... The main take away for me came towards the end where Snowden outlines the special legal conditions and laws that the US government enforces to control presentation of evidence in these cases. These same 'servant' thugs who are stepping into the now 3rd-world UK court system and pulling the strings on Australia's Assange. The same crew that Snowden worked with and blew the whistle on (apparently). ..."
"... Snowden makes great bravado about being willing to go back to the USA and face the music -- if only he could say in court why he did it (something the legal Act prohibits apparently). In this, and a few other matters of history, I find him less than genuine. Is/was he a plant? .... I'm still out with the jury on that. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

imo , Oct 24 2019 2:42 utc | 43

@8 Trailer Trash

Indeed Orwell's "1984" referred to the UK as "Airstrip One" and this Brexit fiasco surely proves that Outside Influences not only run the Judiciary when necessary, but also plant poison on doorknobs when it suits them.

The ever servile Australian government to the empire du jour does nothing to honor their passport pledge. We would have to assume it qualifies as Orwell's "Airstrip Two"

In contrast to Assange's predicament (and Manning I assume), the main point of this post is to mention the recent Joe Rogan interview of Edward Snowden (touting his book) -- http://podcasts.joerogan.net/podcasts/edward-snowden

Nearly three hours of mostly Snowden rambling on. I stayed with it to the end. A few items of interest but mostly just noise. I found him initially somewhat suspicious -- by the end I was more neutral. However, what a display of American arrogance and ingratitude. The Russian government has saved his bacon and has given him refuge with great freedoms he would not have in the USA -- or Airstrip One ... or, HK, or any South American backyard colony. And yet he makes no attempt to thank them and even virtually panders to the American anti-Russian meme. He has even dabbled in Russian opposition politics via local newspaper comments. What an ungrateful guest! (Or still an agent @ work?) I would entirely understand the Russians putting him on a plane back to the USA tomorrow. Ungrateful little character, imo. And says a lot about the way Americans treat the external world from inside their little fishbowl. Simply a doormat for convenience.

The main take away for me came towards the end where Snowden outlines the special legal conditions and laws that the US government enforces to control presentation of evidence in these cases. These same 'servant' thugs who are stepping into the now 3rd-world UK court system and pulling the strings on Australia's Assange. The same crew that Snowden worked with and blew the whistle on (apparently).

Snowden makes great bravado about being willing to go back to the USA and face the music -- if only he could say in court why he did it (something the legal Act prohibits apparently). In this, and a few other matters of history, I find him less than genuine. Is/was he a plant? .... I'm still out with the jury on that.

[Oct 24, 2019] NSA fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever

Notable quotes:
"... "The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever." ..."
"... "Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up," he said. "It's moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data." ..."
"... In its vast Utah Data Center constructed earlier this decade, the National Security Agency has the capacity to store virtually unlimited amounts of digital data it hoovers up daily. This is what Gus Hunt was talking about. The biggest problem is how to make that data useful for the government's purposes -- that is, how to find the needle in the haystack of data. ..."
"... " Your entire life is in storage somewhere -- and the government will be able to search it at will, quickly." ..."
"... 'Somewhere' has an address. Add in the data stored by FB/Amazon/Google, and a nearly complete picture of you as an individual, your thoughts, fears, hopes, etc is online and can be quantified. https://www.theatlantic.com... ..."
"... I sincerely hope that the NSA, looking at my life, will find itself sufficiently entertained that it will put up with my boring comments. I would hate to be responsible for someone its bowels to be put to sleep at an inopportune moment and have a serious national crisis occur as a result ..."
"... The hubris is that tech is all powerful, because we have experienced a rapid growth in the ability to produce and access information, but it is not bringing wisdom or any beer governance. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In his new memoir, Permanent Record , Edward Snowden writes about a speech that Gus Hunt, the CIA's chief technology officer, gave in 2013. Only the Huffington Post covered it (though you can watch it online). From HuffPo's report:

Speaking before a crowd of tech geeks at GigaOM's Structure:Data conference in New York City, CTO Ira "Gus" Hunt said that the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos -- and that the agency wants all of it.

"The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever."

Hunt's comments come two days after Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA has committed to a massive, $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon for cloud computing services. The agency has not commented on that report, but Hunt's speech, which included multiple references to cloud computing, indicates that it does indeed have interest in storage and analysis capabilities on a massive scale.

More:

"It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information," Hunt said. After that mark is reached, Hunt said, the agency would also like to be able to save and analyze all of the digital breadcrumbs people don't even know they are creating.

"You're already a walking sensor platform," he said, nothing that mobiles, smartphones and iPads come with cameras, accelerometers, light detectors and geolocation capabilities.

"You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off," he said. "You know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should."

Hunt also spoke of mobile apps that will be able to control pacemakers -- even involuntarily -- and joked about a "dystopian" future where self-driving cars force people to go to the grocery store to pick up milk for their spouses.

Hunt's speech barely touched on privacy concerns. But he did acknowledge that they exist.

"Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up," he said. "It's moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data."

Note well: "It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information."

Here is a link to Gus Hunt's speech on YouTube.

In its vast Utah Data Center constructed earlier this decade, the National Security Agency has the capacity to store virtually unlimited amounts of digital data it hoovers up daily. This is what Gus Hunt was talking about. The biggest problem is how to make that data useful for the government's purposes -- that is, how to find the needle in the haystack of data.


Adamant 3 hours ago

" Your entire life is in storage somewhere -- and the government will be able to search it at will, quickly."

'Somewhere' has an address. Add in the data stored by FB/Amazon/Google, and a nearly complete picture of you as an individual, your thoughts, fears, hopes, etc is online and can be quantified. https://www.theatlantic.com...

Charles Cosimano 3 hours ago
I sincerely hope that the NSA, looking at my life, will find itself sufficiently entertained that it will put up with my boring comments. I would hate to be responsible for someone its bowels to be put to sleep at an inopportune moment and have a serious national crisis occur as a result
John 2 hours ago
Or, optionally, you refuse to participate by maintaining a minimal online presence or communicating in person. Also, this sure is all snazzy, but it's happening in a nation which is facing serious material and structural issues.

The hubris is that tech is all powerful, because we have experienced a rapid growth in the ability to produce and access information, but it is not bringing wisdom or any beer governance. The material systems which underlie the technical ones, such as infrastructure, food production, and so on, can't be "quantized" in a supercomputer. If anything, reliance on tech really moves us closer to real collapse.

[Oct 23, 2019] Google's Auto-Delete Tools Are Practically Worthless For Privacy

Oct 23, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

By default, Google collects a vast amount of data on users' behavior, including a lifelong record of web searches, locations, and YouTube views.

But amid a privacy backlash and ongoing regulatory threats, the company has started to hype its recently released privacy tools, like the ability to automatically delete some of the data it collects about you -- data that helps power its $116 billion ad business. [...]

In reality, these auto-delete tools accomplish little for users, even as they generate positive PR for Google. Experts say that by the time three months rolls around, Google has already extracted nearly all the potential value from users' data, and from an advertising standpoint, data becomes practically worthless when it's more than a few months old . "Anything up to one month is extremely valuable," says David Dweck, the head of paid search at digital ad firm WPromote.

"Anything beyond one month, we probably weren't going to target you anyway." Dweck says that in the digital ad industry, recent activity is essential.

If you start searching on Google for real estate or looking up housing values, for instance, Google might lump you into a "prospective home buyers" category for advertisers. That information becomes instantly valuable to realtors, appraisers, and lenders for ad targeting, and it could remain valuable for a while as other companies, such as painters or appliance brands, try to follow up on your home buying.

Still, it's unusual for advertisers to target users based on their activity from months earlier, Dweck says.

[Oct 22, 2019] Researchers Tricked Google Home and Alexa Into Eavesdropping and Password Phishing

Oct 22, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

(arstechnica.com) 34 Ars Technica reports: The threat isn't just theoretical. Whitehat hackers at Germany's Security Research Labs developed eight apps -- four Alexa "skills" and four Google Home "actions" -- that all passed Amazon or Google security-vetting processes. The skills or actions posed as simple apps for checking horoscopes, with the exception of one, which masqueraded as a random-number generator. Behind the scenes, these "smart spies," as the researchers call them, surreptitiously eavesdropped on users and phished for their passwords ...

The apps gave the impression they were no longer running when they, in fact, silently waited for the next phase of the attack .... The apps quietly logged all conversations within earshot of the device and sent a copy to a developer-designated server. The phishing apps follow a slightly different path by responding with an error message that claims the skill or action isn't available in that user's country. They then go silent to give the impression the app is no longer running. After about a minute, the apps use a voice that mimics the ones used by Alexa and Google home to falsely claim a device update is available and prompts the user for a password for it to be installed....

In response, both companies removed the apps and said they are changing their approval processes to prevent skills and actions from having similar capabilities in the future.

[Oct 22, 2019] Smart TVs Are Data-Collecting Machines, New Study Shows

Oct 22, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

(theverge.com) 41 BeauHD on Friday October 11, 2019 @07:20PM from the can't-act-like-I'm-surprised dept. A new study from Princeton University shows internet-connected TVs, which allow people to stream Netflix and Hulu, are loaded with data-hungry trackers . "If you use a device such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV, there are numerous companies that can build up a fairly comprehensive picture of what you're watching," Arvind Narayanan, associate professor of computer science at Princeton, wrote in an email to The Verge. "There's very little oversight or awareness of their practices, including where that data is being sold." From the report: To understand how much surveillance is taking place on smart TVs, Narayanan and his co-author Hooman Mohajeri Moghaddam built a bot that automatically installed thousands of channels on their Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. It then mimicked human behavior by browsing and watching videos. As soon as it ran into an ad, it would track what data was being collected behind the scenes. Some of the information, like device type, city, and state, is hardly unique to one user. But other data, like the device serial number, Wi-Fi network, and advertising ID, could be used to pinpoint an individual. "This gives them a more complete picture of who you are," said Moghaddam. He noted that some channels even sent unencrypted email addresses and video titles to the trackers.

In total, the study found trackers on 69 percent of Roku channels and 89 percent of Amazon Fire channels. "Some of these are well known, such as Google, while many others are relatively obscure companies that most of us have never heard of," Narayanan said. Google's ad service DoubleClick was found on 97 percent of Roku channels. "Like other publishers, smart TV app developers can use Google's ad services to show ads against their content, and we've helped design industry guidelines for this that enable a privacy-safe experience for users," a Google spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Verge. "Depending on the user's preferences, the developer may share data with Google that's similar to data used for ads in mobile apps or on the web." "Better privacy controls would certainly help, but they are ultimately band-aids," Narayanan said. "The business model of targeted advertising on TVs is incompatible with privacy, and we need to confront that reality. To maximize revenue, platforms based on ad targeting will likely turn to data mining and algorithmic personalization/persuasion to keep people glued to the screen as long as possible."

Another study from Northeastern University and the Imperial College of London found that other smart-home devices are also collecting reams of data that is being sent to third parties like advertisers and major tech companies.

[Oct 19, 2019] Kunstler One Big Reason Why America Is Driving Itself Bat$hit Crazy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's a major unanticipated consequence of the digital "revolution." It has gotten us stuck looking backward at events, obsessively replaying them, while working overtime to spin them favorably for one team or the other, at the expense of actually living in real time and dealing with reality as it unspools with us. If life were a ballgame, we'd only be watching jumbotron replays while failing to pay attention to the action on the field. ..."
"... The stupendous failure of the Mueller Investigation only revealed what can happen when extraordinary bad faith, dishonesty, and incompetence are brought to this project of reinventing "truth" -- of who did what and why -- while it provoked a counter-industry of detecting its gross falsifications. ..."
"... Perhaps you can see why unleashing the CIA, NSA, and the FBI on political enemies by Mr. Obama and his cohorts has become such a disaster. When that scheme blew up, the intel community went to the mattresses, as the saying goes in Mafia legend and lore. The "company" found itself at existential risk. Of course, the CIA has long been accused of following an agenda of its own simply because it had the means to do it. It had the manpower, the money, and the equipment to run whatever operations it felt like running, and a history of going its own way out of sheer institutional arrogance, of knowing better than the crackers and clowns elected by the hoi-polloi. The secrecy inherent in its charter was a green light for limitless mischief and some of the agency's directors showed open contempt for the occupants of the White House. Think: Allen Dulles and William Casey. And lately, Mr. Brennan. ..."
Oct 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Here's one big reason that America is driving itself batshit crazy : the explosion of computerized records, emails, inter-office memos, Twitter trails, Facebook memorabilia, iPhone videos, YouTubes, recorded conversations, and the vast alternative universe of storage capacity for all this stuff makes it seem possible to constantly go back and reconstruct reality. All it has really done is amplified the potential for political mischief to suicide level.

