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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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[Mar 23, 2020] Dystopian books and coronavirus

Mar 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jay , Mar 23 2020 18:34 utc | 14

In the case of "Brave New World", the establishment knows how to cure pretty much any conventional disease. Then if you're in approved society you die around age 60 because of everything that's kept you alive and looking like 40.

I just read the book last month for the first time in 30+ years. It does belong on that diagram. And "1984" doesn't either, since it really doesn't deal with anything like infectious diseases--reread that about 2 years ago.


I've not read the other 2 outer books ever, but the movie of "Fahrenheit 451", which I just watched and Bradbury certainly had a hand in writing, has nothing to do with infectious disease.

There might be something in Camus' "The Plague" though. Haven't read that since the 1980s.

There aren't food shortages so not sure about the "Soylent Green" reference, yet at least. "Long's Run" is about killing people off at age 35, which I guess overlaps with "kill 80% of the poor workers", something the likes of Charles Koch certainly supports. So indirectly there could be a "Logan's Run" connection.

Gattica is just about favored people with the right genes, so an update of "Brave New World", without the highly literate "savage" as the main character.

I don't see how "The Matrix" relates, that's more about the material world's completeness being an illusion.

"Clockwork Orange?" A thug suppressed with mind control?

Haven't read "Lord of the Flies", but don't the kids worship a god of the island, and justify the horrors they commit based on that conception of god or a god?

[Mar 18, 2020] 1984 the second edition

Mar 18, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Obvious cognitive decline is a stutter.

Massive exit poll discrepancies are normal.

An ex-president installing his right-hand man as his successor is democracy.

Facts are Kremlin talking points.

Journalism is a crime.

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

link

[Mar 10, 2020] Facebook and idiocy of population

Notable quotes:
"... Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis. ..."
Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard , Mar 10 2020 16:40 utc | 150

No need to worry about the corona virus - it'll all be okay as long as you buy enough toilet roll...

Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis.

You've seen it on the tele and (un)social media – supermarket shelves denuded of bog roll and fat birds beating seven shades of sh*t out of each other over the last bag of ass wipe.

I mean, what the hell!? Is this how stupid and pathetic we've become? Someone sees a post on Fakebook that says its a good idea to respond to a potentially fatal virus by buying lots of bog roll and within 5 minutes there's a massive rush on the stuff – after all, you gotta buy it, right, COS IT SAYS SO ON FAKEBOOK...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/03/10/of-coronavirus-toilet-roll-and-idiocy/

[Mar 09, 2020] Cookie Monster: the Nuts and Bolts of Online Tracking by Rob Larson

Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
Big Tech has become notorious for its hoarding of its users' personal data, collected with great breadth and down to minute details. Billions have been paid by online platforms to settle legal charges over their invasive and reckless privacy follies. Facebook in particular is associated with this, especially after a series of major scandals involving leaks or hacks of personal data. But Google is inarguably the greediest of these companies in its data collection, to an extent that can surprise even jaded users. This makes sense economically, since the collection of data is a key part of the network effect of online search -- more searches and click data mean algorithms that deliver more accurate searches, attracting more users and searches, in the familiar positive feedback cycle of what economists call "network effects."

From early days, Google held onto all the data it could get its hands on -- who searched for what, what kind of results were likely desired, where searches came from, and so on. A major step in this was the release of Google's email service, Gmail. It caused a large stir itself as users learned the free, high-storage email service served ads on-screen that were targeted to the user by scanning the text of their emails. The scanning was conducted automatically by software algorithms similar to those used to filter out spam from inboxes, but the company was completely unprepared for the backlash, not realizing that their huge scale and power made such moves feel creepier. However the service had a crucial ancillary benefit for the company -- it required a login. With that, Google could cross-reference people's email data with their search history on Google and their YouTube platform (which also required login to post video), along with precise location data from Maps and GPS data from phones running Android -- the beginning of its program to synthesize its data into comprehensive individual profiles.

But the real turning point was the acquisition of the major display ad agency DoubleClick, which brought pivotal changes to the company's "cookies." Cookies are pieces of software planted on your computer or phone by sites as you browse the Web, recording where you've been for the purpose of presenting ads you're likely to be interested in. Cookies are now stupendously widespread -- visiting a typical websites like CNN or dictionary.com can put dozens of them on your PC or phone.

Google's AdSense system had always used these cookies, but the escalation was dramatic, as Wired 's pro-industry reporter Steven Levy wrote covered in his book In the Plex . He reported that the company gained "an omniscient cookie that no other company could match." As a user browses, the cookie:

develops into a rather lengthy log that provides a fully fleshed out profile of the user's interests virtually all of it compiled by stealth. Though savvy and motivated consumers could block or delete the cookies, very few knew about this possibility and even fewer took advantage of it. The information in the DoubleClick cookie was limited, however. It logged visits only to sites that ran DoubleClick's display ads, typically large commercial websites. Many sites on the Internet were smaller ones that didn't use big ad networks Millions of those smaller sites, however, did use an advertising network: Google's AdSense. AdSense had its own cookie, but it was not as snoopy as DoubleClick's. Only when the user actually clicked on an ad would the AdSense cookie log the presence of the user on the site. This 'cookie on click' process was lauded by privacy experts Google now owned an ad network whose business hinged on a cookie that peered over the shoulder of users as it viewed their ads and logged their travels on much of the web. This was no longer a third-party cookie; DoubleClick was Google. Google became the only company with the ability to pull together user data on both the fat head and the long tail of the Internet. The question was, would Google aggregate that data to track the complete activity of Internet users? The answer was yes after FTC regulators approved the DoubleClick purchase, Google quietly made the change that created the most powerful cookie on the Internet. It did away with the AdSense cookie entirely and instead arranged to drop the DoubleClick cookie when someone visited a site with an AdSense ad Now Google would record users' presence when they visited those sites. And it would combine that information with all the other data in the DoubleClick cookie. That single cookie, unique to Google, could track a user to every corner of the Internet.

Amazingly, Google co-founder Sergei Brin dismissed fears about this mega-cookie as "more of the Big Brother type," meaning exaggerated. But even that might be putting a positive gloss on today's data hoarding -- Lawrence Lessig, who has defended the company in areas like its book scanning, noted that in Orwell's book 1984 where Big Brother was introduced, at least the characters "knew where the telescreen was In the Internet, you have no idea who is being watched by whom. In a world where everything is surveilled, how to protect privacy?"

And in 2016, Google went even further by changing its terms of service, asking users to activate new functions that would give them more control over their data, and let Google serve more relevant ads. But what the change did was merge its tracking data with your search history and the personal information in your Gmail/YouTube/Google + accounts, into "super-profiles." And Google wasn't done -- beside using the mega-cookie to record our browsing history, combined with our search logs and Gmail contents, Google "Now Tracks Your Credit Card Purchases and Connects Them to Its Online Profile of You," as a recent MIT Technology Review headline indicates. By contracting with third party data firms that track 70% of all credit and debit card purchases, Google can now offer advertisers further confirmation of which ads are working, not just to the point of clicking but to the point of sale.

With its new TOS, Google does let users view some of the data it holds on them, but it takes "an esoteric process of clicks," as Ken Auletta put it in his book Googled , and again most users are unaware of these issues in the first place, and since we're opted in, most fail to view their data files. Additionally, each Google service has its own privacy terms and settings, and they change without warning, so we have to be constantly vigilant for their changes and subtleties. And Google joins the tech community in its use of "dark patterns," repetitive tactics that wear down users into allowing data access. And finally, even opting-out of customization doesn't end the data collection, just the use of it to target ads to you -- your movements, browsing, searching, emailing and credit card buying are all still compiled. In time Google announced it would soon stop the unpopular scanning of Gmail text to place ads -- the catch was that the company had enough data on users from its super-profiles that it could personalize them without the scanning.

And for all its hoarding, the pile isn't secure -- Google had allowed software developers to design applications like games for Google +, the company's unsuccessful attempt to compete with Facebook in social media. But a glitch in the software allowed developers access to private portions of Google + user profiles over a three-year period before its discovery, including full names, email, gender, pictures, locations, occupation and marital status. An internal memo indicates that as with Facebook's own developer data leaks, there's no way to know if the data was misused in any way. But most important, Google learned of the issue in spring 2018 but refused to announce or disclose it, fearing "reputational damage" to itself.

Whatever this company is, it rhymes with "shmevil."

Rob Larson is a professor of economics at Tacoma Community College and author of Capitalism vs. Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom

[Mar 07, 2020] Intel security flaw

Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

WobblyTelomeres , March 6, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Re Intel security flaw

Interviewed there in the 90s. Hiring manager picked me up at the hotel, took me out to dinner and told me, flat out, that he was NSA. I doubt it has changed much.

(I said, to myself, "f*ck this", flagged the waiter and ordered the most expensive cab on the menu, then another)

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 3:27 am

> told me, flat out, that he was NSA.

Ha ha! I posted this only this morning:

Uncovering The CIA's Audacious Operation That Gave Them Access To State Secrets (interview) WaPo. "So we end up with ostensibly private company that is secretly owned by two intelligence services." That company is probably just an outlier , even though this operation is presented as incredibly successful.

I've helpfully underlined the irony. I should add Surveillance Valley to my reading list, I suppose

[Feb 28, 2020] Stephen Kinzer The Brothers Book Talk at the Watson Institute November 4, 2013 - YouTube

Feb 28, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Knight Alexius , 3 weeks ago

Maybe, the Dulles Brothers had a deeper understanding of the logic of the US-Empire then Kinzer with their conviction that they could not allow third-world-countries to be independent.

Ronbo710 , 4 years ago

Eisenhower AND Kennedy were both fervent supporters of U.S. covert action.

[Feb 23, 2020] An important difference

Feb 23, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Jacqueline Grace , 2 months ago

It's not "your tube" anymore.......it's "their tube".

[Feb 22, 2020] I understand "social media" literally in the Orwellian sense, it is "social" media just like war is peace. The true meaning is "asocial media" which prevents real interaction, and is under complete control by big brother: you can become a non-person at any moment.

Feb 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Norwegian , Feb 22 2020 19:12 utc | 66

Posted by: Bemildred | Feb 22 2020 13:41 utc | 20
The "social" is "social media" is in contrast to "professional" or "business" or "commercial" media, i.e. the MSM and other commercial media.

I understand "social media" literally in the Orwellian sense, it is "social" media just like war is peace. The true meaning is "asocial media" which prevents real interaction, and under complete control by big brother, you can become a non-person at any moment.

[Feb 14, 2020] Why the USA is fighting Huawei without offering any super alternative

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

james , Feb 11 2020 20:13 utc | 13

thanks b...no shortage of hypocrisy in all this...

regarding @ 4 mike r which @8 ian2 linked properly to, i enjoyed the last paragraph which i think sums it up well.. here it is..

"I continue to believe that the United States cannot effectively restrict the spread of a technology under Chinese leadership without offering a superior product of its own. The fact that the United States has attempted to suppress Huawei's market leadership in the absence of any American competitor in this field is one of the oddest occurrences in the history of US foreign policy. If the US were to announce something like a Manhattan Project for 5G broadband and solicit the cooperation of its European and Asian allies, it probably would get an enthusiastic response. As matters stand, America's efforts to stop Huawei have become an embarrassment."


Petri Krohn , Feb 11 2020 20:38 utc | 16

The reason European customers trust Huawei is because Huawei uses open-source software or at least makes their code available for inspection by customers.

Closed-source software cannot provide secrecy or security. This was vividly demonstrated last month when NSA revealed a critical vulnerability in Windows 10 that rendered any cryptographic security worthless.

Critical Windows 10 vulnerability used to Rickroll the NSA and Github

Rashid's simulated attack exploits CVE-2020-0601, the critical vulnerability that Microsoft patched on Tuesday after receiving a private tipoff from the NSA. As Ars reported, the flaw can completely break certificate validation for websites, software updates, VPNs, and other security-critical computer uses. It affects Windows 10 systems, including server versions Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019. Other versions of Windows are unaffected.

The flaw involves the way the new versions of Windows check the validity of certificates that use elliptic-curve cryptography. While the vulnerable Windows versions check three ECC parameters, they fail to verify a fourth, crucial one, which is known as a base point generator and is often represented in algorithms as 'G.' This failure is a result of Microsoft's implementation of ECC rather than any flaw or weakness in the ECC algorithms themselves.

The attacker examines the specific ECC algorithm used to generate the root-certificate public key and proceeds to craft a private key that copies all of the certificate parameters for that algorithm except for the point generator. Because vulnerable Windows versions fail to check that parameter, they accept the private key as valid. With that, the attacker has spoofed a Windows-trusted root certificate that can be used to mint any individual certificate used for authentication of websites, software, and other sensitive properties.

I do not believe this vulnerability was a bug. It is more likely a backdoor intentionally left in the code for NSA to utilize. Whatever the case, NSA must have known about it for years. Why did they reveal it now? Most likely someone else had discovered the back door and may have been about to publish it.

(I commented on these same issues on Sputnik a few weeks ago.)

Piotr Berman , Feb 11 2020 23:04 utc | 25
The other possible US objection is that Huawei will only let their customers spy, not third countries.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Feb 11 2020 21:57 utc | 24

It reminds me a joke about Emperor Napoleon arriving in a town. The population, the notables and the mayor are greeting him, and the Emperor says "No gun salute, hm?". Mayor replies "Sire, we have twenty reasons. Fist, we have canons", "Enough", replied Napoleon.

Isn't the "other possible US objection" exactly "Enough"? Of course, USA is not a mere "third country", USA is the rule maker of rule based international order.

[Feb 14, 2020] 5G isn't for us (humans), it's for the Internet Of Things (IoT). Which - to me - is an even better argument to avoid 5G

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Feb 12 2020 8:56 utc | 48

Thanks for the narrative your article is excellent one more piece of the puzzle. follows.
US, German spies plundered global secrets via Swiss encryption firm:
Report Names names of companies involved.
If the link does not work just url to presstv.com for the article.

One more example of how Mobsters are using the nation state as a platform to conduct their controlled, targeted and authenticated access to, every human in the world. The people are contained within one of the nation state franchises, each a part of the 20 6 nation state system franchises that divides 206 people into separate, but not independent containers under one organized and coordinated roof. The nation state system has prevented the humanity across the globe from becoming democratic. No matter the innocence of the nation state platform, it is the franchised nature of the organization [the nation state system] to which each individual nation state belongs and is a part of, that provides the mobsters with an efficient platform from which to conduct their crimes against humanity and to impose their mind control technologies. .


ralphieboy , Feb 12 2020 11:54 utc | 50

Advocates of the Free Market like to pretend that there is a clear distinction between the workings of government and the workings of corporations and individuals. But they are deeply and inexorably interlinked and there can be no study of economics without politics and no study of politics without economics.
Some Random Passerby , Feb 12 2020 12:48 utc | 51
@43 A User

It's safe to assume this sort of thing has been going on for a long time. Even before computers made everything that much harder.

The BBC operated a system where a Christmas tree was used as a marker. If you had this on your file, you were going nowhere.

BBC Political Vetting

div> The Huawei equipment will have NSA monitors installed before they're installed. They made a point of boasting about that process some 15 years ago. The US companies are using the issue because they're behind Huawei.

Posted by: Les , Feb 12 2020 15:25 utc | 55

The Huawei equipment will have NSA monitors installed before they're installed. They made a point of boasting about that process some 15 years ago. The US companies are using the issue because they're behind Huawei.

Posted by: Les | Feb 12 2020 15:25 utc | 55

elkern , Feb 12 2020 16:32 utc | 57
To me, the real question is "why 5G"? No human can talk or type fast enough to need more bandwidth for text or phone.

I finally got an answer which makes sense, from a tech-savvy friend: 5G isn't for us (humans), it's for the Internet Of Things (IoT). Which - to me - is an even better argument to avoid 5G. IMO, running control systems through the internet is stupid & dangerous. Spying is a relatively benign problem; and I'm not even really that worried about hacking (who's gonna hack my dishwasher? why?).

To me, the real problems are (1) proliferation of pathways for failure ("cloud"-burst!), (2) stupid interfaces (dials & buttons are better than Apps), and worst (3) increased Corporate control (software licensing fees, forced upgrades, right-to-repair, etc).

So, Huawei, whoever, whatever, I say screw 'em all, screw the IoT, screw 5G. Sell me simple Things with local controls which won't stop working when somebody plugs (or unplugs) something somewhere else.

OTOH, yeah, it's time for another Church Commission - with bigger teeth - to get the CIA back (?) under control. Review Financial Assets as well as covert atrocities. But, uh, good luck with that.

c1ue , Feb 12 2020 17:40 utc | 58
@uncle tungsten #22
The thing to keep in mind with VPN is that it addresses one of 3 security areas (concerning data): Data in Transit. The only thing VPN does is make it difficult for someone to sample your internet traffic bits to see what's in them.

Data at Rest and Data at Work are not affected. For example, if you use a VPN to connect to MoA - no one along the path can see what you're doing, but your browser knows; your computer knows; your internet router knows; MoA knows; MoA's hosting provider knows.

As for F-Secure and its VPN:

  • Pluses: they haven't had a breach or serious security flaw that I can recall.
  • Minuses: expensive. They keep logs. No Netflix or torrenting. Not a very good worldwide network (water hole issue).
Pft , Feb 12 2020 19:09 utc | 59
On its surface it seems non-sensible to call out someone from doing what you do. However, it serves the purpose of promoting the illusion China and US are on different sides . Its fake wrestling promotion. Working together to spy on you. When caught, they point the finger at the other guy or claim they need to do it to protect you from them.

Don't trust the US? Buy Huawei, and not only are you not protected but you get special attention for buying Huawei in a futile attempt for privacy from US prying eyes (but opening your curtain to give China a peak). Carry on.

arby , Feb 12 2020 19:15 utc | 60
Pft, you got any evidence to back up your statement that China is having a peak?

There is considerable evidence that the US is but I have yet to see any that implicates Huawei or China.

c1ue , Feb 12 2020 21:06 utc | 62
I forgot to add: something like 0.6% of Internet traffic, ditto emails, are non-standard encrypted: i.e. VPN or PGP. So using these services primarily just highlights you for the surveillance people as a "person of interest".
Esteban , Feb 12 2020 21:14 utc | 63
In Switzerland we're experiencing an enourmous outrage regarding the Crypto AG company. Even tough Swiss MSM and Alt-Media revealed the foul play of the company in the past, the public outcry is astonishing. Politicians are now demanding to form a Parliamentary Investigation Commission. This timely set trans-atlantic coordination of WaPo, German ZDF and Swiss National TV SRF is more than odd. Is it really about Huawei and how does Switzerland fit in this circumstance? Could the clever readership of this fantastic site enlighten me?

[Feb 14, 2020] How Surveillance Capitalism Targets the Vulnerable

Feb 14, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

How Surveillance Capitalism Targets the Vulnerable

Google and Facebook are making handsome profits off of the elderly, the lonely, and the depressed. Credit: pressmaster/Shutterstock

February 11, 2020

|

1:01 pm

Grayson Logue Surrounded by chips, dip, beer, and some delicious chicken chili, I tuned in to the Super Bowl excited to see not only the game but whatever meme-worthy commercials corporate America had dreamed up. Among those was an ad for Google Home, a smart speaker and voice assistant. In it, an elderly gentleman spoke with his Google Home about his deceased wife Loretta, asking the device to remind him of their favorite memories, show him old photos and home videos of their time together, and even play their favorite movie Casablanca.

Yet what struck me was what was absent in the picture -- any other people. Let's imagine a different scene: an elderly gentleman is sitting on his couch showing an old photo album to his granddaughter while his son tees up the VHS of grandma and grandpa during their 20th anniversary, vacationing in Sitka, Alaska. The picture is quite different, though interestingly, it's been used in the past by Google in its commercials.

In their 2017 Super Bowl ad , Google portrayed its home assistant, not as a central character, but as a simple aide among joyful scenes filled with friends and family, dimming the lights as a group of friends prepare for a birthday surprise, playing a recording of whales as a father reads a storybook to his daughter.

No doubt Google was trying to strike that same tone in this year's ad, flashing the text "a little help with the little things" across the screen at the close of the spot. Nonetheless, the ad landed flat, at least at my Super Bowl party. Yet it also reflected something important: the progression of popular thought about the role of tech in our lives.

Once, we believed that putting voice assistants in our homes and pockets offered only more convenience. We justified our time on social networks, believing that seeing a wider range of friends and family through screens and texts, rather than hearing their voices or being with them in person, was actually drawing us closer, connecting us more deeply to our relationships with each other. Now, more and more people are coming to realize that these devices, services, and the culture they've created contributes more to feelings of placelessness, anxiety, and isolation than meaningful connectedness and relationships.

According to data from the Pew Research Center in 2018, 74 percent of Facebook users have taken steps to distance themselves from the platform over the past 12 months, by adjusting their privacy settings, taking a break from the service, or deleting the app on their phone. Young people (ages 18 to 29) are the most likely to take these actions, while those 65 and older are least likely. Since the elderly represent the last generation that smartphones and social media have reached, it follows that they would be the last to take these steps.

Additional Pew data fills in more of the picture. The average older American spends over half of the waking day alone. And between 2005 and 2015, the average time spent on screens for Americans over 60 has increased, while time spent socializing, reading, and other leisure activities has decreased. This timeline overlaps with the shift in internet use among those 65 and older. Twenty years ago, only 14 percent of 65-and-older Americans used the internet, but now 73 percent are internet users and 53 percent own a smartphone. While the elderly might have showed up late to the internet and smartphones, there's no reason to be believe they will be immune to the consequences that young people in particular are now beginning to understand.

And the problems of our digital landscape are even wider than most people imagine.

In reality, this landscape, termed " surveillance capitalism " by Shoshana Zuboff of Harvard Business School, is not limited to just Google or Facebook or any one technology they employ. Rather, surveillance capitalism is a larger system of economic thought and practice that runs on the conscious and deliberate manipulation of the human experience. Zuboff writes :

Surveillance capitalists discovered that the most predictive data come from intervening in human action to coax, tune, herd, and modify behavior in the direction of guaranteed outcomes. This new species of power works remotely, engineering subliminal cues, social comparison dynamics, rewards and punishments, and varieties of enforcers to shape behavior that aligns with its commercial interests.

According to a leaked Facebook document in 2017, the company presented psychological data to advertisers on over 6 million young Australians and New Zealanders. Facebook could tell when these users felt "worthless," "insecure," "stressed," and "anxious" and target ads for "moments when young people need a confidence boost." Facebook denied that the information was actually used for ad targeting, but regardless, it clearly has models and data for when and how to manipulate people's emotional states to make them most likely to take a profitable action without them ever knowing.

While virtually everyone is affected by surveillance capitalism, the consequences become particularly clear when the victims are the elderly, the young, the lonely, and the depressed.

How hard would it be for Google to use the voice recordings it receives from Google Home to induce ad-based behavior modification, something it did for years by scanning email correspondence in Gmail? The corporation is already taking initial steps to monetize its smart assistant. If this were the case, a more accurate ad spot wouldn't end with an elderly man asking for reminders about memories of his late wife. It would end with an AI model analyzing recordings of the man and determining when is the optimal time to place a flight discount ad to his late wife's favorite vacation spot. Perhaps that ad placement time would be targeted to when he was at his lowest emotional state.

We live in a world where it's very possible that Google and Facebook know more about the emotions of our grandparents than we do, and that should deeply disturb us. After all, the negative effects of a ubiquitous cultural problem are typically felt the most by the vulnerable; technology and the elderly are no different. It's time we reflected on the consequences of our pervasive digital culture.

Grayson Logue is a writer living in New York and a contributor to Providence Magazine.

[Feb 10, 2020] Why You May Never Learn the Truth About Anything in Washington

Feb 10, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

run75441 | February 9, 2020 7:00 pm

History Politics I hang around some pretty intelligent people who have smart friends commenting on their facebook pages. The first part of this post is from a comment on Claude Scales's Facebook page by William R. Everdell. I think it fits with the NYT article Claude referenced. The second part of this is a shorten version of the NYT Opinion article "Why You May Never Learn the Truth About ICE," Matthew Connelly, Professor of History, Columbia.

George Orwell in "'1984', Winston Smith was dropping documents into the 'memory hole' by his desk at the Ministry of Truth – Minitrue

'Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'

[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.

[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.

[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 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 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 between myself and Russian society, and this is completely intentional. I live my life with basically the English-speaking community. I'm the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. And, you know, I'm an indoor cat. It doesn't matter where I am -- Moscow, Berlin, New York -- as long as I have a screen to look into.

DER SPIEGEL: Western authorities accuse the Russian government on a regular basis of being one of the biggest disrupters in the digital world. Are they right?

Snowden: Russia is responsible for a lot of negative activity in the world, you can say that right and fairly. Did Russia interfere with elections? Almost certainly. But do the United States interfere in elections? Of course. They've been doing it for the last 50 years. Any country bigger than Iceland is going to interfere in every crucial election, and they're going to deny it every time, because this is what intelligence services do. This is explicitly why covert operations and influence divisions are created, and their purpose as an instrument of national power is to ask: How can we influence the world in a direction that improves our standing relative to all the other countries?

I am pleased to have played a small role in getting Stephen F. Cohen's work published on Unz.com. He and others have effectively debunked Russian involvement in the manipulation of America elections and the conclusions of the Mueller report. To paraphrase a point Professor Cohen made in his most recent article posted here, which is simply common sense: We are to believe Trump is Putin's puppet yet Putin simultaneously encouraged the preparation of a dossier to destroy him. Does that make sense to any one with half a brain? 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)?

Do you notice how Snowden never challenges any government narrative, whether it's on Russia as a villain, and not as a victim of war initiated by Washington? Why is an alleged humanitarian such a Russophobe? Is this how he repays the nation that granted him asylum? Has he only compassion in the abstract, and is a genius but too stupid to consider the consequences of America going to war with Russia and in fact exacerbating the tension by his false and inflammatory statements about Russian conduct in the 2016 elections, for which there are no facts and evidence?

And then there's the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings. Of course Snowden at NSA had no access to information on how and why it was done, but as Dmitri Orlov has written:

I suppose I am a "conspiracy theorist" too. Whenever I write something that questions the veracity of some official narrative, someone (probably a troll) pops up and asks me what I think of 9/11. Here is what I typically reply:

I totally believe that it was possible to knock down three steel-framed buildings using two flying aluminum cans loaded with kerosene, luggage and meat. I have proven that this is possible by throwing two beer cans at three chain-link fences. All three fences were instantly swallowed up by holes in the ground that mysteriously opened up right under them and in which they were instantaneously incinerated into fine oxide powder that coated the entire neighborhood. Anybody who does not believe my experimental results is obviously a tin-foil-hat crackpot conspiracy theorist.

Lots of people read this and ran away bleating; a few people bust a gut laughing because this is (trust me on this!) actually quite funny. Some people took offense at someone ridiculing an event in which thousands of people died. (To protect their tender sensibilities they should consider emigrating to a country that isn't run by a bunch of war criminals.)

But if you do see the humor in this, then you may be up to the challenge, which is to pull out a useful signal (a typical experimentalist's task) out of a mess of unreliable and contradictory data. Only then would you be in a position to persuasively argue -- not prove, mind you! -- that the official story is complete and utter bullshit.

Note that everything beyond that point, such as arguing what "the real story" is, is strictly off-limits. If you move beyond that point you open yourself up to well-organized, well-funded debunking. But if all you produce is a very large and imposing question mark, then the only way to attack it is by producing certainty -- a very tall order! In conspiracy theory, as in guerrilla warfare, you don't have to win. You just have to not lose long enough for the enemy to give up.

Has Snowden ever challenged the September 11 narrative, ludicrous as it is, and him being an "engineer?" And this last point is the reason I'm writing these words: I don't have to come up with the "real story" on who Edward Snowden is and what his true motives are. I am asking questions that point out the discrepancies in Snowden's statements and conduct and his alleged sanctity. In this article, " EXCLUSIVE REPORT: NSA Whistleblower: Snowden Never Had Access to the JUICIEST Documents Far More Damning "

WASHINGTON'S BLOG: Glenn Greenwald – supposedly, in the next couple of days or weeks – is going to disclose, based on NSA documents leaked by Snowden, that the NSA is spying on all sorts of normal Americans and that the spying is really to crush dissent. [Background here, here and here.]

Does Snowden even have documents which contain the information which you've seen?

RUSSELL TICE: The answer is no.

WASHINGTON'S BLOG: So you saw handwritten notes. And what Snowden was seeing were electronic files ?

RUSSELL TICE: Think of it this way. Remember I told you about the NSA doing everything they could to make sure that the information from 40 years ago – from spying on Frank Church and Lord knows how many other Congressman that they were spying on – was hidden?

Now do you think they're going to put that information into PowerPoint slides that are easy to explain to everybody what they're doing?

They would not even put their own NSA designators on the reports [so that no one would know that] it came from the NSA. They made the reports look like they were Humint (human intelligence) reports. They did it to hide the fact that they were NSA and they were doing the collection. That's 40 years ago. [The NSA and other agencies are still doing "parallel construction", "laundering" information to hide the fact that the information is actually from mass NSA surveillance.]

Now, what NSA is doing right now is that they're taking the information and they're putting it in a much higher security level. It's called "ECI" – Exceptionally Controlled Information – and it's called the black program which I was a specialist in, by the way.

I specialized in black world – DOD and IC (Intelligence Community) – programs, operations and missions in "VRKs", "ECIs", and "SAPs", "STOs". SAP equals Special Access Program. It's highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these. STO equals Special Technical Operations It's highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these.

Now in that world – the ECI/VRK world – everything in that system is classified at a higher level and it has its own computer systems that house it. It's totally separate than the system which Mr. Snowden was privy to, which was called the "JWICS": Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System. The JWICS system is what everybody at NSA has access to. Mr Snowden had Sys Admin [systems administrator] authority for the JWICS.

And you still have to have TS/SCI clearance [i.e. Top Secret/ Sensitive Compartmented Information – also known as "code word" – clearance] to get on the JWICS. But the ECI/VRK systems are much higher [levels of special compartmentalized clearance] than the JWICS. And you have to be in the black world to get that [clearance].

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.

These programs typically have, at the least, a requirement of 100 year or until death, 'till the person first being "read in" [i.e. sworn to secrecy as part of access to the higher classification program] can talk about them. [As an interesting sidenote, the Washington Times reported in 2006 that – when Tice offered to testify to Congress about this illegal spying – he was informed by the NSA that the Senate and House intelligence committees were not cleared to hear such information.]

It's very compartmentalized and – even with stuff that they had – you might have something at NSA, that there's literally 40 people at NSA that know that it's going on in the entire agency.

When the stuff came out in the New York Times [the first big spying story, which broke in 2005] – and I was a source of information for the New York Times – that's when President Bush made up that nonsense about the "terrorist surveillance program." By the way, that never existed. That was made up.

There was no such thing beforehand. It was made up to try to placate the American people.

The NSA IG (Inspector General) – who was not cleared for this – all of a sudden is told he has to do an investigation on this; something he has no information or knowledge of.

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.

Snowden's Failure To Understand the Most Important Documents

RUSSELL TICE: Now, if Mr. Snowden were to find the crossover, it would be those documents that were downgraded to the NSA's IG.

The stuff that I saw looked like a bunch of alphanumeric gobbledygook. Unless you have an analyst to know what to look for – and believe me, I think that what Snowden's done is great – he's not an intelligence analyst. So he would see something like that, and he wouldn't know what he's looking at.

But that would be "the jewels". And the key is, you wouldn't know it's the jewels unless you were a diamond miner and you knew what to look for. Because otherwise, there's a big lump of rock and you don't know there's a diamond in there.

I worked special programs. And the way I found out is that I was working on a special operation, and I needed information from NSA from another unit. And when I went to that unit and I said "I need this information", and I dealt with [satellite spy operations], and I did that in the black world. I was a special operations officer. I would literally go do special missions that were in the black world where I would travel overseas and do spooky stuff.

Did we really need Snowden to have told us that the Internet, federally controlled, does not allow anyone a modicum of privacy and the government after implementing the Patriot Act considers ordinary Americans the enemy?

In " Inconsistencies and Unanswered Questions: The Risks of Trusting the Snowden Story " Kevin Ryan wrote:

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?"

Five months later, journalists Mark Ames and Yasha Levine investigated some of the businesses in which Greenwald's benefactor Omidyar had invested. They found that the actual practices of those businesses were considerably less humanitarian than the outward appearance of Omidyar's ventures often portray. The result was that Omidyar took down references to at least one of those businesses from his website.

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."

It would appear that Snowden's whistleblowing has been co-opted by private corporate interests. Are those involved with privatization of the stolen documents also colluding with government agencies to frame and direct national discussions on domestic spying and other serious matters?

The possibilities are endless, it seems. Presenting documents at a measured rate could be a way to acclimate citizens to painful realities without stirring the public into a panic or a unified response that might actually threaten the status quo. And considering that the number of documents has somehow grown from only thousands to nearly two million, it seems possible that those in control could release practically anything, thereby controlling national dialogue on many topics.

Please read the final paragraph above twice and think about the points raised about acclimating citizens and controlling national dialog. Is Snowden as much of a "Pied Piper" as QAnon? How did Snowden describe the nature of the CIA and NSA in this earlier interview with Der Spiegel ?

DER SPIEGEL: But those people see you as their biggest enemy today.

Snowden: My personal battle was not to burn down the NSA or the CIA. I even think they actually do have a useful role in society when they limit themselves to the truly important threats that we face and when they use their least intrusive means.

**

Snowden: It wasn't that difficult. Everybody is currently pointing at the Russians.

DER SPIEGEL: Rightfully?

Snowden: I don't know. They probably did hack the systems of Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party, but we should have proof of that. In the case of the hacking attack on Sony, the FBI presented evidence that North Korea was behind it. In this case they didn't, although I am convinced that they do have evidence. The question is why?

DER SPIEGEL: Mike Pompeo, the new head of the CIA, has accused WikiLeaks, whose lawyers helped you, of being a mouthpiece for the Russians. Is that not harmful to your image as well?

Snowden: First, we should be fair about what the accusations are. I don't believe the U.S. government or anybody in the intelligence community is directly accusing Julian Assange or WikiLeaks of working directly for the Russian government. The allegations I understand are that they were used as a tool basically to wash documents that had been stolen by the Russian government. And, of course, that's a concern. I don't see that as directly affecting me because I'm not WikiLeaks and there is no question about the provenance of the documents that I dealt with.

DER SPIEGEL: Currently, there's another American guy out there who is accused of being too close to Putin.

Snowden: Oh (laughs).

DER SPIEGEL: Your president. Is he your president?

Snowden: The idea that half of American voters thought that Donald Trump was the best among us, is something that I struggle with. And I think we will all be struggling with it for decades to come.

DER SPIEGEL: But isn't there reason to fear terrorism?

Snowden: Sure there is. Terrorism is a real problem. But when we look at how many lives it has claimed in basically any country that is outside of war zones like Iraq or Afghanistan, it is so much less than, say, car accidents or heart attacks. Even if Sept. 11 were to happen every single year in the U.S., terrorism would be a much lower threat than so many other things.

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? Whom do you trust, the contributors to these very pages or Edward Snowden?

Snowden has promoted the use of the Tor Browser. ZeroHedge posted this article, " Tor Project 'Almost 100% Funded By The US Government': FOIA" which noted:

The Tor Project – a private nonprofit known as the "NSA-proof" gateway to the "dark web," turns out to be almost "100% funded by the US government" according to documents obtained by investigative journalist and author Yasha Levine.

In a recent blog post, Levine details how he was able to obtain roughly 2,500 pages of correspondence via FOIA requests while performing research for a book. The documents include strategy, contract, budgets and status updates between the Tor project and its primary source of funding; a CIA spinoff known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which "oversees America's foreign broadcasting operations like Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe."

By following the money, I discovered that Tor was not a grassroots. I was able to show that despite its indie radical cred and claims to help its users protect themselves from government surveillance online, Tor was almost 100% funded by three U.S. National Security agencies: the Navy, the State Department and the BBG. Following the money revealed that Tor was not a grassroots outfit, but a military contractor with its own government contractor number. In other words: it was a privatized extension of the very same government that it claimed to be fighting.

The documents conclusively showed that Tor is not independent at all. The organization did not have free reign to do whatever it wanted, but was kept on a very short leash and bound by contracts with strict contractual obligations. It was also required to file detailed monthly status reports that gave the U.S. government a clear picture of what Tor employees were developing, where they went and who they saw. -Yasha Levine

The FOIA documents also suggest that Tor's ability to shield users from government spying may be nothing more than hot air. While no evidence of a "backdoor" exists, the documents obtained by Levine reveal that Tor has "no qualms with privately tipping off the federal government to security vulnerabilities before alerting the public, a move that would give the feds an opportunity to exploit the security weakness long before informing Tor users."

Interestingly, Edward Snowden is a big fan of Tor – even throwing a "cryptoparty" while he was still an NSA contractor where he set up a Tor exit node to show off how cool they are.