It's a major unanticipated consequence of the digital "revolution." It has gotten us stuck looking backward at events, obsessively replaying them, while working overtime to spin them favorably for one team or the other, at the expense of actually living in real time and dealing with reality as it unspools with us. If life were a ballgame, we'd only be watching jumbotron replays while failing to pay attention to the action on the field.

Before all this, history was left largely to historians, who curated it from a range of views for carefully considered introduction to the stream of human culture, and managed this process at a pace that allowed a polity to get on with its business at hand in the here-and-now -- instead of incessantly and recursively reviewing events that have already happened 24/7. The more electronic media has evolved, the more it lends itself to manipulation, propaganda, and falsification of whatever happened five minutes, or five hours, or five weeks ago.

This is exactly why and how the losing team in the 2016 election has worked so hard to change that bit of history. The stupendous failure of the Mueller Investigation only revealed what can happen when extraordinary bad faith, dishonesty, and incompetence are brought to this project of reinventing "truth" -- of who did what and why -- while it provoked a counter-industry of detecting its gross falsifications.

This dynamic has long been systematically studied and applied by institutions like the so-called "intelligence community," and has gotten so out-of-hand that its main mission these days appears to be the maximum gaslighting of the nation -- for the purpose of its own desperate self-defense. The "Whistleblower" episode is the latest turn in dishonestly manipulated records, but the most interesting feature of it is that the release of the actual transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone call did not affect the "narrative" precooked between the CIA and Adam Schiff's House Intel Committee. They just blundered on with the story and when major parts of the replay didn't add up, they retreated to secret sessions in the basement of the US capitol.

Perhaps you can see why unleashing the CIA, NSA, and the FBI on political enemies by Mr. Obama and his cohorts has become such a disaster. When that scheme blew up, the intel community went to the mattresses, as the saying goes in Mafia legend and lore. The "company" found itself at existential risk. Of course, the CIA has long been accused of following an agenda of its own simply because it had the means to do it. It had the manpower, the money, and the equipment to run whatever operations it felt like running, and a history of going its own way out of sheer institutional arrogance, of knowing better than the crackers and clowns elected by the hoi-polloi. The secrecy inherent in its charter was a green light for limitless mischief and some of the agency's directors showed open contempt for the occupants of the White House. Think: Allen Dulles and William Casey. And lately, Mr. Brennan.

The recently-spawned NSA has mainly added the capacity to turn everything that happens into replay material, since it is suspected of recording every phone call, every email, every financial transaction, every closed-circuit screen capture, and anything else its computers can snare for storage in its Utah Data Storage Center. Now you know why the actions of Edward Snowden were so significant. He did what he did because he was moral enough to know the face of malevolence when he saw it. That he survives in exile is a miracle.

As for the FBI, only an exceptional species of ineptitude explains the trouble they got themselves into with the RussiaGate fiasco. The unbelievable election loss of Mrs. Clinton screwed the pooch for them, and the desperate acts that followed only made things worse. The incompetence and mendacity on display was only matched by Mr. Mueller and his lawyers, who were supposed to be the FBI's cleanup crew and only left a bigger mess -- all of it cataloged in digital records.

Now, persons throughout all these agencies are waiting for the hammer to fall. If they are prosecuted, the process will entail yet another monumental excursion into the replaying of those digital records. It could go on for years. So, the final act in the collapse of the USA will be the government choking itself to death on replayed narratives from its own server farms.

In the meantime, events are actually tending in a direction that will eventually deprive the nation of the means to continue most of its accustomed activities including credible elections, food distribution, a reliable electric grid, and perhaps even self-defense.

[Oct 09, 2019] George Orwell assumes that if such societies as he describes in Nineteen Eighty-Four come into being there will be several super states. These super states will naturally be in opposition to each other or (a novel point) will pretend to be much more in opposition than in fact they are

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This is the direction in which the world is going at the present time, and the trend lies deep in the political, social and economic foundations of the contemporary world situation. ..."
"... Specifically the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on Liberal capitalist communities by the necessity to prepare for total war with the U.S.S.R. and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and the most publicized. But danger lies also in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours. ..."
"... Two of the principal super states will obviously be the Anglo-American world and Eurasia. If these two great blocks line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents and will not dramatize themselves on the scene of history as Communists. Thus they will have to find a new name for themselves. The name suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the U.S.A. the phrase "Americanism" or "hundred per cent Americanism" is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as anyone could wish. ..."
"... Pretty much explains the SDP and NuLabourInc and his name sake Blair and our political landscape of the last 50 years, don't you think? ..."
"... Also pay attention to the 'parody phrase. ' ..."
Oct 09, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Dungroanin -> MikeE Oct 9, 2019 12:46 AM

That is my down tick.

Because i feel that some agenda is at play. I'm not going to accuse you of trolling, or even a bit of gas lighting, but it seems like a slide into classic red scaring and recasting of Eric Blair

By way of explaining my emotion and since you mention Warburg, here is an example of Orwellian post humous attribution. He never said "imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever."

'from a post-publication press release directed by publisher Fredric Warburg toward readers who "had misinterpreted [Orwell's] aim, taking the novel as a criticism of the current British Labour Party, or of contemporary socialism in general." The quotation from the press release was "soon given the status of a last statement or deathbed appeal, given that Orwell was hospitalized at the time and dead six months later."

You can read more at georgeorwellnovels.com, which provides a great deal of context on this press release, which runs, in full, as follows:

It has been suggested by some of the reviewers of Nineteen Eighty-Four that it is the author's view that this, or something like this, is what will happen inside the next forty years in the Western world. This is not correct. I think that, allowing for the book being after all a parody, something like Nineteen Eighty-Four could happen. This is the direction in which the world is going at the present time, and the trend lies deep in the political, social and economic foundations of the contemporary world situation.

Specifically the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on Liberal capitalist communities by the necessity to prepare for total war with the U.S.S.R. and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and the most publicized. But danger lies also in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours.

The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: Don't let it happen. It depends on you.

George Orwell assumes that if such societies as he describes in Nineteen Eighty-Four come into being there will be several super states. This is fully dealt with in the relevant chapters of Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is also discussed from a different angle by James Burnham in The Managerial Revolution. These super states will naturally be in opposition to each other or (a novel point) will pretend to be much more in opposition than in fact they are.

Two of the principal super states will obviously be the Anglo-American world and Eurasia. If these two great blocks line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents and will not dramatize themselves on the scene of history as Communists. Thus they will have to find a new name for themselves. The name suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the U.S.A. the phrase "Americanism" or "hundred per cent Americanism" is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as anyone could wish.

If there is a failure of nerve and the Labour party breaks down in its attempt to deal with the hard problems with which it will be faced, tougher types than the present Labour leaders will inevitably take over, drawn probably from the ranks of the Left, but not sharing the Liberal aspirations of those now in power. Members of the present British government, from Mr. Attlee and Sir Stafford Cripps down to Aneurin Bevan will never willingly sell the pass to the enemy, and in general the older men, nurtured in a Liberal tradition, are safe, but the younger generation is suspect and the seeds of totalitarian thought are probably widespread among them. It is invidious to mention names, but everyone could without difficulty think for himself of prominent English and American personalities whom the cap would fit.'
http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/george-orwells-final-warning.html

-- -- -- -

Pretty much explains the SDP and NuLabourInc and his name sake Blair and our political landscape of the last 50 years, don't you think?

Also pay attention to the 'parody phrase. '
'
As i wrote earlier, perhaps Blair of Eton ultimately saw how clearly hist talents had been misused by the 'totalitarians' before he died.

I understand that some of his works are still censored and others never published. As are his state employment in propaganda on which he probably based his 'parody' on.

[Sep 28, 2019] Orwell vs Jack London

The Iron Heel is a dystopian[1] novel by American writer Jack London, first published in 1908.[2] Generally considered to be "the earliest of the modern dystopian" fiction,[3] it chronicles the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States.
In The Iron Heel, Jack London's socialist views are explicitly on display. A forerunner of soft science fiction novels and stories of the 1960s and '70s, the book stresses future changes in society and politics while paying much less attention to technological changes.
The novel is based on the fictional "Everhard Manuscript" written by Avis Everhard... The Manuscript itself covers the years 1912 through 1932 in which the Oligarchy (or "Iron Heel") arose in the United States. In Asia, Japan conquered East Asia and created its own empire, India gained independence, and Europe became socialist. Canada, Mexico, and Cuba formed their own Oligarchies and were aligned with the U.S. (London remains silent as to the fates of South America, Africa, and the Middle East.)
In North America, the Oligarchy maintains power for three centuries until the Revolution succeeds and ushers in the Brotherhood of Man. During the years of the novel, the First Revolt is described and preparations for the Second Revolt are discussed. From the perspective of Everhard, the imminent Second Revolt is sure to succeed but from Meredith's frame story , the reader knows that Ernest Everhard's hopes would go unfulfilled until centuries after his death.
The Oligarchy is the largest monopoly of trusts (or robber barons ) who manage to squeeze out the middle class by bankrupting most small to mid-sized business as well as reducing all farmers to effective serfdom . This Oligarchy maintains power through a "labor caste " and the Mercenaries . Laborers in essential industries like steel and rail are elevated and given decent wages, housing, and education. Indeed, the tragic turn in the novel (and Jack London's core warning to his contemporaries) is the treachery of these favored unions which break with the other unions and side with the Oligarchy. Further, a second, military caste is formed: the Mercenaries. The Mercenaries are officially the army of the US but are in fact in the employ of the Oligarchs.
Jack London ambitiously predicted a breakdown of the US republic starting a few years past 1908, but various events have caused his predicted future to diverge from actual history. Most crucially, though London placed quite accurately the time when international tensions will reach their peak (1913 in "The Iron Heel", 1914 in actual history ), he (like many others at the time) predicted that when this moment came, labor solidarity would prevent a war that would include the US, Germany and other nations.
The Iron Heel is cited by George Orwell 's biographer Michael Shelden as having influenced Orwell's most famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four . [4] Orwell himself described London as having made "a very remarkable prophecy of the rise of Fascism ", in the book and believed that London's understanding of the primitive had made him a better prophet "than many better-informed and more logical thinkers." [5] ( The Iron Heel - Wikipedia )
Sep 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

As writer or thinker, Jack London can't touch George Orwell, but he's nearly the Brit's equal when it comes to describing society's bottom. To both, being a writer is as much a physical as an intellectual endeavor. Wading into everything, they braved all discomforts and dangers. This attitude has become very rare, and not just among writers. Trapped in intensely mediated lives, we all think we know more as we experience less and less.

At age 14, London worked in a salmon cannery. At 16, he was an oyster pirate. At 17, he was a sailor on a sealing schooner that reached Japan. At 18, London crossed the country as a hobo and, near Buffalo, was jailed for 30 days for vagrancy. At 21, he prospected for gold in the Klondike. London was also a newsboy, longshoreman, roustabout, window washer, jute mill grunt, carpet cleaner and electrician, so he had many incidents, mishaps and ordeals to draw from, and countless characters to portray.

London's The Road chronicles his hobo and prison misadventure. Condemned to hard labor, the teenager nearly starved, "While we got plenty of water, we did not get enough of the bread. A ration of bread was about the size of one's two fists, and three rations a day were given to each prisoner. There was one good thing, I must say, about the water -- it was hot. In the morning it was called 'coffee,' at noon it was dignified as 'soup,' and at night it masqueraded as 'tea.' But it was the same old water all the time."

London quickly worked his way up the clink's hierarchy, to become one of 13 enforcers for the guards. This experience alone should have taught him that in all situations, not just dire ones, each man will prioritize his own interest and survival, and that there's no solidarity among the "downtrodden" or whatever. Orwell's Animal Farm is a parable about this. Since man is an egoist, power lust lurks everywhere.

During the Russo-Japanese War a decade later, London would approvingly quote a letter from Japanese socialists to their Russian comrades, but this pacific gesture was nothing compared to the nationalistic fervor engulfing both countries. Like racism, nationalism is but self love. Though clearly madness if overblown, it's unextinguishable.

Jailed, London the future socialist stood by as his gang disciplined a naïf, "I remember a handsome young mulatto of about twenty who got the insane idea into his head that he should stand for his rights. And he did have the right of it, too; but that didn't help him any. He lived on the topmost gallery. Eight hall-men took the conceit out of him in just about a minute and a half -- for that was the length of time required to travel along his gallery to the end and down five flights of steel stairs. He travelled the whole distance on every portion of his anatomy except his feet, and the eight hall-men were not idle. The mulatto struck the pavement where I was standing watching it all. He regained his feet and stood upright for a moment. In that moment he threw his arms wide apart and omitted an awful scream of terror and pain and heartbreak. At the same instant, as in a transformation scene, the shreds of his stout prison clothes fell from him, leaving him wholly naked and streaming blood from every portion of the surface of his body. Then he collapsed in a heap, unconscious. He had learned his lesson, and every convict within those walls who heard him scream had learned a lesson. So had I learned mine. It is not a nice thing to see a man's heart broken in a minute and a half."

Jailed, you immediately recover your racial consciousness, but London apparently missed this. In any case, a lesser writer or man wouldn't confess to such complicity with power. Elsewhere, London admits to much hustling and lying, and even claims these practices made him a writer, "I have often thought that to this training of my tramp days is due much of my success as a story-writer. In order to get the food whereby I lived, I was compelled to tell tales that rang true [ ] Also, I quite believe it was my tramp-apprenticeship that made a realist out of me. Realism constitutes the only goods one can exchange at the kitchen door for grub."

Informed by hard-earned, bitter experience, London's accounts resonate and convince, even when outlandish, for they are essentially true about the human condition.

London on a fellow prisoner, "He was a huge, illiterate brute, an ex-Chesapeake-Bay-oyster-pirate, an 'ex-con' who had done five years in Sing Sing, and a general all-around stupidly carnivorous beast. He used to trap sparrows that flew into our hall through the open bars. When he made a capture, he hurried away with it into his cell, where I have seen him crunching bones and spitting out feathers as he bolted it raw."

Though London often uses "beast" or "beastly" to describe how humans are treated, this fellow appears to be congenitally bestial, with his all-around stupidity. As for the other prisoners, "Our hall was a common stews, filled with the ruck and the filth, the scum and dregs, of society -- hereditary inefficients, degenerates, wrecks, lunatics, addled intelligences, epileptics, monsters, weaklings, in short, a very nightmare of humanity." Though many are wrecked, others are born deficient, addled or weak, but in our retarded days, morons must be smart in other ways, and raging monsters are merely oppressed into mayhem or murder.

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But of course, society does oppress, then and now. Remember that an 18-year-old London was sentenced to 30 days of hard labor for merely being in a strange city without a hotel reservation. Another inmate was doing 60 for eating from a trash can, "He had strayed out to the circus ground, and, being hungry, had made his way to the barrel that contained the refuse from the table of the circus people. 'And it was good bread,' he often assured me; 'and the meat was out of sight.' A policeman had seen him and arrested him, and there he was." Well, at least Americans are no longer locked up for dumpster diving, so there's progress for you, but then many must still feed from the garbage, with that number rapidly rising.

Though London was a worldwide celebrity at his death in 1916, his fame faded so fast that Orwell could comment in 1944, "Jack London is one of those border-line writers whose works might be forgotten altogether unless somebody takes the trouble to revive them."

London's most enduring book may turn out to be The People of the Abyss, his 1903 investigation into the abjectly impoverished of London's East End.

Dressed accordingly, London joined its homeless to see how they survived. With a 58-year-old carter and a 65-year-old carpenter, London wandered the cold streets, "From the slimy, spittle-drenched, sidewalk, they were picking up bits of orange peel, apple skin, and grape stems, and, they were eating them. The pits of greengage plums they cracked between their teeth for the kernels inside. They picked up stray bits of bread the size of peas, apple cores so black and dirty one would not take them to be apple cores, and these things these two men took into their mouths, and chewed them, and swallowed them; and this, between six and seven o'clock in the evening of August 20, year of our Lord 1902, in the heart of the greatest, wealthiest, and most powerful empire the world has ever seen."

Having mingled with many homeless in cities across America, I can attest that the food situation is not as bad in that unraveling empire, but the squalor is just as appalling, if not worse. A Wall Street Journal headline, "California's Biggest Cities Confront a 'Defecation Crisis'." There's no need to import public shitting from shitholes, since there's already plenty of it, homegrown and well-fertilized with smirkingly cynical policies.

Trump, "We can't let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what's happening," but he's only talking about the unsightliness of it all, not its root cause, which is a deliberately wrecked economy that, over decades, has fabulously enriched his and our masters. This, too, is a controlled demolition.

Ensconced in some leafy suburb, you might be missing this beastly, raving, zonked out and shitty transformation. Jack London, though, never recoiled from society's diarrhea. My favorite passage of The People of the Abyss is his account of bathing, so to speak, in a workhouse:

We stripped our clothes, wrapping them up in our coats and buckling our belts about them, and deposited them in a heaped rack and on the floor -- a beautiful scheme for the spread of vermin. Then, two by two, we entered the bathroom. There were two ordinary tubs, and this I know: the two men preceding had washed in that water, we washed in the same water, and it was not changed for the two men that followed us. This I know; but I am also certain that the twenty-two of us washed in the same water.

I did no more than make a show of splashing some of this dubious liquid at myself, while I hastily brushed it off with a towel wet from the bodies of other men. My equanimity was not restored by seeing the back of one poor wretch a mass of blood from attacks of vermin and retaliatory scratching.

If other men had to endure that, why shouldn't London, especially since he was trying to understand these wretches?

Many moons, suns and saturns ago, I taught a writing course at UPenn, and for one assignment, I asked students to take the subway to a strange stop, get off, walk around and observe, but don't do it in the dark, I did warn them. Frightened, one girl couldn't get off, so simply wrote about her very first ride. At least she got a taste of an entirely alien world beyond campus. Considering that her parents had to cough up over 60 grands annually to consign her to the Ivy League, they'd probably want to murder me for subjecting their precious to such needless anxieties.

Cocooned, Americans are oblivious to their own destruction. Screwed, they're fixated by Pornhub.

London insisted a worldwide class revolution was the answer. A century and several gory nightmares later, there are those who still cling to this faith, but only in the West. In the East, even the most ignorant know the survival of his identity and dignity is conterminous with his nation's. Orwell understood this well. It is the biggest crime to wreck anyone's heritage in a flash.

In each society, you can begin to right the ship by prosecuting the biggest criminals, with existing laws, but first, you must have the clarity and courage to identify them.

In the US, at least, this shouldn't be too complicated, for their crimes are mostly out in the open, and their enforcers appear nightly in your living room, not unlike 1984. As you watch, they cheerfully lie, silence witnesses, mass murder, squander your last cent and dismantle, brick by brick, the house your forefathers built and died defending. Even if all they saw was its basement, it was still their everything.

Linh Dinh's latest book is Postcards from the End of America . He maintains a regularly updated photo blog .


AmRusDebate , says: September 26, 2019 at 3:33 pm GMT

Lexicologically, Jack London far surpasses Orwell. He mixes erudite and argot. Stylistically London far surpassed anything Orwell ever came up with. Orwell is a man of unum librum.

Nor would I say Orwell was a better thinker than London. 1984 is partly inspired by the Iron Heel, an image coined by London in a namesake book.

Reducing London to being a mere "socialist" is moronic.

Bardon Kaldian , says: September 26, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
London is one of those authors whom aesthetes despise, but who- against all odds- stubbornly refuse to go away. When he wrote about "serious" topics, London was a failure (Burning Daylight, Martin Eden, ); on the other hand, when he wrote about animals, primitives, mentally impaired, (white) underclass & quasi-fascist-Darwinian fantasies (most stories & short novels) -he was an unavoidable writer, one that will be read long after most canonized authors are just a footnote.

By the way, he was extremely popular even in Czarist Russia, something along the lines of American vitalism & energy.

Top Hat , says: September 27, 2019 at 12:24 am GMT
Jack London's "The Iron Heel" is another of his fictional stories about the working classes and in the book he attacks capitalism and promotes socialism while presenting the story of the US turned into an oligarchy in 1913 (the book was written in 1907). What's interesting about "The Iron Heel" is that by 1900 it must have been quite obvious as to how the world's more powerful nations were planning on parceling up the world, and London makes reference to this in his novel about the future military campaigns that will take place in the book's dystopian future, and his fiction was not far wrong from what actually transpired in WW1 and WW2.

After Jack London gained fame he did not work alone, he hired aspiring writers to "fill-in" his fiction, much like famous painters painting large commissions would hire subordinates to "fill-in" their canvas after the outline was drawn. The plot and subplots would come from London, but his underlings would write the stories. At this point in time I can't remember the names but as I recall a few famous authors got their start working for Jack London.

London was also cursed with the writer's nemesis, he was an alcoholic, and his autobiographical novel "John Barleycorn" treats the "demon drink" as one of the world's great ills. The book being published in 1913, it is noteworthy that the eighteenth amendment banning alcohol was passed by congress a few years later in 1919, so it could be that London was at least a minor fulcrum in giving a push to the moral crusade against alcohol being sold in the US.

Much of Jack London's work is classic like his short story fiction placed in Alaska, "To Start a Fire" about a man exposed to the elements and slowly freezing to death, or his fictional tales about being a constable sailing a schooner chasing pirates off the coast of California. Also unique and thrilling is the short story "A Piece of Steak" about an aging boxer hoping to win one last fight. These were tough and gritty stories about men at their extremity, and not tales for children.

London wrote a good tale and he understood human nature, and perhaps that's what motivated him to become an alcoholic socialist.

durd , says: September 27, 2019 at 1:26 am GMT
@Bardon Kaldian I enjoyed much of London's works. Although I read many of his books when young,and I don't remember them too much, they helped inspire me to head north in the very backyard of Burning Daylight, a best seller in it's day. His portrayal of characters of the North seem quite believable and his description of the land and it's peculiar traits are also accurate. The short story 'All Gold Canyon' is spot on for how a prospector prospects.

I read the Jack London Reader (for sale in Chicken, ak) a few years ago and enjoyed it immensely as I did the Sea Wolf.

Martin Eden is a depressing read. I have only read Animal Farm so I really can't compare. Depends how much one 'likes' to get disgruntled.

Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid , says: September 27, 2019 at 8:05 am GMT

Cocooned, Americans are oblivious to their own destruction. Screwed, they're fixated by Pornhub.

Funny, all I ever read on the Internet these days are articles about America's destruction. This article's another one. Yet according to some pouty guy on the other side of the planet, we're oblivious.

And Pornhub is #32 according to Alexa. That's really high, but 31 websites precede it. I've never visited Pornhub, and I'd bet neither have 9 out of 10 Americans. Eliminate kids under 10, adults over 80, most women, and all those without Internet access, and you're left with a core of certain primetime lusty guys who are comfortable with pornography. Couldn't be more than 10%.