In a 2015 interview with The Intercept's (Wikileaks hating) Micah Lee, Snowden said:

LEE: What do you think about Tor? Do you think that everyone should be familiar with it, or do you think that it's only a use-it-if-you-need-it thing?

SNOWDEN: I think Tor is the most important privacy-enhancing technology project being used today.

"Tor Browser is a great way to selectively use Tor to look something up and not leave a trace that you did it. It can also help bypass censorship when you're on a network where certain sites are blocked. If you want to get more involved, you can volunteer to run your own Tor node, as I do, and support the diversity of the Tor network."

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.

When Julian Assange was taken from the Ecuadoran embassy, he was carrying a copy of Gore Vidal: History of the National Security State & Vidal on America. As an older article on Vidal in The Guardian noted, " Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit in 9/11 ."

Isn't it odd by doing what he did with Vidal's book Assange makes the point the legitimacy of Washington must be challenged, but Snowden never does, other than offering suggestions for tinkering at the margins, perhaps advising we use DuckDuckGo instead of Google to give us the illusion of privacy? Did Snowden, for someone who is in front of a computer screen for most of the day, make public the facts obtained by Whitney Webb in her piece " How the CIA, Mossad and 'the Epstein Network' Are Exploiting Mass Shootings to Create an Orwellian Nightmare " posted on Unz.com which goes in depth into the Orwellian hell we are facing, for as Webb concludes:

With companies like Carbyne -- with its ties to both the Trump administration and to Israeli intelligence -- and the Mossad-linked Gabriel also marketing themselves as "technological" solutions to mass shootings while also doubling as covert tools for mass data collection and extraction, the end result is a massive surveillance system so complete and so dystopian that even George Orwell himself could not have predicted it.

Following another catastrophic mass shooting or crisis event, aggressive efforts will likely follow to foist these "solutions" on a frightened American public by the very network connected, not only to Jeffrey Epstein, but to a litany of crimes and a frightening history of plans to crush internal dissent and would-be dissenters in the United States.

There is the concept of willful blindness that I think applies to much of what Snowden has done, if not something altogether more nefarious -- distorations, misrepresenations, and outright lies, in addition to hubris. What is the point I'm making? 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.

I only wish the reader fairly and intelligently consider the questions I have raised. For I am encouraging you to think very carefully before you trust the statements, purpose, motives, and truthfulness of the secular saint, Edward Snowden.

Yvonne Lorenzo makes her home in New England in a house full to bursting with books, including works on classical Greece. Her interests include gardening, mythology, ancient history, The Electric Universe, and classical music, especially the compositions of Handel, Mozart, Bach, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and the Bel Canto repertoire. She is the author of the novels the Son of Thunder and The Cloak of Freya and has contributed to LewRockwell.com and TheSaker.IS.


Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: Website September 20, 2019 at 4:27 am GMT

Edward Snowden is a typical American fachidiot who, despite their protestations is a striver and bootlick for the Empire. I genuinely believe that he is puzzled as to why it has turned against him. He deserves his destiny of forever languishing in political purgatory.

Several years later, practically nobody remembers him here in the US, and possible elsewhere (save for when it is convenient for the media). Julian Assange was a far more daring, more insightful figure.

(As an aside, I am curious about the author's liking of bel canto . Lot of birdbrain music to my ears; I prefer Wagner, Strauss, Schreker, and Berg. Also, the older I get, the more I realize that Schoenberg was by far the greater genius than Mahler.)

ikki , says: September 20, 2019 at 4:56 am GMT
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.

You know, 16:00 hours the mouse just drops dead from the hand. Public servants don't give a damn if a job is made fast or efficient, only that procedure if followed and that it is eventually done. Unless priorities are reassigned, stuff left halfway undone in disarray is no problem when reassigned.

Just as keeping secret private archives of more or less job related data is all standard procedure. That is keep a load of data in your personal folders and move those into whatever form desired. Security is not very tight. Only in the sense that eventually every person with hours and access point etc data can be recovered if so ordered to.

So stealing data out of that system shouldn't be terribly hard. Just email it to a private email. Or store on something else and transport out. For one Hillary was doing the same thing for ages. In that case though "what difference does it make"

Jonathan Revusky , says: Website September 20, 2019 at 5:26 am GMT
Why does the author distrust the Snowden story while taking the Assange saga at face value?
Horst G , says: September 20, 2019 at 6:41 am GMT
There was an interview with Edward in the German magazine Der Spiegel this month, Nr. 18. In it, we get the tale, he copied material on SD cards, and smugeled them in his mouth, or inside a "magic cube" out of the base on Hawaii, passing "guards". A cube, the occult symbol, how blatant, just mocking the profane.

On the technical side, I got a story from a German BMW factory. A bunch of guys on nightshift plugged a USB Harddisk into a PC to watch a movie. Minutes later they received a call from the IT, it had been recognized remotely. What a charade. It has the taste of Jewish tales, smuggling stuff, tricking guards of an evil system.

Tusk , says: September 20, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
Great article, thanks Ron for publishing.
der einzige , says: Website September 20, 2019 at 7:00 am GMT
I recommend these articles from Jon Rappaport, unfortunately, wordpress deleted his blog.

and this

Russia gov report Snowden Greenwald are CIA frauds https://www.radios.cz/en/articles/russia-gov-report-snowden-greenwald-are-cia-frauds/

Brabantian , says: September 20, 2019 at 8:00 am GMT
Nice to have a piece helping point to the truth, that Glenn Greenwald & Edward Snowden are CIA frauds, as every major government knows

'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

Vladmir Putin himself hinting out loud he knows Snowden is fake, and 'Snowden asylum' is a game of back-door favours between Russia & the USA, few in the West pick up on it http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/09/21/russia-govt-report-snowden-greenwald-are-cia-frauds/

Despite the Snowden-Assange mutual sniping in their media-star rivalry, Julian Assange is also a CIA-Mossad asset, as Bibi Netanyahu himself has boasted to Israeli media, regarding aggressively pro-Zionist, anti-Palestinian Julian, equally anti-9-11-truth along with Eddie Snowden

As loyal CIA assets, neither Assange and Snowden dare to mention USA Virginia fed judge bribery files that have blocked other extraditions, tho these files would make their own extraditions impossible, if these CIA fakers really cared about their own 'defence'

Zbigniew Brzezinski on 29 Nov 2010, on the US public television PBS News Hour, also admitted Assange was intel, his Wikileaks 'selected'

People trusting Assange are dead, Peter W Smith, Seth Rich; others jailed

Very darkly, it is unknown how many dissidents Snowden and also Julian Assange helped silence or even kill, both of them a 'rat trap' for trusting whistle-blowers
https://www.henrymakow.com/2018/11/assange-snowden-rat-traps.html

You will notice that Assange & Snowden both got famous via CIA – MI6 media, NY Times, UK Guardian, who are never interested in real dissidents

Assange shared lawyer with Rothschilds, Rothschild sister-in-law posted Assange bail, Assange has ties to George Soros too

Early on, Assange helped Rothschilds destroy rival bank Julius Baer that is 'progressive Wiki-leaking' for you

Assange had a weird childhood with Aussie mind-control cult 'the Family'

Things like 'Assange living at Ecuador Embassy' – 'now in Belmarsh prison' – easily faked, Assange moved in & out for photos by MI5 MI6, police under national security orders 'Snowden' is not necessarily in Russia either

Assange & Snowden de-legitimise real dissidents, because people say, 'Wikileaks – NY Times – UK Guardian would cover it if it was true'

Tree Watcher , says: September 20, 2019 at 8:10 am GMT
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.

I completely understand if people are leery of the theorycrafting of a Q tracker, but I do believe that this suggestion is plausible. Setting aside attempts at placing it in context of a Deep State war, 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.

animalogic , says: September 20, 2019 at 8:10 am GMT
Interesting, thought-provoking article. It asks us to balance up competing interests & advantages.

On the one hand we can assume Snowden is "real" or not. That is, he's a genuine whistle blower, or he's a government psy-op's plant.

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.

I don't know the answer -- except that this article raises serious questions, suspicions , about Snowden's authenticity.

Franz , says: September 20, 2019 at 8:15 am GMT
Never for a moment considered Snowden any sort of secular saint.

Snowden for the most part only confirmed the downward trajectory of the formerly at least interesting filmmaker, Oliver Stone. If JFK was worth a laugh (and evidently did get a few people thinking about the phoniness of Dallas '63 for the first time), Snowden was total chloroform on screen. Sad to see Ollie hit such lows.

This bit is interesting:

When Julian Assange was taken from the Ecuadoran embassy, he was carrying a copy of Gore Vidal: History of the National Security State & Vidal on America. As an older article on Vidal in The Guardian noted, "Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit in 9/11."

As batty as Vidal may have been, it is a fact he was the first American with any sort of national recognition to speak out against the National Security State, starting in the Eisenhower years. His fury was partly stoked by their meddling in Central America, but he stayed at it. Even gave it a mention in a movie he had a gag role in, Bob Roberts , 1992.

His favorite line (variously rendered) was "Harry Truman signed the United States of America into oblivion in February, 1949" which was when the NSA papers were drawn up, giving us the security state, the CIA and the whole shebang. Anytime before, any US citizen could demand accounting of any government project, no matter what. Afterward, the rule by secrecy applied.

Vidal had been a WWII veteran and deplored all that came about after. Credit is due for that.

wayfarer , says: September 20, 2019 at 8:30 am GMT

Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you are being watched and recorded. The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone calls, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. – Edward Snowden

https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/edward-snowden-quotes

https://www.youtube.com/embed/e9yK1QndJSM?feature=oembed

Nik , says: September 20, 2019 at 9:05 am GMT
Both Assuange and Snowden are agent patsys
Oscar Peterson , says: September 20, 2019 at 9:14 am GMT
Who is this dizzy chick?

Snowden, exiled and isolated in Russia, is some sort of USG crypto-agent or something?

I suppose that if you're going to look for outside-the-box commentary and analysis, you're going to get some of this sort of nonsense. I guess you can't expect to hit a home run every time.

Oscar Peterson , says: September 20, 2019 at 9:20 am GMT
@Nicolás Palacios Navarro

"Edward Snowden is a typical American fachidiot who, despite their protestations is a striver and bootlick for the Empire. I genuinely believe that he is puzzled as to why it has turned against him. He deserves his destiny of forever languishing in political purgatory."

And yet this "striver and bootlick for the Empire" is exiled in Russia. So some guy sacrifices an enjoyable and secure life to go live in Russia and all you can say is that "he deserves his destiny?"

"Several years later, practically nobody remembers him here in the US"

And this is a reflection on him or on the rest of us?

anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 9:42 am GMT
@Oscar Peterson She starts off with a falsehood:

> Edward Snowden would have us believe that the Eye of Sauron didn't notice

He states exactly the opposite. I quit reading her garbage after that.

AmRusDebate , says: Website September 20, 2019 at 10:18 am GMT
Comfortable living in Moscow, vs. Belmarsh, makes all the difference in the world.

You might be right about Snowden, you might not be, but were Assange living in a Russian city, far out of reach of NeoconiaDC, Bill Blaney would show him greater respect believe me.

anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 10:21 am GMT
@Horst G Boy howdy, a Rubik's Cube is now magical, profane, occult, and eerily symbolic, because it's cubical! And geometry class is a satanic false flag op of oppressive propaganda taught by crypto-Jews! Who else could be interested in IRRATIONAL numbers like π? PYTHAGORAS WAS A MOSSAD AGENT!
Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: Website September 20, 2019 at 10:57 am GMT
@Oscar Peterson

And yet this "striver and bootlick for the Empire" is exiled in Russia. So some guy sacrifices an enjoyable and secure life to go live in Russia and all you can say is that "he deserves his destiny?"

His "sacrifice" was inadvertent and involuntary. The fact that he seems not to appreciate the sanctuary offered to him by Russia -- has he not repeatedly expressed the desire to go elsewhere? -- says a lot. From everything I have read about him, it would appear that he regards his exile not as something to be borne with dignity, but as something to pout over as does a child who unexpectedly did not get his way.

Julian Assange, on the other hand, sacrificed much more and did so willingly and courageously. He had no illusions about the consequences that he would face for his beliefs and actions.

And this is a reflection on him or on the rest of us?

Both. Nobody remembers anything here in the US anyway, least of all people and events which do not flatter the national mythos. In the case of this would-be patriot -- the scion of a family that grew fat at the government teat, and who himself has made a tidy profit from his exile -- his unofficial damnatio memoriæ is deserved.

anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 11:07 am GMT
@Franz > veteran Credit is due for that.

Maybe you ought to give Snowden some credit for his military service too. Fair is fair.

Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve on May 7, 2004, and became a Special Forces candidate through its 18X enlistment option.[39] He did not complete the training.[12] After breaking both legs in a training accident,[40] he was discharged on September 28, 2004.[41]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden#Career

9/11 Inside job , says: September 20, 2019 at 11:11 am GMT
@Brabantian Is Seth Rich dead ? OpDeepState.com : "The 'murder' of Seth Rich – Everything we thought we knew is wrong !" by Lisa Phillips . "The MOSSAD infiltrated Clinton's campaign with a Sayanim contractor – Seth Rich – this OP took Hillary right out of the race ."
anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 11:19 am GMT
Tor is a great tool, if you know how to use it correctly. The US gov't know people don't know how to use it correctly, and sets up exit nodes to spy on idiots, like this:

In 2007 Egerstad set up just five Tor exit nodes and used them to intercept thousands of private emails, instant messages and email account credentials.

Amongst his unwitting victims were the Australia, Japanese, Iranian, India and Russia embassies, .

Dan Egerstad proved then that exit nodes were a fine place to spy on people and his research convinced him in 2007, long before Snowden, that governments were funding expensive, high bandwidth exit nodes for exactly that purpose.

Tor is a fine security project and an excellent component in a strategy of defence in depth but it isn't (sadly) a cloak of invisibility.

Exit nodes, just like fake Wi-Fi hotspots, are an easy and tempting way for attackers to silently insert themselves into a network.

By running an exit node they can sit there as an invisible man-in-the-middle on a system that people choose when they want extra privacy and security.

Can you trust Tor's exit nodes?
https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2015/06/25/can-you-trust-tors-exit-nodes/

So just assume the US gov't is your exit node, thank them silently for paying for you to use it free, and keep your info encrypted.

Svevlad , says: September 20, 2019 at 11:30 am GMT
Both him and Assange are spooks
Rabbitnexus , says: September 20, 2019 at 11:50 am GMT
Well, this is refreshing. I agree wholeheartedly about Snowden and have the same reservations. My feelings about Assange, however, aren't much different. Julian has not challenged the 9/11 narrative either to be fair. I am inclined to see them both as limited hangouts. Snowden's 'revelations' were all old news to anyone who'd been paying attention for 10 years before his appearance. Even other whistleblowers, none of whom got any media coverage, had spoken of much of it previously. I see them both as pied pipers and nothing more. I think Russian intelligence services are perfectly well aware of what Snowden is and have kept him at arms length themselves. Not much they could do but play along but nothing suggests they ever saw him as any sort of 'coup'

Anyone who still plays along with the 9/11 bullshit narrative isn't worth a damn anyway.

Rabbitnexus , says: September 20, 2019 at 11:58 am GMT
@animalogic 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. Snowden NEVER impressed me for a moment and honestly, nor has Assange. I believe they're both working for the other side still. By the way, Julian Assange has actually denigrated 9/11 truthers a number of times.

Horst G , says: September 20, 2019 at 12:08 pm GMT
@anon It's in the magazine, page 82, quote "Zauberwürfel". Presented by me, for you to get the picture. Maybe you haven't seen enough cubes around, to get that humor. In real life, copying material on devices will be followed by arrest, no interview, no journey to some exile. This whole tale is not funny, it's evil on many levels. Your sarcasm is disturbing.
Realist , says: September 20, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
@Nicolás Palacios Navarro

Several years later, practically nobody remembers him here in the US, and possible elsewhere (save for when it is convenient for the media). Julian Assange was a far more daring, more insightful figure.

I disagree, there are plenty of people who remember him. The problem is they don't care, most Americans would rather watch America's Got Talent or Dancing With The Stars than do something about our corrupt political system.

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 20, 2019 at 12:16 pm GMT
Assange and Snowden are both shill's..

https://aanirfan.blogspot.com/search?q=assange

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 20, 2019 at 12:20 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read And

2013 Edward Snowden 'leaked stolen documents' (1) 'Leaked' to Dick Cheney friend at CIA WashPost, Rothschild employee Greenwald (2) Anti-9-11-truth (3) Nothing really new beyond more than 5+ previous NSA whistleblowers (4) Has CIA lawyers, worked with Brzezinski son, promoted by Brzezinski daughter, fake CV history (5) Known as fake to all major gov intel agencies

https://aanirfan.blogspot.com/search?q=snowden

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 20, 2019 at 12:31 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read This is absolutely dynamite material, it blows to smithereens any notion that Edward Snowden is anything other than a fraud, a CIA disinfo op.

So now we can place him alongside Julian Assange and Wikileaks in the rogue's gallery of professional liars. This report also exposes several other media outlets as being under CIA control, something we have known for some time

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/09/21/russia-govt-report-snowden-greenwald-are-cia-frauds/

foolisholdman , says: September 20, 2019 at 1:04 pm GMT
@animalogic

I don't know the answer -- except that this article raises serious questions, suspicions , about Snowden's authenticity.

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. I don't have a reference for it, but I saw it in correspondence on this site. There was a video of a lecture given by Assange, where someone asked him about 9/11. He looked extremely embarrassed and then replied that he thought that it was "not very important" (Sic!) and changed the subject.

I am less sure of this but I think I saw something similar in an interview with Snowden. Perhaps someone else can remind me of exact references?

Amon , says: September 20, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT
This is the same government whose leaders secure their laptops with the secret code "pas$word" and require the producers of computers to give them full access via day one exploits along with tailor fitted programs that are easier to hack.

That Snowden got away with what he did is not that shocking.

Justvisiting , says: September 20, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT
These days Snowden has become a generic term for whistleblowing on the Deep State tech spying, like xerox for copying. I suppose someone here wants to remind us that this was _really_ the first copier, patented in 1879:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestetner

The truth or falsity of the original "myth" becames moot at some point.

The Deep State is spying. They do have hardware and software and monkey in the middle hacks. They do trade intelligence with other spy agencies, domestic and foreign. They lie about it through the Mockingbird media.

_That_ is what is important.

Snowden's bona fides are "inside baseball", and minor league baseball at that.

.gov IT security is a joke–millions of pages of regulations, proclamations, millions of hours of management meetings, goals, powerpoint slides–ultimately easily outmatched by any determined hackers (whether in mom's basement or an intelligence agency's basement).

Multiple Fronts , says: September 20, 2019 at 1:32 pm GMT
CIA Edward Snowden? ...
Antiwar7 , says: September 20, 2019 at 1:34 pm GMT
If he was a sys admin, that probably meant he had the rights to install, remove, enable, and disable the various safety guards and security checks discussed in this article.
sally , says: September 20, 2019 at 1:48 pm GMT
@Jonathan Revusky Yvonne Lorenzo paper suggest suspect issues exist to support Snowden's story but finds Assange's saga to be based in epic, consistent, continued resistance to the organized forces at work in governments and high profile international corporations and agencies to keep secret things which expose officials as criminals.

<=the difference is consistency, scope and finger points. Assange has been consistent.. always seeking to make available as much as he could, always with as much clarity as possible; making the point where he could, that much of what he exposed seems to be in the domain of organized crime. Assange often exposes high profile persons and tags them with evidence to connect them to prior and current organized crime or obviously corrupt activities. Assange shows these persons or governments or agencies are involved in secret diplomatic activities, the secrecy of which seem always to be protected by judicial and legal processes

The Assange story paints a picture that suggest globally organized crime has come into possession and now manages and controls many well armed domestic governments and that selected agencies of government have been enabling selected private enterprises. Assange exposes intelligence services of many different nations to be a bank, corporation, and agency inter connects that coordinate infrastructure destruction, invasion, regime change, and war, and that these events are often followed by opportunistic privatization.

Snowden merely says a few things are wrong and should be corrected. in time the government will fix its own mistakes. I do not know if Snowden is a Trojan, but nothing Assange has done suggest he is and governments have treated Assange as anything but one of them. My opinion.

der einzige , says: Website September 20, 2019 at 2:04 pm GMT
@foolisholdman I think you meant that

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zG23AyiIObk?feature=oembed

Oscar Peterson , says: September 20, 2019 at 2:35 pm GMT
@Nicolás Palacios Navarro I agree that Assange has suffered much more than Snowden, but why hold that against the latter?

Snowden took a risk to publicize what he thought was important information indicating a dangerous trend in US policy. He wasn't willing to offer himself up as a lamb to the slaughter, so it's true that his sacrifice is not perhaps the ultimate one. He seems to have thought he could remain in Hong Kong but didn't realize that China was never going to compromise relations with the US to protect him. Putin wouldn't have either except that the US was so imperious in demanding his return that Putin really couldn't save face and give him up, and no doubt he was rankled by US hypocrisy, knowing that had Snowden been a Russian, the US would never have considered sending him back.

But Snowden DID take action which is more than most of us do. I find your complete lack of empathy kind of weird, to be honest. Even if Assange is the more virtuous or if one disagrees with Snowden's actions, he has paid a price for principle.

What does his family background have to do with anything?

I'm not inclined to sneer at him, and I don't see how you get to "he deserves what he gets."

Commentator Mike , says: September 20, 2019 at 2:44 pm GMT
@Brabantian Brabantian,

So Pamela Anderson lied about visiting Assange in the embassy? If they're faking it, wherever he is he isn't in the public eye walking down the street or sitting in a Starbucks, so he's leading a prison life anyway behind closed doors somewhere. I suppose a dedicated agent would do something like that for Queen and country or whatever, but I doubt he's the type. I gather veterans today are trying to cast Assange as a Mossad agent but then they're the Journal of the Clandestine Community, whatever that is.

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.

Justvisiting , says: September 20, 2019 at 2:46 pm GMT
@der einzige Thanks for posting–Assange looked dazed and confused by the question itself.

It could be "rogue agents". A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 2:48 pm GMT
@Anonymous Snanonymous > Snowden, unlike Assange, largely suffered from pussy deprivation

You're projecting your own lack of success with females. Meanwhile, Snowden's squeeze Lindsay Mills lives with him in Moscow.

Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena confirmed the lovebirds' reunion and said they've been taking in Russian theaters and cultural sights together. "Love is love," he told AFP. "She lives with him when she comes here. Moral support is very important for Edward."
https://nypost.com/2014/10/11/snowdens-girlfriend-lives-with-him-in-moscow-documentary-reveals/

There's no way an envious gamma like you could tap this:

Anonymous [893] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 2:51 pm GMT
Good stuff. Snowden was outed by Gordon Duff years ago. Although I'll have to come back to finish this article, it generally appears to agree with Duff's analysis that none of it adds up. If I may paraphrase Edward Bernays, To read the Washington Post and Guardian or watch TV news is to see America and Western Civilization through the eyes of its enemy.

The owners of the media own the public forum in America and through it the formation of men's attitudes and the outcome of elections. The left vs right, CNN vs Fox News, MAGA vs socialism and other contrived theater serves the interests of the media owners and no other.

TheJester , says: September 20, 2019 at 3:02 pm GMT
@Jonathan Revusky Try this:

Assange tried to destroy the "system", which would have furthered the conditions for completing the ongoing, global Cultural Marxist Revolution Mao Zedong on steroids.

Snowden, on the other hand, wanted something much less extreme. He wanted to fix and save the "system" by exposing its excesses in order to bring it back within a quasi-legal, democratic framework.

In response, the "system" was satisfied to teach Snowden a lesson. They were willing to slap Snowden's hand by exiling him to Western Russia, which is better than rotting in a Siberian labor camp or "max" prison in the United States.

Assange, on the other hand, is a reincarnated, digital version of Che Guevara. They want his scalp, recognizing that Assange (like Che Guevara) will brook no compromise in his revolutionary agitation.

Anonymous Snanonymous , says: September 20, 2019 at 3:22 pm GMT
@anon Thank you for the update I remain celibate out of consideration for those who are truly hard up.
Sparkon , says: September 20, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT
Good article. Snowden and Assange are agents of disinformation

"I'm constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud."

-- Julian Assange

http://911blogger.com/news/2010-07-22/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-annoyed-911-truth

Assange's damming statement about 9/11 at the Belfast Telegraph is now behind a sign-up gatepost, which was not there in the fairly recent past.

9/11 Inside job , says: September 20, 2019 at 4:36 pm GMT
9/11 is the "litmus test" and it appears that both Assange and Snowden have failed it.
anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 5:06 pm GMT
@9/11 Inside job Well, the Real Litmus Test ™ is eternal security vs. conditional salvation. Don't fail, or everything else you've ever said must be summarily dismissed. Answer well, friendo .

Splitting (also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking) is the failure in a person's thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_(psychology)

Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: Website September 20, 2019 at 6:09 pm GMT
@Realist

The problem is they don't care, most Americans would rather watch America's Got Talent or Dancing With The Stars than do something about our corrupt political system.

Also very true.

Outrage Beyond , says: September 20, 2019 at 6:43 pm GMT
It appears the author of this piece has not read Snowden's book, Permanent Record . If she had, she would not have asked questions which are answered, in detail, in Snowden's book. Here are some of the most obvious points.

1. "Why does Snowden never discuss dealing with such encryption: how would it be possible?"

Answer: In his book, Snowden describes the layers of encryption that he used when copying the files from NSA. He also describes the extraordinary level of access he had as a systems engineer. Further, he mentions his surprise at finding that the NSA did not practice widespread encryption, in contrast to his experience at CIA, where the hard drives were not only encrypted, but removed from the computers and placed in a safe each night.

2. "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?"

Answer: Movies omit details. In his book, Snowden describes working in the one-person Information Sharing department. As part of that work, he brought an older, "obsolete" system to his office under the cover story of "compatibility testing" and used this older system to copy the data.

3. "Did Edward Snowden, who has publicly criticized Google, mention Google is deployed as a search engine throughout the federal "intranet"?"

Answer: Yes, as a matter of fact, in his book, Snowden does mention that Google provides a custom internal version of their search engine to the intelligence community.

4. "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."

Answer: In his book, Snowden describes how he created a "readboard" that collected the documents as part of his work in the Information Sharing department. He also describes how another systems administrator did notice, and how he addressed this attention by providing access to his "readboard" to the other administrator, and explained its purpose and value to users. In other words, the "gigabytes of data" he was looking at were directly related to his job function.

5. "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?"

Answer: Snowden also discusses this topic in his book. According to Snowden, he did not want to simply release the information, he wanted the media to remove anything that might cause harm.

6. "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?"

Answer: After 6 years of media attention, it seems reasonable he would gain some expertise in dealing with the media.

My purpose in providing the answers above is not to defend or attack Snowden. Rather, these examples just show that the author of this piece is a sloppy amateur who did not do her homework. I suspect the author is also woefully ignorant of computer technology. Anyone curious about these topics should read Permanent Record and decide for themselves.

PetrOldSack , says: September 20, 2019 at 6:49 pm GMT
@sally

My opinion.

Your opinion stands. Snowden has de facto been compromised. Being in Russia, and not in control of his environment. Whether he was from the start, could be. The Tor browser bull- *** t speaks against him all the way. His conventional career start, and youth also. He is more Macron then a Galloway.

Assange was in for the long term, had thorough knowledge of affairs digital, his youth, his physical courage(there must be a point where selling out was a possibility) were exemplary all along the (long) and still ongoing slug.

Even his ego, fronting Wikileaks seems to be proportionate as compared to the conventional Jerks &, as Pompeo, Hillary, Trump, Obama. If one sees how many personnel is dedicated to steer elections and governance public opinion, he certainly looks like a lonely giant on the civil disobedience, organizational, knowledgeable, energy spent and resilience side. A true example of what White, and Western European descend stands for. Enlightenment, in system, style, and function. Relevancy, long term goals, dare, does not come better then that.

PetrOldSack , says: September 20, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
@Justvisiting Very to the point. True over the whole stretch digital communication is in existence.
Mark Hunter , says: Website September 20, 2019 at 6:59 pm GMT
@Oscar Peterson I don't have "Agree/Disagree/Etc" privileges so I say here that I agree with you.

Some of the pompous ingrates trashing Snowden for the flimsiest of reasons still seem to have a high opinion of Thomas Drake, William Binney, or Kirk Wiebe. They might read this: Three NSA Veterans Speak Out on Whistleblower

peterAUS , says: September 20, 2019 at 7:06 pm GMT
@ikki Pretty much.

The author, interestingly enough, isn't I.T. professional, but, has very definite opinions about IT security. Dumb.

Just email it to a private email.

Well, firewall logs could reveal your connection to some email server outside ..

Or store on something else and transport out.

Yep. Hehe the girl doesn't actually get how that "encryption" thing works. OSI layers etc.

And, what people really don't get: all security is as good as an average person using it. As hehe you pointed out:

Hillary was doing the same thing for ages.

Insider doesn't need to tackle technology. All he/she needs is to tackle is a dumb employee. Anyway .

I could make my home systems quite secure, even against Five Eyes. That would create another set of even worse problems, but let's leave it out for now.
The problem is my wife and her browsing/computer use habits. Hehe makes sense?

peterAUS , says: September 20, 2019 at 7:09 pm GMT
@Outrage Beyond A very good comment.

Especially

.a systems engineer .. the one-person Information Sharing department . .providing access to his "readboard" to the other administrator .

anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 7:26 pm GMT
@Realist Snowden did "do something about our corrupt political system," not that anybody here cares.

And God Bless America.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/8kssysjyPl0?feature=oembed

niceland , says: September 20, 2019 at 8:46 pm GMT
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.

Last but not least, he is playing very dangerous game, probably without much security from his host country. This probably limits what he can do, TPTB could probably get to him if they wanted it badly enough.

anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT
@Horst G Everybody with the slight familiarity about the story knows of Snowden's use of the Ernő Rubik's Cube to hide the SD card.

> In real life, copying material on devices will be followed by arrest, no interview, no journey to some exile.

Snowden proved you wrong, by the skin of his teeth.

> Your sarcasm is disturbing.

Yeah? How do you think folks feel about your black cape and a fiberglass helmet?

Republic , says: September 20, 2019 at 8:54 pm GMT
@anon Wasn't Ross William Ulbricht compromised by using Tor ?
anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 9:12 pm GMT
@PetrOldSack > The Tor browser bull- *** t speaks against him all the way

No, your stupid bull- *** t lack of understanding about Tor speaks against you all the way. It's not encryption, like you probably think it is. It's simply a way to use another IP address without having to drive to the nearest Starbucks to use their wifi. You treat Tor just like any "free" wifi, assuming that your data is being sniffed and collected. If you're going to message, use Signal (or Telegram.) Always force HTTPS. Use encryption. All Tor does is obfuscate your IP location, which is exactly what Snowden states, "All Tor does is obfuscate your IP location .

"[Tor] allows you to disassociate your physical location ."

EDWARD SNOWDEN EXPLAINS HOW TO RECLAIM YOUR PRIVACY
https://theintercept.com/2015/11/12/edward-snowden-explains-how-to-reclaim-your-privacy/

And now Brave Browser has it built in! So easy. Try it. Just don't do anything on Tor that you wouldn't do with a Starbuck's free wifi in Foggy Bottom.

anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 20, 2019 at 9:29 pm GMT
@Republic How he got taken down is here , and it started with the name-fag using his Real Name while e-begging for help to run illegal websites, and ended up with a half-dozen FBI agents tailing him at his arrest. Even then, Tor made it harder for the FBI to track him, just not impossible.

Tor only does one thing, obfuscate your physical location. That's it. It's not magic. It's a virtual way to sit at the Starbucks cafe and use their free wifi. Just assume the exit node is owned by the Feds, looking for criminal morons who don't understand it and think it's "secure" or "encrypted." It's not. Use encryption too.

Gg , says: September 20, 2019 at 10:09 pm GMT
Stuff like this just confirms Qanon. He said years ago Snowden was a CIA plant in the NSA to reveal this information about their mass surveillance on purpose. Why ? Maybe it relates to what Michael Hoffman describes as revelation of the method – a process of revealing the crimes being committed against us by "they" so it breeds apathy and despair in the population when nothing comes from
The revelation of the crimes
The Company , says: September 20, 2019 at 11:06 pm GMT
The Russian authorities are capable of asking the same perceptive questions – – and yet they continue to be gracious hosts.
Sean , says: September 20, 2019 at 11:10 pm GMT
An allegedly very high iq high school from a family with drop out Snowden's tried to join special forces and failed jump school, he failed a polygraph, got accepted to the CIA though not as a field agent despite his lack of a degree, and was bounced from the CIA and then got a job with Dell as an outside contractor on the basis of his still intact security clearance, the contractors were not compartmentalised in the way government employees were.

Then he went to work for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, at an NSA facility in Hawaii. In subsequent interview with journalists, Snowden lied about his doing undercover work for the CIA, salary and seniority at Booz Allen, being able to spy on the the emails and phone calls of President Obama. Oh, and suffering broken bones in special forces jump school, he just had shin splints It is very clear how he got access, and why most of the people who gave him it did not own up.

https://nypost.com/2013/11/08/snowden-duped-coworkers-to-get-passwords/ Snowden duped co-workers to get passwords A handful of agency employees who gave their login details to Snowden were identified, questioned and removed from their assignments, said a source close to several U.S. government investigations into the damage caused by the leaks.

Snowden may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers at the NSA regional operations center in Hawaii to give him their logins and passwords by telling them they were needed for him to do his job as a computer systems administrator, a second source said.

Are we to believe the NSA lacks a "digital trail" when it comes to classified documents?

It's only difficult to believe if you think NASA (like the CIA and FBI once were) are only guarded in relation to external rather than internal security breaches

[A] frightening history of plans to crush internal dissent and would-be dissenters in the United States.

Why would they bother? Those dissenters cannot change anything, while they are whiling away their free time on the internet. Such activity cannot change anything at all, and so it is to be encouraged from the point of view of any establishment as open dissent on the net wards off the allegation of totalitarian state. Talk is cheap.

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 21, 2019 at 2:19 am GMT
Learn to recognize government dis-info. http://mileswmathis.com/glenn.pdf
ShermanFan , says: September 21, 2019 at 2:28 am GMT
I'm not going to comment on the person or their agenda, rather the process-broadly.

Can you copy encrypted files without knowledge and smuggle them out? Short answer: Yes, with a second device and some standard hardware stuff. They can see the second device if it is plugged in, but they have to look for it. There is no need to try and copy from the source, copy the output to a second machine that can interpret.

Franz , says: September 21, 2019 at 6:25 am GMT
@anon

ought to give Snowden some credit for his military service too.

Hell, I'd give the guy credit for his quick sprinting at the NSA. But we haven't established if he was a wiz kid or a plant.

Vidal went into the US Army after Pearl Harbor, at age 17. Even though he'd been his high school representative for the America First Committee, trying to keep the US out of the war. Due to hypothermia working on army transport ships in the Aleutians, he was initially misdiagnosed as arthritic and, not being caught in time, ended up first with a titanium leg replacement years later, then in a wheelchair.

I remain sort of impressed when a young man opposes a fight, then for patriotic reasons, serves anyway (and pays a steep price).

I'm sure we'll get the full story on Snowden sooner or later.

anon [260] Disclaimer , says: September 21, 2019 at 12:58 pm GMT
@Saggy A stupid girl who is completely unfamiliar with the Snowden history. For example, she asks this, "why did Snowden provide his files to The Guardian?"

Because he needed immediate press coverage. He didn't have weeks or even days, he had at most a few hours. His story had to be in the press the next morning. Both Greenwald and the Guardian reporter were with him at the hotel, worried that Snowden might even be assassinated if caught by US forces, and worked to get immediate press coverage of his plight to save his life. Plus, he was in constant contact with Wikileaks'Julian Assange, which she conveniently ignores to promote her lie-based conspiritard theory.

Without his story getting into the press within a few hours, and without Wikileaks' Julian Assange helping Snowden, he'd be in prison now, at best, possibly dead.

I say, give the guy a fair trial. He has asked for a fair trial. But the US Gov't has refused to allow his motive to be considered in the trial. Amazing, isn't it? Since when is motive to not be considered in a criminal trial?

For Snowden, a fair trial means allowing the jury to consider his motivations rather than simply deciding the case on whether a law was broken.

"They want the jury strictly to consider whether these actions were lawful or unlawful, not whether they were right or wrong," Snowden said. "And I'm sorry, but that defeats the purpose of a jury trial."

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/09/17/edward-snowden-releases-book-russia-wants-fair-trial-us/2349586001/

Che Guava , says: September 21, 2019 at 3:26 pm GMT
Tor may still be a good tool, it certainly was, I had great fun using it to troll and set off edit wars on English Wikipedia for a year or two mid-last decade. One of those edit wars lasted for about three days. I just watched after starting it (but I meant what I said in the comment that set it off, but not always in the trolling(^-^)v).