It'd be wonderful if we could have a single calendar day, say October 21, when everyone declares a moratorium on blithely shitting on America. Or is this part of the Jewish strategy to keep us divided and unhappy?

swamped , says: September 27, 2019 at 9:16 am GMT
"London was also a newsboy, longshoreman, roustabout, window washer, jute mill grunt, carpet cleaner and electrician" and – not least – SPORTSWRITER!John Griffith Chaney packed a lot of experience into his short forty year span on this wretched earth but his stint on the Oakland Herald & later sports writing – especially about surfing – are some of his best & consistent with his own fiery enjoyment of active outdoor sports. Perhaps best summed up in his aphorism:"I would rather be ashes than dust." London was not known for being a soccer fan but nonetheless, he would probably still be pleased to know that there is in his hometown today a very large & thriving Jack London Youth Soccer League. Anybody's guess how long it will be before the Woke Folk in town try to shut it down for being named after a 'white supremacist'.
Eric Arthur Blair had a similarly short stay in this world – only seven more years than London – but didn't much share his enthusiasm for the sporting life. Orwell was quite candid in his rejection of the world's favorite past time, explaining in an essay: "I loathed the game, and since I could see no pleasure or usefulness in it, it was very difficult for me to show courage at it. Football, it seemed to me, is not really played for the pleasure of kicking a ball about, but is a species of fighting." Orwell was even more pointed in a London Tribune op-ed during his early newspaper days, commenting on a recent series of matches between a Russian & English clubs, " the games cult did not start till the later part of the last century. Dr Arnold, generally regarded as the founder of the modern public school, looked on games as simply a waste of time. Then, chiefly in England and the United States, games were built up into a heavily-financed activity, capable of attracting vast crowds and rousing savage passions, and the infection spread from country to country. It is the most violently combative sports, football and boxing, that have spread the widest. There cannot be much doubt that the whole thing is bound up with the rise of nationalism -- that is, with the lunatic modern habit of identifying oneself with large power units and seeing everything in terms of competitive prestige."

"Orwell understood this well. It is the biggest crime to wreck anyone's heritage in a flash."
Or beat their national team. Go Golden Dragons!

TKK , says: September 27, 2019 at 11:19 am GMT
When I read about a woman dying from a rooster attack, or people falling to their death to take selfies, or the growing number of hikers who venture out into semi- wilderness with their cell phones but not adequate water, I always think of London's "To Build a Fire."

If London observed man's diminished capacity to measure and survive nature in his era, what would he make of any airport or street today? Like the parasite creature in "Alien", phones are stuck to every face encountered. Most people are not "present" in any sense when in the public sphere now, let alone taking note of the world around them.

6dust6 , says: September 27, 2019 at 11:52 am GMT
Great essay. I made it a point to visit Jack London's ranch on a California visit. The ranch was a huge unfulfilled project with the sad burnt out ruins of his dream house reminding us of his grand plans. The condition of his grown-over untended grave startled me. I find it interesting that many men of that time viewed socialism as a panacea; however, the intellect, ambition and energy of a man like Jack London would never have survived the ideology he espoused.
follyofwar , says: September 27, 2019 at 2:46 pm GMT
@Paul Did you see the "Trotsky" miniseries on Netflix? It was in Russian with English subtitles, but I enjoyed reading them all and found it riveting. It appeared to be historically accurate to someone like me who knows little of Russian history. Trotsky (born Lev Bronstein) was a Ukrainian Jew who cared little for how many Russians he killed. I guess Ukies hated Russians even back then.
follyofwar , says: September 27, 2019 at 3:01 pm GMT
@6dust6 Who knows, if London had lived longer he might have been a fascist supporter of Mussolini (as was Ezra Pound) and Hitler.
Emslander , says: September 27, 2019 at 3:03 pm GMT

In each society, you can begin to right the ship by prosecuting the biggest criminals, with existing laws, but first, you must have the clarity and courage to identify them.

This is why I don't get your disgust at President Trump. He has the will and the position to do just as you recommend and he would do it if the ruling class weren't trying to cut him off at the knees 24-7. Trump is the people's first successful attempt to drive the destroyers from the forum. I fear for coming generations if he doesn't.

Bardon Kaldian , says: September 27, 2019 at 3:17 pm GMT
@simple_pseudonymic_handle Nathaniel Hawthorne
Herman Melville
Walt Whitman
Mark Twain
Stephen Crane
T.S. Eliot
Henry James
Tennessee Williams
Saul Bellow
John Updike
pyrrhus , says: September 27, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT
Jack London also wrote the classic short story 'To Build a Fire', and the novel 'The Call of the Wild', both set in Alaska ..He was a talented writer.
Zagonostra , says: September 27, 2019 at 4:13 pm GMT
I wish the author would have done an analysis of London's "Iron Heel." I just read it for the first time, and what he was writing about 100 years ago on the dominance of the "oligarchs", i.e., the "iron heel" rings as true today as it did back then.

Curious also how he died so suddenly. There is a YouTube video of him at his ranch looking as healthy as can be only a couple of days before he mysteriously died.

Jeff Stryker , says: September 27, 2019 at 4:25 pm GMT
@Anonymous Snanonymous Sir, you have made a remarkably prescient point.

USA today is like Britain in the late Victorian age. A Superpower of vast divides.

In those days, a serial killer called Jack the Ripper stalked the streets.

There is no difference. The class system has been replaced by rich Wall Street sharks and tech billionaires but the plutocracy is a plutocracy.

Gin has given way to Opoids.

But it is strangely similar.

Linh Dinh , says: Website September 27, 2019 at 9:23 pm GMT
@AaronB An empire exploits and abuses all natives, including those of its host nation. Just think of how they must send these natives to foreign lands, not just to kill, but die. It's better to be a house slave than a field one, however, so many far flung subjects of the empire will try to sneak into the house. It's also safer there, generally. Except for rare instances, as in 9/11, the empire won't blow up natives inside its borders.

[Sep 26, 2019] Big Tech 'Nudges' Our Behavior for Its Own Greed: Here's a 4-Step Social Media Self-Defense Class by Justin Podur

The surveillance capitalists -- nice term
Sep 25, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
September 25, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. I suspect many readers already employ some of the recommendations for how to keep tech from taking too much mindshare.

By Justin Podur, a Toronto-based writer and a writing fellow at Globetrotter , a project of the Independent Media Institute. You can find him on his website at podur.org and on Twitter @justinpodur . He teaches at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. He is the author of the novel Siegebreakers . Produced by Globetrotter , a project of the Independent Media Institute

Human nature -- how we exist, how we live our lives -- is at risk. That's the premise of Shoshana Zuboff's book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism .

Zuboff believes the tech giants have created a new form of capitalism. The surveillance capitalist "wants your bloodstream and your bed, your breakfast conversation, your commute, your run, your refrigerator, your parking space, your living room."

In the old propaganda system, media audiences were not the consumers but the products, sold to the real consumers, the advertisers. In surveillance capitalism, you are neither the consumer nor the product, simply raw material. The tech giants don't need your consumption, or even your attention: they make their money by selling products that predict your behavior based on the trails of data that you throw off as you go about your daily business online (and, increasingly -- with ubiquitous surveillance devices in the environment -- offline as well).

And once your behavior can be predicted, it can be changed. You are being hacked, Zuboff says, as the surveillance capitalists "nudge, tune, herd, manipulate, and modify behavior in specific directions by executing actions as subtle as inserting a specific phrase into your Facebook news feed, timing the appearance of a BUY button on your phone, or shutting down your car engine when an insurance payment is late."

Each new nudge-able behavior becomes a free asset for the taking, as opportunities are found to make money by controlling you. For example, insurance companies offer discounted premiums if you install a surveillance device in your car to monitor your good driving behavior. Once it's in there, in Zuboff's words, "the insurance company can set specific parameters for driving behavior. These can include anything from fastening the seat belt to rate of speed, idling times, braking and cornering, aggressive acceleration, harsh braking, excessive hours on the road, driving out of state, and entering a restricted area." Amazon's employees, called "athletes," wear monitored devices to push them to higher levels of productivity. We fear being replaced by robots: surveillance capitalists make us into the robots.

The stakes are as high as the level of control is microscopic. A new form of power, which Zuboff calls "instrumentarian," has arisen. Instrumentarian power would have you cede your privacy, your behavior, your free will, all to the profit imperatives of the tech giants. To maintain your individuality, Zuboff suggests, you are forced to "hide in your own life," trying to use encryption and privacy technology to get around the surveillance. But the story of WhatsApp suggests that they can find you if you try to use technology to hide: intended as an encrypted and secure platform for people to chat with one another in privacy, WhatsApp is now one of Facebook's flagship products. It's also the platform on which lynchings are organized in India and on which the fascist Jair Bolsonaro's election was coordinated in Brazil.

As you consciously try to minimize surveillance capitalism's control on your individual mind and life, a philosophical framework would come in handy. Computer scientist Cal Newport has set out such a framework in his book Digital Minimalism . Newport argues that social media tools delivered through smartphones can add value to a person's life, but not if used as directed. He asks readers to think carefully about exactly what value they are getting from engagement with these tools, and how we can get that value without the huge costs in time, energy, and emotion that we are currently paying. You can probably get the full value of Facebook from 20-40 minutes per week, he writes. All the other hours per day that you are spending are a voluntary gift of your attention and eyeballs to Facebook, which has figured out how to turn that attention into profit.

How to Defend Yourself Against Big Tech Manipulation

In the face of the old propaganda system, Noam Chomsky advocated a course of "intellectual self-defense." In the face of the new, supercharged, surveillance capitalist version, I'm advocating a course of "social self-defense." With help from Zuboff and Newport, here are four steps you can take to defend yourself against social media manipulation.

1. Join the Attention Resistance. If you are using social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and hoping to retain your autonomy, Newport writes, "it's crucial to understand that this is not a casual decision. You're instead waging a David and Goliath battle against institutions that are both impossibly rich and intent on using this wealth to stop you from winning." You will have to become a member of what Newport calls the attention resistance, "who combine high-tech tools with disciplined operating procedures to conduct surgical strikes on popular attention economy services -- dropping in to extract value, and then slipping away before the attention traps set by these companies can spring shut." Long live the resistance!

2. Minimize the Role of Devices in Your Life. Newport's tactical advice in this section is sound, and I won't rehash it all, but here are a few key points: remove social media from your phone and access it on a computer; "dumb down" your smartphone; try embracing "slow" media; turn watching Netflix into a social, not an individual activity.

3. Get Into Real Life. One way to "hide in your own life," as Zuboff suggests, is to embrace Newport's suggestions to take up "high-quality" leisure activities to crowd out the "low-quality" leisure that swiping and clicking on your phone represents. Don't use your phone until you've lost the dexterity to use your hands, like the medical students who now lack the dexterity to stitch patients . Do things that involve your hands. Go for walks; embrace conversation, which is a "high-bandwidth" activity and the only real way to maintain friendships (and yes, phone and video calling do count as conversations, though in-person is better).

4. Fight for a Better Digital World. Using your new practice interacting with real human beings in real life, join groups who are trying to get surveillance capitalism under control. The struggle to assert collective rights to privacy, to communication and information, will have to take a collective form. Perhaps it will be a struggle for regulation, to break up the tech monopolies and assert legal and democratic controls. Perhaps the communications infrastructure of societies shouldn't be in private hands at all, but should be nationalized (there was a time when economists believed that certain infrastructures were "natural monopolies" that should be government-owned and run).