In any case, the English-language WP has been madly tracking Tor exit nodes and banning them since about early '07.

Fun while it lasted.

As for the wrong way to use it, that basically means making a connection to any other site, without Tor, while using Tor. I slipped up on that once or twice when slightly drunk.

I don't even know if using Tor is even legal in Japan now. I do love, however, how Wikipedia is aggressively supressing it.

Some politicians in ruling party were moving to make it illegal a couple of years ago, our polity is so nonsensical that I have to checck Japanese wiki to see the result.

Any fule knows that Tor original is a U.S.N. programme,

Yvonne Lorenzo , says: September 21, 2019 at 6:42 pm GMT
@der einzige

I recommend these articles from Jon Rappaport, unfortunately, wordpress deleted his blog.

Rappaport started my thinking and I bookmarked his pages long ago and to my horror found the site was taken down. I wonder why? Glad for this archive. Thank you.

Yvonne Lorenzo , says: September 21, 2019 at 6:57 pm GMT
@Outrage Beyond

It appears the author of this piece has not read Snowden's book, Permanent Record. If she had, she would not have asked questions which are answered, in detail, in Snowden's book. Here are some of the most obvious points.

1. "Why does Snowden never discuss dealing with such encryption: how would it be possible?"

Answer: In his book, Snowden describes the layers of encryption that he used when copying the files from NSA. He also describes the extraordinary level of access he had as a systems engineer. Further, he mentions his surprise at finding that the NSA did not practice widespread encryption, in contrast to his experience at CIA, where the hard drives were not only encrypted, but removed from the computers and placed in a safe each night.

2. "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?"

Answer: Movies omit details. In his book, Snowden describes working in the one-person Information Sharing department. As part of that work, he brought an older, "obsolete" system to his office under the cover story of "compatibility testing" and used this older system to copy the data.

No, I haven't read the book–yet.

As part of a forensic analysis, which none of you were observant enough to understand, the subject is interviewed without knowledge of the questions in advance. His answers would be evaluated based on facts, for which a forensic IT team with no connections to government contractors would be part of and gain access to NSA systems. Thus, testimony is considered but it must be verified. Rand Paul might be one to open an investigation into the inadequacy of NSA security but government investigating itself is suspect. No such investigation will ever take place.

Note there has been no calls, that I am aware of, for any GAO study of NSA vulnerabilities.

Second, the critics miss the point: providing files to CIA-Five Eye fronts like Guardian and CIA Washington Post is suspect. As per what I wrote, no one now has access to this data.

I suspect Snowden leaked legitimate information to con the Russians to be on their soil and conduct malfeasance. Prior to Putin providing S-300s to Syria, Israel had better relations with Russia. I suspect Q is also coordinated by Intel agency friendly to Likud. Note his mention of John Perry Barlow before his death. He warned of Snowden being sent deliberately to Russia and hence my concern for CIA doing something stupid.

As to his comments on not supporting Russia, no support is necessary. If he were a decent human being he could simply have stated, "Election interference notwithstanding the U.S. should pursue non-aggressive posture against Russia. There was no 'Second Pearl Harbor.' The risk of nuclear war is great and I agree with President Trump to reduce tensions, although I disagree with his politics."

Instead, see his Tweets supporting the Pussy Hats and "We came, we saw, he died" Hillary Clinton.

In the event, Snowden is irrelevant. The end of Empire is imminent.

Read Martyanov's post on the recent threats America made to Russia here.

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2019/09/why-would-you-ask.html

I have compassion for Snowden. His end will likely be as Skripals was: disappearance by Western IC which he supports and blame placed on Russia.

We are free to disagree with one another. I trust nothing a supporter of Empire says.

As to September 11 I wasn't aware of Assange's remarks. This is the touchstone as others have said. Snowden enlisted because of September 11 false flag. Yeah, right, he is an idiot savant.

Even Ed Asner who no longer wins Emmy awards and is blackballed had the courage to do this video. Trust Snowden? I think not.

Y. Lorenzo (this site will not allow me to post under my name)

p.s. Ron uses Gmail. The nearest military base is a long, long way from my location. A helicopter outfitted with surveillance bubbles overflew after I submitted this piece.. Coincidence, right?

I will fight for the truth. I receive no compensation for my work and expect none. I support the cause of peace and not Empire. Thanks for the intelligent supportive comments. Ad hominem attacks mean nothing. Thanks to Ron for posting though he disagrees.

Che Guava , says: September 21, 2019 at 7:17 pm GMT
...re. 'Smowden"when he was constantly whining about Russia, getting hhs pole-dancing gf to join him there must have been a major effort, but he has no gratitude for it.

Really strange. At the time, I thought that Putin's comment 'he is a strange young man' had to do only with questions of loyalty and betrayal, of course, it was lilekely deeper and more suspicious than that. 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.

Sean , says: September 21, 2019 at 7:22 pm GMT
@Republic Snowden's wife is a former pole dancer, those are for good for something, but its not marrying. Everything about him suggests immaturity, from his toying with the idea of being a model to his trying to go from frail civilian with a youth spent 24/7 gaming to passing jumps school. He stole vastly more than he could ever have read, much of it having no bearing on privacy so he has no idea what he might have compromised. Quoth he:

There is a secrecy agreement, but there is also an oath of service. An oath of service is to support and defend, not an agency, not even the president, it is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies – direct quote – foreign and domestic. And this begs the question, what happens when our obligations come into conflict.

If you have meaningful values (ie those that do not charge to suit your personal aggrandisement) you resign, I but instead of doing that he deliberately got another job contracting with the NSA all the better to steal data.

peterAUS , says: September 21, 2019 at 7:56 pm GMT
@Yvonne Lorenzo

.In the event, Snowden is irrelevant. The end of Empire is imminent. Read Martyanov's post on the recent threats America made to Russia here .

That was fast, even for this pub.

Ad hominem attacks mean nothing.

You mean being positive about you UNABLE to visualize a byte from a "keypress" moving all the way to the LAN cable with each timer "click"? You know, buffers, busses, microcode/firmware, interrupts, stack/heap, closed source, encryption/decryption layer of the OSI stack etc. That's for technology. As for people, unaware of an average idiot user in any environment using IT, Governments in particular, and the role and power of sysadmins in such environments? But confident to write articles what can and can not be done re IT security? Yeah .

AB_Anonymous , says: September 21, 2019 at 8:05 pm GMT
@anon Not sure about Pythagoras, but there are (very unfortunately) people who might have fun from combining "Rubik's Cube and highly classified information". And not necessarily in reality.
Yvonne Lorenzo , says: September 21, 2019 at 8:08 pm GMT
@peterAUS

You mean being positive about you UNABLE to visualize a byte from a "keypress" moving all the way to the LAN cable with each timer "click"? You know, buffers, busses, microcode/firmware, interrupts, stack/heap, closed source, encryption/decryption layer of the OSI stack etc. That's for technology.

Butthurt you are, yes? Tell me how he defeats this, be specific. https://www.symantec.com/products/endpoint-encryption

White paper here. https://www.symantec.com/content/dam/symantec/docs/white-papers/keeping-your-private-data-secure-en.pdf

Y. Lorenzo

And I don't care; fine, he was a clever op, he hacked the NSA, whoo-hoo. My other comments still stand. Go wave your flag, you're done.

Sean , says: September 21, 2019 at 8:22 pm GMT
@Yvonne Lorenzo

Rand Paul might be one to open an investigation into the inadequacy of NSA security but government investigating itself is suspect. No such investigation will ever take place.

Yes, Rand Paul who while cutting his lawn provoked his own retired doctor neighbor in a gated community into a maddened vicious rib dislocating attack that cost Paul part of his lung What a brilliant choice to annoy the government.

His end will likely be as Skripals was: disappearance by Western IC which he supports and blame placed on Russia

Skirpal is in America. The British got Skirpal out of Russia, but Russia could have killed him any time because he was homesick and meeting people from the Russian Embassy. In my opinion the Russians were trying to kill Skirpal's daughter along with him. They knew she was coming and timed the nerve agent attack so as to 'accidentally' kill her along with the traitor. The knowledge that you will go after their families is the ultimate deterrent. Unless you are a narcissistic dick like Snowden, who hardly mentions anything his family did for him except getting a second phone line so he could play some stupid internet game. Snowden actually says in his book that the internet raised him. It did not get him a job in the CIA despite him having no degree, that was his mom's NSA and her father's Pentagon connections. Aldrich Ames's father worked for the CIA .

Art , says: September 21, 2019 at 9:12 pm GMT
Edward Snowden is a great man – a great American. (Will a Dem president pardon him?) I recently viewed a video on how a poor immigrant family hid Snowden before he secured a flight out of Hong Kong. (He is working to get them out of Hong Kong, to Canada.) I am curious as to how he got the flight out to Russia?????
Yvonne Lorenzo , says: September 21, 2019 at 9:14 pm GMT
This will be my final comment. My issue is one regarding Snowden's character and integrity, especially as the collapsing Empire under FUBAR Trump is waging war on the world. Come on, none of the CIA trolls here have read The Saker with Orlov on the fate of the mass murdering Empire?

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/placing-the-usa-on-a-collapse-continuum-with-dmitry-orlov/

At this point it is important to explain what exactly a "final collapse" looks like. Some people are under the very mistaken assumption that a collapsed society or country looks like a Mad Max world. This is not so. The Ukraine has been a failed state for several years already, but it still exists on the map. People live there, work, most people still have electricity (albeit not 24/7), a government exists, and, at least officially, law and order is maintained. This kind of collapsed society can go on for years, maybe decades, but it is in a state of collapse nonetheless, as it has reached all the 5 Stages of Collapse as defined by Dmitry Orlov in his seminal book "The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit" where he mentions the following 5 stages of collapse:

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in "business as usual" is lost.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that "the market shall provide" is lost.
Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that "the government will take care of you" is lost.
Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that "your people will take care of you" is lost.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in "the goodness of humanity" is lost.

Sound familiar? Read it and weep. Your pensions are toast.

Or read Chris Hedges America The Farewell Tour.

Snowden's character is proven by his interview with Brian Roberts.

Now, although only 14% of U.S. TLAMs got past Syrian air defenses, hear him was rhapsodic on the "beautiful missiles."

And Snowden is happy to talk to this creep? And asks Rothschild-Kravis puppet Macron to ex-filtrate him to France?

https://www.voltairenet.org/article204303.html

It was in this milieu that he met Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis, in their residence on Park Avenue in New York [1]. The Kravis couple, unfailing supporters of the US Republican Party, are among the great world fortunes who play politics out of sight of the Press. Their company, KKR, like Blackstone and the Carlyle Group, is one of the world's major investment funds.

" Emmanuel's curiosity for the 'can-do attitude' was fascinating – the capacity to tell yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to. He had a thirst for knowledge and a desire to understand how things work, but without imitating or copying anyone. In this, he remained entirely French ", declares Marie-Josée Drouin (Mrs. Kravis) today [2].

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201909141076804460-go-west-edward-snowden-hopes-frances-emmanuel-macron-will-approve-his-asylum-application/

Snowden's revelations about his aspirations for asylum outside of Russia come just days ahead of the upcoming release of his new memoir which is expected to hit the shelves on US Constitution Day.

Famous American whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the man responsible for exposing a number of global surveillance programs run by the US agency, has recently revealed that he would like to obtain asylum in France.

Call it female intuition, Snowden creeps me out.

Those who want to bow before his altar, be my guest. You have free will.

peterAUS , says: September 21, 2019 at 11:21 pm GMT
@Yvonne Lorenzo

Butthurt

whoo-hoo..

Go wave your flag

.CIA trolls here

Read it and weep. Your pensions are toast.

From an author here?!

Whoah ..

My God, Unz .. really ? Coming to this?

Hahaha oh man.

peterAUS , says: September 21, 2019 at 11:48 pm GMT
Just realized, isn't this creature the only female author here? A female creature is writing, as an author, on alt-whatever site, about things she has never been professionally involved in. With certain hahaha style.

Hahaha ..oh my.

So, what have we got:
1. Unz finally collapsed under "diversity" pressure?
2. There is, sort of a hidden, message here.

I really hope it's the second.

Sean , says: September 22, 2019 at 12:35 am GMT peterAUS , says: September 22, 2019 at 2:31 am GMT
@Sean True true .mea culpa. Female stuff, that is, in general.

Style, though, is unique for the creature here.

Butthurt

whoo-hoo..

Go wave your flag

.CIA trolls here

Read it and weep. Your pensions are toast .

.creep .creeps me out

I mean hahaha .when reading those things it's, almost, as written by a certain type of commentators here. Almost as one of them, actually. Same "footprint". Especially the first two.

I mean, having that from an author here is, really, a new low for sure.

This is the first time I've seen something like that, and my attitude was mild in this thread compared to some in other threads. I mean, I was quite hard on some authors here, and never, so far that. "Butthurt" ."whoo-hoo"

I've quite offended a couple of authors here and they never replied with any rude word. And ..my God "whoo-hoo". Haha crazy.

New "quality" seeping here, apparently. Hehe getting with times, I guess. And program.
Understandable.

peterAUS , says: September 22, 2019 at 2:54 am GMT
@peterAUS O.K. I could be wrong.

I've been on this site for quite some time. Read, on average, 20 % of articles and similar number of comments in those articles.

I can't, really, recollect ONE case when an AUTHOR, here, in a comments exchange with a commentator, used the words "butthurt" and "whoo-hoo". Not once from the, say, authors from the West. Born and raised there, that is. Cultural thing, I guess.

Anyone could prove me senile/wrong? Please.

2stateshmustate , says: September 22, 2019 at 3:27 am GMT
@foolisholdman 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.
Commentator Mike , says: September 22, 2019 at 3:43 am GMT
@peterAUS

isn't this creature the only female author here?

Ilana Mercer is a woman who writes on UR.

niceland , says: September 22, 2019 at 4:55 am GMT
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.

Since I am familiar with Hrafnsson work for decades, I would be very surprised if he worked with Assagne all this time, and even took over his job, so to speak, as head of Wikileaks if Assagne wasn't genuine. Hrafnsson has struck me as smart guy and honest and it's extremely unlikely he would continue if something didn't smell right at Wikileaks. I also want to point out Wikileaks has been working with, what I consider the few remaining NEWS outlets in Europe. (Including The Guardian before it was bought few years ago and became worthless).

To Assagne credit he booted Icelandic polititian, one Birgitta Jónsdóttir; who tried to visit him in U.K. prison – and wanted nothing to do with her. She has been trying to make international name for herself as fighter for human rights and peacemaker and against corruption and so forth. Unfortunately she is a bag full of hot air and thinks SHE is the center of the universe. It's all about her and therefore she is of no use for any cause. Julian was right to send her packing.

I can't imagine what the CIA or NSA or other tentacles of the Empire would gain by running Wikileaks. It makes absolutely no sense to me.

niceland , says: September 22, 2019 at 5:07 am GMT
@niceland Here you can view interview by Chris Hedges with Hrafnsson on RT. You decide if this guy is genuine or not. It seems he has basically been running Wikileaks for past several years. https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/461987-kristinn-hrafnsson-extradition-wikileaks/
Digital Samizdat , says: September 22, 2019 at 6:43 am GMT
@der einzige Wow. Thank you for posting that. Doesn't look too good for Assange.
anon [310] Disclaimer , says: September 22, 2019 at 8:52 am GMT
@Yvonne Lorenzo > Call it female intuition, Snowden creeps me out.

Can't refute that! #BelieveWomen

anon [310] Disclaimer , says: September 22, 2019 at 9:56 am GMT
@Yvonne Lorenzo > A helicopter outfitted with surveillance bubbles overflew after I submitted this piece.. Coincidence, right?

No coincidence, they're distributing corn sharks in a contract with ADM. Stay indoors and cover your head with tin foil.

9/11 Inside job , says: September 22, 2019 at 10:19 am GMT
@2stateshmustate "9/11 is the Litmus Test " By Smoking – Mirrors.Com :

"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 11, 2019] Video Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 The Bamboozle Has Captured Us

Highly recommended!
David Warner Mathisen definitely know what he is talking about due to his long military career... Free fall speed is documented and is an embarrassment to the official story, because free fall is impossible for a naturally collapsing building.
Now we need to dig into the role of Larry Silverstein in the Building 7 collapse.
Notable quotes:
"... Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001. ..."
"... The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004. ..."
"... Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7 ..."
"... This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001. ..."
"... its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview. ..."
"... the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building ..."
"... Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states). ..."
"... Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day. ..."
"... In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019. ..."
"... on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. ..."
"... Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here . ..."
"... The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare: ..."
"... David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001.

The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004.

  1. Building.
  2. Seven.
  3. Freefall.
  4. Speed.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mamvq7LWqRU

Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7, which was not hit by any airplane on September 11, 2001, and concluded that fires could not possibly have caused the collapse of that 47-story steel-frame building -- rather, the collapse seen could have only been caused by the near-simultaneous failure of every support column (43 in number).

This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001.

Various individuals at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tried to argue that the collapse of Building 7 was slower than freefall speed, but its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview.

Although the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building prior to the flight of the aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (Buildings One and Two), as well as the power to cover up the evidence of this criminal activity and to deflect questioning by government agencies and suppress the story in the mainstream news, the collapse of Building 7 is by no means the only evidence which points to the same conclusion.

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states).

However, eighteen years later there is simply no excuse anymore -- except for the fact that the ramifications of the admission that the official story is a flagrant fraud and a lie are so distressing that many people cannot actually bring themselves to consciously admit what they in fact already know subconsciously.

For additional evidence, I strongly recommend the work of the indefatigable Kevin Robert Ryan , whose blog at Dig Within should be required reading for every man and woman in the united states -- as well as those in the rest of the world, since the ramifications of the murders of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001 have led to the murders of literally millions of other innocent men, women and children around the world since that day, and the consequences of the failure to absorb the truth of what actually took place, and the consequences of the failure to address the lies that are built upon the fraudulent explanation of what took place on September 11, continue to negatively impact men and women everywhere on our planet.

Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day.

I would also strongly recommend listening very carefully to the series of five interviews with Kevin Ryan on Guns and Butter with Bonnie Faulkner, which can be found in the Guns and Butter podcast archive here . These interviews, from 2013, are numbered 287, 288, 289, 290, and 291 in the archive.

Selected Articles: 9/11: Do You Still Believe that Al Qaeda Masterminded the Attacks?

I would in fact recommend listening to nearly every interview in that archive of Bonnie Faulkner's show, even though I do not of course agree with every single guest nor with every single view expressed in every single interview. Indeed, if you carefully read Kevin Ryan's blog which was linked above, you will find a blog post by Kevin Ryan dated June 24, 2018 in which he explicitly names James Fetzer along with Judy Woods as likely disinformation agents working to discredit and divert the efforts of 9/11 researchers. James Fetzer appears on Guns and Butter several times in the archived interview page linked above.

In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019.

That article contains a number of stunning quotations about the ongoing failure to address the now-obvious lies we are being told about the attacks of September 11. One of these quotations, by astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996), is particularly noteworthy -- even though I certainly do not agree with everything Carl Sagan ever said or wrote. Regarding our propensity to refuse to acknowledge what we already know deep down to be true, Carl Sagan said:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken.

This quotation is from Sagan's 1995 text, The Demon-Haunted World (with which I have points of disagreement, but which is extremely valuable for that quotation alone, and which I might suggest turning around on some of the points that Sagan was arguing as well, as a cautionary warning to those who have accepted too wholeheartedly some of Sagan's teachings and opinions).

This quotation shows that on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. This internal division is actually addressed in the world's ancient myths, which consistently illustrate that our egoic mind often refuses to acknowledge the higher wisdom we have available to us through the reality of our authentic self, sometimes called our Higher Self. Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here .

The important author Peter Kingsley has noted that in ancient myth, the role of the prophet was to bring awareness and acknowledgement of that which the egoic mind refuses to see -- which is consistent with the observation that it is through our authentic self (which already knows) that we have access to the realm of the gods. In the Iliad, for example, Dr. Kingsley notes that Apollo sends disaster upon the Achaean forces until the prophet Calchas reveals the source of the god's anger: Agamemnon's refusal to free the young woman Chryseis, whom Agamemnon has seized in the course of the fighting during the Trojan War, and who is the daughter of a priest of Apollo. Until Agamemnon atones for this insult to the god, Apollo will continue to visit destruction upon those following Agamemnon.

Until we acknowledge and correct what our Higher Self already knows to be the problem, we ourselves will be out of step with the divine realm.

If we look the other way at the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001, and deliberately refuse to see the truth that we already know deep down in our subconscious, then we will face the displeasure of the Invisible Realm. Just as we are shown in the ancient myths, the truth must be acknowledged and admitted, and then the wrong that has been done must be corrected.

In the case of the mass murder perpetrated on September 11, eighteen years ago, that admission requires us to face the fact that the "terrorists" who were blamed for that attack were not the actual terrorists that we need to be focusing on.

Please note that I am very careful not to say that "the government" is the source of the problem: I would argue that the government is the lawful expression of the will of the people and that the government, rightly understood, is exactly what these criminal perpetrators actually fear the most, if the people ever become aware of what is going on. The government, which is established by the Constitution, forbids the perpetration of murder upon innocent men, women and children in order to initiate wars of aggression against countries that never invaded or attacked us (under the false pretense that they did so). Those who do so are actually opposed to our government under the Constitution and can be dealt with within the framework of the law as established by the Constitution, which establishes a very clear penalty for treason.

When the people acknowledge and admit the complete bankruptcy of the lie we have been told about the attacks of September 11, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate repeal and dismantling of the so-called "USA PATRIOT Act" which was enacted in the weeks immediately following September 11, 2001 and which clearly violates the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Additionally, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate cessation of the military operations which were initiated based upon the fraudulent narrative of the attacks of that day, and which have led to invasion and overthrow of the nations that were falsely blamed as being the perpetrators of those attacks and the seizure of their natural resources.

The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That human right has been grievously trampled upon under the false description of what actually took place during the September 11 attacks. Numerous technology companies have been allowed and even encouraged (and paid, with public moneys) to create technologies which flagrantly and shamelessly violate "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" and which track their every move and even enable secret eavesdropping upon their conversation and the secret capture of video within their homes and private settings, without any probable cause whatsoever.

When we admit and acknowledge that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, which has been falsely used as a supposed justification for the violation of these human rights (with complete disregard for the supreme law of the land as established in the Constitution), then we will also demand the immediate cessation of any such intrusion upon the right of the people to "be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" -- including the cessation of any business models which involve spying on men and women.

Companies which cannot find a business model that does not violate the Bill of Rights should lose their corporate charter and the privilege of limited liability, which are extended to them by the people (through the government of the people, by the people and for the people) only upon the condition that their behavior as corporations do not violate the inherent rights of men and women as acknowledged in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

It is well beyond the time when we must acknowledge and admit that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, 2001 -- and that we continue to be lied to about the events of that awful day. September 11, 2001 is in fact only one such event in a long history which stretches back prior to 2001, to other events which should have awakened the people to the presence of a very powerful and very dangerous criminal cabal acting in direct contravention to the Constitution long before we ever got to 2001 -- but the events of September 11 are so blatant, so violent, and so full of evidence which contradicts the fraudulent narrative that they actually cannot be believed by anyone who spends even the slightest amount of time looking at that evidence.

Indeed, we already know deep down that we have been bamboozled by the lie of the so-called "official narrative" of September 11.

But until we admit to ourselves and acknowledge to others that we've ignored the truth that we already know, then the bamboozle still has us .

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © David W. Mathisen , Global Research, 2019 Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

[Aug 16, 2019] Ministry of truth materialized in XXI century in a neoliberal way by Kit Knightly

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name. ..."
"... In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO. ..."
"... "The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

OffGuardian already covered the Global Media Freedom Conference, our article Hypocrisy Taints UK's Media Freedom Conference , was meant to be all there was to say. A quick note on the obvious hypocrisy of this event. But, in the writing, I started to see more than that. This event is actually creepy. Let's just look back at one of the four "main themes" of this conference:

Building trust in media and countering disinformation
"Countering disinformation"? Well, that's just another word for censorship. This is proven by their refusal to allow Sputnik or RT accreditation. They claim RT "spreads disinformation" and they "countered" that by barring them from attending. "Building trust"? In the post-Blair world of PR newspeak, "building trust" is just another way of saying "making people believe us" (the word usage is actually interesting, building trust not earning trust). The whole conference is shot through with this language that just feels off. Here is CNN's Christiane Amanpour :
Our job is to be truthful, not neutral we need to take a stand for the truth, and never to create a false moral or factual equivalence."
Being "truthful not neutral" is one of Amanpour's personal sayings , she obviously thinks it's clever. Of course, what it is is NewSpeak for "bias". Refusing to cover evidence of The White Helmets staging rescues, Israel arming ISIS or other inconvenient facts will be defended using this phrase – they will literally claim to only publish "the truth", to get around impartiality and then set about making up whatever "truth" is convenient. Oh, and if you don't know what "creating a false moral quivalence is", here I'll demonstrate: MSM: Putin is bad for shutting down critical media. OffG: But you're supporting RT being banned and Wikileaks being shut down. BBC: No. That's not the same. OffG: It seems the same. BBC: It's not. You're creating a false moral equivalence . Understand now? You "create a false moral equivalence" by pointing out mainstream media's double standards. Other ways you could mistakenly create a "false moral equivalence": Bringing up Gaza when the media talk about racism. Mentioning Saudi Arabia when the media preach about gay rights. Referencing the US coup in Venezuela when the media work themselves into a froth over Russia's "interference in our democracy" Talking about the invasion of Iraq. Ever. OR Pointing out that the BBC is state funded, just like RT. These are all no-longer flagrant examples of the media's double standards, and if you say they are , you're "creating a false moral equivalence" and the media won't have to allow you (or anyone who agrees with you) air time or column inches to disagree. Because they don't have a duty to be neutral or show both sides, they only have a duty to tell "the truth" as soon as the government has told them what that is. Prepare to see both those phrases – or variations there of – littering editorials in the Guardian and the Huffington Post in the coming months. Along with people bemoaning how "fake news outlets abuse the notion of impartiality" by "being even handed between liars the truth tellers". (I've been doing this site so long now, I have a Guardian-English dictionary in my head).

Equally dodgy-sounding buzz-phrases litter topics on the agenda. "Eastern Europe and Central Asia: building an integrated support system for journalists facing hostile environments" , this means pumping money into NGOs to fund media that will criticize our "enemies" in areas of strategic importance. It means flooding money into the anti-government press in Hungary, or Iran or (of course), Russia. That is ALL it means. I said in my earlier article I don't know what "media sustainability" even means, but I feel I can take a guess. It means "save the government mouthpieces". The Guardian is struggling for money, all print media are, TV news is getting lower viewing figures all the time. "Building media sustainability" is code for "pumping public money into traditional media that props up the government" or maybe "getting people to like our propaganda". But the worst offender on the list is, without a doubt "Navigating Disinformation"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1vbSj1WQqUw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

"Navigating Disinformation" was a 1 hour panel from the second day of the conference. You can watch it embedded above if you really feel the need. I already did, so you don't have to. The panel was chaired by Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister. The members included the Latvian Foreign Minister, a representative of the US NGO Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Information

Have you guessed what "disinformation" they're going to be talking about? I'll give you a clue: It begins with R. Freeland, chairing the panel, kicks it off by claiming that "disinformation isn't for any particular aim" . This is a very common thing for establishment voices to repeat these days, which makes it all the more galling she seems to be pretending its is her original thought. The reason they have to claim that "disinformation" doesn't have a "specific aim" is very simple: They don't know what they're going to call "disinformation" yet. They can't afford to take a firm position, they need to keep their options open. They need to give themselves the ability to describe any single piece of information or political opinion as "disinformation." Left or right. Foreign or domestic. "Disinformation" is a weaponised term that is only as potent as it is vague. So, we're one minute in, and all "navigating disinformation" has done is hand the State an excuse to ignore, or even criminalise, practically anything it wants to. Good start. Interestingly, no one has actually said the word "Russia" at this point. They have talked about "malign actors" and "threats to democracy", but not specifically Russia. It is SO ingrained in these people that "propaganda"= " Russian propaganda" that they don't need to say it.

The idea that NATO as an entity, or the individual members thereof, could also use "disinformation" has not just been dismissed it was literally never even contemplated. Next Freeland turns to Edgars Rinkēvičs, her Latvian colleague, and jokes about always meeting at NATO functions. The Latvians know "more than most" about disinformation, she says. Rinkēvičs says disinformation is nothing new, but that the methods of spreading it are changing then immediately calls for regulation of social media. Nobody disagrees. Then he talks about the "illegal annexation of Crimea", and claims the West should outlaw "paid propaganda" like RT and Sputnik. Nobody disagrees. Then he says that Latvia "protected" their elections from "interference" by "close cooperation between government agencies and social media companies". Everyone nods along. If you don't find this terrifying, you're not paying attention. They don't say it, they probably don't even realise they mean it, but when they talk about "close cooperation with social media networks", they mean government censorship of social media. When they say "protecting" their elections they're talking about rigging them. It only gets worse. The next step in the Latvian master plan is to bolster "traditional media".

The problems with traditional media, he says, are that journalists aren't paid enough, and don't keep up to date with all the "new tricks". His solution is to "promote financing" for traditional media, and to open more schools like the "Baltic Centre of Media Excellence", which is apparently a totally real thing .

It's a training centre which teaches young journalists about "media literacy" and "critical thinking". You can read their depressingly predictable list of "donors" here . I truly wish I was joking. Next up is Courtney Radsch from CPJ – a US-backed NGO, who notionally "protect journalists", but more accurately spread pro-US propaganda. (Their token effort to "defend" RT and Sputnik when they were barred from the conference was contemptible).

She talks for a long time without saying much at all. Her revolutionary idea is that disinformation could be countered if everyone told the truth. Inspiring. Beata Balogova, Journalist and Editor from Slovakia, gets the ship back on course – immediately suggesting politicians should not endorse "propaganda" platforms. She shares an anecdote about "a prominent Slovakian politician" who gave exclusive interviews to a site that is "dubiously financed, we assume from Russia". They assume from Russia. Everyone nods.

It's like they don't even hear themselves.

Then she moves on to Hungary. Apparently, Orban has "created a propaganda machine" and produced "antisemitic George Soros posters". No evidence is produced to back-up either of these claims. She thinks advertisers should be pressured into not giving money to "fake news sites". She calls for "international pressure", but never explains exactly what that means. The stand-out maniac on this panel is Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Information Policy. (She works for the Ministry of Information – nicknamed the Ministry of Truth, which was formed in 2014 to "counter lies about Ukraine". Even The Guardian thought that sounded dodgy.)

She talks very fast and, without any sense of irony, spills out a story that shoots straight through "disinformation" and becomes "incoherent rambling". She claims that Russian citizens are so brainwashed you'll never be able to talk to them, and that Russian "cognitive influence" is "toxic like radiation." Is this paranoid, quasi-xenophobic nonsense countered? No. Her fellow panelists nod and chuckle. On top of that, she just lies. She lies over and over and over again. She claims Russia is locking up Crimean Tartars "just for being muslims", nobody questions her. She says the war in Ukraine has killed 13,000 people, but doesn't mention that her side is responsible for over 80% of civilian deaths.

She says only 30% of Crimeans voted in the referendum, and that they were "forced". A fact not supported by any polls done by either side in the last four years, and any referenda held on the peninsula any time in the last last 30 year. It's simply a lie. Nobody asks her about the journalists killed in Ukraine since their glorious Maidan Revolution . Nobody questions the fact that she works for something called the "Ministry of Information". Nobody does anything but nod and smile as the "countering disinformation" panel becomes just a platform for spreading total lies.

When everyone on the panel has had their ten minutes on the soapbox, Freeland asks for recommendations for countering this "threat" – here's the list:

  1. Work to distinguish "free speech" from "propaganda", when you find propaganda there must be a "strong reaction".
  2. Pressure advertisers to abandon platforms who spread misinformation.
  3. Regulate social media.
  4. Educate journalists at special schools.
  5. Start up a "Ministry of Information" and have state run media that isn't controlled, like in Ukraine.

This is the Global Conference on Media Freedom and all these six people want to talk about is how to control what can be said, and who can say it. They single only four countries out for criticism: Hungary, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Russia .and Russia takes up easily 90% of that. They mention only two media outlets by name: RT and Sputnik. This wasn't a panel on disinformation, it was a public attack forum – a month's worth of 2 minutes of hate. These aren't just shills on this stage, they are solid gold idiots, brainwashed to the point of total delusion.

They are the dangerous glassy eyes of a Deep State that never questions itself, never examines itself, and will do anything it wants, to anyone it wants whilst happily patting itself on the back for its superior morality. They don't know, they don't care. They're true believers. Terrifyingly dead inside. Talking about state censorship and re-education camps under a big sign that says "Freedom". And that's just one talk. Just one panel in a 2 day itinerary filled to the brim with similarly soul-dead servants of authority. Truly, perfectly Orwellian.


Jonathan Jarvis

https://southfront.org/countering-russian-disinformation-or-new-wave-of-freedom-of-speech-suppression/

Read and be appalled at what America is up to .keep for further reference. We are in danger.

Tim Jenkins
It would serve Ms. Amanpour well, to relax, rewind & review her own interview with Sergei Lavrov:-

Then she might see why Larry King could stomach the appalling corporate dictatorship, even to the core of False & Fake recording of 'our' "History of the National Security State" , No More

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H7aKGOpSwE

Amanpour was forced to laugh uncontrollably, when confronted with Lavrov's humorous interpretations of various legal aspects of decency & his Judgement of others' politicians and 'Pussy Riots' >>> if you haven't seen it, it is to be recommended, the whole interview, if nothing else but to study the body language and micro-facial expressions, coz' a belly up laugh is not something anybody can easily control or even feign that first spark of cognition in her mind, as she digests Lavrov's response :- hilarious

Einstein
A GE won't solve matters since we have a Government of Occupation behind a parliament of puppets.

Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name.

In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO.

Pryce's ventriloquist's dummy in parliament, the pompous Alan Duncan, announced another £10 million of public money for this odious brainwashing programme.

Tim Jenkins
That panel should be nailed & plastered over, permanently:-

and as wall paper, 'Abstracts of New Law' should be pasted onto a collage of historic extracts from the Guardian, in offices that issue journalistic licenses, comprised of 'Untouchables' :-

A professional habitat, to damp any further 'Freeland' amplification & resonance,

of negative energy from professional incompetence.

Francis Lee
Apropos of the redoubtable Ms Freeland, Canada's Foreign Secretary.

The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland's maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo) Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Cracow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp. During the German Army's winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht's "success" at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

Those Ukrainian 'Refugees' admitted to Canada in 1945 were almost certainly members of the 14th Waffen SS Division Galizia 1. These Ukie collaboraters – not to be confused with the other Ukie Nazi outfit – Stepan Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army -were held responsible for the massacre of many Poles in the Lviv area the most infamous being carried out in the Polish village of Huta Pienacka. In the massacre, the village was destroyed and between 500] and 1,000 of the inhabitants were killed. According to Polish accounts, civilians were locked in barns that were set on fire while those attempting to flee were killed. That's about par for the course.
Canada's response was as follows:

The Canadian Deschênes Commission was set up to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the collaborators

Memorial to SS-Galizien division in Chervone, Lviv Oblast, western Ukraine

The Canadian "Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes" of October 1986, by the Honourable Justice Jules Deschênesconcluded that in relation to membership in the Galicia Division:

''The Galicia Division (14. Waffen grenadier division der SS [gal.1]) should not be indicted as a group. The members of Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission. Further, in the absence of evidence of participation or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution.''

However, the Commission's conclusion failed to acknowledge or heed the International Military Tribunal's verdict at the Nuremberg Trials, in which the entire Waffen-SSorganisation was declared a "criminal organization" guilty of war crimes. Also, the Deschênes Commission in its conclusion only referenced the division as 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr.1), thus in legal terms, only acknowledging the formation's activity after its name change in August 1944, while the massacre of Poles in Huta Pieniacka, Pidkamin and Palikrowy occurred when the division was called SS Freiwilligen Division "Galizien". Nevertheless, a subsequent review by Canada's Minister of Justice again confirmed that members of the Division were not implicated in war crimes.

Yes, the west looks after its Nazis and even makes them and their descendants political figureheads.

mark
Most of these people are so smugly and complacently convinced of their own moral superiority that they just can't see the hypocrisy and doublethink involved in the event.
Mikalina
Eva Bartlett gives a wider perspective:
https://www.globalresearch.ca/londons-media-freedom-conference-smacks-irony-critics-barred-no-mention-jailed-assange/5683808
Harry Stotle
Freedom-lover, Cunt, will be furious when he hears about this!

Apparently Steve Bell is doubleplusbad for alluding to the fact Netanyahu has got his hand shoved deep into Tom Watson's arse – the Guardian pulled Bell's most recent ouvre which suggests the media's antisemitism trope might not be quite as politically untainted as the likes of Freedland, Cohen and Viner would have you believe.
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/guardian-cartoonist-steve-bell-specious-charge-of-antisemitism-in-email-to-all-paper-1.486570

Meanwhile Owen Jones has taken to Twitter to rubbish allegations that a reign of terror exists at Guardian Towers – the socialist firebrand is quoted as saying 'journalists are free to say whatever they like, so long as it doesn't stray too far from Guardian-groupthink'.