Newport emphasizes social and civic activity in crowding out mindless phone use, and warns not to be turned off by normal group dynamics: "It's easy to get caught up in the annoyances or difficulties inherent in any gathering of individuals struggling to work toward a common goal. These obstacles provide a convenient excuse to avoid leaving the comfort of family and close friends, but it's worth pushing past these concerns." I know that I'm not the only activist who has gotten caught up in the "inherent annoyances and difficulties" of offline activism (i.e., endless meetings, dysfunctional group dynamics). And in those dark moments when we think of isolation as an alternative, our phones are there to offer us the lowest forms of socializing and the lowest simulations of activism, clicking "like" (which Newport advises us to never do) and retweeting, or "desperately checking for retweets of a clever quip." Don't do that stuff -- instead, join a real group and interact with people in real life.

There was a time decades ago when I was frustrated as an activist with groups who spent a lot of time talking and not enough time doing things (action being defined then mainly as street protests, or sometimes occupying things). I'm old enough to remember the criticism of "preaching to the choir," back when there was apparently a metaphorical equivalent of a choir who would sing together every week. These days, getting together and talking about politics in person, even just with like-minded people, would already be subversive. Let's talk. Because to work, the new tools of social self-defense must still be complemented by the old intellectual self-defense methods: talking and thinking with others, wide and critical reading, and taking conscious social action according to your principles.


The Rev Kev , September 25, 2019 at 7:28 am

One or two suggestions. Take a look at your mobile and start deleting all those apps that you do not use. Not so much for getting space back on your mobile but you can never be sure just what those apps are doing on your mobile or who they are reporting their findings too. If you don't need them, why are they there? Did they come pre-installed?
Another one. If you can get away with not using any of Google's offerings, perhaps it might be an idea to consider using a Huawei mobile. They are cheaper and appear to be as good as most mobiles but there is a point to consider. Will a Huawei mobile spy on you the same way that an Apple or an Android will? Absolutely! But they will not be in much of a position to monetize you as much as the later two companies will.

Carolinian , September 25, 2019 at 12:59 pm

If you are concerned about privacy you shouldn't be using smartphone at all or at least not one hooked to the web. They do make handy GPS navigators, cameras, music players.

Tom Pfotzer , September 25, 2019 at 8:49 am

Today's smart phone operating system (e.g. Android) is a crucial, strategic interface to today's human being. It's the point at which many of us connect to society at large.

It's like there's a toll-both outside your front door, and in order to enter and operate in society, you must first pay the toll every day, each and every time you participate.

I often wonder what it would take to write, via open-source project, a smart-phone operating system that would have a decent user interface, make and take phone calls, and have a few other basic functions, like web browser support, contacts management, calculator, so forth.

Canonical – the company that supports the Ubuntu derivative of Linux – tried this a while back. They wrote all the software, and then abandoned the project. They gave up because not enough people wanted to use it.

We may be approaching the time to re-visit that decision.

Would you want your phone to be running code that works for you, and defends your interests?

Arizona Slim , September 25, 2019 at 9:18 am

I sure would, Tom! Let's do this thing.

Who else is in?

ejf , September 25, 2019 at 11:03 am

Count me as well. The problem is walking the software into a phone, the hardware. The project would inevitably wind up with lots of DIY projects. With something like this, I'd have to run Ubuntu on my windows laptop, then install it into my project . A pain but doable.

James , September 25, 2019 at 11:57 am

I thought Android was open source except for the google apps and the google store – which both technically are not part of the OS. You could build a new "distribution", which is a whole lot easier than writing a whole new OS from scratch, but it is the apps that do most of the information gathering.

Anon , September 25, 2019 at 9:08 pm

An Android phone has Google software embedded into the OS. Some Google apps can be deleted, but others can only be "disabled". And then there are the "system background services" that cannot be turned off and send info to Google intermittently.

I use a Motorola Play (smartphone) with every possible app turned off. The phone is either off or in "airplane mode". I only carry it on my person if I think I'll absolutely need it; otherwise it's stays at home or in the car. Most of my communication is text (SMS) or email.

The reason to use a laptop more than your phone is the availability of more robust defense apps to keep one's activity in the "dark". (Excepting, of course, the NSA.)

lordkoos , September 25, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Since installing Linux Mint (variation of Ubuntu) on my laptop I'm all in for a Linux smart phone. People are still working on the project and I think at some point it could happen. I use an iphone and have almost everything turned off or deleted, but I do use some apps, such as podcasts, a guitar tuner, maps, etc. I never use the phone for social media.

People who are using Windows 10 really should check out Linux Mint, it's super easy to set up a dual boot on a Windows machine, or just try it live from a USB stick to see how you like it. I found the transition to Linux fairly easy, and I'm very happy with it.

Something called Kali Linux is available to run on Android phones but it appears to mostly be used for forensics and security testing, I don't know much about it.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nexus-5-PWNIE-EXPRESS-PWN-PHONE-16GB-KALI-LINUX-MR-ROBOT/183806337760?hash=item2acbb622e0:g:fHUAAOSwgStbEX3Y

Robert Valiant , September 25, 2019 at 12:25 pm

Kali Linux is mostly used for hacking. "Penetration Testing" can be a euphemism for hacking. ;)

Did you know that Mozilla (FIrefox) once made a phone operating system? They couldn't make it happen, which was too bad. I had a Firefox OS phone; it sucked.

Good luck to Purism and enjoy your life in Linux Land – I've been there for 26 years!

Kurtismayfield , September 25, 2019 at 12:14 pm

It's not just the phone.

It's every hotspot/wifi device/cell tower

It's every POS.

It's most cars. (Since plate readers are everywhere).

Basically if I wanted a trackless system, I wouldn't use a credit card, a car, public transport, or a cell phone. I can't walk in a public place without being under video surveillance either. It's going to be impossible to roll back the clock on our entrenched surveillance system. You have to get people to ask the question:

What has all of this extra surveillance done for public safety?

The answer is next to nothing. Ask someone for direct examples of it. I can't think of one

Partyless Poster , September 25, 2019 at 10:47 am

How about not using social media? It still amazes me how many anti-corporate anti-establishment types will meet on a Facebook page.
Its like protesting against Starbucks by meeting up at a Starbucks.
It wasn't that long ago that people got by just fine with no social media, the fact that so many feel they cant live without it is pretty depressing.
You don't fight the beast by feeding it.

Mel , September 25, 2019 at 1:22 pm

It's tough. There's a Transition Town initiative starting up in the village, and they so far handle all their contacts through Facebook. Facebook seems to decline to talk to me unless I join. So I'll have to scramble to keep in touch face-to-face. (And they're findable on the events page at the library web site. So there is some good in them.)

Arizona Slim , September 25, 2019 at 4:25 pm

And I strongly recommend Rob Hopkins' Transition Handbook.

Tim , September 25, 2019 at 1:19 pm

We need a Consumer Protection Agency warning (much like the Surgeon General's warning on Tabacco products) placed in/on all advertisement that makes use of big data research to take advantage of people's innate weaknesses to get them to buy something.

It could read something like this:
CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY'S WARNING: This Advertisement was developed using "big data" and possibly even your own personal data to strongly persuade you to purchase something you may not otherwise desire to purchase.

It couldn't be that hard to regulate and implement.

xkeyscored , September 25, 2019 at 3:13 pm

It couldn't be that hard to regulate and implement? Who are you kidding? Every electoral candidate forced to issue a disclaimer before opening their mouth, every company and corporation admitting you may not need or want their products?
If they ever agreed to anything like your suggestion, it would become something like
We use the most advanced and cutting edge technology to ensure your needs are fulfilled.
which they would of course argue means exactly the same, just without the subversive anti-capitalist connotations.

sierra7 , September 25, 2019 at 3:31 pm

How about having businesses (anybody else also) pay you for using your personal data profiles??????
Seems we have the system backwards and the advertisers/businesses/politicians love it!
They profit and we are like automatons!!

shinola , September 25, 2019 at 1:20 pm

How about (horror of horrors!) not using that spying device called a "smart" phone? I don't carry one and I will not unless/until I'm absolutely forced to. Nor do I have a twitter, FB or any other social media account. I guess I should feel somehow left out – but I don't.

I find it rather amazing how so many people have been brainwashed into thinking they must be "connected" at all times. If you volunteer to be spied on, don't complain about being spied on.

xkeyscored , September 25, 2019 at 3:28 pm

You haven't been left out. Facebook probably has a hefty file on you anyway.
" This is how Facebook collects data on you even if you don't have an account " – Vox. Well worth a skim.
I've never tried getting in touch with FB to see or delete whatever they have on me, another non-user. Does anyone have any experience of this?

shinola , September 25, 2019 at 4:27 pm

I assume that there is some info. on me "out there" since most of my relatives do have FB accounts. I also assume I'm being tracked by someone/something just about anywhere I go on the 'net. I just don't voluntarily give it up & (hopefully) maintain a minimal "footprint".

(I seem to remember that Vox article – may have been linked here in NC)

DonCoyote , September 25, 2019 at 5:12 pm

I believe it was linked earlier.

Other things that can be done (to minimize): turn off the GPS on your smart phone, and prevent sharing that information with as many apps as possible (phone will still collect, from towers and what not) but preventing the sharing and logging helps. Also, use duckduckgo search engine (not google), which does not log and monetize your searches.

jfleni , September 25, 2019 at 5:39 pm

RE:
Big Tech 'Nudges' Our Behavior for Its Own Greed: Here's a 4-Step Social Media Self-Defense Class.

Avoid "Butt-Book" like the idiotic scam that it is; anybody can access "mailing lists with many hundreds or thousands of interesting and important topics; sign up and you can be heard over and over again; you will never need the permission of some "butt-book" moron to speak your piece.!!

[Sep 24, 2019] CIA decided under Dulles that they were the only ones capable of leading this country

Notable quotes:
"... CIA decided under Dulles that they were the only ones capable of leading this country, mainly because they wanted it ran their way and no other. Don't take my word for it though, read Arthur B. Darling's "THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, AN INSTRUMENT OF GOVERNMENT TO 1950 copy right 1990 Penn State Press. (This work was classified for quite a long while.) ..."
"... So the first thing that works in CIA et al's favor is politicians who have been in DC long enough to be worn down and thoroughly compromised by blackmail of one sort or another and there fore vulnerable. ..."
Sep 24, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

SusanR , September 20, 2019 at 20:22

It has been my contention that Biden's powerful backers from the military-industrial-intelligence-media complex are fully aware of his mental state, and that is precisely why they want him to be president. Why? He would only be a figure-head president. He would be given a suggested running mate as well as a list of candidates for cabinet and other appointed positions (as Obama was given) and Biden would follow that in making appointments. Policies of his administration would be consistent with the interests of the military-industrial-intelligence-media complex.

robert e williamson jr , September 20, 2019 at 15:19

Kids this is exactly what the intelligence community wants, someone who they can claim needs to be told what to do or be kept discreetly out of the loop, so currently Joe maybe the chosen one just as Bill Barr is reported to have told Slick Willy.

We end up where we are at the moment because our security state apparatus is ran by the intelligence community who do not really want a strong intelligent, clear minded president who can actually think for himself. Ask Barrack Obama!

For years I've used this analogy, crude as it maybe, that when the newly elected president is called on for his national security briefing it is always a tense encounter because this "Newby" is about to have a come to Jesus meeting with this most abusive of all government entities. The intelligence community. He is "shown the way"he will act because if he doesn't this community who has relieved him of one his go -- -s will come and relieve him of the other.

This started as a joke on my part, I'm now convinced it reflects reality.

At some point many here will understand that since around the time of the murder of JFK , CIA has framed things in this manner.

CIA decided under Dulles that they were the only ones capable of leading this country, mainly because they wanted it ran their way and no other. Don't take my word for it though, read Arthur B. Darling's "THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, AN INSTRUMENT OF GOVERNMENT TO 1950 copy right 1990 Penn State Press. (This work was classified for quite a long while.)

Doing so will help make your mind more flexible , jeesh what a slog to get through it.

So the first thing that works in CIA et al's favor is politicians who have been in DC long enough to be worn down and thoroughly compromised by blackmail of one sort or another and there fore vulnerable.