Tutisicecream
Good analysis Kit, of the cognitive dissonant ping pong being played out by Nazi sympathisers such as Hunt and Freeland.

The echo chamber of deceit is amplified again by the selective use of information and the ignoring of relevant facts, such as the miss reporting yesterday by Reuters of the Italian Neo-Nazi haul of weapons by the police, having not Russian but Ukrainian links.

Not a word in the WMSM about this devious miss-reporting as the creation of fake news in action. But what would you expect?

Living as I do in Russia I can assure anyone reading this that the media freedom here is on a par with the West and somewhat better as there is no paranoia about a fictitious enemy – Russians understand that the West is going through an existential crisis (Brexit in the UK, Trump and the Clinton war of sameness in the US and Macron and Merkel in the EU). A crisis of Liberalism as the failed life-support of capitalism. But hey, why worry about the politics when there is bigger fish to fry. Such as who will pay me to dance?

The answer is clear from what Kit has writ. The government will pay the piper. How sweet.

I'd like to thank Kit for sitting through such a turgid masquerade and as I'm rather long in the tooth I do remember the old BBC schools of journalism in Yelsin's Russia. What I remember is that old devious Auntie Beeb was busy training would be hopefuls in the art of discretion regarding how the news is formed, or formulated.

In other words your audience. And it ain't the public

Steve Hayes
The British government's "Online Harms" White Paper has a whole section devoted to "disinformation" (ie, any facts, opinions, analyses, evaluations, critiques that are critical of the elite's actual disinformation). If these proposals become law, the government will have effective control over the Internet and we will be allowed access to their disinformation, shop and watch cute cat videos.
Question This
The liberal news media & hypocrisy, who would have ever thought you'd see those words in the same sentence. But what do you expect from professional liars, politicians & 'their' free press?

Can this shit show get any worse? Yes, The other day I wrote to my MP regards the SNP legislating against the truth, effectively making it compulsory to lie! Mr Blackford as much as called me a transphobic & seemed to go to great length publishing his neo-liberal ideological views in some scottish rag, on how right is wrong & fact is turned into fiction & asked only those that agreed with him contact him.

Tim Jenkins
"The science or logical consistency of true premise, cannot take place or bear fruit, when all communication and information is 'marketised and weaponised' to a mindset of possession and control." B.Steere
Mikalina
I saw, somewhere (but can't find it now) a law or a prospective law which goes under the guise of harassment of MPs to include action against constituents who 'pester' them.

I've found a link for the Jo Cox gang discussing it, though.
https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/new-research-on-the-intimidation-and-harassment-of-mps-featured-in-inaugural-conference

Question This
I only emailed him once! That's hardly harassment. Anyway I sent it with proton-mail via vpn & used a false postcode using only my first name so unlikely my civil & sincere correspondence will see me locked up for insisting my inalienable rights of freedom of speech & beliefs are protected. But there again the state we live in, i may well be incarcerated for life, for such an outrageous expectation.
Where to?
"The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets.
Harry Stotle
Its the brazen nature of the conference that is especially galling, but what do you expect when crooks and liars no longer feel they even have to pretend?

Nothing will change so long as politicians (or their shady backers) are never held to account for public assets diverted toward a rapacious off-shore economic system, or the fact millions of lives have been shattered by the 'war on terror' and its evil twin, 'humanatarian regime change' (while disingenuous Labour MPs wail about the 'horrors' of antisemitism rather than the fact their former leader is a key architect of the killings).

Kit remains a go-to voice when deconstructing claims made by political figures who clearly regard the MSM as a propaganda vehicle for promoting western imperialism – the self-satisfied smugness of cunts like Jeremy Cunt stand in stark contrast to a real journalist being tortured by the British authorities just a few short miles away.

It's a sligtly depressing thought but somebody has the unenviable task of monitoring just how far our politicians have drifted from the everyday concerns of the 'just about managing' and as I say Mr Knightly does a fine job in informing readers what the real of agenda of these media love-ins are actually about – it goes without saying a very lengthy barge pole is required when the Saudis are invited but not Russia.

Where to?
This Media Freedom Conference is surely a creepy theatre of the absurd.

It is a test of what they can get away with.

Mikalina
Yep. Any soviet TV watcher would recognise this immediately. Message? THIS is the reality – and you are powerless.
mark
When are they going to give us the Ministry of Truth we so desperately need?

[Aug 16, 2019] Lapdogs for the Government and intelligence agencies by Greg Maybury

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.' ..."
"... Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public. ..."
"... All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .) ..."
"... The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.' ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Lapdogs for the Government

Here was, of course, another surreal spectacle, this time courtesy of one of the Deep State's most dangerous, reviled, and divisive figures, a notable protagonist in the Russia-Gate conspiracy, and America's most senior diplomat no less.

Not only is it difficult to accept that the former CIA Director actually believes what he is saying, well might we ask, "Who can believe Mike Pompeo?"

And here's also someone whose manifest cynicism, hypocrisy, and chutzpah would embarrass the much-derided scribes and Pharisees of Biblical days.

We have Pompeo on record recently in a rare moment of honesty admitting – whilst laughing his ample ass off, as if recalling some "Boy's Own Adventure" from his misspent youth with a bunch of his mates down at the local pub – that under his watch as CIA Director:

We lied, cheated, we stole we had entire training courses.'

It may have been one of the few times in his wretched existence that Pompeo didn't speak with a forked tongue.

At all events, his candour aside, we can assume safely that this reactionary, monomaniacal, Christian Zionist 'end-timer' passed all the Company's "training courses" with flying colours.

According to Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times, all this did not stop Pompeo however from name-checking Wikileaks when it served his own interests. Back in 2016 at the height of the election campaign, he had ' no compunction about pointing people toward emails stolen* by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and then posted by WikiLeaks."

[NOTE: Rosenberg's omission of the word "allegedly" -- as in "emails allegedly stolen" -- is a dead giveaway of bias on his part (a journalistic Freudian slip perhaps?), with his employer being one of those MSM marques leading the charge with the "Russian Collusion" 'story'. For a more insightful view of the source of these emails and the skullduggery and thuggery that attended Russia-Gate, readers are encouraged to check this out.]

And this is of course The Company we're talking about, whose past and present relationship with the media might be summed up in two words: Operation Mockingbird (OpMock). Anyone vaguely familiar with the well-documented Grand Deception that was OpMock, arguably the CIA's most enduring, insidious, and successful psy-ops gambit, will know what we're talking about. (See here , here , here , and here .) At its most basic, this operation was all about propaganda and censorship, usually operating in tandem to ensure all the bases are covered.

After opining that the MSM is 'totally infiltrated' by the CIA and various other agencies, for his part former NSA whistleblower William Binney recently added , ' When it comes to national security, the media only talk about what the administration wants you to hear, and basically suppress any other statements about what's going on that the administration does not want get public. The media is basically the lapdogs for the government.'

Even the redoubtable William Casey , Ronald Reagan's CIA Director back in the day was reported to have said something along the following lines:

We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.'

In order to provide a broader and deeper perspective, we should now consider the views of a few others on the subjects at hand, along with some history. In a 2013 piece musing on the modern significance of the practice, my compatriot John Pilger ecalled a time when he met Leni Riefenstahl back in 70s and asked her about her films that 'glorified the Nazis'.

Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public.

All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .)

" Triumph " apparently still resonates today. To the surprise of few one imagines, such was the impact of the film -- as casually revealed in the excellent 2018 Alexis Bloom documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes -- it elicited no small amount of admiration from arguably the single most influential propagandist of recent times.

[Readers might wish to check out Russell Crowe's recent portrayal of Ailes in Stan's mini-series The Loudest Voice , in my view one the best performances of the man's career.]

In a recent piece unambiguously titled "Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems", my other compatriot Caitlin Johnstone also had a few things to say about the subject, echoing Orwell when she observed it was all about "controlling the narrative".

Though I'd suggest the greater "root" problem is our easy propensity to ignore this reality, pretend it doesn't or won't affect us, or reject it as conspiratorial nonsense, in this, of course, she's correct. As she cogently observes,

I write about this stuff for a living, and even I don't have the time or energy to write about every single narrative control tool that the US-centralised empire has been implementing into its arsenal. There are too damn many of them emerging too damn fast, because they're just that damn crucial for maintaining existing power structures.'

The Discreet Use of Censorship and Uniformed Men

It is hardly surprising that those who hold power should seek to control the words and language people use' said Canadian author John Ralston Saul in his 1993 book Voltaire's Bastards–the Dictatorship of Reason in the West .

Fittingly, in a discussion encompassing amongst other things history, language, power, and dissent, he opined, ' Determining how individuals communicate is' an objective which represents for the power elites 'the best chance' [they] have to control what people think. This translates as: The more control 'we' have over what the proles think, the more 'we' can reduce the inherent risk for elites in democracy.

' Clumsy men', Saul went on to say, 'try to do this through power and fear. Heavy-handed men running heavy-handed systems attempt the same thing through police-enforced censorship. The more sophisticated the elites, the more they concentrate on creating intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures. These systems require only the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

In other words, along with assuming it is their right to take it in the first place, ' those who take power will always try to change the established language ', presumably to better facilitate their hold on it and/or legitimise their claim to it.

For Oliver Boyd-Barrett, democratic theory presupposes a public communications infrastructure that facilitates the free and open exchange of ideas.' Yet for the author of the recently published RussiaGate and Propaganda: Disinformation in the Age of Social Media , 'No such infrastructure exists.'

The mainstream media he says, is 'owned and controlled by a small number of large, multi-media and multi-industrial conglomerates' that lie at the very heart of US oligopoly capitalism and much of whose advertising revenue and content is furnished from other conglomerates:

The inability of mainstream media to sustain an information environment that can encompass histories, perspectives and vocabularies that are free of the shackles of US plutocratic self-regard is also well documented.'

Of course the word "inability" suggests the MSM view themselves as having some responsibility for maintaining such an egalitarian news and information environment. They don't of course, and in truth, probably never really have! A better word would be "unwilling", or even "refusal". The corporate media all but epitomise the " plutocratic self-regard" that is characteristic of "oligopoly capitalism".

Indeed, the MSM collectively functions as advertising, public relations/lobbying entities for Big Corp, in addition to acting as its Praetorian bodyguard , protecting their secrets, crimes, and lies from exposure. Like all other companies they are beholden to their shareholders (profits before truth and people), most of whom it can safely be assumed are no strangers to "self-regard", and could care less about " histories, perspectives and vocabularies" that run counter to their own interests.

It was Aussie social scientist Alex Carey who pioneered the study of nationalism , corporatism , and moreso for our purposes herein, the management (read: manipulation) of public opinion, though all three have important links (a story for another time). For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' This former farmer from Western Australia became one of the world's acknowledged experts on propaganda and the manipulation of the truth.

Prior to embarking on his academic career, Carey was a successful sheep grazier . By all accounts, he was a first-class judge of the animal from which he made his early living, leaving one to ponder if this expertise gave him a unique insight into his main area of research!

In any event, Carey in time sold the farm and travelled to the U.K. to study psychology, apparently a long-time ambition. From the late fifties until his death in 1988, he was a senior lecturer in psychology and industrial relations at the Sydney-based University of New South Wales, with his research being lauded by such luminaries as Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, both of whom have had a thing or three to say over the years about The Big Shill. In fact such was his admiration, Pilger described him as "a second Orwell", which in anyone's lingo is a big call.

Carey unfortunately died in 1988, interestingly the year that his more famous contemporaries Edward Herman and Chomsky's book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media was published, the authors notably dedicating their book to him.

Though much of his work remained unpublished at the time of his death, a book of Carey's essays – Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty -- was published posthumously in 1997. It remains a seminal work.

In fact, for anyone with an interest in how public opinion is moulded and our perceptions are managed and manipulated, in whose interests they are done so and to what end, it is as essential reading as any of the work of other more famous names. This tome came complete with a foreword by Chomsky, so enamoured was the latter of Carey's work.

For Carey, the three "most significant developments" in the political economy of the twentieth century were: the growth of democracy the growth of corporate power; and the growth of propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.

Carey's main focus was on the following: advertising and publicity devoted to the creation of artificial wants; the public relations and propaganda industry whose principal goal is the diversion to meaningless pursuits and control of the public mind; and the degree to which academia and the professions are under assault from private power determined to narrow the spectrum of thinkable (sic) thought.

For Carey, it is an axiom of conventional wisdom that the use of propaganda as a means of social and ideological control is 'distinctive' of totalitarian regimes. Yet as he stresses: the most minimal exercise of common sense would suggest a different view: that propaganda is likely to play at least as important a part in democratic societies (where the existing distribution of power and privilege is vulnerable to quite limited changes in popular opinion) as in authoritarian societies (where it is not).' In this context, 'conventional wisdom" becomes conventional ignorance; as for "common sense", maybe not so much.

The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.'

An extreme example of this view playing itself right under our noses and over decades was the cruel fiction of the " trickle down effect " (TDE) -- aka the 'rising tide that would lift all yachts' -- of Reaganomics . One of several mantras that defined Reagan's overarching political shtick, the TDE was by any measure, decidedly more a torrent than a trickle, and said "torrent" was going up not down. This reality as we now know was not in Reagan's glossy economic brochure to be sure, and it may have been because the Gipper confused his prepositions and verbs.

Yet as the GFC of 2008 amply demonstrated, it culminated in a free-for all, dog eat dog, anything goes, everyman for himself form of cannibal (or anarcho) capitalism -- an updated, much improved version of the no-holds-barred mercenary mercantilism much reminiscent of the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons who 'infested' it, only one that doesn't just eat its young, it eats itself!

Making the World Safe for Plutocracy

In the increasingly dysfunctional, one-sided political economy we inhabit then, whether it's widgets or wars or anything in between, few people realise the degree to which our opinions, perceptions, emotions, and views are shaped and manipulated by propaganda (and its similarly 'evil twin' censorship ,) its most adept practitioners, and those elite, institutional, political, and corporate entities that seek out their expertise.

It is now just over a hundred years since the practice of propaganda took a giant leap forward, then in the service of persuading palpably reluctant Americans that the war raging in Europe at the time was their war as well.

This was at a time when Americans had just voted their then-president Woodrow Wilson back into office for a second term, a victory largely achieved on the back of the promise he'd "keep us out of the War." Americans were very much in what was one of their most isolationist phases , and so Wilson's promise resonated with them.

But over time they were convinced of the need to become involved by a distinctly different appeal to their political sensibilities. This "appeal" also dampened the isolationist mood, one which it has to be said was not embraced by most of the political, banking, and business elites of the time, most of whom stood to lose big-time if the Germans won, and/or who were already profiting or benefitting from the business of war.

For a president who "kept us out of the war", this wasn't going to be an easy 'pitch'. In order to sell the war the president established the Committee on Public Information (aka the Creel Committee) for the purposes of publicising the rationale for the war and from there, garnering support for it from the general public.

Enter Edward Bernays , the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who's generally considered to be the father of modern public relations. In his film Rule from the Shadows: The Psychology of Power , Aaron Hawkins says Bernays was influenced by people such as Gustave le Bon , Walter Lippman , and Wilfred Trotter , as much, if not moreso, than his famous uncle.

Either way, Bernays 'combined their perspectives and synthesised them into an applied science', which he then 'branded' "public relations".

For its part the Creel committee struggled with its brief from the off; but Bernays worked with them to persuade Americans their involvement in the war was justified -- indeed necessary -- and to that end he devised the brilliantly inane slogan, "making the world safe for democracy" .

Thus was born arguably the first great propaganda catch-phrases of the modern era, and certainly one of the most portentous. The following sums up Bernays's unabashed mindset:

The conscious, intelligent manipulation of the organised 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.'

The rest is history (sort of), with Americans becoming more willing to not just support the war effort but encouraged to view the Germans and their allies as evil brutes threatening democracy and freedom and the 'American way of life', however that might've been viewed then. From a geopolitical and historical perspective, it was an asinine premise of course, but nonetheless an extraordinary example of how a few well chosen words tapped into the collective psyche of a country that was decidedly opposed to any U.S involvement in the war and turned that mindset completely on its head.

' [S]aving the world for democracy' (or some 'cover version' thereof) has since become America's positioning statement, 'patriotic' rallying cry, and the "Get-out-of-Jail Free" card for its war and its white collar criminal clique.

At all events it was by any measure, a stroke of genius on Bernays's part; by appealing to people's basic fears and desires, he could engineer consent on a mass scale. It goes without saying it changed the course of history in more ways than one. That the U.S. is to this day still using a not dissimilar meme to justify its "foreign entanglements" is testament to both its utility and durability.

The reality as we now know was markedly different of course. They have almost always been about power, empire, control, hegemony, resources, wealth, opportunity, profit, dispossession, keeping existing capitalist structures intact and well-defended, and crushing dissent and opposition.

The Bewildered Herd

It is instructive to note that the template for 'manufacturing consent' for war had already been forged by the British. And the Europeans did not 'sleepwalk' like some " bewildered herd ' into this conflagration.

For twenty years prior to the outbreak of the war in 1914, the then stewards of the British Empire had been diligently preparing the ground for what they viewed as a preordained clash with their rivals for empire the Germans.

To begin with, contrary to the opinion of the general populace over one hundred years later, it was not the much touted German aggression and militarism, nor their undoubted imperial ambitions, which precipitated its outbreak. The stewards of the British Empire were not about to let the Teutonic upstarts chow down on their imperial lunch as it were, and set about unilaterally and preemptively crushing Germany and with it any ambitions it had for creating its own imperial domain in competition with the Empire upon which Ol' Sol never set.

The "Great War" is worth noting here for other reasons. As documented so by Jim Macgregor and Gerry Docherty in their two books covering the period from 1890-1920, we learn much about propaganda, which attest to its extraordinary power, in particular its power to distort reality en masse in enduring and subversive ways.

In reality, the only thing "great" about World War One was the degree to which the masses fighting for Britain were conned via propaganda and censorship into believing this war was necessary, and the way the official narrative of the war was sustained for posterity via the very same means. "Great" maybe, but not in a good way!

In these seminal tomes -- World War One Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War and its follow-up Prolonging the Agony: How the Anglo-American Establishment Deliberately Extended WWI by Three-And-A-Half Years -- Macgregor and Docherty provide a masterclass for us all of the power of propaganda in the service of firstly inciting, then deliberately sustaining a major war.

The horrendous carnage and destruction that resulted from it was of course unprecedented, the global effects of which linger on now well over one hundred years later.

Such was the enduring power of the propaganda that today most folks would have great difficulty in accepting the following; this is a short summary of historical realities revealed by Macgregor and Docherty that are at complete odds with the official narrative, the political discourse, and the school textbooks:

It was Great Britain (supported by France and Russia) and not Germany who was the principal aggressor in the events and actions that let to the outbreak of war; The British had for twenty years prior to 1914 viewed Germany as its most dangerous economic and imperial rival, and fully anticipated that a war was inevitable; In the U.K. and the U.S., various factions worked feverishly to ensure the war went on for as long as possible, and scuttled peacemaking efforts from the off; key truths about this most consequential of geopolitical conflicts have been concealed for well over one hundred years, with no sign the official record will change; very powerful forces (incl. a future US president) amongst U.S. political, media, and economic elites conspired to eventually convince an otherwise unwilling populace in America that U.S. entry onto the war was necessary; those same forces and many similar groups in the U.K. and Europe engaged in everything from war profiteering, destruction/forging of war records, false-flag ops, treason, conspiracy to wage aggressive war, and direct efforts to prolong the war by any means necessary, many of which will rock folks to their very core.

But peace was not on the agenda. When, by 1916, the military failures were so embarrassing and costly, some key players in the British government were willing to talk about peace. This could not be tolerated. The potential peacemakers had to be thrown under the bus. The unelected European leaders had one common bond: They would fight Germany until she was crushed.

Prolonging the Agony details how this secret cabal organised to this end the change of government without a single vote being cast. David Lloyd George was promoted to prime minister in Britain and Georges Clemenceau made prime minister in France. A new government, an inner-elite war cabinet thrust the Secret Elite leader, Lord Alfred Milner into power at the very inner-core of the decision-makers in British politics.

Democracy? They had no truck with democracy. The voting public had no say. The men entrusted with the task would keep going till the end and their place-men were backed by the media and the money-power, in Britain, France and America.

Propaganda Always Wins

But just as the pioneering adherents of propaganda back in the day might never have dreamt how sophisticated and all-encompassing the practice would become, nor would the citizenry at large have anticipated the extent to which the industry has facilitated an entrenched, rapacious plutocracy at the expense of our economic opportunity, our financial and material security, our physical, social and cultural environment, our values and attitudes, and increasingly, our basic democratic rights and freedoms.

We now live in the Age of the Big Shill -- cocooned in a submissive void no less -- an era where nothing can be taken on face value yet where time and attention constraints (to name just a few) force us to do so; [where] few people in public life can be taken at their word; where unchallenged perceptions become accepted reality; where 'open-book' history is now incontrovertible not-negotiable, upon pain of imprisonment fact; where education is about uniformity, function, form and conformity, all in the service of imposed neo-liberal ideologies embracing then prioritising individual -- albeit dubious -- freedoms.

More broadly, it's the "Roger Ailes" of this world -- acting on behalf of the power elites who after all are their paymasters -- who create the intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures, whilst ensuring these systems require only 'the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

They are the shapers and moulders of the discourse that passes for the accepted lingua franca of the increasingly globalised, interconnected, corporatised political economy of the planet. Throughout this process they 'will always try to change the established language.'

And we can no longer rely on our elected representatives to honestly represent us and our interests. Whether this decision making is taking place inside or outside the legislative process, these processes are well and truly in the grip of the banks and financial institutions and transnational organisations. In whose interests are they going to be more concerned with?

We saw this all just after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when the very people who brought the system to the brink, made billions off the dodge for their banks and millions for themselves, bankrupted hundreds of thousands of American families, were called upon by the U.S. government to fix up the mess, and to all intents given a blank cheque to so do.

That the U.S. is at even greater risk now of economic implosion is something few serious pundits would dispute, and a testament to the effectiveness of the snow-job perpetrated upon Americans regarding the causes, the impact, and the implications of the 2008 meltdown going forward.

In most cases, one accepts almost by definition such disconnects (read: hidden agendas) are the rule rather than the exception, hence the multi-billion foundation -- and global reach and impact -- of the propaganda business. This in itself is a key indicator as to why organisations place so much importance on this aspect of managing their affairs.

At the very least, once corporations saw how the psychology of persuasion could be leveraged to manipulate consumers and politicians saw the same with the citizenry and even its own workers, the growth of the industry was assured.

As Riefenstahl noted during her chinwag with Pilger after he asked if those embracing the "submissive void" included the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? " Everyone ," she said.

By way of underscoring her point, she added enigmatically: 'Propaganda always wins if you allow it'.

Greg Maybury is a freelance writer based in Perth, Australia. His main areas of interest are American history and politics in general, with a special focus on economic, national security, military, and geopolitical affairs. For 5 years he has regularly contributed to a diverse range of news and opinion sites, including OpEd News, The Greanville Post, Consortium News, Dandelion Salad, Global Research, Dissident Voice, OffGuardian, Contra Corner, International Policy Digest, the Hampton Institute, and others.


nottheonly1

This brilliant essay is proof of the reflective nature of the Universe. The worse the propaganda and oppression becomes, the greater the likelihood such an essay will be written.

Such is the sophistication and ubiquity of the narrative control techniques used today -- afforded increasingly by 'computational propaganda' via automated scripts, hacking, botnets, troll farms, and algorithms and the like, along with the barely veiled censorship and information gatekeeping practised by Google and Facebook and other tech behemoths -- it's become one of the most troubling aspects of the technological/social media revolution.

Very rarely can one experience such a degree of vindication. My moniker 'nottheonly1' has received more meaning with this precise depiction of the long history of the manipulation of the masses. Recent events have destroyed but all of my confidence that there might be a peaceful way out of this massive dilemma. Due to this sophistication in controlling the narrative, it has now become apparent that we have arrived at a moment in time where total lawlessness reigns. 'Lawlessness' in this case means the loss of common law and the use of code law to create ever new restrictions for free speech and liberty at large.

Over the last weeks, comments written on other discussion boards have unleashed a degree of character defamation and ridicule for the most obvious crimes perpetrated on the masses through propaganda. In this unholy union of constant propaganda via main stream 'media' with the character defamation by so called 'trolls' – which are actually virtual assassins of those who write the truth – the ability of the population, or parts thereof to connect with, or search for like minded people is utterly destroyed. This assault on the online community has devastating consequences. Those who have come into the cross hairs of the unintelligence agencies will but turn away from the internet. Leaving behind an ocean of online propaganda and fake information. Few are now the web sites on which it is possible to voice one's personal take on the status quo.

There is one word that describes these kind of activities precisely: traitor. Those who engage in the character defamation of commenters, or authors per se, are traitors to humanity. They betray the collective consciousness with their poisonous attacks of those who work for a sea change of the status quo. The owner class has all game pieces positioned. The fact that Julian Assange is not only a free man, but still without a Nobel price for peace, while war criminals are recipients, shows just how much the march into absolute totalitarianism has progressed. Bernays hated the masses and offered his 'services' to manipulate them often for free.

Even though there are more solutions than problems, the time has come where meaningful participation in the search for such solution has been made unbearable. It is therefore that a certain fatalism has developed – from resignation to the acceptance of the status quo as being inevitable. Ancient wisdom has created a proverb that states 'This too, will pass'. While that is a given, there are still enough Human Beings around that are determined to make a difference. To this group I count the author of this marvelous, albeit depressing essay. Thank you more that words can express. And thank you, OffGuardian for being one of the last remaining places where discourse is possible.

GMW
Really great post! Thanks. I'm part of the way through reading Alex Carey's book: "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty," referenced in this article. I've learned more about the obviously verifiable history of U.S. corporate propaganda in the first four chapters than I learned gaining a "minor" in history in 1974 (not surprisingly I can now clearly see). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in just how pervasive, entrenched and long-standing are the propaganda systems shaping public perception, thought and behavior in America and the West.
Norcal
Wow Greg Maybury great essay, congratulations. This quote is brilliant, I've never see it before, "For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' "

Too, Rodger Ailes was the man credited with educating Nixon up as how to "use" the TV media, and Ailes never looked back as he manipulated media at will. Thank you!

nondimenticare
That is also one of the basic theses of Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize speech.
vexarb
I read in 'Guns, Germs and Steel' about Homo Sapiens and his domesticated animals. Apparently we got on best in places where we could find animals that are very like us: sheep, cattle, horses and other herd animals which instinctively follow their Leader. I think our cousins the chimpanzee are much the same; both species must have inherited this common trait from some pre-chimpanzee ancestor who had found great survival value in passing on the sheeple trait to their progeny. As have the sheep themselves.

By the way, has anybody observed sheeple behaviour in ants and bees? For instance, quietly following a Leader ant to their doom, or noisily ganging up to mob a worker bee that the Queen does not like?

Andy
Almost unbelievable that this was commisioned by the BBC 4 part series covering much of what is in Gregs essay. Some fabulous old footage too. https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/
S.R.Passerby
I'd say the elites are both for and against. Competing factions. It's clear that many are interested in overturning democracy, whilst others want to exploit it.

The average grunt on the street is in the fire, regardless of the pan chosen by the elites.

[Jun 30, 2019] Orwell s 1984 No Longer Reads Like Fiction It s The Reality Of Our Times by Robert Bridge

Highly recommended!
1984, Brave New World, and Idiocracy look more and more like Documentaries now.
Notable quotes:
"... Describing the protagonist Winston Smith's frugal London flat, he mentions an instrument called a 'telescreen', which sounds strikingly similar to the handheld 'smartphone' that is enthusiastically used by billions of people around the world today. ..."
"... At the same time, the denizens of 1984 were never allowed to forget they were living in a totalitarian surveillance state, under the control of the much-feared Thought Police. Massive posters with the slogan 'Big Brother is Watching You' were as prevalent as our modern-day advertising billboards. Today, however, such polite warnings about surveillance would seem redundant, as reports of unauthorized spying still gets the occasional lazy nod in the media now and then. ..."
"... In fact, just in time for 1984's anniversary, it has been reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) has once again been illicitly collecting records on telephone calls and text messages placed by US citizens. ..."
"... Another method of control alluded to in 1984 fell under a system of speech known as 'Newspeak', which attempted to reduce the language to 'doublethink', with the ulterior motive of controlling ideas and thoughts. ..."
"... Another Newspeak term, known as 'facecrime', provides yet another striking parallel to our modern situation. Defined as "to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense." It would be difficult for the modern reader to hear the term 'facecrime' and not connect it with 'Facebook', the social media platform that regularly censors content creators for expressing thoughts it finds 'hateful' or inappropriate. ..."
"... 'Hate speech' is precisely one of those delightfully vague, subjective terms with no real meaning that one would expect to find in the Newspeak style guide. Short of threatening the life of a person or persons, individuals should be free to criticize others without fear of reprisal, least of all from the state, which should be in the business of protecting free speech at all cost. ..."
"... Another modern phenomenon that would be right at home in Orwell's Oceania is the obsession with political correctness, which is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against." But since so many people today identify with some marginalized group, this has made the intelligent discussion of controversial ideas – not least of all on US college campuses , of all places – exceedingly difficult, if not downright dangerous. Orwell must be looking down on all of this madness with much surprise, since he provided the world with the best possible warning to prevent it. ..."
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Robert Bridge, op-ed via RT.com,

70 years ago, the British writer George Orwell captured the essence of technology in its ability to shape our destinies in his seminal work, 1984. The tragedy of our times is that we have failed to heed his warning.

No matter how many times I read 1984, the feeling of total helplessness and despair that weaves itself throughout Orwell's masterpiece never fails to take me by surprise. Although usually referred to as a 'dystopian futuristic novel', it is actually a horror story on a scale far greater than anything that has emerged from the minds of prolific writers like Stephen King or Dean Koontz. The reason is simple. The nightmare world that the protagonist Winston Smith inhabits, a place called Oceania, is all too easily imaginable. Man, as opposed to some imaginary clown or demon, is the evil monster.

In the very first pages of the book, Orwell demonstrates an uncanny ability to foresee future trends in technology. Describing the protagonist Winston Smith's frugal London flat, he mentions an instrument called a 'telescreen', which sounds strikingly similar to the handheld 'smartphone' that is enthusiastically used by billions of people around the world today.

Orwell describes the ubiquitous device as an "oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror" affixed to the wall that "could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely." Sound familiar?

It is through this gadget that the rulers of Oceania are able to monitor the actions of its citizens every minute of every day.

At the same time, the denizens of 1984 were never allowed to forget they were living in a totalitarian surveillance state, under the control of the much-feared Thought Police. Massive posters with the slogan 'Big Brother is Watching You' were as prevalent as our modern-day advertising billboards. Today, however, such polite warnings about surveillance would seem redundant, as reports of unauthorized spying still gets the occasional lazy nod in the media now and then.

In fact, just in time for 1984's anniversary, it has been reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) has once again been illicitly collecting records on telephone calls and text messages placed by US citizens. This latest invasion of privacy has been casually dismissed as an "error" after an unnamed telecommunications firm handed over call records the NSA allegedly "hadn't requested" and "weren't approved" by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In 2013, former CIA employee Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA's intrusive surveillance operations, yet somehow the government agency is able to continue – with the help of the corporate sector – vacuuming up the private information of regular citizens.

Another method of control alluded to in 1984 fell under a system of speech known as 'Newspeak', which attempted to reduce the language to 'doublethink', with the ulterior motive of controlling ideas and thoughts. For example, the term 'joycamp', a truncated term every bit as euphemistic as the 'PATRIOT Act', was used to describe a forced labor camp, whereas a 'doubleplusgood duckspeaker' was used to praise an orator who 'quacked' correctly with regards to the political situation.

Another Newspeak term, known as 'facecrime', provides yet another striking parallel to our modern situation. Defined as "to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense." It would be difficult for the modern reader to hear the term 'facecrime' and not connect it with 'Facebook', the social media platform that regularly censors content creators for expressing thoughts it finds 'hateful' or inappropriate. What social media users need is an Orwellian lesson in 'crimestop', which Orwell defined as "the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought." Those so-called unacceptable 'dangerous thoughts' were determined not by the will of the people, of course, but by their rulers.

And yes, it gets worse. Just this week, Mark Zuckerberg's 'private company' agreed to give French authorities the "identification data" of Facebook users suspected of spreading 'hate speech' on the platform, in what would be an unprecedented move on the part of Silicon Valley.

'Hate speech' is precisely one of those delightfully vague, subjective terms with no real meaning that one would expect to find in the Newspeak style guide. Short of threatening the life of a person or persons, individuals should be free to criticize others without fear of reprisal, least of all from the state, which should be in the business of protecting free speech at all cost.

Another modern phenomenon that would be right at home in Orwell's Oceania is the obsession with political correctness, which is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against." But since so many people today identify with some marginalized group, this has made the intelligent discussion of controversial ideas – not least of all on US college campuses , of all places – exceedingly difficult, if not downright dangerous. Orwell must be looking down on all of this madness with much surprise, since he provided the world with the best possible warning to prevent it.

For anyone who entertains expectations for a happy ending in 1984, be prepared for serious disappointment (spoiler alert, for the few who have somehow not read this book). Although Winston Smith manages to finally experience love, the brief romance – like a delicate flower that was able to take root amid a field of asphalt – is crushed by the authorities with shocking brutality. Not satisfied with merely destroying the relationship, however, Smith is forced to betray his 'Julia' after undergoing the worst imaginable torture at the 'Ministry of Love'.

The book ends with the words, "He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." Will we too declare, like Winston Smith, our love for 'Big Brother' above all else, or will we emerge victorious against the forces of a technological tyranny that appears to be just over the horizon? Or is Orwell's 1984 just really good fiction and not the instruction manual for tyrants many have come to fear it is?

An awful lot is riding on our answers to those questions, and time is running out.

[Jun 11, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction by John W. Whitehead

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society. ..."
"... We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. ..."
"... What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach. ..."
"... In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future. ..."
"... Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability." ..."
Jun 11, 2019 | www.theburningplatform.com

"You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." -- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!" -- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes.

The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." ― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." -- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull." ― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." -- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

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The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. [Jim Quinn - PO Box 1520

Every hour taxpayers in the United States are paying $32,077,626 for Total Cost of Wars Since 2001.

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BB

I'm going through a Department of Defense background check right now and it's not so bad. The thing is they already know everything damn there is to know about me. How do I know this ? Because I can pull up on their computers what they already know. It's to help guys like me pass or at least that's what they say.
They got us by the balls now . How can you fight something like this Unless you take down the whole electric grid. Only God knows the horror that would bring.

grace country pastor

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." – Orwell

Galatians 4:16 KJB "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" – Paul

Boat Guy

It is serious concern the move from a free republic to a corporate state with armed government badge wearing just doing my job minions existing in comfort thanks to the confiscatory tax and asset forfeiture programs in play by the circle jerk of Wall Street to K-Street to Capitol Street .
Sadly the people of honor and integrity that could initiate a Nuremberg style justice system upon those in power and control will quickly be stricken down by minions unaccountable thanks to nonsense like the patriot act and FISA courts . So much for the bill of Rights that is supposed to be the impenetrable shield protecting Americans from government . Our alleged honor and oath bound representatives have been able to turn it into Swiss cheese !
Refuse & Resist , Forget Me Not !

Hollywood Rob

Yes, and they do this using the tactics described in plain sight. You can download their bible if you like. It's free.

https://monoskop.org/images/4/4d/Alinsky_Saul_D_Rules_for_Radicals_A_Practical_Primer_for_Realistic_Radicals.pdf

KaD

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/surveillance-tool-coming-u-skies-080010177.html

[Jun 02, 2019] Somer highlights of Snowden spreach at Dalhousie University

Highly recommended!
An interesting method of monitoring access to the particular WEB site or page by intercepting pages at the router and inserting reference to the "snooping" site for example one pixel image) which collects IPs of devices which accessed particular page. Does not require breaking into the particular Web site 00 just the control of provider router is is enough. That makes it more understandable the attack on Huawei.
Notable quotes:
"... Said Mr. Snowden was at risk for extra ordinary rendition.. qualified him for application under refuge law. Said to claim refugee status Art. 33 of the refugee humanitarian grounds application is Intl Refuge Law, that those in control of governments are working to eliminate this long standing intl understanding. ..."
"... said we are experiencing the greatest and fastest and most pervasive redistribution of power since the Industrial revolution.Highly concerned that very few are going to benefit. ..."
"... Talked about Conspiracy , a group called 5 eyes (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, and UK) and prism.. explained how it worked. basically a collaboration between big corporations and government ..."
"... Explained how these corporations and government (mostly government) could intercept web page request between user at home or in office and the target server, and replace generate a blank page that has surveillance hidden in the page, then blend hidden with the legitimate page delivered by the innocent server to the unknowing user. said it goes beyond collaboration and moves to proactive surveillance. ..."
"... Said law is needed to criminalize companies and governments that make useful network devices that people buy, into evil spyware. mentioned the NSO group can remember why?. .. classified "trade in hidden exploits". as evil relayed story about how such devices were used in Mexico to defeat political opposition ..."
Jun 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Jun 2, 2019 3:41:49 PM | 8

https://www.rt.com/news/460854-snowden-surveillance-social-control/ <=Snowden at Dalhousie University..
Robert Thibault, Att, HK Canada, (I think) Snowden's lawyer explained the law protecting whistle blowers.