I figured if Caitlin could say "dog balls " which I think was a great analogy I could say gonads.

Time to sit down Joe.

Thanks again to Consortium News for their great efforts at informing the masses.

[Sep 24, 2019] George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War during the 1930s and discovered that the true facts in Spain were radically different from what he had been led to believe by the British media of his day

Sep 24, 2019 | www.unz.com

Originally from: American Pravda Understanding World War II, by Ron Unz - The Unz Review

World War II ended nearly three generations ago, and few of its adult survivors still walk the earth. From one perspective the true facts of that conflict and whether or not they actually contradict our traditional beliefs might appear rather irrelevant. Tearing down the statues of some long-dead historical figures and replacing them with the statues of others hardly seems of much practical value.

But if we gradually conclude that the story that all of us have been told during our entire lifetimes is substantially false and perhaps largely inverted, the implications for our understanding of the world are enormous. Most of the surprising material presented here is hardly hidden or kept under lock-and-key. Nearly all the books are easily available at Amazon or even freely readable on the Internet, many of the authors have received critical and scholarly acclaim, and in some cases their works have sold in the millions.

Yet this important material has been almost entirely ignored or dismissed by the popular media that shapes the common beliefs of our society. So we must necessarily begin to wonder what other massive falsehoods may have been similarly promoted by that media, perhaps involving incidents of the recent past or even the present day. And those latter events do have enormous practical significance. As I pointed out several years ago in my original American Pravda article :

Aside from the evidence of our own senses, almost everything we know about the past or the news of today comes from bits of ink on paper or colored pixels on a screen, and fortunately over the last decade or two the growth of the Internet has vastly widened the range of information available to us in that latter category. Even if the overwhelming majority of the unorthodox claims provided by such non-traditional web-based sources is incorrect, at least there now exists the possibility of extracting vital nuggets of truth from vast mountains of falsehood.

We must also recognize that many of the fundamental ideas that dominate our present-day world were founded upon a particular understanding of that wartime history, and if there seems good reason to believe that narrative is substantially false, perhaps we should begin questioning the framework of beliefs erected upon it.

ORDER IT NOW

George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War during the 1930s and discovered that the true facts in Spain were radically different from what he had been led to believe by the British media of his day. In 1948 these past experiences together with the rapidly congealing "official history" of the Second World War may have been uppermost in his mind when he published his classic novel 1984, which famously declared that "Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past."


historicus , says: September 23, 2019 at 4:22 am GMT

Great article, thank you. The WWII legend is sacrosanct because it is the founding myth of the empire that replaced our republic, just as the Founders predicted would be the result of choosing sides in foreign conflicts. Is seems credible to think that FDR enabled Churchill's blood lust because encouraging the seriously weakened British empire to finish committing suicide by engaging in another ground war in Europe would clear the way for the US to finally replace the hated mother country as the world's great power- just as another faction of the Founders dreamed. The motto on our National Seal "Novus Ordo Seclorum" is quoted from Virgil's Eclogues, where it is the prophecy of the Cumaean Sybil that Rome was destined to rule the world.

Historian Murray Rothbard best described the impact of the war in this obituary he wrote for fellow popular historian Harry Elmer Barnes, "Our entry into World War II was the crucial act in foisting a permanent militarization upon the economy and society, in bringing to the country a permanent garrison state, an overweening military-industrial complex, a permanent system of conscription. It was the crucial act in expanding the United States from a republic into an Empire, and in spreading that Empire throughout the world, replacing the sagging British Empire in the process. It was the crucial act in creating a Mixed Economy run by Big Government, a system of State-Monopoly-Capitalism run by the central government in collaboration with Big Business and Big Unionism. It was the crucial act in elevating Presidential power, particularly in foreign affairs, to the role of single most despotic person in the history of the world. And, finally, World War II is the last war-myth left, the myth that the Old Left clings to in pure desperation: the myth that here, at least, was a good war, here was a war in which America was in the right. World War II is the war thrown into our faces by the war-making Establishment, as it tries, in each war that we face, to wrap itself in the mantle of good and righteous World War II."

Carlton Meyer , says: Website September 23, 2019 at 4:25 am GMT
For those who lack the time to read these books, or even this great essay, here is a 13-minute video summary. For those shocked by this information, return and read this entire essay, then the books if you still fail to understand that history has been distorted.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/lXHxiKDTHfU?feature=oembed

Carlton Meyer , says: Website September 23, 2019 at 5:02 am GMT
Mr Unz began with:

"Although Saddam Hussein clearly had no connection to the attacks, his status as a possible regional rival to Israel had established him as their top target, and they soon began beating the drums for war, with America finally launching its disastrous invasion in February 2003."

I agree that replacing a progressive Arab leader with an Anglo-American puppet government was an important factor, but the return of Iraqi oil fields to Anglo-American control was the main objective. Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Total, and British Petroleum are now the biggest producers of Iraqi oil.:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/z1Z5qUTFqew?feature=oembed

Franz , says: September 23, 2019 at 6:53 am GMT
Thank You to Mr. Unz for mentioning the long-forgotten hero of the America First Committee, John T. Flynn.

His biography, by Michele Stenehjem Gerber, is called An American First: John T. Flynn and the America First Committee and has not yet been banned on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/American-first-Flynn-America-Committee/dp/0870003399

Nonetheless I read it years ago, and it confirmed my suspicion that Lillian Gish, pioneering film actress, was on a blacklist of some sort, and indeed she was. And this was years before her name was removed from a college building here in Ohio. It is short, not hard to read, less a full biography of Flynn than an interesting look at that filthy period in US history when non-interventionists were slimed as "isolationists" and had their reputations ruined. Or at least dinged quite a bit.

From an Amazon review:

This book inspires the broadening of the America First discussion, making references to Lillian Gish, who proved she was blacklisted , Charlie Chaplin, whose The Great Dictator was itself attacked as propaganda, and the charges of anti-Semitism from some names not already researched, like Brooklyn Dodgers' president Larry MacPhail, S. H. Hauk, Laura Ingalls, and Wilhelm Kunze of the German-American Bund (but still no Walt Disney

mark green , says: September 23, 2019 at 7:13 am GMT
Riveting. Eye-opening. Brilliantly formulated. Ron Unz has tossed another reality grenade into the matrix of fabricated historiography.

On behalf of the millions of mangled, murdered and maligned victims who receive no pity and who have no voice- Thank you, Ron Unz.

Winter Watch , says: Website September 23, 2019 at 7:53 am GMT
William Langer's 'Newest History,' the OSS and the Frankfurt School (aka New School)

https://www.winterwatch.net/2019/09/william-langers-newest-history-the-oss-and-the-frankfurt-school-aka-new-school/

Germanicus , says: September 23, 2019 at 7:53 am GMT
An issue so often overlooked, yet it is known in precisely the media and politics circus. It is the masonic hand in the two wars.
Tom Welsh , says: September 23, 2019 at 9:04 am GMT
I went to Cambridge University in 1966 to study history. Two things I recall very distinctly: the powerful impression Taylor's books made on me; and the very subtle but unmistakable deprecation my tutors and lecturers applied to him and his work.

Taylor was certainly very talented, they said, but prone to "bees in his bonnet"; over-enthusiastic; sometimes unreliable.

Looking back, I can see how very effective this treatment was. As a rebellious and iconoclastic 18-year-old, if I had been told that Taylor was wicked and wrong and I must ignore his books, I would have hurried to study them deeply. But since I was cleverly informed that he was just mildly eccentric and prone to unjustified speculation, I neglected him in order to concentrate on the many other writers we had to read.

Mr McKenna , says: September 23, 2019 at 9:05 am GMT

Most of the surprising material presented here is hardly hidden or kept under lock-and-key. Nearly all the books are easily available at Amazon or even freely readable on the Internet, many of the authors have received critical and scholarly acclaim, and in some cases their works have sold in the millions. Yet this important material has been almost entirely ignored or dismissed by the popular media that shapes the common beliefs of our society. So we must necessarily begin to wonder what other massive falsehoods may have been similarly promoted by that media, perhaps involving incidents of the recent past or even the present day. And those latter events do have enormous practical significance.

Coincidentally enough, today the Guardian has published its own lengthy, soul-searching essay entitled, "Why can't we agree on what's true any more?"

Being the Guardian, of course, their prescription is that people should make a more sincere effort to support the Reporters of Truth, such as the Guardian. In their retrograde Left vs Right world, it's still up to the 'goodthinkers' to preserve our liberties from the Boris Johnsons and Donald Trumps of the world. Never in a million years would they entertain the possibility that Johnsons and Trumps come about because the Establishment–most certainly including its MSM lackeys–is corrupt to its core.

As the Washington Post has it, "Democracy Dies in Darkness" -- neglecting to add, "We supply the Darkness."

Nick Kollerstrom , says: September 23, 2019 at 9:20 am GMT
Wonderful stuff, Mr Unz.
For a short, easy to read account of this topic, see my How Britain Initiated both world wars .
http://www.amazon.com/Britain-Initiated-both-World-Wars/dp/1530993180
Flint Clint , says: September 23, 2019 at 10:32 am GMT
Simply magnificent. Simply infuriating.

It's bone chilling to read this.

It must be an enormous burden for Mr Unz to possess this knowledge.

It feels demoralising to simply be the recipient of it – knowing full well the price of telling the truth, even now, even today.

onebornfree , says: Website September 23, 2019 at 12:50 pm GMT
So now, instead of now [erroneously] believing, as we were all , er, "taught", that the allies were the good guys of WW2, and that the Japs and Germans were the bad guys, we are now supposed to believe the exact opposite, right, Mr Unz ? Jap and German governments now"good"- WW2 allies governments now "bad"?

Reality fact: before, during and after WW2 and all the way up to this present moment in time, the US, Soviet, French , Polish, Brit [etc. etc. ad infinitum] governments lied; the German government lied, the Jap government lied. They ALL lied [and lie]!

Reality fact: It [lying] is what all governments everywhere all do – , all of the time!

Reality fact: It's what they _must_ do to maintain power over their slave populations [ see the Bernays quote below].

Regarding the fundamental nature of all governments, past, present, or future – this "just" in :

"Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [via central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be "reformed","improved", nor "limited" in scope, simply because of their innate criminal nature." onebornfree

" The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of." Edward Bernays
http://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/pdf/Bernays_Propaganda_in_english_.pdf

"The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan." ~ Adolf Hitler

"My first rule- I don't believe anything the government tells me- nothing!- ZERO!" George Carlin

Regards, onebornfree

George F. Held , says: September 23, 2019 at 1:24 pm GMT
To get the low-down on the two world wars, read Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof's 1939 – The War That Had Many Fathers: The Long Run-Up to the Second World War which I translated.
https://www.amazon.com/1939-War-That-Many-Fathers/dp/144668623X
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11448682-1939 -- the-war-that-had-many-fathers
Johnny Walker Read , says: September 23, 2019 at 1:24 pm GMT
@Tom67 Thank God we American's were pillars morality. LOL

Hitler proudly told his comrades just how closely he followed the progress of the American eugenics movement. "I have studied with great interest," he told a fellow Nazi, "the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock."

Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant calling his race-based eugenics book, The Passing of the Great Race his "bible."

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1796

[Sep 23, 2019] Snowden: "I would like to return to the US"

Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 16, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Snowden on CBS this morning worth watching .

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/edward-snowden-wants-to-come-home-but-says-u-s-wont-give-him-a-fair-trial/

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Jen September 16, 2019 at 5:57 pm
Taco Bell, please open an outlet in Moscow or near where Ed Snowden lives to keep him happy and stop him from getting homesick!

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Moscow Exile September 16, 2019 at 10:57 pm
Snowden: "I would like to return to the US"
Mark Chapman September 16, 2019 at 11:06 pm
I don't see how he could have handled it better. He was polite and well-spoken, never flustered or defensive, and the talking heads tumbled over one another in their eagerness to be properly judgmental, to talk over him and recite their own talking points, and ended up looking like buffoons. He will be a tough nut to crack, and so far the American regime has done nothing to convince ordinary people that he is a cowardly traitor. Putting him on television only makes him look more heroic.