Describes the incredible pressure governments are applying on anyone who steps forward to help a whistle blower.

Said Mr. Snowden was at risk for extra ordinary rendition.. qualified him for application under refuge law. Said to claim refugee status Art. 33 of the refugee humanitarian grounds application is Intl Refuge Law, that those in control of governments are working to eliminate this long standing intl understanding.

Explained the constitution of Equador was the most complex constitution on planet its due process rights solid due process safeguard, has a very high threshold but. Morales decision was arbitrary to strip Mr. Assange of his asylum. Said HK angry at Germany over two whistle blowers

Snowden then speaks .. excellent talk..

1st point.. progress in science has been unprecedented, especially nuclear science, but the nation states are using that new knowledge to make nuclear weapons.. called the progress an "Atomic Moment" in Science evolution. .

said we are experiencing the greatest and fastest and most pervasive redistribution of power since the Industrial revolution.Highly concerned that very few are going to benefit.

2nd point Platforms and Algorithms are being used by those in power to "shift our behaviors" accomplished covertly by user contracts people are required to sign when joining something on line (<=he said no one reads these things, but they are dangerous

Talked about Conspiracy , a group called 5 eyes (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, and UK) and prism.. explained how it worked. basically a collaboration between big corporations and government

Explained how these corporations and government (mostly government) could intercept web page request between user at home or in office and the target server, and replace generate a blank page that has surveillance hidden in the page, then blend hidden with the legitimate page delivered by the innocent server to the unknowing user. said it goes beyond collaboration and moves to proactive surveillance.

said the legal means to spy on the populations existed long before 9/11, but it could not find daylight to be adopted until 9/11. Basically the government and massive in size corporations have all of the data on every single person on the earth because they gather it everywhere all of the time. discussed warrant_less wire tap, explained why whistle blower fair trial in he USA not likely, Said everything single call or electronic communication made by citizens is captured suggested monitoring calls was a felony many corporations committed before the FISA Act was enacted to protect the listener.

Mentioned Signal by Open Whisper <= for encryption??

Said law is needed to criminalize companies and governments that make useful network devices that people buy, into evil spyware. mentioned the NSO group can remember why?. .. classified "trade in hidden exploits". as evil relayed story about how such devices were used in Mexico to defeat political opposition.

But the big thing I got out of it, was how website contract agreements are not innocent. Such agreements prey on human desire to [interact, connect, share and cooperate] these desires have been modelled into a platform that allows government or private commercial enterprises to manipulate, exploit and prey-on any human "interacting with a such websites.

Questions and answers.

[May 11, 2019] Christopher Steele, FBI s Confidential Human Source by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
A foreign intelligence asset was used to justify surveillance of Trump[ and some of his associates
Notable quotes:
"... What is clear from the new records is that Christopher Steele, a foreign intelligence officer, had frequent and extensive contacts with the FBI. Who was his FBI Case Agent? ..."
"... The main thing I want to know is WHEN was the decision made to tar Trump with Russia - both at the FBI (and likely CIA) and at the DNC (over the leak) - and WHO was the deciding entity - Comey, Brennan, Clinton, Obama or someone else? And perhaps who came up with the idea in the first place (at the DNC, it was very likely Alexandra Chalupa, the Ukrainian-American DNC "consultant"). ..."
"... The bad thing is that our MSM is so reverent of our Intel agencies that I see them encouraged to increasingly put their hand on the scale. ..."
"... Recently, I saw arm flailing by a Congressman, Dan Coats, and Mueller about how the Russians are still at it. They are trying to disrupt or influence the 2018. Really, then I demand to get a list of the pro-Kremlin candidates. How long before the mere threat of being outed as a Kremlin agent is used to punish elected officials if they are not sufficiently hawkish or don't support certain programs. Unchallenged claims by Intel agencies gives them a lot of political power. ..."
"... I am skeptical. Russia has a lot of fish to fry, why would they expend resources on midterm elections. Now everyone in the U.S. hates them, both traditional hawk Republicans and born again uber-hawk Democrats. There is a tiger behind both doors. ..."
"... if Steele had been a CHS since at least February of 2016, what was the purpose of passing the Dossier to the FBI through Fusion GPS? Why not just going to his FBI handler? Was Steele collaboration with Fusion even in compliance with FBI regulations? Did the FBI know? ..."
"... Because part of the plan was to leak the information in order to damage Trump. FBI could not do that. Would have exposed them to some real legal jeopardy. This was a dual track strategy. Diabolical almost. ..."
"... Don't forget the Nellie Ohr (Fusion GPS) -> Bruce Ohr (DOJ) back channel. The husband & wife tag team. Yes, the same Nellie that was investigating using ham radio to communicate to avoid NSA mass surveillance. ..."
"... From the very beginning that information about all this was slowly leaking from the Congressional investigation, this whole thing smelled very fishy. Then add intense effort at DOJ & FBI to obstruct and obfuscate. And the unhinged tweets and interviews by Brennan, Clapper & Comey. ..."
"... He was working with FBI and GPS at the same time. GPS was in the dark supposedly about his work with the FBI and Steele got their approval to hand over what he had delivered to GPS to the FBI as a cover for his work with the FBI. ..."
"... its also likely FBI had some input into the content of what was delivered to GPS, and more importantly what was not delivered. ..."
"... Re the 'standing agreement to not recruit each other's intelligence personnel for clandestine activities.' As Steele was not by this time a current employee of MI6, was the FBI in technical violation of this? ..."
"... A central question in regard to Steele, as with quite a number of former intelligence/law enforcement/military people who have started at least ostensibly private sector operations, is how far these are being used as 'cover' for activities conducted on behalf of either the state agencies for which they used to work, or other state agencies. ..."
"... It is at least possible that one advantage of such arrangements may be that they make it possible to evade the letter of agreements between intelligence agencies in different countries ..."
"... If, as seems likely, both current and former top FBI and DOJ people – very likely Mueller as well as Comey, Strzok and many others – were intimately involved in the conspiracy to subvert the constitution, then a means of making it possible for Steele to combine feeding information to the FBI while also engaging in 'StratCom' via the MSM could have been necessary. ..."
"... An obvious means of 'squaring the circle' would have been to issue a formal 'termination' to Steele, while creating 'back channels' to those who were officially supposed not to be talking to him ..."
"... A report yesterday by John Solomon in 'The Hill' quotes from messages exchanged between Steele and Bruce Ohr after the supposed termination ..."
"... 'In all, Ohr's notes, emails and texts identify more than 60 contacts with Steele and/or Simpson, some dating to 2002 in London. But the vast majority occurred during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in American history.' ..."
"... I have just finished taking a fresh look at Sir Robert Owen's travesty of a report into the death of Litvinenko. In large measure, this develops claims originally made in Christopher Steele's first attempt to provide a convincing account of why figures close to Putin might have thought it made sense to assassinate that figure, and to do so with polonium. The sheer volume of fabrication which has been deployed in an attempt to defend the patently indefensible almost beggars belief. ..."
"... Just as a question arises as to whether Steele is essentially acting on behalf of MI6, a question also arises as to whether the FBI leadership were knowledgeable about, and possibly involved with, the various shenanigans in which Shvets and Levinson were involved. Given that claims about Mogilevich have turned out to be central to 'Russiagate', that seems a rather important issue, and I am curious as to whether Ohr's communications with Steele may cast any light on it. ..."
"... Apparently the FBI got Deripaksa to fund the rescue of Levinson from Iran. Furthermore apparently FBI personnel maybe including McCabe visited with Deripaksa and showed him the Steele dossier. He supposedly had a nice guffaw and dismissed it as nonsense. So on the one hand while they make Russia out to be the most evil they play footsie with Russian oligarchs. ..."
"... Thinking about "Christopher Steele was terminated as a Confidential Human Source for cause.", something that doesn't seem to have gotten as much attention is that Peter Strzok failed his poly: ..."
"... Steele's relationship with the FBI extends far further back than February 2016. Shortly after he left MI6, he contracted with the Football Association to investigate possible FIFA corruption. Once he realized the massiveness of this corruption he contacted his old friends at the FBI Eurasian Crimes Task Force in 2011. Thus began his association with the FBI as a CHS. That investigation culminated in the 2015 FIFA corruption indictments and convictions. ..."
"... One thing I don't understand...we have the anti-Trumpers saying that Donald Junior meeting with a Russian national to get 'dirt' on Hillary is illegal...due to some law about candidates collaborating with foreigners or something like that...[obviously I'm foggy on the technical details]... Yet we know that the Hillary campaign worked with a foreign national, Steele, to get dirt on Trump...how is this not the same...? ..."
"... What role did Stefan Halper and Mifsud play as Confidential Human Sources in all this? ..."
"... Why was British Intelligence allegedly collecting and passing along info about Donald Trump in the first place? Or could this have been a pretext created to give cover and/or support to the agenda here in the US to insure his defeat? Could a foreign intelligence source such as this trigger/facilitate/justify the US counterintelligence investigation of Trump, or give cover to a covert investigation that may have already begun? ..."
"... British intelligence was collecting / passing on info about Trump because of his campaign stance on NATO (he said it was obsolete), his desire to end regime change wars (he castigated the fiasco in Iraq, took Bush to task over it etc.), and his often stated desire to get along with Russia (and China). Trump also talked of ending certain economic policies (NAFTA, TPP, etc.) and reenacting others (Glass-Steagall, the American System of Economics i.e. Hamilton, Carey, Clay), If Trump had acted on those, which he has not so far, he would changed the entire world system, a system in place since the end of WW II, or earlier. That was a risk too big to take without some kind of insurance policy - I believe Christopher Steele was that insurance policy. ..."
"... British Intelligence is verifiably the foreign source with the most extensive and effective meddling in the 2016 election. Perfidious Albion. ..."
"... Or, GSHQ was hovering up signint on Trump campaign early-on (using domestics US resources and databases via their 5-Eyes "sharing agreement" with NSA) cuz Brennan asked them to do it? ..."
"... Trump announced his run for President in 2015. I'm pretty sure that every intel service on the planet was watching him, they would be derelict not to. GCHQ may have been collecting intel on all the candidates, ..."
"... Trump announced his run for President in 2015. I'm pretty sure that every intel service on the planet was watching him, they would be derelict not to. GCHQ may have been collecting intel on all the candidates, ..."
"... I've heard that the Echelon system is used by the Five Eyes IC to do something similar. The Brits spy on US, and give the NSA the data so the NSA can evade US laws prohibiting spying on us, and we return the favor to help them evade what (few) laws they have that prohibits spying on their people. ..."
"... still wonder why the US would need to rely so much on British intelligence sources ..."
"... I've read that Steele's cover was blown 20 years ago and he hasn't even been to Russia since, so I wonder why he was considered such a reliable source by both the US and UK? In my opinion as an absolute naif about such things, Steele seems like he may be a has-been when it comes to Russia. ..."
"... Here is a simple explanation from someone who knows almost nothing about how any of the people in power work: Most of them are not as clever and smart as they think they are. And most of the regular people who are just citizens are smarter than these people think they are. ..."
"... It's simply that their arrogant assessment of their own superiority caused them to do really stupid things ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The revelations from US Government records about the FBI/Intel Community plot to take out Donald Trump continue to flow thanks to the dogged efforts of Judicial Watch. The latest nugget came last Friday with the release of FBI records detailing their recruitment and management of Britain's ostensibly retired Intelligence Officer, Christopher Steele. He was an officially recruited FBI source and received at least 11 payments during the 9 month period that he was signed up as a Confidential Human Source.

You may find it strange that we can glean so much information from a document dump that is almost entirely redacted . The key is to look at the report forms; there are three types--FD-1023 (Source Reports), FD-209a (Contact Reports) and FD-794b (Payment Requests). There are 15 different 1023s, 13 209a reports and 11 794b payment requests covering the period from 2 February 2016 thru 1 November 2016. That is a total of nine months.

These reports totally destroy the existing meme that Steele only came into contact with the FBI sometime in July 2016. It is important for you to understand that a 1023 Source Report is filled out each time that the FBI source handler has contact with the source. This can be an in person meeting or a phone call. Each report lists the name of the Case Agent; the date, time and location of the meeting; any other people attending the meeting; and a summary of what was discussed.

What is clear from the new records is that Christopher Steele, a foreign intelligence officer, had frequent and extensive contacts with the FBI. Who was his FBI Case Agent?


richardstevenhack , a day ago

Indeed we do need more information.

The main thing I want to know is WHEN was the decision made to tar Trump with Russia - both at the FBI (and likely CIA) and at the DNC (over the leak) - and WHO was the deciding entity - Comey, Brennan, Clinton, Obama or someone else? And perhaps who came up with the idea in the first place (at the DNC, it was very likely Alexandra Chalupa, the Ukrainian-American DNC "consultant").

We can be pretty sure this predates any alleged Russian "hacking" (unless it occurred as a result of alleged Russian hacking of the DNC in 2015).

This needs to be pinned down if anyone is to be successfully prosecuted for creating this treasonous hoax.

chris chuba , 5 hours ago
A very closely related topic, Victor Davis Hanson is onto something but it is darker than he suggests, https://www.nationalreview.... Paraphrasing, he gives the typical, rally around the flag we must stop the Russians intro but then documents how govt flaks abused their power to influence our elections and then makes the point, 'this is why the public is skeptical of their claims'.

The bad thing is that our MSM is so reverent of our Intel agencies that I see them encouraged to increasingly put their hand on the scale.

Recently, I saw arm flailing by a Congressman, Dan Coats, and Mueller about how the Russians are still at it. They are trying to disrupt or influence the 2018. Really, then I demand to get a list of the pro-Kremlin candidates. How long before the mere threat of being outed as a Kremlin agent is used to punish elected officials if they are not sufficiently hawkish or don't support certain programs. Unchallenged claims by Intel agencies gives them a lot of political power.

I am skeptical. Russia has a lot of fish to fry, why would they expend resources on midterm elections. Now everyone in the U.S. hates them, both traditional hawk Republicans and born again uber-hawk Democrats. There is a tiger behind both doors.

Leonardo Facchin , 20 hours ago
Thanks for the explanation.

What I can't figure out is: if Steele had been a CHS since at least February of 2016, what was the purpose of passing the Dossier to the FBI through Fusion GPS? Why not just going to his FBI handler? Was Steele collaboration with Fusion even in compliance with FBI regulations? Did the FBI know?

Publius Tacitus -> Leonardo Facchin , 17 hours ago
Because part of the plan was to leak the information in order to damage Trump. FBI could not do that. Would have exposed them to some real legal jeopardy. This was a dual track strategy. Diabolical almost.
blue peacock -> Leonardo Facchin , 13 hours ago
Don't forget the Nellie Ohr (Fusion GPS) -> Bruce Ohr (DOJ) back channel. The husband & wife tag team. Yes, the same Nellie that was investigating using ham radio to communicate to avoid NSA mass surveillance.

From the very beginning that information about all this was slowly leaking from the Congressional investigation, this whole thing smelled very fishy. Then add intense effort at DOJ & FBI to obstruct and obfuscate. And the unhinged tweets and interviews by Brennan, Clapper & Comey. And of course the media narrative that Rep. Nunes, Goodlatte and others were endangering "national security" by casting aspersions on the "patriotic" law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Paul M -> Leonardo Facchin , 16 hours ago
He was working with FBI and GPS at the same time. GPS was in the dark supposedly about his work with the FBI and Steele got their approval to hand over what he had delivered to GPS to the FBI as a cover for his work with the FBI.

Of course, he had most likely already done so and its also likely FBI had some input into the content of what was delivered to GPS, and more importantly what was not delivered.

David Habakkuk , 4 hours ago
PT,

Fascinating.

Re the 'standing agreement to not recruit each other's intelligence personnel for clandestine activities.' As Steele was not by this time a current employee of MI6, was the FBI in technical violation of this?

The point is not merely a quibble. A central question in regard to Steele, as with quite a number of former intelligence/law enforcement/military people who have started at least ostensibly private sector operations, is how far these are being used as 'cover' for activities conducted on behalf of either the state agencies for which they used to work, or other state agencies.

It is at least possible that one advantage of such arrangements may be that they make it possible to evade the letter of agreements between intelligence agencies in different countries.

Another related matter has to do with the termination of Steele as a 'Confidential Human Source.'

It has long seemed to me that it was more than possible that this was not to be taken at face value. If, as seems likely, both current and former top FBI and DOJ people – very likely Mueller as well as Comey, Strzok and many others – were intimately involved in the conspiracy to subvert the constitution, then a means of making it possible for Steele to combine feeding information to the FBI while also engaging in 'StratCom' via the MSM could have been necessary.

An obvious means of 'squaring the circle' would have been to issue a formal 'termination' to Steele, while creating 'back channels' to those who were officially supposed not to be talking to him.

A report yesterday by John Solomon in 'The Hill' quotes from messages exchanged between Steele and Bruce Ohr after the supposed termination.

(See http://thehill.com/person/d... .)

When on 31 January 2017 – well after the publication of the dossier by BuzzFeed – Ohr provided reassurance that he could continue to help feed information to the FBI, Steele texted back:

"If you end up out though, I really need another (bureau?) contact point/number who is briefed. We can't allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous."

At that point, Solomon tells us that 'Investigators are trying to determine who Steele was referring to.' This seems to me a rather important question. It would seem likely, although not certain, that he is talking about another Brit. If he is, would it have been someone else employed by Orbis? Or someone currently working for British intelligence? What is the precise significance of 'forced to go back home', and why would this have been 'disastrous'?

Another crucial paragraph:

'In all, Ohr's notes, emails and texts identify more than 60 contacts with Steele and/or Simpson, some dating to 2002 in London. But the vast majority occurred during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in American history.'

The earlier contacts may be of little interest, but there again they may not be.

As it happens, it was following Berezovsky's arrival in London in October 2001 that the 'information operations' network he created began to move into high gear. It is moreover clear that this was always a transatlantic operation, and also fragments of evidence suggest that the FBI may have had some involvement from early on.

I have just finished taking a fresh look at Sir Robert Owen's travesty of a report into the death of Litvinenko. In large measure, this develops claims originally made in Christopher Steele's first attempt to provide a convincing account of why figures close to Putin might have thought it made sense to assassinate that figure, and to do so with polonium. The sheer volume of fabrication which has been deployed in an attempt to defend the patently indefensible almost beggars belief.

The original attempt came in a radio programme broadcast by the BBC – which was to become known to some of us as the 'Berezovsky Broadcasting Corporation' – on 16 December 2006, presented by Tom Mangold, a familiar 'trusty' for the intelligence services.

(A transcript sent out from the Cabinet Office at the time is available on the archived 'Evidence' page for the Inquiry, at http://webarchive.nationala... , as HMG000513. There is an interesting and rather important question as to whether those who sent it out, and those who received it, knew that it was more or less BS from start to finish.)

The programme was wholly devoted to claims made by the former KGB operative Yuri Shvets, who was presented as an independent 'due diligence' expert, without any mention of the rather major role he had played in the original 'Orange Revolution.'

Back-up was provided by his supposed collaborator in 'due diligence', the former FBI operative Robert 'Bobby' Levinson. No mention was made of the fact that he had been, in the 'Nineties, a, if not the lead FBI investigator into the notorious Ukrainian Jewish mobster Semyon Mogilevich.

The following March Levinson would disappear on the Iranian island of Kish, on what we now know was a covert mission on behalf of elements in the CIA.

Just as a question arises as to whether Steele is essentially acting on behalf of MI6, a question also arises as to whether the FBI leadership were knowledgeable about, and possibly involved with, the various shenanigans in which Shvets and Levinson were involved. Given that claims about Mogilevich have turned out to be central to 'Russiagate', that seems a rather important issue, and I am curious as to whether Ohr's communications with Steele may cast any light on it.

Jack -> David Habakkuk , 2 hours ago
David

Apparently the FBI got Deripaksa to fund the rescue of Levinson from Iran. Furthermore apparently FBI personnel maybe including McCabe visited with Deripaksa and showed him the Steele dossier. He supposedly had a nice guffaw and dismissed it as nonsense. So on the one hand while they make Russia out to be the most evil they play footsie with Russian oligarchs.

Keith Harbaugh , 19 hours ago
Thanks for this informative article.

Thinking about "Christopher Steele was terminated as a Confidential Human Source for cause.", something that doesn't seem to have gotten as much attention is that Peter Strzok failed his poly:

Seems rather surprising to me. Anyone have any comment on this?

TTG , an hour ago
Steele's relationship with the FBI extends far further back than February 2016. Shortly after he left MI6, he contracted with the Football Association to investigate possible FIFA corruption. Once he realized the massiveness of this corruption he contacted his old friends at the FBI Eurasian Crimes Task Force in 2011. Thus began his association with the FBI as a CHS. That investigation culminated in the 2015 FIFA corruption indictments and convictions. His initial contact with old friends at the FBI Eurasian Crime Task Force is awfully similar to his contacting these same friends in 2016 after deciding his initial Trump research was potentially bigger than mere opposition research.
FB , 3 hours ago
One thing I don't understand...we have the anti-Trumpers saying that Donald Junior meeting with a Russian national to get 'dirt' on Hillary is illegal...due to some law about candidates collaborating with foreigners or something like that...[obviously I'm foggy on the technical details]... Yet we know that the Hillary campaign worked with a foreign national, Steele, to get dirt on Trump...how is this not the same...?

Even worse is that the FBI was using this same foreign agent that a presidential candidate had hired to get dirt on an opponent... Even knowing nothing about legalities this just doesn't look very good...

Wally Courie , 4 hours ago
Stupid question? As the Col. has explained, the President can declassify any document he pleases. So, why doesn't Donaldo unredact the redacted portions of these bullcrap docs? What is he afraid of? That the Intel community will get mad and be out to get him? Isn't time for him to show some cojones?
blue peacock , 16 hours ago
What role did Stefan Halper and Mifsud play as Confidential Human Sources in all this?
akaPatience , 19 hours ago
Why was British Intelligence allegedly collecting and passing along info about Donald Trump in the first place? Or could this have been a pretext created to give cover and/or support to the agenda here in the US to insure his defeat? Could a foreign intelligence source such as this trigger/facilitate/justify the US counterintelligence investigation of Trump, or give cover to a covert investigation that may have already begun?
Navstéva يزور 🐐 -> akaPatience , 17 hours ago
British intelligence was collecting / passing on info about Trump because of his campaign stance on NATO (he said it was obsolete), his desire to end regime change wars (he castigated the fiasco in Iraq, took Bush to task over it etc.), and his often stated desire to get along with Russia (and China). Trump also talked of ending certain economic policies (NAFTA, TPP, etc.) and reenacting others (Glass-Steagall, the American System of Economics i.e. Hamilton, Carey, Clay), If Trump had acted on those, which he has not so far, he would changed the entire world system, a system in place since the end of WW II, or earlier. That was a risk too big to take without some kind of insurance policy - I believe Christopher Steele was that insurance policy.
unmitigatedaudacity -> Navstéva يزور 🐐 , 16 hours ago
British Intelligence is verifiably the foreign source with the most extensive and effective meddling in the 2016 election. Perfidious Albion.
Bryn Nykrson -> Navstéva يزور 🐐 , 14 hours ago
Or, GSHQ was hovering up signint on Trump campaign early-on (using domestics US resources and databases via their 5-Eyes "sharing agreement" with NSA) cuz Brennan asked them to do it? And therefore without having to mess about with any formal FISA warrant thingy's ... But, then use what might be found (or plausibly alleged) to try to get a proper FISA warrant later on (July 2016)? 'Parallel Discovery' of sorts; with Fusion GPS also a leaky cut-out: channelling media reports to be used as confirmation of Steele's "raw intelligence" in the formal FISA application(s)?
Biggee Mikeee -> akaPatience , 17 hours ago
Trump announced his run for President in 2015. I'm pretty sure that every intel service on the planet was watching him, they would be derelict not to. GCHQ may have been collecting intel on all the candidates,

" Trump announced his run for President in 2015. I'm pretty sure that every intel service on the planet was watching him, they would be derelict not to. GCHQ may have been collecting intel on all the candidates, "

That's a good question, could it legally enable an end run around the FISC until enough evidence was gathered for a FISC surveillance authorization?.

richardstevenhack -> Biggee Mikeee , 13 hours ago
I've heard that the Echelon system is used by the Five Eyes IC to do something similar. The Brits spy on US, and give the NSA the data so the NSA can evade US laws prohibiting spying on us, and we return the favor to help them evade what (few) laws they have that prohibits spying on their people.

Only a matter of time until someone figured out the same method could be used to "meddle" in national affairs.

akaPatience -> Biggee Mikeee , 15 hours ago
I understand, but still wonder why the US would need to rely so much on British intelligence sources such as Steele about a very high profile American citizen and businessman -- aren't our intelligence services competent enough to have known and discovered as much if not more about Trump than other countries' intelligence services? I've read that Steele's cover was blown 20 years ago and he hasn't even been to Russia since, so I wonder why he was considered such a reliable source by both the US and UK? In my opinion as an absolute naif about such things, Steele seems like he may be a has-been when it comes to Russia.
DianaLC -> akaPatience , 4 hours ago
Here is a simple explanation from someone who knows almost nothing about how any of the people in power work: Most of them are not as clever and smart as they think they are. And most of the regular people who are just citizens are smarter than these people think they are.

It's simply that their arrogant assessment of their own superiority caused them to do really stupid things.

[May 10, 2019] Obama administration raced to obtain FICA warrant on Carter Page before Rogers investigation closes on them and that was definitely an obstruction of justice and interference with the ongoing investigation

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... DOJ National Security Division (NSD) head John Carlin filed the government's proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications on Sept. 26, 2016. Carlin knew the general status of compliance review by Rogers. The NSD was part of the review. Carlin failed to disclose a critical Jan. 7, 2016, report by the Office of the Inspector General and associated FISA abuse to the FISA Court in his 2016 certification. Carlin also failed to disclose Rogers's ongoing Section 702 compliance review. ..."
"... The following day, on Sept. 27, 2016, Carlin announced his resignation, effective Oct. 15, 2016. ..."
"... After receiving a briefing by the NSA compliance officer on Oct. 20, 2016, detailing numerous "about query" violations from the 702 NSA compliance audit, Rogers shut down all "about query" activity the next day and reported his findings to the DOJ. "About queries" are searches based on communications containing a reference "about" a surveillance target but that are not "to" or "from" the target. ..."
"... On Oct. 24, 2016, Rogers verbally informed the FISA Court of his findings. On Oct. 26, 2016, Rogers appeared formally before the FISA Court and presented the written findings of his audit. ..."
"... Carlin didn't disclose his knowledge of FISA abuse in the annual Section 702 certifications in order to avoid raising suspicions at the FISA Court ahead of receiving the Page FISA warrant. ..."
"... The FBI and the NSD were literally racing against Rogers's investigation in order to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page. ..."
"... While all this was transpiring, DNI James Clapper and Defense Secretary Ash Carter submitted a recommendation that Rogers be removed from his post as NSA director. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.theepochtimes.com

Originally from: Spygate The True Story of Collusion [Infographic] by Jeff Carlson ( October 12, 2018 Updated: May 3, 2019 )

FISA Abuse

Admiral Mike Rogers, while director of the NSA, was personally responsible for uncovering an unprecedented level of FISA abuse that would later be documented in a 99-page unsealed FISA court ruling . As the FISA court noted in the April 26, 2017, ruling, the abuses had been occurring since at least November 2015:

"The FBI had disclosed raw FISA information, including but not limited to Section 702-acquired information, to private contractors.

"Private contractors had access to raw FISA information on FBI storage systems.

"Contractors had access to raw FISA information that went well beyond what was necessary to respond to the FBI's requests."

The FISA Court report is particularly focused on the FBI:

"The Court is concerned about the FBI's apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI may be engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported."

The FISA Court disclosed that illegal NSA database searches were endemic. Private contractors, employed by the FBI, were given full access to the NSA database. Once in the contractors' possession, the data couldn't be traced.

In April 2016, after Rogers became aware of improper contractor access to raw FISA data on March 9, 2016, he directed the NSA's Office of Compliance to conduct a "fundamental baseline review of compliance associated with 702."

On April 18, 2016, Rogers shut down all outside contractor access to raw FISA information -- specifically outside contractors working for the FBI.

DOJ National Security Division (NSD) head John Carlin filed the government's proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications on Sept. 26, 2016. Carlin knew the general status of compliance review by Rogers. The NSD was part of the review. Carlin failed to disclose a critical Jan. 7, 2016, report by the Office of the Inspector General and associated FISA abuse to the FISA Court in his 2016 certification. Carlin also failed to disclose Rogers's ongoing Section 702 compliance review.

The following day, on Sept. 27, 2016, Carlin announced his resignation, effective Oct. 15, 2016.

After receiving a briefing by the NSA compliance officer on Oct. 20, 2016, detailing numerous "about query" violations from the 702 NSA compliance audit, Rogers shut down all "about query" activity the next day and reported his findings to the DOJ. "About queries" are searches based on communications containing a reference "about" a surveillance target but that are not "to" or "from" the target.

On Oct. 21, 2016, the DOJ and the FBI sought and received a Title I FISA probable-cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISA Court.

At this point, the FISA Court was still unaware of the Section 702 violations.

On Oct. 24, 2016, Rogers verbally informed the FISA Court of his findings. On Oct. 26, 2016, Rogers appeared formally before the FISA Court and presented the written findings of his audit.

The FISA Court had been unaware of the query violations until they were presented to the court by Rogers.

Carlin didn't disclose his knowledge of FISA abuse in the annual Section 702 certifications in order to avoid raising suspicions at the FISA Court ahead of receiving the Page FISA warrant.

The FBI and the NSD were literally racing against Rogers's investigation in order to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

While all this was transpiring, DNI James Clapper and Defense Secretary Ash Carter submitted a recommendation that Rogers be removed from his post as NSA director.

The move to fire Rogers, which ultimately failed, originated sometime in mid-October 2016 -- exactly when Rogers was preparing to present his findings to the FISA Court.

Jeff Carlson is a regular contributor to The Epoch Times. He also runs the website TheMarketsWork.com and can be followed on Twitter @themarketswork.

[May 08, 2019] Obama Spied on Other Republicans and Democrats As Well by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The CIA, with the knowledge of the Director of National Intelligence, worked with British counterparts starting in the summer of 2015 to collect intelligence on Republican and at least one Democrat candidate. John Brennan was probably hoping that his proactive steps to help the Hillary Clinton campaign would ensure him taking over as DNI in the new Clinton Administration. Regardless of motives, the CIA enlisted the British intelligence community to start gathering intelligence on most major Republican candidates and on Bernie Sanders. This initial phase of intelligence gathering goes beyond opposition research. The information being gathered identified the key personnel in each campaign and identified the people outside the United States receiving their calls, texts and emails. This information was turned into intelligence reports that then were passed back to the United States intel community as "liaison reporting." This was not put into normal classified channels. This intelligence was put into a SAP, i.e. a Special Access Program. ..."
"... One person who needs to be called on the carpet and asked some hard questions is current CIA Director Gina Haspel. She was CIA Chief of Station in London at the time and was a regular attendee at the meeting of the Brit's Joint Intelligence Committee aka the JIC. I suppose it is possible she was cut out of the process, but I believe that is unlikely. ..."
"... I am confident that a survey of NSA and CIA liaison reporting will show that George Papadopoulos was identified as a possible target by the fall of 2015. Initially, his name was "masked." But we now know that many people on the Trump campaign had their names "unmasked." You cannot unmask someone unless their name is in an intelligence report. ..."
"... Sater's communication with Rozov were intercepted by western intelligence agencies -- GCHQ and NSA. I do not know which agency put it into an intel report, but it was put into the system. The Sater FD-1023 will tell us whether or not Sater did this at the direction of the FBI or acted on his own initiative. The key point is that the "bait" to do something with the Russians came from a registered FBI informant. ..."
"... That's good, sooner it's clarified the better, and the stronger the better, ..."
"... Best approach is to slaughter Donald for his bromance with Putin , but not go too far betting on Putin re Syria ..."
"... Hakluyt is described by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Henry Williams as " one of the more secretive firms within the corporate investigations world " and as "a retirement home for ex-MI6 [British foreign intelligence] officers, but it now also recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking " ..."
"... I do not believe that it is a mere coincidence that Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, was the one credited by the FBI for launching the investigation into George Papadopolous : It was Downer who told the FBI of Papodopoulos' comments, which became one of the "driving factors that led the FBI to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," The Times reported. ..."
"... Downer, a long-time Aussie chum of Bill and Hillary Clinton, had been on Hakluyt's advisory board since 2008. Officially, he had to resign his Hakluyt role in 2014, but his informal connections continued uninterrupted, the News Corp. Australian Network reported in a January 2016 exclusive: ..."
"... I'm curious why they went after minor characters in the Trump campaign and not Jared or one of Trump's sons? From what I've read of Hoover, it seems he was constantly building "dossiers" of the powerful and those he considered "subversives" so that he would remain preeminent. Then there was the Church Committee investigation. Is this qualitatively different? Can we ever expect that law enforcement & intelligence with so much secretive power are not the 4th branch of government? ..."
"... Also involved - and I think Judge Ellis was very well aware of this - is a fundamental distinction relating to what law enforcement authorities are trying to achieve. If Mueller was honestly - even of perhaps misguidedly - trying to get witnesses to 'sing', that is hardly a mortal sin. If he was trying to get them to 'compose', then the question becomes whether he should be under indictment for subversion of the Constitution. ..."
"... Why aren't the MSM having a hissy fit about the real, documented election interference by the British Commonwealth/5 Eyes spooks in the 2016 campaign (and before)? The hoax of projecting onto Putin what they themselves have done must be exposed before the country move forward on any front. ..."
"... So, was Skripal one of Steele's so-called Kremlin insiders? I see Pablo Miller is connected to both Porton Down and Steele via the ironically titled II's media pods. And Miller is certainly connected to Skripal. ..."
May 08, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do not focus on July 2016 as the so-called start of the counter intelligence investigation of Donald Trump. That is a lie. We know, thanks to the work of Judicial Watch, that the FBI had signed up Christopher Steele as a Confidential Human Source (aka CHS) by February of 2016. It is incumbent on Attorney General Barr to examine the contact reports filed by Steele's FBI handler (those reports are known as FD-1023s). He also, as I have noted in a previous post, needs to look at the FD-1023s for Felix Sater and Henry Greenberg. But these will only tell a small part of the story. There is a massive intelligence side to this story.

The CIA, with the knowledge of the Director of National Intelligence, worked with British counterparts starting in the summer of 2015 to collect intelligence on Republican and at least one Democrat candidate. John Brennan was probably hoping that his proactive steps to help the Hillary Clinton campaign would ensure him taking over as DNI in the new Clinton Administration. Regardless of motives, the CIA enlisted the British intelligence community to start gathering intelligence on most major Republican candidates and on Bernie Sanders. This initial phase of intelligence gathering goes beyond opposition research. The information being gathered identified the key personnel in each campaign and identified the people outside the United States receiving their calls, texts and emails. This information was turned into intelligence reports that then were passed back to the United States intel community as "liaison reporting." This was not put into normal classified channels. This intelligence was put into a SAP, i.e. a Special Access Program.

One person who needs to be called on the carpet and asked some hard questions is current CIA Director Gina Haspel. She was CIA Chief of Station in London at the time and was a regular attendee at the meeting of the Brit's Joint Intelligence Committee aka the JIC. I suppose it is possible she was cut out of the process, but I believe that is unlikely.

This initial phase of intelligence collection produced a great volume of intelligence that allowed analysts to identify key personnel and the people they were communicating with overseas. You don't have to have access to intelligence information to understand this. For example, you simply have to ask the question, "how did George Papadopoulos get on the radar." I am confident that a survey of NSA and CIA liaison reporting will show that George Papadopoulos was identified as a possible target by the fall of 2015. Initially, his name was "masked." But we now know that many people on the Trump campaign had their names "unmasked." You cannot unmask someone unless their name is in an intelligence report. We also know that Felix Sater, a longtime business associate of Donald Trump and an FBI informant since December 1998 (he was signed up by Andrew Weismann), initiated the proposal to do a Trump Tower in Moscow. Don't take my word for it, that's what Robert Mueller reported:

In the late summer of 2015, the Trump Organization received a new inquiry about pursuing a Trump Tower project in Moscow. In approximately September 2015, Felix Sater . . . contacted Cohen (i.e., Michael Cohen) on behalf of I.C. Expert Investment Company (I.C. Expert), a Russian real-estate development corporation controlled by Andrei Vladimirovich Rozov. Sater had known Rozov since approximately 2007 and, in 2014, had served as an agent on behalf of Rozov during Rozov's purchase of a building in New York City. Sater later contacted Rozov and proposed that I.C. Expert pursue a Trump Tower Moscow project in which I.C. Expert would license the name and brand from the Trump Organization but construct the building on its own. Sater worked on the deal with Rozov and another employee of I.C. Expert. (see page 69 of the Mueller Report).

Sater's communication with Rozov were intercepted by western intelligence agencies -- GCHQ and NSA. I do not know which agency put it into an intel report, but it was put into the system. The Sater FD-1023 will tell us whether or not Sater did this at the direction of the FBI or acted on his own initiative. The key point is that the "bait" to do something with the Russians came from a registered FBI informant.

By December of 2015, the Hillary Campaign decided to use the Russian angle on Donald Trump. Thanks to Wikileaks we have Campaign Manager John Podesta's email exchange in December 2015 with Democratic operative Brent Budowsky:

" That's good, sooner it's clarified the better, and the stronger the better, " Budowski replies, later adding: " Best approach is to slaughter Donald for his bromance with Putin , but not go too far betting on Putin re Syria ."

The program to slaughter Donald Trump using Russia as the hatchet was already underway. This was more the opposition research. This was the weaponization of law enforcement and intelligence assets to attack political opponents. Hillary had covered the opposition research angle in London by hiring a firm comprised of former MI6 assets-- Hakluyt: there was a second, even more powerful and mysterious opposition research and intelligence firm lurking about with significant political and financial links to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign for president against Donald Trump.

Meet London-based Hakluyt & Co. , founded by three former British intelligence operatives in 1995 to provide the kind of otherwise inaccessible research for which select governments and Fortune 500 corporations pay huge sums. . . .

Hakluyt is described by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Henry Williams as " one of the more secretive firms within the corporate investigations world " and as "a retirement home for ex-MI6 [British foreign intelligence] officers, but it now also recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking "

I do not believe that it is a mere coincidence that Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, was the one credited by the FBI for launching the investigation into George Papadopolous : It was Downer who told the FBI of Papodopoulos' comments, which became one of the "driving factors that led the FBI to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," The Times reported.

Downer, a long-time Aussie chum of Bill and Hillary Clinton, had been on Hakluyt's advisory board since 2008. Officially, he had to resign his Hakluyt role in 2014, but his informal connections continued uninterrupted, the News Corp. Australian Network reported in a January 2016 exclusive:

But it can be revealed Mr. Downer has still been attending client conferences and gatherings of the group, including a client cocktail soirée at the Orangery at Kensington Palace a few months ago.

His attendance at that event is understood to have come days after he also attended a two-day country retreat at the invitation of the group, which has been involved in a number of corporate spy scandals in recent times.

Much remains to be uncovered in this plot. But this much is certain--there is an extensive documentary record, including TOP SECRET intelligence reports (SIGINT and HUMINT) and emails and phone calls that will show there was a concerted covert action operation mounted against Donald Trump and his campaign. Those documents will tell the story. This cannot be allowed to happen again.

Posted at 05:33 AM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink | Comments (9)


turcopolier , 07 May 2019 at 09:53 AM

Having watched interviews of Papadopoulos on TeeVee I would say that this creature would be easy to manipulate. His ego is so enormous that a minimal effort would be required.
blue peacock said in reply to turcopolier ... , 07 May 2019 at 11:19 AM
Col. Lang

I'm curious why they went after minor characters in the Trump campaign and not Jared or one of Trump's sons? From what I've read of Hoover, it seems he was constantly building "dossiers" of the powerful and those he considered "subversives" so that he would remain preeminent. Then there was the Church Committee investigation. Is this qualitatively different? Can we ever expect that law enforcement & intelligence with so much secretive power are not the 4th branch of government?

David Habakkuk -> blue peacock... , 07 May 2019 at 01:31 PM
bp,

The guts of the matter was well expressed by Judge T.S. Ellis when he made the distinction between different results which can be expected from exerting pressures on witnesses: they may 'sing' - which is, commonly, in the interests of justice - but, there again, they may 'compose', which is not.

Also involved - and I think Judge Ellis was very well aware of this - is a fundamental distinction relating to what law enforcement authorities are trying to achieve. If Mueller was honestly - even of perhaps misguidedly - trying to get witnesses to 'sing', that is hardly a mortal sin. If he was trying to get them to 'compose', then the question becomes whether he should be under indictment for subversion of the Constitution.

Alcatraz, perhaps?

blue peacock said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 08 May 2019 at 12:17 AM
David,

Yes, indeed, many a composition have been elicited by prosecutors in criminal cases. The issue is there is no penalty for prosecutorial misconduct while the advancement points ratchet up with each conviction. The incentives are aligned perfectly for the "institution" to run rough shod on ordinary Americans. Only those wealthy enough to fight the unlimited funds of the government have a chance. But of course in matters relating to national security there is the added twist of state secrets that protects government malfeasance.

I don't know how the national security state we continue to build ever gets rolled back. A small victory would be for Trump to declassify all documents and communications relating to the multifaceted spying on his campaign and as Larry so eloquently writes to frame him as a Manchurian Candidate. At least the public will learn about what their grandchildren are paying for. But it seems that Trump prefers tweeting to taking any kind of action. Not that it would matter much as half the country will still believe that Trump deserves it until the tables are turned on their team. While most Americans will say to use Ben Hunt's phrasing Yay! Constitution. Yay! Liberty. they sure don't care as the state oligarchy tighten their chokehold.

https://www.epsilontheory.com/things-fall-apart-pt-1/

akaPatience -> turcopolier ... , 07 May 2019 at 05:27 PM
Yes, he seems young and ambitious enough to be easy (and willing) prey. Having been involved in some local political campaigns though, I've observed that more and more than before, young people like him are hyper-concerned with networking. Papadopoulos' ego aside, of course he and many people who sign on hope to make self-serving connections. Not only that, it's also been my observation that casual sexual hook-ups go with the territory, and not only among young, single guys like him. I have to say I've been shocked a few times by how risky and cavalier some liaisons have been that've come to my attention, considering "public figures" are involved. No doubt that's why a "honeypot" was dispatched to try to help entrap Papadopoulos.
Rick Merlotti , 07 May 2019 at 12:14 PM
Why aren't the MSM having a hissy fit about the real, documented election interference by the British Commonwealth/5 Eyes spooks in the 2016 campaign (and before)? The hoax of projecting onto Putin what they themselves have done must be exposed before the country move forward on any front.
O'Shawnessey , 07 May 2019 at 02:44 PM
So, was Skripal one of Steele's so-called Kremlin insiders? I see Pablo Miller is connected to both Porton Down and Steele via the ironically titled II's media pods. And Miller is certainly connected to Skripal.
sandra adie , 07 May 2019 at 03:01 PM
Papadopolos was very young hence the nativity getting sucked in. The ego helped for sure. Probably exciting to be part of something important probably for the first time since he started working for Trump campaign
akaPatience , 07 May 2019 at 03:01 PM
One thing that's always concerned me about Larry's informative and insightful essays on these matters is how can we be assured that the IC documentation mentioned has been filled out honestly and accurately -- or that the forms even still exist and haven't been conveniently "lost" or surreptitiously destroyed?

[Apr 17, 2019] Six US Agencies Conspired ...

Highly recommended!
Apr 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Here is what we now know, per intelligence gleaned form federal law enforcement sources with insider knowledge of what amounts to a plot by U.S. intelligence agencies to secure back door and illegal wiretaps of President Trump's associates:

Six U.S. agencies created a stealth task force, spearhead by CIA’s Brennan, to run domestic surveillance on Trump associates and possibly Trump himself. To feign ignorance and to seemingly operate within U.S. laws, the agencies freelanced the wiretapping of Trump associates to the British spy agency GCHQ. The decision to insert GCHQ as a back door to eavesdrop was sparked by the denial of two FISA Court warrant applications filed by the FBI to seek wiretaps of Trump associates. GCHQ did not work from London or the UK. In fact the spy agency worked from NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, MD with direct NSA supervision and guidance to conduct sweeping surveillance on Trump associates. The illegal wiretaps were initiated months before the controversial Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. The Justice Department and FBI set up the meeting at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner with controversial Russian officials to make Trump’s associates appear compromised. Following the Trump Tower sit down, GCHQ began digitally wiretapping Manafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner. After the concocted meeting by the Deep State, the British spy agency could officially justify wiretapping Trump associates as an intelligence front for NSA because the Russian lawyer at the meeting Natalia Veselnitskaya was considered an international security risk and prior to the June sit down was not even allowed entry into the United States or the UK, federal sources said. By using GCHQ, the NSA and its intelligence partners had carved out a loophole to wiretap Trump without a warrant. While it is illegal for U.S. agencies to monitor phones and emails of U.S. citizens inside the United States absent a warrant, it is not illegal for British intelligence to do so. Even if the GCHQ was tapping Trump on U.S. soil at Fort Meade. The wiretaps, secured through illicit scheming, have been used by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election, even though the evidence is considered “poisoned fruit.”

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Someone left this link in a comment to LJ, but as ringmaster of this circus, I choose to publish this as the best summary of all the threads of the supposed conspiracy that I have seen thus far. pl

https://truepundit.com/exclusive-six-u-s-agencies-conspired-to-illegally-wiretap-trump-british-intel-used-as-front-to-spy-on-campaign-for-nsa/

Chris Fahlman said...

Wikipedia page on Paul Manafort says that the FBI began a criminal investigation into him in 2014, associated with his previous dealings in Ukraine. He could have been a target of surveillance and wiretapping since then.

I therefore think Manafort was the key the intelligence agencies used to get to into Trump's organisation. It may have been initially incidental to their ongoing, and much earlier surveillance of Manafort.

Robert Poling said...

Thank-you for this summary. If confirmed, Brennan (and others in the group he formed to spy on Trump and Trump's campaign) should go to jail. Congress specifically forbid American spy agencies spying on American citizens in the U.S. Since that Congressional action, the CIA and NSA have gotten around it by having foreign partners among the 'five eyes' do the collecting and then passing the information back to us.

The spying on Trump was done at the behest of Obama and his minions. I'm reminded of an American president who was hounded from office by the mainstream press for sending minions to spy and collect dirt at the opposition's political headquarters. He had to resign and leave office. Several involved in the burglary went to jail and lost their livelihoods. Why is this situation today any different and why is there a delay in prosecuting them? It's because the major media is bought out and controlled by Trump's political opponents and not demanding justice, indeed is providing cover and excuses for them

[Mar 25, 2019] Spygate The True Story of Collusion (plus Infographic) by Jeff Carlson

Highly recommended!
This is probably the most comprehensive outline of the color revolution against Trump. Bravo, simply bravo !!!
Reads like Agatha Christi Murder on the Orient Express ;-) Rosenstein role is completely revised from a popular narrative. Brennan role clarifies and detailed. Obama personal role hinted. Victoria Nuland role and the role of the State Department in Russiagate is documented for the first time, I think.
Notable quotes:
"... The "insurance policy" appears to have been the effort to legitimize the Trump–Russia collusion narrative so that an FBI investigation, led by McCabe, could continue unhindered. ..."
"... Ohr, one of the highest-ranking officials in the DOJ, was communicating on an ongoing basis with Steele, whom he had known since at least 2006 , well into mid-2017. He is also married to Nellie Ohr, an expert on Russia and Eurasia who began working for Fusion GPS sometime in late 2015 . Nellie Ohr likely played a significant role in the construction of the dossier. ..."
"... The Obama administration provided a simultaneous layer of protection and facilitation for the entire effort. One example is provided by Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 , also known as Obama's data-sharing order . With the passage of the order, agencies and individuals were able to ask the NSA for access to specific surveillance simply by claiming the intercepts contained relevant information that was useful to a particular mission. ..."
"... Leaking, including felony leaking of classified information, has been widespread. The Carter Page FISA warrant -- likely the unredacted version -- has been in the possession of The Washington Post and The New York Times since March 2017. Traditionally, the intelligence community leaked to The Washington Post while the DOJ leaked to sources within The New York Times. This was a historical pattern that stood until this election. The leaking became so widespread, even this tradition was broken. ..."
"... The information contained within both articles likely came via felony leaks from James Wolfe, former director of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who was arrested on June 7, 2018, and charged with one count of lying to the FBI. Wolfe's indictment alleges that he was leaking classified information to multiple reporters over an extended period of time. ..."
"... The Steele dossier was fed into U.S. channels through several different sources. One such source was Sir Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Russia, who had been briefed about the dossier by Steele. Wood later relayed information regarding the dossier to Sen. John McCain, who dispatched David Kramer, a fellow at the McCain Institute, to London to meet with Steele in November 2016. McCain would later admit in a Jan. 11, 2017, statement that he had personally passed on the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey. ..."
"... Trump, after issuing an order for the declassification of documents and text messages related to the Russia-collusion investigations -- including parts of the Carter Page FISA warrant application -- received phone calls from two U.S. allies saying, "Please, can we talk." Those "allies" were almost certainly the UK and Australia. ..."
"... Questions to be asked are why is it that two of our allies would find themselves so opposed to the release of these classified documents that a coordinated plea would be made directly to the president? And why would these same allies have even the slightest idea of what was contained in these classified U.S. documents? ..."
Oct 12, 2018 | www.theepochtimes.com
Spygate: The True Story of Collusion [Infographic] How America's most powerful agencies were weaponized against President Donald Trump

Although the details remain complex, the structure underlying Spygate -- the creation of the false narrative that candidate Donald Trump colluded with Russia, and the spying on his presidential campaign -- remains surprisingly simple:

  1. CIA Director John Brennan, with some assistance from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, gathered foreign intelligence and fed it throughout our domestic Intelligence Community.
  2. The FBI became the handler of Brennan's intelligence and engaged in the more practical elements of surveillance.
  3. The Department of Justice facilitated investigations by the FBI and legal maneuverings, while providing a crucial shield of nondisclosure.
  4. The Department of State became a mechanism of information dissemination and leaks.
  5. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee provided funding, support, and media collusion.
  6. Obama administration officials were complicit, and engaged in unmasking and intelligence gathering and dissemination.
  7. The media was the most corrosive element in many respects. None of these events could have transpired without their willing participation. Stories were pushed, facts were ignored, and narratives were promoted.

Let's start with a simple premise: The candidacy of Trump presented both an opportunity and a threat.

Initially not viewed with any real seriousness, Trump's campaign was seen as an opportunistic wedge in the election process. At the same time, and particularly as the viability of his candidacy increased, Trump was seen as an existential threat to the established political system.

The sudden legitimacy of Trump's candidacy was not welcomed by the U.S. political establishment. Here was a true political outsider who held no traditional allegiances. He was brash and boastful, he ignored political correctness, he couldn't be bought, and he didn't care what others thought of him -- he trusted himself.

Governing bodies in Britain and the European Union were also worried. Candidate Trump was openly challenging monetary policy, regulations, and the power of special interests. He challenged Congress. He challenged the United Nations and the European Union. He questioned everything.

Brennan played a crucial role in the creation of the Russia-collusion narrative and the spying on the Trump campaign. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Brennan became the point man in the operation to stop a potential Trump presidency. It remains unclear whether his role was self-appointed or came from above. To embark on such a mission without direct presidential authority seems both a stretch of the imagination and particularly foolhardy.

Brennan took unofficial foreign intelligence compiled by contacts, colleagues, and associates -- primarily from the UK , but also from other Five Eyes members, such as Australia.

Individuals in official positions in UK intelligence, such as Robert Hannigan -- head of the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, Britain's equivalent of the National Security Agency) -- partnered with former UK foreign intelligence members. Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove , former Ambassador Sir Andrew Wood, and private UK intelligence firm Hakluyt all played a role.

In the summer of 2016, Hannigan traveled to Washington to meet with Brennan regarding alleged communications between the Trump campaign and Moscow. On Jan. 23, 2017 -- three days after Trump's inauguration -- Hannigan abruptly announced his retirement. The Guardian openly speculated that Hannigan's resignation was directly related to the sharing of UK intelligence.

One method used to help establish evidence of collusion was the employment of "spy traps." Prominent among these were ones set for Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. The intent was to provide or establish connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. The content and context mattered little as long as a connection could be established that could then be publicized. The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was another such attempt.

Western intelligence assets were used to initiate and establish these connections, particularly in the cases of Papadopoulos and Page.

Ultimately, Brennan formed an inter-agency task force comprising an estimated six agencies and/or government departments. The FBI, Treasury, and DOJ handled the domestic inquiry into Trump and possible Russia connections. The CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Security Agency (NSA) handled foreign and intelligence aspects.

Brennan's inter-agency task force is not to be confused with the July 2016 FBI counterintelligence investigation, which was formed later at Brennan's urging.

During this time, Brennan also employed the use of reverse targeting , which relates to the targeting of a foreign individual with the intent of capturing data on a U.S. citizen. This effort was uncovered and made public by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) in a March 2017 press conference :

"I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show the president-elect and his team were monitored and disseminated out in intelligence-reporting channels. Details about persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little apparent foreign-intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.

"From what I know right now, it looks like incidental collection. We don't know exactly how that was picked up but we're trying to get to the bottom of it."

As this foreign intelligence -- unofficial in nature and outside of any traditional channels -- was gathered, Brennan began a process of feeding his gathered intelligence to the FBI. Repeated transfers of foreign intelligence from the CIA director pushed the FBI toward the establishment of a formal counterintelligence investigation. Brennan repeatedly noted this during a May 23, 2017, congressional testimony :

"I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign, was shared with the [FBI]."

Brennan also admitted that his intelligence helped establish the FBI investigation:

"I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred."

This admission is important, as no official intelligence was used to open the FBI's investigation.

Once the FBI began its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016, Brennan shifted his focus. Through a series of meetings in August and September 2016, Brennan informed the congressional Gang of Eight regarding intelligence and information he had gathered. Notably, each Gang of Eight member was briefed separately, calling into question whether each of the members received the same information. Efforts to block the release of the transcripts from each meeting remain ongoing.

The last major segment of Brennan's efforts involved a series of three reports and greater participation from Clapper. The first report, the "Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security ," was released on Oct. 7, 2016. The second report, "GRIZZLY STEPPE -- Russian Malicious Cyber Activity ," was released on Dec. 29, 2016. The third report, "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections " -- also known as the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) -- was released on Jan. 6, 2017.

This final report was used to continue pushing the Russia-collusion narrative following the election of President Donald Trump. Notably, Admiral Mike Rogers of the NSA publicly dissented from the findings of the ICA, assigning only a moderate confidence level.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/bMcNbum93cU?wmode=transparent&wmode=opaque

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Although the FBI is technically part of the DOJ, it is best for the purposes of this article that the FBI and DOJ be viewed as separate entities, each with its own related ties.

The FBI itself was comprised of various factions, with a particularly active element that has come to be known as the "insurance policy group." It appears that this faction was led by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and comprised other notable names such as FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and FBI general counsel James Baker.

The FBI established the counterintelligence investigation into alleged Russia collusion with the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016. Comey initially refused to say whether the FBI was investigating possible connections between members of the Trump campaign and Russia. He would continue to refuse to provide answers until March 20, 2017, when he disclosed the existence of the FBI investigation during congressional testimony.

Comey also testified that he did not provide notification to the Gang of Eight until early March 2017 -- less than one month earlier. This admission was in stark contrast to actions taken by Brennan, who had notified members of the Gang of Eight individually during August and September 2016. It's likely that Brennan never informed Comey that he had briefed the Gang of Eight in 2016. Comey did note that the DOJ "had been aware" of the investigation all along.

Comey opened the counterintelligence investigation into Trump on the urging of CIA Director John Brennan.
Following Comey's firing on May 9, 2017, the FBI's investigation was transferred to special counsel Robert Mueller. The Mueller investigation remains ongoing.

The FBI's formal involvement with the Steele dossier began on July 5, 2016, when Mike Gaeta, an FBI agent and assistant legal attaché at the US Embassy in Rome, was dispatched to visit former MI6 spy Christopher Steele in London. Gaeta would return from this meeting with a copy of Steele's first memo. This memo was given to Victoria Nuland at the State Department, who passed it along to the FBI.

Gaeta, who also headed the FBI's Eurasian Organized Crime unit, had known Steele since at least 2010, when Steele had provided assistance to the FBI's investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal .

Prior to the London meeting, Gaeta may also have met on a less formal basis with Steele several weeks earlier. "In June, Steele flew to Rome to brief the FBI contact with whom he had cooperated over FIFA," The Guardian reported. "His information started to reach the bureau in Washington."

It's worth noting that there was no "dossier" until it was fully compiled in December 2016. There was only a sequence of documents from Steele -- documents that were passed on individually -- as they were created. Therefore, from the FBI's legal perspective, they didn't use the dossier. They used individual documents.

For the next month and a half, there appeared to be little contact between Steele and the FBI. However, the FBI's interest in the dossier suddenly accelerated in late August 2016, when the bureau asked Steele "for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources."

In September 2016, Steele traveled back to Rome to meet with the FBI's Eurasian squad once again. It's likely that the meeting included several other FBI officials as well. According to a House Intelligence Committee minority memo , Steele's reporting reached the FBI counterintelligence team in mid-September 2016 -- the same time as Steele's September trip to Rome.

The reason for the FBI's renewed interest had to do with an adviser to the Trump campaign -- Carter Page -- who had been in contact with Stefan Halper, a CIA and FBI source, since July 2016. Halper arranged to meet with Page for the first time on July 11, 2016, at a Cambridge symposium , just three days after Page took a trip to Moscow. Speakers at the symposium included Madeleine Albright, Vin Webber, and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6.

Page was now the FBI's chosen target for a FISA warrant that would be obtained on Oct. 21, 2016. The Steele dossier would be the primary evidence used in obtaining the FISA warrant, which would be renewed three separate times, including after Trump took office, finally expiring in September 2017.

Former volunteer Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on Nov. 2, 2017. The FBI obtained a retroactive FISA spy warrant on Page.

After being in contact with Page for 14 months, Halper stopped contact exactly as the final FISA warrant on Page expired. Page, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, was never charged with any crime by the FBI. Efforts for the declassification of the Page FISA application are currently ongoing through the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General.

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were two prominent members of the FBI's "insurance policy" group. Strzok, a senior FBI agent, was the deputy assistant director of FBI's Counterintelligence Division. Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer, served as special counsel to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Strzok was in charge of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for government business. He helped FBI Director James Comey draft the statement exonerating Clinton and was personally responsible for changing specific wording within that statement that reduced Clinton's legal liability. Specifically, Strzok changed the words "grossly negligent," which could be a criminal offense, to "extremely careless."

Strzok also personally led the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into the alleged Trump–Russia collusion and signed the documents that opened the investigation on July 31, 2016. He was one of the FBI agents who interviewed Trump's national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn. Strzok met multiple times with DOJ official Bruce Ohr and received information from Steele at those meetings.

Following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Strzok would join the team of special counsel Robert Mueller. Two months later, he was removed from that team after the DOJ inspector general discovered a lengthy series of texts between Strzok and Page that contained politically charged messages. Strzok would be fired from the FBI in August 2018.

Both Strzok and Page engaged in strategic leaking to the press. Page did so at the direction of McCabe, who directly authorized Page to share information with Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett. That information was used in an Oct. 30, 2016, article headlined "FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe ." Page leaked to Barrett thinking she had been granted legal and official authorization to do so.

McCabe would later initially deny providing such authorization to the Office of Inspector General. Page, when confronted with McCabe's denials, produced texts refuting his statement. It was these texts that led to the inspector general uncovering the texts between Strzok and Page.

The two exchanged thousands of texts, some of them indicating surveillance activities, over a two-year period. Texts sent between Aug. 21, 2015, and June 25, 2017, have been made public . The series comes to an end with a final text by Page telling Strzok, "Don't ever text me again."

On Aug. 8, 2016, Stzrok wrote that they would prevent candidate Trump from becoming president:

Page: "[Trump is] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!"

Strzok: "No. No he won't. We'll stop it."

On Aug. 15, 2016, Strzok sent a text referring to an "insurance policy":

"I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way [Trump] gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40."

The "insurance policy" appears to have been the effort to legitimize the Trump–Russia collusion narrative so that an FBI investigation, led by McCabe, could continue unhindered.

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice, which comprises 60 agencies , was transformed during the Obama years. The department is forbidden by federal law from hiring employees based on political affiliation.

However, a series of investigative articles by PJ Media published during Eric Holder's tenure as attorney general revealed an unsettling pattern of ideological conformity among new hires at the DOJ: Only lawyers from the progressive left were hired. Not one single moderate or conservative lawyer made the cut. This is significant as the DOJ enjoys significant latitude in determining who will be subject to prosecution.

The DOJ's job in Spygate was to facilitate the legal side of surveillance while providing a protective layer of cover for all those involved. The department became a repository of information and provided a protective wall between the investigative efforts of the FBI and the legislative branch. Importantly, it also served as the firewall within the executive branch, serving as the insulating barrier between the FBI and Obama officials. The department had become legendary for its stonewalling tactics with Congress.

DOJ Official Bruce Ohr on Aug. 28, 2018. Ohr passed on information from Christopher Steele to the FBI.

The DOJ, which was fully aware of the actions being taken by James Comey and the FBI, also became an active element acting against members of the Trump campaign. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, along with Mary McCord, the head of the DOJ's National Security Division, was actively involved in efforts to remove Gen. Michael Flynn from his position as national security adviser to President Trump.

To this day, it remains unknown which individual was responsible for making public Flynn's call with the Russian ambassador. Flynn ultimately pleaded guilty to a process crime: lying to the FBI. There have been questions raised in Congress regarding the possible alteration of FD-302s, the written notes of Flynn's FBI interviews. Special counsel Robert Mueller has repeatedly deferred Flynn's sentencing hearing.

David Laufman, deputy assistant attorney general in charge of counterintelligence at the DOJ's National Security Division, played a key role in both the Clinton email server and Russia hacking investigations. Laufman is currently the attorney for Monica McLean, the long-time friend of Christine Blasey Ford, who recently accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while in high school. McLean was also employed by the FBI for 24 years.

Bruce Ohr was a significant DOJ official who played a key role in Spygate. Ohr held two important positions at the DOJ: associate deputy attorney general, and director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. As associate deputy attorney general, Ohr was just four offices away from then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and he reported directly to her. As director of the task force, he was in charge of a program described as "the centerpiece of the attorney general's drug strategy."

Ohr, one of the highest-ranking officials in the DOJ, was communicating on an ongoing basis with Steele, whom he had known since at least 2006 , well into mid-2017. He is also married to Nellie Ohr, an expert on Russia and Eurasia who began working for Fusion GPS sometime in late 2015 . Nellie Ohr likely played a significant role in the construction of the dossier.

According to testimony from FBI agent Peter Strzok, he and Ohr met at least five times during 2016 and 2017. Strzok was working directly with then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Additionally, Ohr met with the FBI at least 12 times between late November 2016 and May 2017 for a series of interviews. These meetings could have been used to transmit information from Steele to the FBI. This came after the FBI had formally severed contact with Steele in late October or early November 2016.

John Carlin is another notable figure with the DOJ. Carlin was an assistant attorney general and the head of the DOJ's National Security Division until October 2016. His role will be discussed below in the section on FISA abuse.

The Battle Between Rosenstein and McCabe

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe held a pivotal role in what has become known as "Spygate." He directed the activities of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and was involved in all aspects of the Russia investigation. He was also mentioned in the infamous "insurance policy" text message.

McCabe was a major component of the insurance policy.

On April 26, 2017, Rosenstein found himself appointed as the new deputy attorney general. He was placed into a somewhat chaotic situation, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the ongoing Russia investigation a little less than two months earlier, on March 2, 2017. This effectively meant that no one in the Trump administration had any oversight of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the FBI and the DOJ.

Additionally, the leadership of then-FBI Director James Comey was coming under increased scrutiny as the result of actions taken leading up to and following the election, particularly Comey's handling of the Clinton email investigation.

On May 9, 2017, Rosenstein wrote a memorandum recommending that Comey be fired. The subject of the memo was "Restoring Public Confidence in the FBI." Comey was fired that day. McCabe was now the acting director of the FBI and was immediately under consideration for the permanent position.

On the same day Comey was fired, McCabe would lie during an interview with agents from the FBI's Inspection Division (INSD) regarding apparent leaks that were used in an Oct. 30, 2016, Wall Street Journal article, "FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe" by Devlin Barrett. This would later be disclosed in the inspector general report, "A Report of Investigation of Certain Allegations Relating to Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe."

At the time, nobody, including the INSD agents, knew that McCabe had lied, nor were the darker aspects of McCabe's role in Spygate fully known.

In late April or early May 2016, McCabe opened a federal criminal investigation on Sessions, regarding potential lack of candor before Congress in relation to Sessions's contacts with Russians. Sessions was unaware of the investigation.

Sessions would later be cleared of any wrongdoing by special counsel Robert Mueller.

On the morning of May 16, 2017, Rosenstein reportedly suggested to McCabe that he secretly record President Trump. This remark was reported in a New York Times article that was sourced from memos from the now-fired McCabe, along with testimony taken from former FBI general counsel James Baker, who relayed a conversation he had with McCabe about the occurrence. Rosenstein issued a statement denying the accusations.

The alleged comments by Rosenstein occurred at a meeting where McCabe was "pushing for the Justice Department to open an investigation into the president." An unnamed participant at the meeting, in comments to The Washington Post, framed the conversation somewhat differently, noting Rosenstein responded sarcastically to McCabe, saying, "What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?"

Later, on the same day that Rosenstein had his meetings with McCabe, President Trump met with Mueller, reportedly as an interview for the FBI director job. On May 17, 2017, the day after President Trump's meeting with Mueller -- and the day after Rosenstein's encounters with McCabe -- Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel.

The May 17 appointment of Mueller in effect shifted control of the Russia investigation from the FBI and McCabe to Mueller. Rosenstein would retain ultimate authority for the probe and any expansion of Mueller's investigation required authorization from Rosenstein.

Interestingly, without Comey's memo leaks, a special counsel might not have been appointed -- the FBI, and possibly McCabe, would have remained in charge of the Russia investigation. McCabe was probably not going to become the permanent FBI director, but he was reportedly under consideration. Regardless, without Comey's leak, McCabe would have retained direct involvement and the FBI would have retained control.

On July 28, 2017, McCabe lied to Inspector General Michael Horowitz while under oath regarding authorization of the leaking to The Wall Street Journal. At this point, Horowitz knew McCabe was lying, but did not yet know of the May 9 INSD interview with McCabe.

On Aug. 2, 2017, Rosenstein secretly issued Mueller a revised memo on "the scope of investigation and definition of authority" that remains heavily redacted. The full purpose of this memo remains unknown. On this same day, Christopher Wray was named as the new FBI director.

Two days later, on Aug. 4, 2017, Sessions announced that the FBI had created a new leaks investigation unit. Rosenstein and Wray were tasked with overseeing all leak investigations.

That Aug. 2 memo from Rosenstein to Mueller may have been specifically designed to remove any residual FBI influence -- specifically that of McCabe -- from the Russia investigation. The appointment of Wray as FBI director helped cement this. McCabe was finally completely neutralized.

On March 16, 2018, McCabe was fired for lying under oath at least three different times and is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation.

State Department

The State Department, with its many contacts within foreign governments, became a conduit for the flow of information. The transfer of Christopher Steele's first dossier memo was personally facilitated by Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland gave approval for FBI agent Michael Gaeta to travel to London to obtain the memo from Steele. The memo may have passed directly from her to FBI leadership. Secretary of State John Kerry was also given a copy.

Steele was already well-known within the State Department. Following Steele's involvement in the FIFA scandal investigation, he began to provide reports informally to the State Department. The reports were written for a "private client" but were "shared widely within the U.S. State Department, and sent up to Secretary of State John Kerry and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who was in charge of the U.S. response to Putin's annexation of Crimea and covert invasion of eastern Ukraine," the Guardian reported.

Nuland passed on parts of the Steele dossier to the FBI. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In July 2016, when the FBI wanted to send Gaeta to visit Steele in London, the bureau sought permission from the office of Nuland, who provided this version of events during a Feb. 4, 2018, appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation":

"In the middle of July, when [Steele] was doing this other work and became concerned, he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian Federation. That's something for the FBI to investigate."

Steele also met with Jonathan Winer, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement and former special envoy for Libya. Steele and Winer had known each other since at least 2010. In an opinion article in The Washington Post, Winer wrote the following:

"In September 2016, Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the 'dossier.' Steele's sources suggested that the Kremlin not only had been behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign but also had compromised Trump and developed ties with his associates and campaign."

In a strange turn of events, Winer also received a separate dossier , very similar to Steele's, from long-time Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal. This "second dossier" had been compiled by another longtime Clinton operative, former journalist Cody Shearer, and echoed claims made in the Steele dossier. Winer then met with Steele in late September 2016 and gave Steele a copy of the "second dossier." Steele went on to share this second dossier with the FBI, which may have used it to corroborate his dossier.

Winer passed on memos from Christopher Steele to Victoria Nuland. (State Department)

Other foreign officials also used conduits into the State Department. Alexander Downer, Australia's high commissioner to the UK, reportedly funneled his conversation with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos -- later used as a reason to open the FBI's counterintelligence investigation -- directly to the U.S. Embassy in London.

"The Downer details landed with the embassy's then-chargé d'affaires, Elizabeth Dibble, who previously served as a principal deputy assistant secretary in Mrs. Clinton's State Department," The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel wrote in a May 31, 2018, article .

If true, this would mean that neither Australian intelligence nor the Australian government alerted the FBI to the Papadopoulos information. What happened with the Downer details, and to whom they were ultimately relayed, remains unknown.

Curiously, details surprisingly similar to the Papadopoulos–Downer conversation show up in the first memo written by Steele on June 20, 2016:

"A dossier of compromising information on Hillary Clinton has been collated by the Russian Intelligence Services over many years and mainly comprises bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls. It has not yet been distributed abroad, including to Trump."

Clinton Campaign and the DNC

The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee both occupied a unique position. They had the most to gain but they also had the most to lose. And they stood willing and ready to do whatever was necessary to win. Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, is credited with being the first to raise the specter of candidate Donald Trump's alleged collusion with Russia.

The entire Clinton campaign willfully promoted the narrative of Russia–Trump collusion despite the uncomfortable fact that they were the ones who had engaged the services of Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele through their law firm Perkins Coie. Information flowed from the campaign -- sometimes through Perkins Coie, other times through affiliates -- ultimately making its way into the media and sometimes to the FBI. Information from the Clinton campaign may also have ended up in the Steele dossier.

Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director for the Clinton campaign, in tandem with Jake Sullivan, the senior policy adviser to the campaign, took the lead in briefing the press on the Trump–Russia collusion story.

Another example of this behavior can be seen from an instance when Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann leaked information from Steele and Fusion GPS to Franklin Foer of Slate magazine. This event is described in the House Intelligence Committee's final report on Russian active measures , in footnote 43 on page 57. Foer then published the article "Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia? " on Oct. 31, 2016. The article concerns allegations regarding a server in the Trump Tower.

The Slate article managed to attract the immediate attention of Clinton, who posted a tweet on the same day the article was published:

"Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank."

Attached to her tweet was a statement from Sullivan:

"This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow. Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.

"This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump's ties to Russia. It certainly seems the Trump Organization felt it had something to hide, given that it apparently took steps to conceal the link when it was discovered by journalists."

These statements, which were later proven to be incorrect, are all the more disturbing with the hindsight knowledge that it was a senior Clinton/DNC lawyer who helped plant the story. And given the prepared statement by Sullivan, the Clinton campaign knew this.

This type of behavior would be engaged in repeatedly -- damning leaks leading to media stories, followed by ready attacks from the Clinton campaign.

Alexandra Chalupa is a Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee. Chalupa met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, Paul Manafort, and Russia. Chalupa began investigating Manafort in 2014. In late 2015, Chalupa expanded her opposition research on Manafort to include Trump's ties to Russia. In January 2016, Chalupa shared her information with a senior DNC official.

Chalupa's meetings with DNC and Ukrainian officials would continue. On April 26, 2016, investigative reporter Michael Isikoff published a story on Yahoo News about Manafort's business dealings with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. It was later learned from a DNC email leaked by Wikileaks that Chalupa had been working with Isikoff -- the same journalist Christopher Steele leaked to in September 2016. Manafort would later be indicted for Foreign Agents Registration Act violations that occurred during the Obama administration.

Perkins Coie

International law firm Perkins Coie served as the legal arm for both the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Ties to Perkins Coie extended beyond the DNC into the Obama White House.

Bob Bauer, a partner at the law firm and founder of its political law practice, served as White House counsel to President Barack Obama throughout 2010 and 2011. Bauer was also general counsel to Obama's campaign organization, Obama for America, in 2008 and 2012.