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Moscow Exile September 17, 2019 at 1:29 am
Typical Yankee judgementalism:

Snowdon: "Russia has, shall we say, a problematic human rights record -- at a minimum "

Never had no negro slavery, though, did it, Edward?

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Moscow Exile September 17, 2019 at 1:31 am
"That's if we're being generous" ???

Who?

The USA????

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Moscow Exile September 17, 2019 at 1:43 am
And a US "talking" head, in reply to Snowdon's belief that he would not get a fair trial in the USA (a US human rights issue, is that not, Mr.Snowdon?) says that criminals and alleged criminals do not customarily get to determine the terms of their trial: they broke the law and they face the consequences "

Guilty before proven innocent?

Presumption of innocence: an international human right under the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11.

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Mark Chapman September 17, 2019 at 6:59 am
An excellent point I wish he had immediately made.

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Mark Chapman September 17, 2019 at 7:06 am
Nor, to the best of my recollection, did it have an Abu Ghraib. The United States actually has a pretty shitty human-rights record if you consider it from the viewpoint of how it treas others than Americans, and – going further back – only white Americans. The west always tries to factor in the Holodomor, too, how Russia deliberately starved the Ukrainians to death, as an example of their horrible human rights record.

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yalensis September 17, 2019 at 1:10 pm
I cringed at that one too. But I forgive Edward, because I think he was trying to make a tactical debating point, namely:

I am not a Russia stooge, I have my criticisms of the Russian regime yada yada, and I agree with you talking heads that their human rights record is not well received in the West. And yet they scored a human-rights trifecta when they let me in, when not one single "democracy" would defend me or give me asylum.

In other words, he would concede, for argumentation purposes, that Russia is bad, only to stick it to them that Russia did well by him and scored propaganda points against the West. It's a particular debating tactic, whose Latin name I cannot recall.

Unfortunately, Edward never got to finish his point, because those bitches cut him off before he could even get to the punchline.

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Northern Star September 17, 2019 at 3:18 pm
Ahhh I see you will need more intense beatings at the cultural reeducation camp in consideration of your continued use of the 'negro' word.

However one should ignore Gayle she's a black moron, one of the TV progeny of the uber fat whale 'O'.

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Moscow Exile September 19, 2019 at 8:20 pm
Is it "wrong" to say "negro" now?

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[Sep 22, 2019] Snowden says he married his girlfriend Lindsay Mills in Russia -- Guardian

US authorities usually do not allow such staff for people why really want to hurt. They couple easily put his girlfriend on "nofly" list, if they wanted.
Sep 22, 2019 | tass.com

In the interview, timed to coincide with the release of his book titled Permanent Record, Snowden said he and Mills, who later moved to him in Russia, married two years ago at a private ceremony ... ... ... One of world's most beautiful countries

According to Snowden, people in the West often have no information about the beauty of Russian nature and hospitality of Russians.

"I've been to St. Petersburg, I've been to Sochi. I love travelling and I still do, even though I can't cross borders now," he said.

"One of the things that is lost in all the problematic politics of the Russian government is the fact this is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The people are friendly. The people are warm," he continued. "And when I came here I did not understand any of this. I was terrified of this place because, of course, they were the great fortress of the enemy, which is the way a CIA agent looks at Russia."

According to Snowden, "What people don't realize about Russia is that basically you can get all the same things you can get in the United States." "The only thing they don't have in Russia is Taco Bell," he added.

He said it was never his plan to reside in Russia, but, "with time, with open eyes you can see that our presumptions of a place are almost always different from the reality."

Noble cause

According to Snowden, his book was intended not only to inform reader of his life in the US and Russia, but also to draw attention to serious challenges the modern society is now facing.

"We have moved into a time where people care much more deeply about feelings than they do about facts. And this is a dangerous moment for democracy, because people believe that once we have achieved and established a free and open society it will remain that way, it will always be there. But the reality is: things can backslide very quickly," Snowden said when asked how dangerous, in his opinion, Trump's rise to power was.

The whistleblower believes that people should be informed of infringements on their freedom and of acute problems, such as climate change or advanced mass surveillance technologies used by various governments.

"We need people to recognize these problems, to understand these problems and then to be willing to give something up to change that problem," he said. "But it's not enough to believe in something. You have to be ready to stand for something if you want it to change. And so that is what I hope this book will help people come to decide for themselves: are you ready to this change."

Snowden's case

In June 2013, Snowden leaked classified information to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, which revealed global surveillance programs run by US and British intelligence agencies. He explained the move by saying that he wanted to tell the world the truth because he believed such large-scale surveillance on innocent citizens was unacceptable and the public needed to know about it.

The Guardian and The Washington Post published the first documents concerning the US intelligence agencies' spying on Internet users on June 6, 2013. According to the documents, major phone companies, including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint Nextel, handed records of their customers' phone conversations over to the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who also had direct access to the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Skype, YouTube, Paltalk, AOL and Apple. In addition, Snowden's revelations showed that a secret program named PRISM was aimed at collecting audio and video recordings, photos, emails and information about users' connections to various websites.

After leaking classified information, Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then to Moscow, arriving in Russia on June 23, 2013. He applied for political asylum to more than 20 countries while staying in the transit zone at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. On July 16, he applied for a temporary asylum in Russia, accepting Moscow's condition to refrain from activities aimed against the US.

The NSA and the Pentagon claim that Snowden stole about 1.7 mln classified documents concerning the activities of US intelligence services and US military operations. He is charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person. He is facing up to ten years in prison on each charge.

[Sep 22, 2019] The Snowden Conundrum by Yvonne Lorenzo

Highly recommended!
This article raises serious questions about Snowden's authenticity. Although the level of damage he has done make suggestion that he is apart of CIA operation against NSA much less plausible. He did some damage by publicizing operations like Prism. No question about it.
And it is diffuclt to treat Snowden like another variation of Lee Harvey Oswald defection to the USSR.
But it is true that several steps that he took after supposed exfiltration of the documents were highly suspicious: As author pointed out WaPo and Guardian are essentially intelligence agencies controlled outlets, so there is no chance that publication can't be completely blocked.
Another good point is that in any large corporation there is system of logs and they suppoedly are analysed, althout the level of qualification in doing so varies greatly.
And if reports are created automatically that not not mean that they are ver read. Another valid point is that even if you are system administrator, you have great powers over all your users. But at the same time your power is compartmentalized: you have access only to few selected computer that constitute the set of servers you manage. And you usually access then via special jumpserver, which logs everything you do. In no way you have access to any server and any database in the organization; you might not even know that some servers exist. Actually access to critical databases is very tightly controlled.
The author also pointed to an interesting question about difficulties of exfiltration of data on encrypted Windows computers. I think that copy to the UCB drive from encrypted drive to SD or USB drive might still be permitted for sysadmins, as it might be required for some operations. But SD accepted might be special, issued by NSA, not retai and they should be accounted for. Still the point that Yvonne Lorenzo raised is very interesting: how you bypass existing protections on you computer to copy information of SD card ?
On another issue, why did Snowden provide his files to known house organs of Intelligence Agencies, specifically the Washington Post and The Guardian, and not give them to Wikileaks?
Notable quotes:
"... How many reading my words work at a large entity, not necessarily government, let us say a Fortune 1000 or higher? Do you have the ability to copy data unimpeded onto any external device? Can you surf the Internet at will? Or is everything you do on the computer network under constant, real-time scrutiny? ..."
"... Edward Snowden would have us believe that the Eye of Sauron didn't notice he was looking at gigabytes of data unrelated to his job function and using his computer to copy the data to external devices over a lengthy period of time. Are his supporters alleging he is so clever he could disappear from the "Eye of Sauron's" view and be unnoticed? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you in Crimea. ZeroHedge reported " IRS Agent Charged In Leak Of Michael Cohen Transactions To Michael Avenatti ." ..."
"... However, don't believe it takes nine months to identify such an unauthorized intrusion. Don't think every keystroke isn't monitored in real-time. So my question is: would the NSA, which has much more sensitive data (especially compromising information on the governing class) than tax returns and financial transactions have inferior capabilities than the IRS as to maintaining data security? Are we to believe the NSA lacks a "digital trail" when it comes to classified documents? ..."
"... On another issue, why did Snowden provide his files to known house organs of Intelligence Agencies, specifically the Washington Post and The Guardian, and not give them to Wikileaks to allow a publicly available searchable database? ..."
"... While other outlets -- such as the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post and the New York Times -- also possess much (though not all) of the archive, the Intercept was the only outlet with the (full) archive that had continued to publish documents, albeit at a remarkably slow pace, in recent years. In total, fewer than 10 percent of the Snowden documents have been published since 2013. Thus, the closing of the publication's Snowden archive will likely mean the end of any future publications, unless Greenwald's promise of finding "the right partner that has the funds to robustly publish" is fulfilled ..."
"... Do you believe Putin's intelligence agencies don't communicate to him how Washington "organized crime" really operates, as Whitney Webb has disclosed, now on the pages of Unz.com ? What difference does any compromised President make to the policies and goals of the occupational government of the United States (obvious to any reader of this and similar websites)? ..."
"... Why is an alleged humanitarian such a Russophobe? ..."
"... Has Snowden ever challenged the September 11 narrative, ludicrous as it is, and him being an "engineer?" ..."
"... STO equals Special Technical Operations It's highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these. ..."
"... ECI = Exceptionally Controlled Information. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these ECI controlled networks). VRK = Very Restricted Knowledge. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these VRK controlled networks. ..."
"... So what they did, is they took a few documents and they downgraded [he classification level of the documents] – just a few – and gave them to them to placate this basic whitewash investigation. ..."
"... Journalist Margie Burns asked some good questions back in June that have not yet been answered. She wondered about the 29-year old Snowden who had been a U.S. Army Special Forces recruit, a covert CIA operative, and an NSA employee in various capacities, all in just a few, short years. Burns asked "How, exactly, did Snowden get his series of NSA jobs? Did he apply through regular channels? Was it through someone he knew? Who recommended him? Who were his references for a string of six-figure, high-level security jobs? Are there any safeguards in place so that red flags go up when a subcontractor jumps from job to job, especially in high-level clearance positions?" ..."
"... In December, whistleblower Sibel Edmonds broke the news that Omidyar's Paypal Corporation was implicated in the as-yet-unreleased NSA documents from Snowden. Moreover, Edmonds had allegedly been contacted by an NSA official who alleged that "a deal was made in early June, 2013 between the journalists involved in this recent NSA scandal and U.S. government officials, which was then sealed by secrecy and nondisclosure agreements by all parties involved." ..."
"... No, no one is accusing Wikileaks of conspiring with Russia, just Robert Mueller. I really appreciate Snowden calling Julian Assange a liar, for he has consistently denied there was a "state actor." ..."
"... "Terrorism is a real problem" Snowden said. Is it credible that Snowden, who presented himself as donating funds to Ron Paul, has never read any alternative news sites? Is it credible that Snowden believes that terrorists and this would include the good "moderate terrorists" in Syria are armed and act on their own initiative, and is ignorant of the role of the governments of America, Israel, and Saudi Arabia in using them to achieve their ends as proxy armies? ..."
"... Does Snowden then think this report, " America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group" is false? Does that mindset make Snowden a champion for liberty or a tool for more control of the American population? For example, is it credible that this alleged genius supports the narrative of the September 11 attacks World Trade Center attacks? ..."
"... Tor lists on its own website sponsors that include Google, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, ONR via Naval Research Laboratory (past sponsor) and DARPA. ..."
"... Perhaps Snowden is only a Soros and Hillary Clinton supporting liberal -- but then why would he have done what he did? His character is of any government employee of the "surface state" who swallows false narratives whole. ..."
"... The logging of user and information accessed is sure added to the file. But real time supervision? No. A eye of sauron? Please. The system isnt there to prevent crime, its to track down the criminal and deeds later. And yes everything takes a very long time on the public side. ..."
"... 'Edward Snowden' who first 'leaked' to the CIA's Washington Post, in fact to Bush VP Dick Cheney's biographer Bart Gellman then the Deep State realised that was too stupid, so they switched to Rothschild employee & ex-gay-pornography-seller Glenn Greenwald, former proprietor of 'hairystuds', at the Guardian, an intel-agency rag which lies about nearly everything ..."
"... NeonRevolt once floated the theory that Snowden was an FBI or CIA plant who whistleblew solely because he had the mission to undermine NSA operations by exposing their equipment/techniques and turning public opinion against them. ..."
"... inter-service rivalry and sabotage between spy agencies is absolutely a thing, and reviewing the inconsistencies of Snowden's stunt, its aftermath, and his personal views with that potential background in mind suddenly makes things make much more sense, in my mind at least. ..."
"... If we accept the later, that he's a plant, then it raises a further question: was the short term loss, associated with his revelations, ie highlighting the utterly disturbing degree of Gov surveillance over US citizens (etc) worth the long term profit of having an established, authoritive psy-op's agent able to influence/distort etc any debate or narrative concerning the US State /elites. On this side the author notes Snowmen's views on Tor, 9/11, Russia etc which clearly advantage the US State's own views on these subjects. ..."
"... Consider that nothing Snowden revealed was news. It was all old hat for anyone who'd been paying attention, and for up to ten years. Sure Snowden made it mainstream for what good it did but nothing he said was a secret anymore. In fact, I thought even at the time his actions were nothing less than a 'threat and warning' from the intel services that they had this much on everyone. Just imagine all those national leaders, politicians from all states being pout on notice. All your secrets are ours! What a powerful global message to deliver and in such a loud and clear fashion. ..."
"... The lack of deviation from official bullshit on 9/11 is on its own however reason enough to toss this guy out. ..."
"... To my mind "9/11, attitude to", is a sort of touch-stone for telling genuine dissidents from fake and both Snowden and Assange fail on that test ..."
"... Snowden is not a classic defector so it makes sense for him to keep his distance from Russian society so as not to be inadvertently compromised or used by their intelligence services. He's obviously under surveillance there, I know we all are but he's much more aware of it, so that doesn't make it easy for him but he's definitely safer there than he'd be in France or Germany. I just don't think he planned well ahead when he became a whistle-blower or was clear about what he was trying to achieve. He's not the top level type of spy we're accustomed to reading about who betray their country for money or to serve another they believe in more than their own. If he has been on active duty as a CIA asset all along I can't see that he has achieved much of use to them other than in some inter-agency rivalry game. But it's natural for Russians to be suspicious of him – they're suspicious by nature – and rightly so, but it doesn't make his life easy there. ..."
"... 9/11 is the "litmus test" and it appears that both Assange and Snowden have failed it. ..."
"... Snowden keeping "distance" to Russia, and not openly defending them seems reasonable to me. You can imagine the smear campaign back home if he would side with Russia against the U.S. on almost anything. "The Russians got to him" or "He was always their man". ..."
"... He is trying to keep his neutrality and credibility and his target audience isn't the average Unz reader, but rather some mainstream educated middle/upper class blokes. Easily scared away from his views if they become too controversial and too far from the established narrative. ..."
"... If I had been in the position like 'Snowden', after first having been granted asylum, my priority would have been to study the language. I would gtuess that he can order food or drink, do basic greetings, and not much else. ..."
"... I agree. Shilling for the Israelis regarding 911 is a deal breaker for me. They had me going about these 2 guys for a while, but when I heard that they had ridiculed 911 truthers I smelled a rat. And after this article I agree they are shills for the status quo. Reasonable people can not doubt that 911 was a false flag operation. There's just too much bullshit there. ..."
"... I think the idea Snowden is a "plant" is a bit far out there. If he is; the real purpose of the exercise is what exactly? ..."
"... I also don't get why some commenters think Julian Assange isn't who he claims to be. His Wikileaks has published great volume of highly embarrassing material for the U.S. The embassy cables come to mind – bringing to light evidence contrary to Washington narrative on many events. ..."
"... There is another thing; Just after he established Wikileaks he came to Iceland and met with journalists and few politicians. The result from that visit was he met one Kristinn Hrafnsson, long time journalist in Iceland with excellent track record and credibility. Since Assange got in trouble, accused of sexual harassment from Swedish woman and finally escaped into the Ecuador embassy in London, Hrafnsson has been spokesman for Wikileaks. ..."
"... "It all comes down to 9/11.Everything that has happened has happened based on a lie . Everyone in Government ; everyone in the media , in entertainment , in organized religion , in the public ,in the public eye who accepts and promotes the official story is either a traitor or a tool . Everyone who does not stand forth and speak truth to power is a coward , a liar and complicit in mass-murder . Everyone everywhere can be measured by this Litmus Test ." ..."
Sep 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