Perkins Coie partners Marc Elias and Michael Sussmann each played critical roles and were the ones who hired Fusion GPS and Steele. Sussmann personally handled the alleged hack of the DNC server. He also transmitted information, likely from Steele and Fusion GPS, to James Baker, then-chief counsel at the FBI, and to several members of the press.

Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann. Sussmann transmitted information to FBI chief counsel James Baker and several journalists. (Courtesy Perkins Coie)

According to a letter dated Oct. 24, 2017, written by Matthew Gehringer, general counsel at Perkins Coie, the firm was approached by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson in early March 2016 regarding the possibility of hiring Fusion GPS to continue opposition research into the Trump campaign. Simpson's overtures were successful, and in April 2016, Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the DNC.

Sometime in April or May 2016, Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele. During this same period, Fusion also reportedly hired Nellie Ohr, the wife of Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. Steele would complete his first memo on June 20, 2016, and send it to Fusion via enciphered mail.

Perkins Coie appears to have also been acting as a conduit between the DNC and the FBI. Documents suggest that Sussmann was feeding information to FBI general counsel James Baker and at least one journalist ahead of the FBI's application for a FISA warrant on the Trump campaign.

The information provided by Sussmann may have been used by the FBI as "corroborating information."

Obama Administration

The Obama administration provided a simultaneous layer of protection and facilitation for the entire effort. One example is provided by Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 , also known as Obama's data-sharing order . With the passage of the order, agencies and individuals were able to ask the NSA for access to specific surveillance simply by claiming the intercepts contained relevant information that was useful to a particular mission.

Section 2.3 had been expected to be finalized by early to mid-2016. Instead, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn't sign off on Section 2.3 until Dec. 15, 2016. The order was finalized when Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed it on Jan. 3, 2017.

The reason for the delay could relate to the fact that while the executive order made it easier to share intelligence between agencies, it also limited certain types of information from going to the White House.

An example of this was provided by Evelyn Farkas during a March 2, 2017, MSNBC interview , where she detailed how the Obama administration gathered and disseminated intelligence on the Trump team:

"I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill 'Get as much information as you can. Get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration.'

"The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the Trump staff's dealing with Russians, [they] would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. That's why you have the leaking."

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia Evelyn Farkas on May 6, 2014. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Many of the Obama administration's efforts appear to have been structural in nature, such as establishing new procedures or creating impediments to oversight that enabled much of the surveillance abuse to occur.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was appointed by Obama in 2011. From the very start, he found his duties throttled by the attorney general's office. According to congressional testimony by Horowitz:

"We got access to information up to 2010 in all of these categories. No law changed in 2010. No policy changed. It was simply a decision by the General Counsel's Office in 2010 that they viewed, now, the law differently. And as a result, they weren't going to give us that information."

These new restrictions were put in place by Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

On Aug. 5, 2014, Horowitz and other inspectors general sent a letter to Congress asking for unimpeded access to all records. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates responded on July 20, 2015, with a 58-page memorandum . The memo specifically denied the inspector general access to any information collected under Title III -- including intercepted communications and national security letters.

The New York Times recently disclosed that national security letters were used in the surveillance of the Trump campaign.

At other times, the Obama administration's efforts were more direct. The Intelligence Community assessment was released internally on Jan. 5, 2017. On this same day, Obama held an undisclosed White House meeting to discuss the dossier with national security adviser Susan Rice, FBI Director James Comey, and Yates. Rice would later send herself an email documenting the meeting.

The following day, Brennan, Clapper, and Comey attached a written summary of the Steele dossier to the classified briefing they gave Obama. Comey then met with President-elect Trump to inform him of the dossier. This meeting took place just hours after Comey, Brennan, and Clapper formally briefed Obama on both the Intelligence Community assessment and the Steele dossier.

Comey would only inform Trump of the "salacious" details contained within the dossier. He later explained on CNN in an April 2018 interview why:

"Because that was the part that the leaders of the Intelligence Community agreed he needed to be told about."

Shortly after Comey's meeting with Trump, both the Trump–Comey meeting and the existence of the dossier were leaked to CNN. The significance of the meeting was material, as Comey noted in a Jan. 7 memo he wrote:

"Media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material."

Clapper leaked information to CNN, after which he publicly condemned the leaks. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The media had widely dismissed the dossier as unsubstantiated and, therefore, unreportable. It was only after learning that Comey briefed Trump that CNN reported on the dossier. It was later revealed that DNI James Clapper personally leaked Comey's meeting with Trump to CNN.

The Obama administration also directly participated in a series of intelligence unmaskings , the process whereby a U.S. citizen's identity is revealed from collected surveillance. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power reportedly engaged in hundreds of unmasking requests. Rice has admitted to doing the same.

The Obama administration engaged in the ultimately successful effort to oust Trump's newly appointed national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn. Yates, along with Mary McCord, head of the DOJ's National Security Division, led that effort .

Executive Order 13762

President Barack Obama issued a last-minute executive order on Jan. 13, 2017, that altered the line of succession within the DOJ. The action was not done in consultation with the incoming Trump administration.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired on Jan. 30, 2017, by a newly inaugurated President Trump for refusing to uphold the president's executive order limiting travel from certain terror-prone countries. Yates was initially supposed to serve in her position until Jeff Sessions was confirmed as attorney general.

Obama's executive order placed the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia next in line behind the department's senior leadership. The attorney at the time was Channing Phillips.

Phillips was first hired by former Attorney General Eric Holder in 1994 for a position in the D.C. U.S. attorney's office. Phillips, after serving as a senior adviser to Holder, stayed on after he was replaced by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

It appears the Obama administration was hoping the Russia investigation would default to Channing in the event Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the investigation. Sessions, whose confirmation hearings began three days before the order, was already coming under intense scrutiny.

The implementation of the order may also tie into Yates's efforts to remove Gen. Michael Flynn over his call with the Russian ambassador.

Trump ignored the succession order, as he is legally allowed to do, and instead appointed Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as acting attorney general on Jan. 30, 2017, the same day Yates was fired.

Trump issued a new executive order on Feb. 9, 2017, the same day Sessions was sworn in, reversing Obama's prior order.

On March 10, 2017, Trump fired 46 Obama-era U.S. attorneys, including Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. These firings appear to have been unexpected.

Media

In some respects, the media has played the most disingenuous of roles. Areas of investigation that historically would have proven irresistible to reporters of the past have been steadfastly ignored. False narratives have been all-too-willingly promoted and facts ignored. Fusion GPS personally made a series of payments to several as-of-yet- unnamed reporters .

The majority of the mainstream media has represented positions of the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

Steele met with members of certain media with relative frequency. In September 2016 , he met with a number of U.S. journalists for "The New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo! News, the New Yorker and CNN," according to The Guardian. It was during this period that Steele met with Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News.

In mid-October 2016, Steele returned to New York and met with reporters again. Toward the end of October, Steele spoke via Skype with Mother Jones reporter David Corn.

Leaking, including felony leaking of classified information, has been widespread. The Carter Page FISA warrant -- likely the unredacted version -- has been in the possession of The Washington Post and The New York Times since March 2017. Traditionally, the intelligence community leaked to The Washington Post while the DOJ leaked to sources within The New York Times. This was a historical pattern that stood until this election. The leaking became so widespread, even this tradition was broken.

On April 3, 2017, BuzzFeed reporter Ali Watkins wrote the article " A Former Trump Adviser Met With a Russian Spy ." In the article, she identified "Male-1," referred to in court documents relating to the case of Russian spy Evgeny Buryakov, as Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who had provided the FBI with assistance in the case. Just over a week later, on April 11, 2017, a Washington Post article, " FBI Obtained FISA Warrant to Monitor Former Trump Adviser Carter Page ," confirmed the existence of the October 2016 Page FISA warrant.

The information contained within both articles likely came via felony leaks from James Wolfe, former director of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who was arrested on June 7, 2018, and charged with one count of lying to the FBI. Wolfe's indictment alleges that he was leaking classified information to multiple reporters over an extended period of time.

Reporter Ali Watkins likely received the undredacted FISA application on Carter Page from James Wolfe.
It appears probable that Wolfe leaked unredacted copies of the Page FISA application. According to the indictment , Wolfe exchanged 82 text messages with Watkins on March 17, 2017. That same evening they engaged in a 28-minute phone call. The original Page FISA application is 83 pages long, including one final signatory page.

In the public version of the application, there are 37 fully redacted pages. In addition to that, several other pages have redactions for all but the header. There are only two pages in the entire document that contain no redactions.

Why would Wolfe bother to send 37 pages of complete redactions? It seems more than plausible that Wolfe took pictures of the original unredacted FISA application and sent them by text to Watkins.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has repeatedly stated that evidence within the FISA application shows the counterintelligence agencies were abused by the Obama administration. Most of the mainstream media has known this.

Despite this, most major news organizations for over two years have promoted the Russia-collusion narrative. Despite ample evidence having come out to the contrary, they have not admitted they were wrong, likely because doing so would mean they would have to admit their complicity.

Foreign Intelligence

UK and Australian intelligence agencies also played meaningful roles during the 2016 presidential election.

Britain's GCHQ was involved in collecting information regarding then-candidate Trump and transmitting it to the United States. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, the head of GCHQ, flew from London to meet personally with then-CIA Director John Brennan, The Guardian reported.

Former GCHQ head Robert Hannigan in this file photo. Hannigan transmitted information regarding Donald Trump to John Brennan in the summer of 2016. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images)

Hannigan's meeting was noteworthy because Brennan wasn't Hannigan's counterpart. That position belonged to NSA Director Mike Rogers. In the following year, Hannigan abruptly announced his retirement on Jan. 23, 2017 -- three days after Trump's inauguration.

As GCHQ was gathering intelligence, low-level Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos appears to have been targeted after a series of highly coincidental meetings. Maltese professor Josef Mifsud, Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, FBI informant Stefan Halper, and officials from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) all crossed paths with Papadopoulos -- some repeatedly so.

Christopher Steele, who authored the dossier on Trump, was an MI6 agent while the agency was headed by Sir Richard Dearlove. Steele retains close ties with Dearlove.

Dearlove has ties to most of the parties mentioned. It was he who advised Steele and his business partner, Chris Burrows, to work with a top British government official to pass along information to the FBI in the fall of 2016. He also was a speaker at the July 2016 Cambridge symposium that Halper invited Carter Page to attend.

Dearlove knows Halper through their mutual association at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar. Dearlove also knows Sir Iain Lobban, a former head of GCHQ, who is an advisory board member at British strategic intelligence and advisory firm Hakluyt , which was founded by former MI6 members and retains close ties to UK intelligence services.

Halper has historical connections to Hakluyt through Jonathan Clarke, with whom he has co-authored two books.

Downer, who met Papadopoulos in a May 2016 meeting established through a chain of two intermediaries, served on the advisory board of Hakluyt from 2008 to 2014. He reportedly still maintains contact with Hakluyt officials. Information from his meeting with Papadopoulos was later used by the FBI to establish the bureau's counterintelligence investigation into Trump–Russia collusion. Downer has changed his version of events multiple times.

The Steele dossier was fed into U.S. channels through several different sources. One such source was Sir Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Russia, who had been briefed about the dossier by Steele. Wood later relayed information regarding the dossier to Sen. John McCain, who dispatched David Kramer, a fellow at the McCain Institute, to London to meet with Steele in November 2016. McCain would later admit in a Jan. 11, 2017, statement that he had personally passed on the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey.

Trump, after issuing an order for the declassification of documents and text messages related to the Russia-collusion investigations -- including parts of the Carter Page FISA warrant application -- received phone calls from two U.S. allies saying, "Please, can we talk." Those "allies" were almost certainly the UK and Australia.

In a Twitter post , Trump wrote that the "key Allies called to ask not to release" the documents.

Questions to be asked are why is it that two of our allies would find themselves so opposed to the release of these classified documents that a coordinated plea would be made directly to the president? And why would these same allies have even the slightest idea of what was contained in these classified U.S. documents?

Britain and Australia appear to know full well what those documents contain, and their attempt to prevent their public release appears to be because they don't want their role in events surrounding the 2016 presidential election to be made public.

Fusion GPS/Orbis/Christopher Steele

Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, is co-founder of Fusion GPS, along with Peter Fritsch and Tom Catan. Fusion was hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign through law firm Perkins Coie to produce and disseminate the Steele dossier used against Trump. The dossier would later be the primary evidence used to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page on Oct. 21, 2016.

The company was hired by the Clinton campaign and the DNC–through law firm Perkins Coie–to produce the dossier on Trump.

Christopher Steele, who retains close ties to UK intelligence, worked for MI6 from 1987 until his retirement in 2009, when he and his partner, Chris Burrows, founded Orbis Intelligence. Steele maintains contact with British intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove , and UK intelligence firm Hakluyt.

Steele appears to have been represented by lawyer Adam Waldman, who also represented Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. We know this from texts sent by Waldman. On April 10, 2017, Waldman sent this to Sen. Mark Warner:

"Hi. Steele: would like to get a bi partisan letter from the committee; Assange: I convinced him to make serious and important concessions and am discussing those w DOJ; Deripaska: willing to testify to congress but interested in state of play w Manafort. I will be with him next tuesday for a week."

Steele also appears to have lobbied on behalf of Deripaska, who was discussed in emails between Bruce Ohr and Steele that were recently disclosed by the Washington Examiner:

"Steele said he was 'circulating some recent sensitive Orbis reporting' on Deripaska that suggested Deripaska was not a 'tool' of the Kremlin. Steele said he would send the reporting to a name that is redacted in the email."

Fusion GPS was also employed by Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in a previous case. Veselnitskaya was involved in litigation pitting Russian firm Prevezon Holdings against British-American financier William Browder. Veselnitskaya hired U.S. law firm BakerHostetler, who, in turn, hired Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Browder. Veselnitskaya was one of the participants at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, at which she discussed the Magnitsky Act .

Fox News reported on Nov. 9, 2017, that Simpson met with Veselnitskaya immediately before and after the Trump Tower meeting.

A declassified top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court report released on April 26, 2017, revealed that government agencies, including the FBI, CIA, and NSA, had improperly accessed Americans' communications. The FBI specifically provided outside contractors with access to raw surveillance data on American citizens without proper oversight.

Communications and other data of members of the Trump campaign may have been accessed in this way.


Nellie Ohr, the wife of high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr, was hired by Fusion GPS to work on the dossier on Trump.

Bruce and Nellie Ohr have known Simpson since at least 2010 and have known Steele since at least 2006. The Ohrs and Simpson worked together on a DOJ report in 2010 . In that report, Nellie Ohr's biography lists her as working for Open Source Works, which is part of the CIA. Simpson met with Bruce Ohr before and after the 2016 election.

Bruce Ohr had been in contact repeatedly with Steele during the 2016 presidential campaign -- while Steele was constructing his dossier. Ohr later actively shared information he received from Steele with the FBI, after the agency had terminated Steele as a source. Interactions between Ohr and Steele stretched for months into the first year of Trump's presidency and were documented in a number of FD-302s -- memos that summarize interviews with him by the FBI.

Spy Traps

In an effort to put forth evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it appears that several different spy traps were set, with varying degrees of success. Many of these efforts appear to center around Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and involve London-based professor Joseph Mifsud, who has ties to Western intelligence, particularly in the UK.

Papadopoulos and Mifsud both worked at the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP). Mifsud appears to have joined LCILP around November 2015 . Papadopoulos reportedly joined LCILP sometime in late February 2016 after leaving Ben Carson's presidential campaign. However, some reports indicate Papadopoulos joined LCILP in November or December of 2015. Mifsud and Papadopoulos reportedly never crossed paths until March 14, 2016, in Italy.

Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos to several Russians, including Olga Polonskaya, whom Mifsud introduced as "Putin's niece," and Ivan Timofeev, an official at a state-sponsored think tank called the Russian International Affairs Council. Both Papadopoulos and Mifsud were interviewed by the FBI. Papadopoulos was ultimately charged with a process crime and was recently sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. Mifsud was never charged by the FBI.

Throughout this period, Papadopoulos continuously pushed for meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russian contacts but was ultimately unsuccessful in establishing any meetings.

Papadopoulos met with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer on May 10, 2016. The Papadopoulos–Downer meeting has been portrayed as a chance encounter in a bar. That does not appear to be the case.

Papadopoulos was introduced to Downer through a chain of two intermediaries who said Downer wanted to meet with Papadopoulos. Another individual happened to be in London at exactly the same time: the FBI's head of counterintelligence, Bill Priestap. The purpose of Priestap's visit remains unknown.

The Papadopoulos–Downer meeting was later used to establish the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Trump–Russia collusion. It was repeatedly reported that Papadopoulos told Downer that Russia had Hillary Clinton's emails. This is incorrect.

Foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign was approached by several individuals with ties to UK and U.S. intelligence agencies. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

According to Downer, Papadopoulos at some point mentioned the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

"During that conversation, he [Papadopoulos] mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging,'' Downer told The Australian about the Papadopoulos meeting in an April 2018 article. "He didn't say dirt, he said material that could be damaging to her. No, he said it would be damaging. He didn't say what it was."

Downer, while serving as Australia's foreign minister, was responsible for one of the largest foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation: $25 million from the Australian government.

Unconfirmed media reports, including a Jan. 12, 2017, BBC article , have suggested that the FBI attempted to obtain two FISA warrants in June and July 2016 that were denied by the FISA court. It's likely that Papadopoulos was an intended target of these failed FISAs.

Interestingly, there is no mention of Papadopoulos in the Steele dossier. Paul Manafort, Carter Page, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Gen. Michael Flynn, and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski are all listed in the Steele dossier.

Papadopoulos may have started out assisting the FBI or CIA and later discovered that he was being set up for surveillance himself.

After failing to obtain a spy warrant on the Trump campaign using Papadopoulos, the FBI set its sights on campaign volunteer Carter Page. By this time, the counterintelligence investigation was in the process of being established, and we know now that it was formalized with no official intelligence. The FBI needed some sort of legal cover. They needed a retroactive warrant. And they got one on Oct. 21, 2016. The Page FISA warrant would be renewed three times and remain in force until September 2017.

Stefan Halper met with Page for the first time on July 11, 2016, at a Cambridge symposium , just three days after Page's July 2016 Moscow trip. As noted previously, former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove was a speaker at the symposium. Halper and Dearlove have known each other for years and maintain several mutual associations.

Page was already known to the FBI. The Page FISA warrant application references the Buryakov spy case and an FBI interview with Page. Current information suggests there was only one meeting between Page and the FBI in 2016. It happened on March 2, 2016. It was in relation to Victor Podobnyy, who was named in the Buryakov case.

Page, who cooperated with the FBI on the case, almost certainly was providing testimony or details against Podobnyy. Page had been contacted by Podobnyy in 2013 and had previously provided information to the FBI. Buryakov pleaded guilty on March 11, 2016 -- nine days after Page met with the FBI on the case -- and was sentenced to 30 months in prison on May 25, 2016. On April 5, 2017, Buryakov was granted early release and was deported to Russia.

FBI informant Stefan Halper approached Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said in August that exculpatory evidence on Page exists that wasn't included by the DOJ and the FBI in the FISA application and subsequent renewals. The exculpatory evidence likely relates specifically to Page's role in the Buryakov case.

If the FBI failed to disclose Page's cooperation with the bureau or materially misrepresented his involvement in its application to the FISA Court, it means that the FBI's Woods procedures, which govern FISA applications, were violated.

Page has not been arrested or charged with any crime related to the investigation.

FISA Abuse

Admiral Mike Rogers, while director of the NSA, was personally responsible for uncovering an unprecedented level of FISA abuse that would later be documented in a 99-page unsealed FISA court ruling . As the FISA court noted in the April 26, 2017, ruling, the abuses had been occurring since at least November 2015:

"The FBI had disclosed raw FISA information, including but not limited to Section 702-acquired information, to private contractors.

"Private contractors had access to raw FISA information on FBI storage systems.

"Contractors had access to raw FISA information that went well beyond what was necessary to respond to the FBI's requests."

The FISA Court report is particularly focused on the FBI:

"The Court is concerned about the FBI's apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI may be engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported."

The FISA Court disclosed that illegal NSA database searches were endemic. Private contractors, employed by the FBI, were given full access to the NSA database. Once in the contractors' possession, the data couldn't be traced.

In April 2016, after Rogers became aware of improper contractor access to raw FISA data on March 9, 2016, he directed the NSA's Office of Compliance to conduct a "fundamental baseline review of compliance associated with 702."

On April 18, 2016, Rogers shut down all outside contractor access to raw FISA information -- specifically outside contractors working for the FBI.

Then-NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers on May 23, 2017. Rogers uncovered widespread abuse of FISA data by the FBI. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

DOJ National Security Division (NSD) head John Carlin filed the government's proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications on Sept. 26, 2016. Carlin knew the general status of compliance review by Rogers. The NSD was part of the review. Carlin failed to disclose a critical Jan. 7, 2016, report by the Office of the Inspector General and associated FISA abuse to the FISA Court in his 2016 certification. Carlin also failed to disclose Rogers's ongoing Section 702 compliance review.

The following day, on Sept. 27, 2016, Carlin announced his resignation, effective Oct. 15, 2016.

After receiving a briefing by the NSA compliance officer on Oct. 20, 2016, detailing numerous "about query" violations from the 702 NSA compliance audit, Rogers shut down all "about query" activity the next day and reported his findings to the DOJ. "About queries" are searches based on communications containing a reference "about" a surveillance target but that are not "to" or "from" the target.

On Oct. 21, 2016, the DOJ and the FBI sought and received a Title I FISA probable-cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISA Court.

At this point, the FISA Court was still unaware of the Section 702 violations.

On Oct. 24, 2016, Rogers verbally informed the FISA Court of his findings. On Oct. 26, 2016, Rogers appeared formally before the FISA Court and presented the written findings of his audit.

The FISA Court had been unaware of the query violations until they were presented to the court by Rogers.

Carlin didn't disclose his knowledge of FISA abuse in the annual Section 702 certifications in order to avoid raising suspicions at the FISA Court ahead of receiving the Page FISA warrant.

The FBI and the NSD were literally racing against Rogers's investigation in order to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

While all this was transpiring, DNI James Clapper and Defense Secretary Ash Carter submitted a recommendation that Rogers be removed from his post as NSA director.

The move to fire Rogers, which ultimately failed, originated sometime in mid-October 2016 -- exactly when Rogers was preparing to present his findings to the FISA Court.

The Insurance Policy

Ever since the release of FBI text messages revealing the existence of an "insurance policy," the term has been the subject of wide speculation.

Some observers have suggested that the insurance policy was the FISA spy warrant used to monitor Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and, by extension, other members of the Trump campaign. This interpretation is too narrow and fails to capture the underlying meaning of the text.

The insurance policy was the actual process of establishing the Trump–Russia collusion narrative.

It encompassed actions undertaken in late 2016 and early 2017, including the leaking of the Steele dossier and James Clapper's leaks of James Comey's briefing to President Trump. The intent behind these actions was simple. The legitimization of the investigation into the Trump campaign.

The strategy involved the recusal of Trump officials with the intent that Andrew McCabe would end up running the investigation.

The Steele dossier, which was paid for by the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, served as the foundation for the Russia narrative.

The intelligence community, led by CIA Director John Brennan and DNI James Clapper, used the dossier as a launching pad for creating their Intelligence Community assessment.

This report, which was presented to Obama in December 2016, despite NSA Director Mike Rogers having only moderate confidence in its assessment, became one of the core pieces of the narrative that Russia interfered with the 2016 elections.

Through intelligence community leaks, and in collusion with willing media outlets, the narrative that Russia helped Trump win the elections was aggressively pushed throughout 2017.

Spygate

Spygate represents the biggest political scandal in our nation's history. A sitting administration actively colluded with a political campaign to affect the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. Government agencies were weaponized and a complicit media spread intelligence community leaks as facts.

But a larger question remains: How long has the United States been subject to interference from the intelligence community and our political agencies? Was the 2016 presidential election a one-time aberration, or is this episode symptomatic of a larger pattern extending back decades?

The intensity, scale, and coordination suggest something greater than overzealous actions taken during a single election. They represent a unified reaction of the establishment to a threat posed by a true outsider -- a reaction that has come to be known as Spygate.

Jeff Carlson is a regular contributor to The Epoch Times. He also runs the website TheMarketsWork.com and can be followed on Twitter @themarketswork.

[Mar 18, 2019] Journalists who are spies

Highly recommended!
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services?
Notable quotes:
"... Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? ..."
"... "Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5." ..."
"... Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll. ..."
"... The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants. ..."
"... As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career". ..."
"... Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance. ..."
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com

Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060303_hacks_and_spooks.php

HACKS AND SPOOKS

By Professor Richard Keeble

And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...

I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.

As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:

"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.

And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.

In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.

As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".

Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.

A brief history

Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.

Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.

The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.

According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.

And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.

In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.

And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.

David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"

Leaker King

And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".

Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".

Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.

Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.

David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Maxwell and Mossad

According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.

In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.

Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.

For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."

The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."

And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.

Lawson strongly denied the allegations.

Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)

Growing power of secret state

Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.

But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.

Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.

According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.

A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.

Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.

Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.

Sexed up – and missed out

During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.

The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.

Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.

Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.

Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."

Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

~

Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.

[Mar 18, 2019] Doublethink and Newspeak Do We Have a Choice by Greg Guma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is." ..."
"... Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility. ..."
"... Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form. ..."
"... As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division. ..."
"... In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes. ..."
"... Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution. ..."
"... Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. ..."
"... This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change . ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca
Region: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights

More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.

The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.

Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.

Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.

The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.

In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.

Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.

In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."

Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.

Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.

Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.

As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.

In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.

Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.

In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.

So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?

It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.

Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.

Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.

... ... ...

Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.

This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .

[Mar 18, 2019] The Why are the media playing lapdog and not watchdog – again – on war in Iraq?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children. ..."
"... Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War". ..."
"... The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war. ..."
"... the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces. ..."
"... The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening ..."
"... In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing. ..."
"... The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. ..."
"... Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet. ..."
"... But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day. ..."
Oct 10, 2014 | The Guardian
BradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pm
The American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.

We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.

There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.

General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.

Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".

Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.

The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.

Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.

So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.

In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.

I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.

ID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.

Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".

But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.

[Mar 17, 2019] Mueller uses the same old false flag scams, just different packaging of his forensics-free findings

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians. ..."
"... Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation. ..."
"... What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse? ..."
"... Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation. ..."
"... Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. ..."
"... We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks. ..."
"... This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune. ..."
"... Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020. ..."
"... Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c ..."
"... Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. ..."
"... Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. ..."
"... Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm ..."
"... It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray! ..."
"... Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished. ..."
Mar 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

O Society , March 16, 2019 at 7:55 am

The Truth is Out There. I Want to Believe!

Same old scams, different packaging. That's New & Improved for you.

http://opensociet.org/2019/03/16/the-return-of-the-hidden-persuaders

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I could not suffer through reading the whole article. This is mainly because I have watched the news daily about Mueller's Investigation and I sincerely believe that Mueller is Champion of the Democrats who are trying to depose President Donald Trump at any cost.

For what Mueller found any decent lawyer with a Degree and a few years of experience could have found what Mueller found for far far less money. Mueller only found common crimes AND NO COLLUSION BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP AND PUTIN!

The Mueller Investigation should be given to an honest broker to review, and Mueller should be paid only what it would cost to produce the commonplace crimes Mueller, The Democrats, and CNN has tried to convince the people that indeed Trump COLLUDED with RUSSIA. Mueller is, a BIG NOTHING BURGER and THE DEMOCRATS AND CNN ARE MUELLER'S SINGING CANARYS! Mueller should be jailed.

Bogdan Miller , March 15, 2019 at 11:04 am

This article explains why the Mueller Report is already highly suspect. For another thing, we know that since before 2016, Democrats have been studying Russian Internet and hacking tactics, and posing as Russian Bots/Trolls on Facebook and other media outlets, all in an effort to harm President Trump.

It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians.

B.J.M. Former Intelligence Analyst and Humint Collector

vinnieoh , March 15, 2019 at 8:17 am

Moving on: the US House yesterday voted UNANIMOUSLY (remember that word, so foreign these days to US governance?) to "urge" the new AG to release the complete Mueller report.

A non-binding resolution, but you would think that the Democrats can't see the diesel locomotive bearing down on their clown car, about to smash it to pieces. The new AG in turn says he will summarize the report and that is what we will see, not the entire report. And taxation without representation takes a new twist.

... ... ...

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:38 pm

What else would you expect from two Political Parties who are really branches of the ONE Party which Represents DEEP STATE".

DWS , March 15, 2019 at 5:58 am

Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation.

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:47 pm

EXACTLY! But, Deep State will not allow that. And, it would ruin the USA' plan to continue to invade more sovereign countries and steal their resources such as oil and Minerals. The people of the USA must be Ostriches or are so terrified that they accept anything their Criminal Governments tell them.

Eventually, the chickens will come home to roost and perhaps the USA voters will ROAST when the crimes of the USA sink the whole country. It is time for a few Brave Men and Women to find their backbones and throw out the warmongers and their leading Oligarchs!

KiwiAntz , March 14, 2019 at 6:44 pm

What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse?

If you can't get him out via a Election, try & try again, like Maduro in Venezuela, to forcibly remove the targeted person by setting him up with fake, false accusations & fabricated evidence? How very predictable & how very American of Mueller & the Democratic Party. Absolute American Corruption, corrupts absolutely?

Brian Murphy , March 15, 2019 at 10:33 am

Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation.

If the investigation wraps up and finds nothing, that means Trump has already completely sold out. If the investigation continues, it means someone important still thinks Trump retains some vestige of his balls.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

By last June or July the Mueller investigation has resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes, and there was a handful of convictions to date. The report did not support the Clinton wing's anti-Russian allegations about the 2016 election, and was largely brushed aside by media. Mueller was then reportedly sent back in to "find something." presumably to support the anti-Russian claims.

mike k , March 14, 2019 at 12:57 pm

From the beginning of the Russia did it story, right after Trump's electoral victory, it was apparent that this was a fraud. The democratic party however has locked onto this preposterous story, and they will go to their graves denying this was a scam to deny their presidential defeat, and somehow reverse the result of Trump's election. My sincere hope is that this blatant lie will be an albatross around the party's neck, that will carry them down into oblivion. They have betrayed those of us who supported them for so many years. They are in many ways now worse than the republican scum they seek to replace.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:26 pm

Trump is almost certain to be re-elected in 2020, and we'll go through this all over again.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm

The very fact that the FBI never had access to the servers and took the word of a private company that had a history of being anti-Russian is enough to throw the entire ruse out.

LJ , March 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Agreed!!!! and don't forget the FBI/Comey gave Hillary and her Campaign a head's up before they moved to seize the evidence. . So too, Comey said he stopped the Investigation , thereby rendering judgement of innocence, even though by his own words 'gross negligence' had a occurred (which is normally considered grounds for prosecution). In doing so he exceeded the FBI's investigative mandate. He rationalized that decision was appropriate because of the appearance of impropriety that resulted from Attorney General Lynch having a private meeting on a plane on a runway with Bill and Hillary . Where was the logic in that. Who called the meeting? All were Lawyers who had served as President, Senator, Attorney General and knew that the meeting was absolutely inappropriate. . Comey should be prosecuted if they want to prosecute anyone else because of this CRAP. PS Trump is an idiot. Uhinfortunately he is just a symptom of the disease at this point. Look at the cover of Rolling Stone magazine , carry a barf bag.

Jane Christ , March 14, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Exactly. This throws doubt on the ability of the FBI to work independently. They are working for those who want to cover -up the Hillary mess . She evidently has sufficient funds to pay them off. I am disgusted with the level of corruption.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 10:50 am

Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. If there were something hot and lingering and about to emerge, this decision is highly unlikely, especially with the reasoning she gave at "so as not to divide the American people." Dividing the people hasn't been of much concern throughout this bogus witch hunt on Trump, which has added to his incompetence in leavening a growing hysteria and confusion in this country. If there is something, anything at all, in the Mueller report to support the collusion theory, Pelosi would I'm sure gleefully trot it out to get a lesser candidate like Pence as opposition for 2020.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:17 am

We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks.

We must also honor Shawn Lucas assassinated for serving DNC with a litigation notice exposing the DNC conspiracy against Sanders.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Where has Assange confirmed this? Assange's long-standing position is NOT to reveal his sources. I believe he has continued to honor this position.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:15 am

It has merely been insinuated by the offering of a reward for info on Seth's murder. In one breath he says wikileaks will never divulge a source, and in the next he offers a $20k reward saying that sources take tremendous risk. Doesn't take much of a logical leap to connect A to B.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Are you aware that Democrats split apart their 0wn voting base in the 1990s, middle class vs. poor? The Obama years merely confirmed that this split is permanent. This is particularly relevant for Democrats, as their voting base had long consisted of the poor and middle class, for the common good. Ignoring this deep split hasn't made it go away.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Even more important is how the Democrats have sold out to an Establishment view favoring neocon theory, since at least Bill Clinton. Pelosi's recent behavior with Ilhan Omar confirms this and the split you're talking about. My point is it is distinctly odd that Pelosi is discouraging impeachment on "dividing the Party" (already divided, of course, as you say), whereas the Russia-gate fantasy was so hot not that long ago. Again it points to a cynical opportunism and manipulation of the electorate. Both parties are a sad excuse to represent ordinary people's interests.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:21 am

She said "dividing the country", not the party. I think she may have concerns over Trump's heavily armed base. That said, the statement may have been a ruse. There are plenty of Republicans that would cross the line in favor of impeachment with the right "conclusions" by Mueller. Pelosi may be setting up for a "bombshell" conclusion by Mueller. One must never forget that we are watching theater, and that Trump was a "mistake" to be controlled or eliminated.

Cindy Haddix , March 14, 2019 at 8:04 am

Mueller should be ashamed that he has made President Trump his main concern!! If all this investigation would stop he could save America millions!!! He needs to quit this witch-hunt and worry about things that really need to be handled!!! If the democrats and Trump haters would stop pushing senseless lies hopefully this would stop ? It's so disgusting that his democrat friend was never really investigated ? stop the witch-hunt and move forward!!!!

torture this , March 14, 2019 at 7:29 am

According to this letter, mistakes might have been made on Rachel Maddow's show. I can't wait to read how she responds. I'd watch her show, myself except that it has the same effect on me as ipecac.

Zhu , March 14, 2019 at 3:37 am

People will cling to "Putin made Trump President!!!" much as many cling "Obama's a Kenyan Muslim! Not a real American!!!". Both nut theories are emotionally satisfying, no matter what the historical facts are. Many Americans just can't admit their mistakes and blaming a scapegoat is a way out.

O Society , March 14, 2019 at 2:03 am

Thank you VIPS for organizing this legit dissent consisting of experts in the field of intelligence and computer forensics.

This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune.

It is astounding how little skepticism and scientifically-informed reasoning goes on in our media. These folks show themselves to be native advertising rather than authentic journalists at every turn.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

But it has been Democrats and the media that market to middle class Dems, who persist in trying to sell the Russian Tale. They excel at ignoring the evidence that utterly contradicts their claims.

O Society , March 15, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Oh, we're well beyond your "Blame the middle class Dems" stage.

The WINNING!!! team sports bullshit drowns the entire country now the latrine's sprung a leak. People pretend to live in bubbles made of blue or red quite like the Three Little Pigs, isn't it? Except instead of a house made of bricks saving the day for the littlepiggies, what we've got here is a purple puddle of piss.

Everyone's more than glad to project all our problems on "THEM" though, aren't we?

Meanwhile, the White House smells like a urinal not washed since the 1950s and simpletons still get their rocks off arguing about whether Mickey Mouse can beat up Ronald McDonald.

T'would be comic except what's so tragic is the desperate need Americans have to believe, oh just believe! in something. Never mind the sound of the jackhammer on your skull dear, there's an app for that or is it a pill?

I don't know, don't ask me, I'm busy watching TV. Have a cheeto.

https://opensociet.org/2018/12/18/the-disneyfication-of-america/

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Very good analysis clearly stated, especially adding the FAT timestamps to the transmission speeds.

Minor corrections: "The emails were copied from the network" should be "from the much faster local network" because this is to Contradict the notion that they were copied over the internet network, which most readers will equate with "network." Also "reportedin" should be "reported in."

Michael , March 13, 2019 at 6:25 pm

It is likely that New Knowledge was actually "the Russians", possibly working in concert with Crowdstrike. Once an intelligence agency gets away with something like pretending to be Russian hackers and bots, they tend to re-use their model; it is too tempting to discard an effective model after a one-off accomplishment. New Knowledge was caught interfering/ determining the outcome in the Alabama Senate race on the side of Democrat Doug Jones, and claimed they were merely trying to mimic Russian methods to see if they worked (they did; not sure of their punishment?). Occam's razor would suggest that New Knowledge would be competent to mimic/ pretend to be "Russians" after the fact of wikileaks' publication of emails. New Knowledge has employees from the NSA and State department sympathetic to/ working with(?) Hillary, and were the "outside" agency hired to evaluate and report on the "Russian" hacking of the DNC emails/ servers.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:48 pm

Mueller released report last summer, which resulted in (the last I checked) roughly 150 indictments, a handful of convictions to date, all for perjury/financial (not political) crimes. This wasn't kept secret. It simply wasn't what Democrats wanted to hear, so although it was mentioned in some lib media (which overwhelmingly supported neoliberal Hillary Clinton), it was essentially swept under the carpet.