Have you ever had the pleasure of dealing with an agent of the Federal government? For example, have you been audited by the IRS? Did you notice what the "Agent" does to gain access to his (or her) computer -- by inserting a "Smart ID" into a slot? Did you ask how your personal information is protected from disclosure or theft? What is to prevent the Agent from copying files to a thumb drive and taking them home?

Regarding the Smart ID, the "HSPD-12" is discussed in this publicly available article ; please note the following:

HSPD-12, FIPS 201 and the PIV Card

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12), issued by President George W. Bush on August 27, 2004, mandated the establishment of a standard for identification of Federal government employees and contractors. HSPD-12 requires the use of a common identification credential for both logical and physical access to federally controlled facilities and information systems. The Department of Commerce and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) were tasked with producing a standard for secure and reliable forms of identification. In response, NIST published Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 201 (FIPS 201), Personal Identity Verification (PIV) of Federal Employees and Contractors, issued on February 25, 2005, and a number of special publications that provide more detail on the implementation of the standard.

Both Federal agencies and enterprises have implemented FIPS 201-compliant ID programs and have issued PIV cards. The FIPS 201 PIV card is a smart card with both contact and contactless interfaces that is now being issued to all Federal employees and contractors

Additional information about FIPS 201 can be found on the Government Identity/Credentialing Resources page, from NIST, and from the Secure Technology Alliance Access Control Council.

If you engage the IRS employee in conversation, remembering the adage you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, you'll learn the computer cannot be compromised -- all data on the device are encrypted; the only access to it is via the Smart ID. Data can be copied to an external "thumb drive" but everything copied will be encrypted; any file on that thumb drive is only readable by that specific device. Wouldn't this be true of NSA devices as well? Why does Snowden never discuss dealing with such encryption: how would it be possible?

In the Oliver Stone movie Snowden , as well as in any of Snowden's descriptions of how he accessed the NSA computers, did you note either the depiction or reference to this universal Smart ID? How could Snowden be exempt from its requirement? Why wasn't its use, which is public knowledge, shown or discussed? Per the above, the Smart ID is deployed in all government agencies: there are no exceptions. And while the financial portion (think of all those Goldman Sachs alumni at the U.S. Department of the Treasury) is likely the most powerful part of the financial-military-industrial-media-congressional complex that is the central power of the federal government, do you think that IRS systems are different and superior in security to what was employed by a contractor working for Booze-Allen Hamilton at the NSA?

How many reading my words work at a large entity, not necessarily government, let us say a Fortune 1000 or higher? Do you have the ability to copy data unimpeded onto any external device? Can you surf the Internet at will? Or is everything you do on the computer network under constant, real-time scrutiny?

Did Edward Snowden, who has publicly criticized Google, mention Google is deployed as a search engine throughout the federal "intranet"? And can he catch a link to the Washington Post on the NSA homepage too? Or would he testify and can it be verified that NSA does not use Google (for example to obtain the PowerPoint he revealed) for searching for internal documents and procedures? Can anyone reading my words answer the questions I've posed so far and answer accurately and honestly with confirmatory evidence?

Edward Snowden would have us believe that the Eye of Sauron didn't notice he was looking at gigabytes of data unrelated to his job function and using his computer to copy the data to external devices over a lengthy period of time. Are his supporters alleging he is so clever he could disappear from the "Eye of Sauron's" view and be unnoticed? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you in Crimea. ZeroHedge reported " IRS Agent Charged In Leak Of Michael Cohen Transactions To Michael Avenatti ." From the article:

John C. Fry, an analyst in the San Francisco IRS office who had worked for the agency since 2008, was charged with disclosing Cohen's Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) – nine months after we reported that it wouldn't be difficult to track down the leaker due to a digital trail left behind from accessing the system.

However, don't believe it takes nine months to identify such an unauthorized intrusion. Don't think every keystroke isn't monitored in real-time. So my question is: would the NSA, which has much more sensitive data (especially compromising information on the governing class) than tax returns and financial transactions have inferior capabilities than the IRS as to maintaining data security? Are we to believe the NSA lacks a "digital trail" when it comes to classified documents?

On another issue, why did Snowden provide his files to known house organs of Intelligence Agencies, specifically the Washington Post and The Guardian, and not give them to Wikileaks to allow a publicly available searchable database? As Roger Stone has noted, the odious Nixon was taken down principally by the CIA media front The Washington Post because he sought detente with Russia and another presidential assassination would have been too obvious. Notice the situation regarding the Snowden treasure trove as investigative journalist Whitney Webb writes about it here: " Silencing the Whistle: The Intercept Shutters Snowden Archive, Citing Cost ."

According to a timeline of events written by Poitras that was shared and published by journalist and former Intercept columnist Barrett Brown, both Scahill and Greenwald were intimately involved in the decision to close the Snowden archive.

While other outlets -- such as the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post and the New York Times -- also possess much (though not all) of the archive, the Intercept was the only outlet with the (full) archive that had continued to publish documents, albeit at a remarkably slow pace, in recent years. In total, fewer than 10 percent of the Snowden documents have been published since 2013. Thus, the closing of the publication's Snowden archive will likely mean the end of any future publications, unless Greenwald's promise of finding "the right partner that has the funds to robustly publish" is fulfilled

Yet, as Poitras pointed out, the research department accounted for a minuscule 1.5 percent of First Look Media's budget. Greenwald's claim that the archive was shuttered owing to its high cost to the company is also greatly undermined by the fact that he, along with several other Intercept employees -- Reed and Scahill among them -- receive massive salaries that dwarf those of journalists working for similar nonprofit publications.

Greenwald, for instance, received $1.6 million from First Look Media, of which Omidyar is the sole shareholder, from 2014 to 2017. His yearly salary peaked in 2015, when he made over $518,000. Reed and Scahill both earn well over $300,000 annually from First Look. According to journalist Mark Ames, Scahill made over $43,000 per article at the Intercept in 2014. Other writers at the site, by comparison, have a base salary of $50,000, which itself is higher than the national average for journalists.

And what about Snowden himself, the pontificator, the man who can speak on television or to the media with evidence of training? Practice yourself -- see how well you can answer questions and speak publicly to a TV camera. How did he get his training? Who trained him? Why? How is it that the legacy media, which applauds the slow, painful execution of Julian Assange , be in rapture over Snowden's new book tour and provide ample coverage? Is Assange being murdered in part to prevent his providing exculpatory evidence that Russia never hacked the DNC and it was a leak?

I have provided two videos below for the reader to consider and compare.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/F7J2DdiXM9Q?feature=oembed

https://www.youtube.com/embed/O4nFGOEeSP0?feature=oembed

Look at how Bill Binney, a true techno-nerd speaks and compare the difference between him with the polished interviews given by Snowden who borders on pomposity. Also, to his favor Binney is doing his best to debunk the Russia hacking narrative of the DNC; Snowden makes his thoughts about Russia and Russians clear in his latest interview with Der Spiegel promoting his new book about himself:

DER SPIEGEL: Do you have Russian friends?

Snowden: I try to keep a distance betw