Billy , March 13, 2019 at 11:11 pm

Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020.

Realist , March 14, 2019 at 3:22 am

You betcha. Moreover, who but the Russians do these idiots have left to blame? Everybody else is now off limits due to political correctness. Sigh Those Catholics, Jews, "ethnics" and sundry "deviants" used to be such reliable scapegoats, to say nothing of the "undeveloped" world. As Clapper "authoritatively" says, only this vile lineage still carries the genes for the most extremes of human perfidy. Squirrels in your attic? It must be the damned Russkies! The bastards impudently tried to copy our democracy, economic system and free press and only besmirched those institutions, ruining all of Hillary's glorious plans for a worldwide benevolent dictatorship. All this might be humorous if it weren't so funny.

And those Chinese better not get to thinking they are somehow our equals just because all their trillions invested in U.S. Treasury bonds have paid for all our wars of choice and MIC boondoggles since before the turn of the century. Unless they start delivering Trump some "free stuff" the big man is gonna cut off their water. No more affordable manufactured goods for the American public! So there!

As to the article: impeccable research and analysis by the VIPS crew yet again. They've proven to me that, to a near certainty, the Easter Bunny is not likely to exist. Mueller won't read it. Clapper will still prance around a free man, as will Brennan. The Democrats won't care, that is until November of 2020. And Hillary will continue to skate, unhindered in larding up the Clinton Foundation to purposes one can only imagine.

Joe Tedesky , March 14, 2019 at 10:02 pm

Realist,

I have posted this article 'the Russia they Lost' before and from time to time but once again it seems appropriate to add this link to expound upon for what you've been saying. It's an article written by a Russian who in they're youth growing up in the USSR dreamed of living the American lifestyle if Russia were to ever ditch communism. But . Starting with Kosovo this Russian's youthful dream turned nightmarishly ugly and, as time went by with more and yet even more USA aggression this Russian author loss his admiration and desire for all things American to be proudly envied. This is a story where USA hard power destroyed any hope of American soft power for world unity. But hey that unity business was never part of the plan anyway.

https://slavyangrad.org/2014/09/24/the-russia-they-lost/

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 10:38 pm

right you are, joe. if america was smart rather than arrogant, it would have cooperated with china and russia to see the belt and road initiative succeed by perhaps building a bridge or tunnel from siberia to alaska, and by building its own fleet of icebreakers to open up its part of the northwest passage. but no, it only wants to sabotage what others propose. that's not being a leader, it's being a dick.

i'm gonna have to go on the disabled list here until the sudden neurological problem with my right hand clears up–it's like paralysed. too difficult to do this one-handed using hunt and peck. at least the problem was not in the old bean, according to the scans. carry on, sir.

Brian James , March 13, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:55 pm

Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. Trump and the Republicans continue to win by default, as Democrats only drive more voters away.

Howard , March 13, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Thank you Ray McGovern and the Other 17 VIPS C0-Signers of your National Security Essay for Truth. Along with Craig Murray and Seymour Hirsch, former Sam Adams Award winners for "shining light into dark places", you are national resources for objectivity in critical survival information matters for our country. It is more than a pity that our mainstream media are so beholden to their corporate task masters that they cannot depart from the company line for fear of losing their livelihoods, and in the process we risk losing life on the planet because of unconstrained nuclear war on the part of the two main adversaries facing off in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. Let me speak plainly. THEY SHOULD BE TALKING TO YOU AND NOT THE VESTED INTERESTS' MOUTHPIECES. Thank you for your continued leadership!

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:28 am

Roger Ailes founder of FOX news died, "falling down stairs" within a week of FOX news exposing to the world that the assassinated Seth Rich downloaded the DNC emails.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Google the Mueller investigation report from last June or July. When it was released, the public response was like a deflated balloon. It did not support the "Russian collusion" allegations -- the only thing Democrats still had left to sell. The report resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes (not political), and a handful of convictions to date -- none of which had anything to do with the election results.

Hank , March 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm

Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. They are probably right, but the REAL reason that Hillary lost is because there ARE enough informed people now in this nation who are quite aware of the Clinton's sordid history where scandals seem to follow every where they go, but indictments and/or investigations don't. There IS an internet nowadays with lots of FACTUAL DOCUMENTED information. That's a lot more than I can say about the mainstream corporate-controlled media!

I know this won't ever happen, but an HONEST investigation into the Democratic Party and their actions during the 2016 election would make ANY collusion with ANY nation look like a mole hill next to a mountain! One of the problems with living in this nation is if you are truly informed and make an effort 24/7 to be that way by doing your own research, you more-than-likely can be considered an "island in a sea of ignorance".

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

We know that the FBI never had access to the servers and a private company was allowed to handle the evidence. Wasnt it a crime scene? The evidence was tampered with And we will never know what was on the servers.

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm

As a complement to this excellent analysis, I would like to make 2 further points:

The Mueller indictment of Russian Intelligence for hacking the DNC and transferring their booty to Wikileaks is absurd on its face for this reason: Assange announced on June 12th the impending release of Hillary-related emails. Yet the indictment claims that Guccifer 2.0 did not succeed in transferring the DNC emails to Wikileaks until the time period of July 14-18th – after which they were released online on July 22nd. Are we to suppose that Assange, a publisher of impeccable integrity, publicly announced the publication of emails he had not yet seen, and which he was obtaining from a source of murky provenance? And are we further to suppose that Wikileaks could have processed 20K emails and 20K attachments to insure their genuineness in a period of only several days? As you will recall, Wikileaks subsequently took a number of weeks to process the Podesta emails they released in October.

And another peculiarity merits attention. Assange did not state on June 12th that he was releasing DNC emails – and yet Crowdstrike and the Guccifer 2.0 personna evidently knew that this was in store. A likely resolution of this conundrum is that US intelligence had been monitoring all communications to Wikileaks, and had informed the DNC that their hacked emails had been offered to Wikileaks. A further reasonable prospect is that US intelligence subsequently unmasked the leaker to the DNC; as Assange has strongly hinted, this likely was Seth Rich. This could explain Rich's subsequent murder, as Rich would have been in a position to unmask the Guccifer 2.0 hoax and the entire Russian hacking narrative.

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/muellers-new-indictment-do-the-feds-take-us-for-idiots-5406ef955406

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/how-did-crowdstrike-guccifer-2-0-know-that-wikileaks-was-planning-to-release-dnc-emails-42e6db334053

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Curious that Assange has Not explicitly stated that the leaker was Seth Rich, if it was, as this would take pressure from himself and incriminate the DNC in the murder of Rich. Perhaps he doesn't know, and has the honor not to take the opportunity, or perhaps he knows that it was not Rich.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:40 am

View the Dutch TV interview with Asssange and there is another interview available on youtube in which Assange DOES subtly confirmed it was Seth Rich.

Assange posted a $10,000 reward for Seth Rich's murders capture.

Abby , March 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm

Another mistaken issue with the "Russia hacked the DNC computers on Trump's command" is that he never asked Russia to do that. His words were, "Russia if you 'find' Hillary's missing emails let us know." He said that after she advised congress that she wouldn't be turning in all of the emails they asked for because she deleted 30,000 of them and said that they were personal.

But if Mueller or the FBI wants to look at all of them they can find them at the NYC FBI office because they are on Weiner's laptop. Why? Because Hillary's aid Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife sent them to it. Just another security risk that Hillary had because of her private email server. This is why Comey had to tell congress that more of them had been found 11 days before the election. If Comey hadn't done that then the FBI would have.

But did Comey or McCabe look at her emails there to see if any of them were classified? No they did not do that. And today we find out that Lisa Page told congress that it was Obama's decision not to charge Hillary for being grossly negligent on using her private email server. This has been known by congress for many months and now we know that the fix was always in for her to get off.

robert e williamson jr , March 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I want to thank you folks at VIPS. Like I have been saying for years now the relationship between CIA, NSA and DOJ is an incestuous one at best. A perverse corrupted bond to control the masses. A large group of religious fanatics who want things "ONE WAY". They are the facilitators for the rogue government known as the "DEEP STATE"!

Just ask billy barr.

More truth is a very good thing. I believe DOJ is supporting the intelligence community because of blackmail. They can't come clean because they all risk doing lots of time if a new judicial mechanism replaces them. We are in big trouble here.

Apparently the rule of law is not!

You folks that keep claiming we live in the post truth era! Get off me. Demand the truth and nothing else. Best be getting ready for the fight of your lives. The truth is you have to look yourself in the mirror every morning, deny that truth. The claim you are living in the post truth era is an admission your life is a lie. Now grab a hold of yourself pick a dogdamned side and stand for something,.

Thank You VIPS!

Joe Tedesky , March 13, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Hats off to the VIP's who have investigated this Russian hacking that wasn't a hacking for without them what would we news junkies have otherwise to lift open the hood of Mueller's never ending Russia-gate investigation. Although the one thing this Russia-gate nonsense has accomplished is it has destroyed with our freedom of speech when it comes to how we citizens gather our news. Much like everything else that has been done during these post 9/11 years of continual wars our civil rights have been marginalized down to zero or, a bit above if that's even still an argument to be made for the sake of numbers.

Watching the Manafort sentencing is quite interesting for the fact that Manafort didn't conclude in as much as he played fast and loose with his income. In fact maybe Manafort's case should have been prosecuted by the State Department or, how about the IRS? Also wouldn't it be worth investigating other Geopolitical Rain Makers like Manafort for similar crimes of financial wrongdoing? I mean is it possible Manafort is or was the only one of his type to do such dishonest things? In any case Manafort wasn't charged with concluding with any Russians in regard to the 2016 presidential election and, with that we all fall down.

I guess the best thing (not) that came out of this Russia-gate silliness is Rachel Maddow's tv ratings zoomed upwards. But I hate to tell you that the only ones buying what Ms Maddow is selling are the died in the wool Hillary supporters along with the chicken-hawks who rally to the MIC lobby for more war. It's all a game and yet there are many of us who just don't wish to play it but still we must because no one will listen to the sanity that gets ignored keep up the good work VIP's some of us are listening.

Andrew Thomas , March 13, 2019 at 12:42 pm

The article did not mention something called to my attention for the first time by one of the outstanding members of your commentariat just a couple of days ago- that Ambassador Murray stayed publicly, over two years ago, that he had been given the thumb drive by a go-between in D.C. and had somehow gotten it to Wikileaks. And, that he has NEVER BEEN INTERVIEWED by Mueller &Company. I was blown away by this, and found the original articles just by googling Murray. The excuse given is that Murray "lacks credibility ", or some such, because of his prior relationship with Assange and/or Wikileaks. This is so ludicrous I can't even get my head around it. And now, you have given me a new detail-the meeting with Pompeo, and the complete lack of follow-up thereafter. Here all this time I thought I was the most cynical SOB who existed, and now I feel as naive as when I was 13 and believed what Dean Rusk was saying like it was holy writ. I am in your debt.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 2:33 pm

Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:18 pm

A small correction: the Daily Mail article regarding Murray claimed that Murray was given a thumbdrive which he subsequently carried back to Wikileaks. On his blog, Murray subsequently disputed this part of the story, indicating that, while he had met with a leaker or confederate of a leaker in Washington DC, the Podesta emails were already in possession of Wikileaks at the time. Murray refused to clarify the reason for his meeting with this source, but he is adamant in maintaining that the DNC and Podesta emails were leaked, not hacked.

And it is indeed ludicrous that Mueller, given the mandate to investigate the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and Podesta, has never attempted to question either Assange or Murray. That in itself is enough for us to conclude that the Mueller investigation is a complete sham.

Ian Brown , March 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm

It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray!

LJ , March 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm

A guy comes in with a pedigree like that, """ former FBI head """ to examine and validate if possible an FBI sting manufactured off a phony FISA indictment based on the Steele Report, It immediately reminded me of the 9-11 Commission with Thomas Kean, former Board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, being appointed by GW Bush the Simple to head an investigation that he had previously said he did not want to authorize( and of course bi partisan yes man Lee Hamilton as #2, lest we forget) . Really this should be seen as another low point in our Democracy. Uncle Sam is the Limbo Man, How low can you go?

After Bill and Hillary and Monica and Paula Jones and Blue Dresses well, Golden Showers in a Moscow luxury hotel, I guess that make it just salacious enough.

Mueller looks just like what he is. He has that same phony self important air as Comey . In 2 years this will be forgotten.. I do not think this hurts Trumps chances at re-election as much as the Democrats are hurting themselves. This has already gone on way too long.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 11:59 am

Mueller has nothing and he well knows it. He was willingly roped into this whole pathetic charade and he's left grasping for anything remotely tied to Trump campaign officials and Russians.

Even the most tenuous connections and weak relationships are splashed across the mass media in breathless headlines. Meanwhile, NONE of the supposed skulduggery unearthed by Mueller has anything to do with the Kremlin "hacking" the election to favor Trump, which was the entire raison d'etre behind Rosenstein, Brennan, Podesta and Mueller's crusade on behalf of the deplorable DNC and Washington militarist-imperialists. It will be fascinating to witness how Mueller and his crew ultimately extricate themselves from this giant fraudulent edifice of deceit. Will they even be able to save the most rudimentary amount of face?

So sickening to see the manner in which many DNC sycophants obsequiously genuflect to their godlike Mueller. A damn prosecutor who was likely in bed with the Winter Hill Gang.

Jack , March 13, 2019 at 12:21 pm

You have failed. An investigation is just that, a finding of the facts. What would Mueller have to extricate himself from? If nothing is found, he has still done his job. You are a divisive idiot.

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

@Jack,
Keep running cover for an out of control prosecutor, who, if he had any integrity, would have hit the bully pulpit mos ago declaring there's nothing of substance to one of the most potentially dangerous accusations in world history: the Kremlin hacking the election. Last I checked it puts two nuclear nation-states on the brink of potential war. And you call me divisive? Mueller's now a willing accomplice to this entire McCarthyite smear and disinformation campaign. It's all so pathetic that folks such as yourself try and mislead and feed half-truths to the people.

You're failing Jack, in more ways than you know.

Gregory Herr , March 13, 2019 at 9:13 pm

https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/liberals-are-digging-their-own-grave-with-russiagate-2019-03-08

Drew, you might enjoy this discussion Robert Scheer has with Stephen Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 3:38 am

Moreover, as the Saker pointed out in his most recent column in the Unz Review, the entire Deep State conspiracy, in an ad hoc alliance with the embarrassed and embarrassing Democrats, have made an absolute sham of due process in their blatant witch hunt to bag the president. This reached an apex when his personal lawyer, Mr. Cohen, was trotted out before congress to violate Trump's confidentiality in every mortifying way he could even vaguely reconstruct. The man was expected to say anything to mitigate the anticipated tortures to come in the course of this modern day inquisition by our latter day Torquemada. To his credit though, even with his ass in a sling, he could simply not confabulate the smoking gun evidence for the alleged Russian collusion that this whole farce was built around.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Mueller stood with Bush as he lied the world into war based on lies and illegally spied on America and tortured some folks.

George Collins , March 13, 2019 at 2:02 pm

QED: as to the nexus with the Winter Hill gang wasn't there litigation involving the Boston FBI, condonation of murder by the FBI and damages awarded to or on behalf of convicted parties that the FBI had reason to know were innocent? The malfeasance reportedly occurred during Mueller time. Further on the sanctified diligence of Mr. Mueller can be gleaned from the reports of Coleen Rowley, former FBI attorney stationed in Milwaukee??? when the DC FBI office was ignoring warnings sent about 9/11. See also Sibel Edmonds who knew to much and was court order muzzled about FBI mis/malfeasance in the aftermath of 9/11.

I'd say it's game, set, match VIPS and a pox on Clapper and the complicit intelligence folk complicit in the nuclear loaded Russia-gate fibs.

Kiers , March 13, 2019 at 11:47 am

How can we expect the DNC to "hand it " to Trumpf, when, behind the scenes, THEY ARE ONE PARTY. They are throwing faux-scary pillow bombs at each other because they are both complicit in a long chain of corruptions. Business as usual for the "principled" two party system! Democracy! Through the gauze of corporate media! You must be joking!

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 11:28 am

"We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of "evidence," particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions."

I wish I shared this belief. However, as with Nancy Pelosi's recent statement regarding pursuing impeachment, I smell a rat. I believe with the help of what the late Robert Parry called "the Mighty Wurlitzer", Mueller is going to use coerced false testimony and fabricated forensics to drop a bombshell the size of 911. I think Nancy's statement was just a feint before throwing the knockout punch.

If reason ruled the day, we should have nothing to worry about. But considering all the perfidy that the so-called "Intelligence" Agencies and their MSM lackeys get away with daily, I think we are in for more theater; and I think VIPS will receive a cold shoulder outside of venues like CN.

I pray to God I'm wrong.

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:32 pm

My extensive experience with DOJ and the federal judiciary establishes that at least 98% of them are dedicated career liars, engaged in organized crime to serve political gangs, and make only a fanatical pretense of patriotism or legality. They are loyal to money alone, deeply cynical and opposed to the US Constitution and laws, with no credibility at all beyond any real evidence.

Eric32 , March 14, 2019 at 4:24 pm

As near I can see, Federal Govt. careers at the higher levels depend on having dirt on other players, and helping, not hurting, the money/power schemes of the players above you.

The Clintons (through their foundation) apparently have a lot of corruption dirt on CIA, FBI etc. top players, some of whom somehow became multi-millionaires during their civil service careers.

Trump, who was only running for President as a name brand marketing ploy with little desire to actually win, apparently came into the Presidency with no dirt arsenal and little idea of where to go from there.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 11:09 am

I remember reading with dismay how Russians were propagandized by the Soviet Press Management only to find out later the depth of disbelief within the Russian population itself. We now know what that feels like. The good part of this disastrous scenario for America is that for careful readers, disinformation becomes revelatory. For instance, if one reads an editorial that refers to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or continually refers to Russian interference in the last Presidential election, then one can immediately dismiss the article and question the motivation for the presentation. Of course the problem is how to establish truth in reporting

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 10:41 am

Thank you, VIPs. Hopefully, you don't expect this to make a difference. The US has moved into a post truth, post reality existence best characterized by Karl Rove's declaration: "we're an empire now, when we act, we create our own reality." What Mr. Rove in his arrogance fails to appreciate is that it is his reality but not anyone else's. Thus Pompous can claim that Guaido is the democratic leader in Venezuela even though he's never been elected .

Gary Weglarz , March 13, 2019 at 10:21 am

Thank you. The next time one of my friends or family give me that glazed over stare and utters anymore of the "but, RUSSIA" nonsense I will refer them directly to this article. Your collective work and ethical stand on this matter is deeply appreciated by anyone who values the truth.

Russiagate stands with past government propaganda operations that were simply made up out of thin air: i.e. Kuwaiti incubator babies, WMD's, Gaddafi's viagra fueled rape camps, Assad can't sleep at night unless he's gassing his own people, to the latest, "Maduro can't sleep at night unless he's starving his own people."

The complete and utter amorality of the deep state remains on display for all to see with "Russiagate," which is as fact-free a propaganda campaign as any of those just mentioned.

Marc , March 13, 2019 at 10:13 am

I am a computer naif, so I am prepared to accept the VIPS analysis about FAT and transfer rates. However, the presentation here leaves me with several questions. First, do I understand correctly that the FAT rounding to even numbers is introduced by the thumb drive? And if so, does the FAT analysis show only that the DNC data passed through a thumb drive? That is, does the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks? Second, although the transatlantic transfer rate is too slow to fit some time stamps, is it possible that the data were hacked onto a local computer that was under the control of some faraway agent?

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

Not quite. FAT is the crappy storage system developed by Microsoft (and not used by UNIX). The metadata associated with any file gets rewritten when it gets moved. If that movement is to a storage device that uses FAT, the timestamp on the file will end in an even number. If it were moved to a unix server (and most of the major servers run Unix) it would be in the UFS (unix file system) and it would be the actual time from the system clock. Every storage device has a utility that tells it where to write the data and what to write. Since it's writing to a storage device using FAT, it'll round the numbers. To get to your real question, yes, you could hack and then transfer the data to a thumb drive but if you did that the dates wouldn't line up.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 8:05 am

Jeff-

Which dates wouldn't line up? Is there a history of metadata available, or just metadata for the most recent move?

David G , March 13, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Marc asks: "[D]oes the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks?"

I asked that question in comments under a previous CN piece; other people have asked that question elsewhere.

To my knowledge, it hasn't been addressed directly by the VIPS, and I think they should do so. (If they already have, someone please enlighten me.)

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:07 pm

I am no computer wiz, but Binney has repeatedly made the point that the NSA scoops up everything. If there had been a hack, they'd know it, and they wouldn't only have had "moderate" confidence in the Jan. assessment. I believe that although farfetched, an argument could be made that a Russian spy got into the DNC, loaded a thumb drive, and gave it to Craig Murray.

David G , March 13, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Respectfully, that's a separate point, which may or may not raise issues of its own.

But I think the question Marc posed stands.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 7:59 am

Hi David-

I don't see how it's separate. If the NSA scoops up everything, they'd have solid evidence of the hack, and wouldn't have only had "moderate" confidence, which Bill Binney says is equivalent to them saying "we don't have squat". They wouldn't even have needed Mueller at all, except to possibly build a "parallel case" due to classification issues. Also, the FBI not demanding direct access to the DNC server tells you something is fishy. They could easily have gotten a warrant to examine the server, but chose not to. They also purposely refuse to get testimony from Craig Murray and Julian Assange, which rings alarm bells on its own.

As for the technical aspect of Marc's question, I agree that I'd like to see Bill Binney directly answer it.

[Mar 17, 2019] VIPS- Mueller's Forensics-Free Findings

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2019 | Consortiumnews

The final Mueller report should be graded "incomplete," says VIPS, whose forensic work proves the speciousness of the story that DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The Attorney General

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Mueller's Forensics-Free Findings

Executive Summary

Media reports are predicting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is about to give you the findings of his probe into any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump. If Mueller gives you his "completed" report anytime soon, it should be graded "incomplete."

Major deficiencies include depending on a DNC-hired cybersecurity company for forensics and failure to consult with those who have done original forensic work, including us and the independent forensic investigators with whom we have examined the data. We stand ready to help.

We veteran intelligence professionals (VIPS) have done enough detailed forensic work to prove the speciousness of the prevailing story that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking. Given the paucity of evidence to support that story, we believe Mueller may choose to finesse this key issue and leave everyone hanging. That would help sustain the widespread belief that Trump owes his victory to President Vladimir Putin, and strengthen the hand of those who pay little heed to the unpredictable consequences of an increase in tensions with nuclear-armed Russia.

There is an overabundance of "assessments" but a lack of hard evidence to support that prevailing narrative. We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of "evidence," particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions. We know only too well -- and did our best to expose -- how our former colleagues in the intelligence community manufactured fraudulent "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

We have scrutinized publicly available physical data -- the "trail" that every cyber operation leaves behind. And we have had support from highly experienced independent forensic investigators who, like us, have no axes to grind. We can prove that the conventional-wisdom story about Russian-hacking-DNC-emails-for-WikiLeaks is false. Drawing largely on the unique expertise of two VIPS scientists who worked for a combined total of 70 years at the National Security Agency and became Technical Directors there, we have regularly published our findings. But we have been deprived of a hearing in mainstream media -- an experience painfully reminiscent of what we had to endure when we exposed the corruption of intelligence before the attack on Iraq 16 years ago.

This time, with the principles of physics and forensic science to rely on, we are able to adduce solid evidence exposing mistakes and distortions in the dominant story. We offer you below -- as a kind of aide-memoire -- a discussion of some of the key factors related to what has become known as "Russia-gate." And we include our most recent findings drawn from forensic work on data associated with WikiLeaks' publication of the DNC emails.

We do not claim our conclusions are "irrefutable and undeniable," a la Colin Powell at the UN before the Iraq war. Our judgments, however, are based on the scientific method -- not "assessments." We decided to put this memorandum together in hopes of ensuring that you hear that directly from us.

If the Mueller team remains reluctant to review our work -- or even to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks' Julian Assange and former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, we fear that many of those yearning earnestly for the truth on Russia-gate will come to the corrosive conclusion that the Mueller investigation was a sham.

In sum, we are concerned that, at this point, an incomplete Mueller report will fall far short of the commitment made by then Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "to ensure a full and thorough investigation," when he appointed Mueller in May 2017. Again, we are at your disposal.

Discussion

The centerpiece accusation of Kremlin "interference" in the 2016 presidential election was the charge that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to embarrass Secretary Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win. The weeks following the election witnessed multiple leak-based media allegations to that effect. These culminated on January 6, 2017 in an evidence-light, rump report misleadingly labeled "Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)." Prepared by "handpicked analysts" from only three of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, and NSA), the assessment expressed "high confidence" in the Russia-hacking-to-WikiLeaks story, but lacked so much as a hint that the authors had sought access to independent forensics to support their "assessment."

The media immediately awarded the ICA the status of Holy Writ, choosing to overlook an assortment of banal, full-disclosure-type caveats included in the assessment itself -- such as:

" When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as 'we assess' or 'we judge,' they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment. Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong."

To their credit, however, the authors of the ICA did make a highly germane point in introductory remarks on "cyber incident attribution." They noted: "The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation -- malicious or not -- leaves a trail." [Emphasis added.]

Forensics

The imperative is to get on that "trail" -- and quickly, before red herrings can be swept across it. The best way to establish attribution is to apply the methodology and processes of forensic science. Intrusions into computers leave behind discernible physical data that can be examined scientifically by forensic experts. Risk to "sources and methods" is normally not a problem.

Direct access to the actual computers is the first requirement -- the more so when an intrusion is termed "an act of war" and blamed on a nuclear-armed foreign government (the words used by the late Sen. John McCain and other senior officials). In testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in March 2017, former FBI Director James Comey admitted that he did not insist on physical access to the DNC computers even though, as he conceded, "best practices" dictate direct access.

In June 2017, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr asked Comey whether he ever had "access to the actual hardware that was hacked." Comey answered, "In the case of the DNC we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. " Sen. Burr followed up: "But no content? Isn't content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?" Comey: "It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016."

The "private party/high-class entity" to which Comey refers is CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm of checkered reputation and multiple conflicts of interest, including very close ties to a number of key anti-Russian organizations. Comey indicated that the DNC hired CrowdStrike in the spring of 2016.

Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – including a possible impeachment battle and greatly increased tension between Russia and the U.S. -- it is difficult to understand why Comey did not move quickly to seize the computer hardware so the FBI could perform an independent examination of what quickly became the major predicate for investigating election interference by Russia. Fortunately, enough data remain on the forensic "trail" to arrive at evidence-anchored conclusions. The work we have done shows the prevailing narrative to be false. We have been suggesting this for over two years. Recent forensic work significantly strengthens that conclusion.

We Do Forensics

Recent forensic examination of the Wikileaks DNC files shows they were created on 23, 25 and 26 May 2016. (On June 12, Julian Assange announced he had them; WikiLeaks published them on July 22.) We recently discovered that the files reveal a FAT (File Allocation Table) system property. This shows that the data had been transferred to an external storage device, such as a thumb drive, before WikiLeaks posted them.

FAT is a simple file system named for its method of organization, the File Allocation Table. It is used for storage only and is not related to internet transfers like hacking. Were WikiLeaks to have received the DNC files via a hack, the last modified times on the files would be a random mixture of odd-and even-ending numbers.

Why is that important? The evidence lies in the "last modified" time stamps on the Wikileaks files. When a file is stored under the FAT file system the software rounds the time to the nearest even-numbered second. Every single one of the time stamps in the DNC files on WikiLeaks' site ends in an even number.

We have examined 500 DNC email files stored on the Wikileaks site. All 500 files end in an even number -- 2, 4, 6, 8 or 0. If those files had been hacked over the Internet, there would be an equal probability of the time stamp ending in an odd number. The random probability that FAT was not used is 1 chance in 2 to the 500th power. Thus, these data show that the DNC emails posted by WikiLeaks went through a storage device, like a thumb drive, and were physically moved before Wikileaks posted the emails on the World Wide Web.

This finding alone is enough to raise reasonable doubts, for example, about Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the DNC emails given to WikiLeaks. A defense attorney could easily use the forensics to argue that someone copied the DNC files to a storage device like a USB thumb drive and got them physically to WikiLeaks -- not electronically via a hack.

Role of NSA

For more than two years, we strongly suspected that the DNC emails were copied/leaked in that way, not hacked. And we said so. We remain intrigued by the apparent failure of NSA's dragnet, collect-it-all approach -- including "cast-iron" coverage of WikiLeaks -- to provide forensic evidence (as opposed to "assessments") as to how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks and who sent them. Well before the telling evidence drawn from the use of FAT, other technical evidence led us to conclude that the DNC emails were not hacked over the network, but rather physically moved over, say, the Atlantic Ocean.

Is it possible that NSA has not yet been asked to produce the collected packets of DNC email data claimed to have been hacked by Russia? Surely, this should be done before Mueller competes his investigation. NSA has taps on all the transoceanic cables leaving the U.S. and would almost certainly have such packets if they exist. (The detailed slides released by Edward Snowden actually show the routes that trace the packets.)

The forensics we examined shed no direct light on who may have been behind the leak. The only thing we know for sure is that the person had to have direct access to the DNC computers or servers in order to copy the emails. The apparent lack of evidence from the most likely source, NSA, regarding a hack may help explain the FBI's curious preference for forensic data from CrowdStrike. No less puzzling is why Comey would choose to call CrowdStrike a "high-class entity."

Comey was one of the intelligence chiefs briefing President Obama on January 5, 2017 on the "Intelligence Community Assessment," which was then briefed to President-elect Trump and published the following day. That Obama found a key part of the ICA narrative less than persuasive became clear at his last press conference (January 18), when he told the media, "The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to how 'the DNC emails that were leaked' got to WikiLeaks.

Is Guccifer 2.0 a Fraud?

There is further compelling technical evidence that undermines the claim that the DNC emails were downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphishing attack. William Binney, one of VIPS' two former Technical Directors at NSA, along with other former intelligence community experts, examined files posted by Guccifer 2.0 and discovered that those files could not have been downloaded over the internet. It is a simple matter of mathematics and physics.

There was a flurry of activity after Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016: "We have emails relating to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication." On June 14, DNC contractor CrowdStrike announced that malware was found on the DNC server and claimed there was evidence it was injected by Russians. On June 15, the Guccifer 2.0 persona emerged on the public stage, affirmed the DNC statement, claimed to be responsible for hacking the DNC, claimed to be a WikiLeaks source, and posted a document that forensics show was synthetically tainted with "Russian fingerprints."

Our suspicions about the Guccifer 2.0 persona grew when G-2 claimed responsibility for a "hack" of the DNC on July 5, 2016, which released DNC data that was rather bland compared to what WikiLeaks published 17 days later (showing how the DNC had tipped the primary scales against Sen. Bernie Sanders). As VIPS reported in a wrap-up Memorandum for the President on July 24, 2017 (titled "Intel Vets Challenge 'Russia Hack' Evidence)," forensic examination of the July 5, 2016 cyber intrusion into the DNC showed it NOT to be a hack by the Russians or by anyone else, but rather a copy onto an external storage device. It seemed a good guess that the July 5 intrusion was a contrivance to preemptively taint anything WikiLeaks might later publish from the DNC, by "showing" it came from a "Russian hack." WikiLeaks published the DNC emails on July 22, three days before the Democratic convention.

As we prepared our July 24 memo for the President, we chose to begin by taking Guccifer 2.0 at face value; i. e., that the documents he posted on July 5, 2016 were obtained via a hack over the Internet. Binney conducted a forensic examination of the metadata contained in the posted documents and compared that metadata with the known capacity of Internet connection speeds at the time in the U.S. This analysis showed a transfer rate as high as 49.1 megabytes per second, which is much faster than was possible from a remote online Internet connection. The 49.1 megabytes speed coincided, though, with the rate that copying onto a thumb drive could accommodate.

Binney, assisted by colleagues with relevant technical expertise, then extended the examination and ran various forensic tests from the U.S. to the Netherlands, Albania, Belgrade and the UK. The fastest Internet rate obtained -- from a data center in New Jersey to a data center in the UK -- was 12 megabytes per second, which is less than a fourth of the capacity typical of a copy onto a thumb drive.

The findings from the examination of the Guccifer 2.0 data and the WikiLeaks data does not indicate who copied the information to an external storage device (probably a thumb drive). But our examination does disprove that G.2 hacked into the DNC on July 5, 2016. Forensic evidence for the Guccifer 2.0 data adds to other evidence that the DNC emails were not taken by an internet spearphishing attack. The data breach was local. The emails were copied from the network.

Presidential Interest

After VIPS' July 24, 2017 Memorandum for the President, Binney, one of its principal authors, was invited to share his insights with Mike Pompeo, CIA Director at the time. When Binney arrived in Pompeo's office at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017 for an hour-long discussion, the director made no secret of the reason for the invitation: "You are here because the President told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk with you."

Binney warned Pompeo -- to stares of incredulity -- that his people should stop lying about the Russian hacking. Binney then started to explain the VIPS findings that had caught President Trump's attention. Pompeo asked Binney if he would talk to the FBI and NSA. Binney agreed, but has not been contacted by those agencies. With that, Pompeo had done what the President asked. There was no follow-up.

Confronting James Clapper on Forensics

We, the hoi polloi, do not often get a chance to talk to people like Pompeo -- and still less to the former intelligence chiefs who are the leading purveyors of the prevailing Russia-gate narrative. An exception came on November 13, when former National Intelligence Director James Clapper came to the Carnegie Endowment in Washington to hawk his memoir. Answering a question during the Q&A about Russian "hacking" and NSA, Clapper said:

" Well, I have talked with NSA a lot And in my mind, I spent a lot of time in the SIGINT business, the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever." [Emphasis added]

Clapper added: " as a private citizen, understanding the magnitude of what the Russians did and the number of citizens in our country they reached and the different mechanisms that, by which they reached them, to me it stretches credulity to think they didn't have a profound impact on election on the outcome of the election."

(A transcript of the interesting Q&A can be found here and a commentary on Clapper's performance at Carnegie, as well as on his longstanding lack of credibility, is here .)

Normally soft-spoken Ron Wyden, Democratic senator from Oregon, lost his patience with Clapper last week when he learned that Clapper is still denying that he lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about the extent of NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens. In an unusual outburst, Wyden said: "James Clapper needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people about mass surveillance. To be clear: I sent him the question in advance. I asked him to correct the record afterward. He chose to let the lie stand."

The materials brought out by Edward Snowden in June 2013 showed Clapper to have lied under oath to the committee on March 12, 2013; he was, nevertheless, allowed to stay on as Director of National Intelligence for three and half more years. Clapper fancies himself an expert on Russia, telling Meet the Press on May 28, 2017 that Russia's history shows that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever."

Clapper ought to be asked about the "forensics" he said were "overwhelming about what the Russians had done." And that, too, before Mueller completes his investigation.

For the steering group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington's justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at Consortiumnews.com.

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Tags: Bill Binney Donald Trump Hillary Clinton James Clapper James Comey Mike Pompeo Robert Mueller Veteran Intelligence Professional for Sanity VIPS WikiLeaks


[Mar 07, 2019] Are you ready? Here is all the data Facebook and Google have on you by Dylan Curran

Highly recommended!
Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you've been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone. After reading this you might start sympathizing to Ted Kaczynski ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices . ..."
"... Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep. ..."
"... Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you're going to be a parent soon, if you're a conservative, if you're a progressive, if you're Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you're feeling depressed or suicidal, if you're anorexic ..."
"... Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you've liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic "girl"). ..."
"... The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to. ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look .

A slice of the data that Facebook keeps on the author: 'This information has millions of nefarious uses.' Photograph: Dylan Curran W ant to freak yourself out? I'm going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it. Google knows where you've been

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you've been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Here is every place I have been in the last 12 months in Ireland. You can see the time of day that I was in the location and how long it took me to get to that location from my previous one.

Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices .

Click on this link to see your own data: myactivity.google.com/myactivity

Why have we given up our privacy to Facebook and other sites so willingly?
Google has an advertisement profile of you

Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lb in one day?) and income.

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/settings/ads/

Google knows all the apps you use

Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep.

Click on this link to see your own data: security.google.com/settings/secur

Google has all of your YouTube history

Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you're going to be a parent soon, if you're a conservative, if you're a progressive, if you're Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you're feeling depressed or suicidal, if you're anorexic

Click on this link to see your own data: youtube.com/feed/history/s

The data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents

Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you. I've requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big , which is roughly 3m Word documents.

Manage to gain access to someone's Google account? Perfect, you have a diary of everything that person has done

This link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you've taken on your phone, the businesses you've bought from, the products you've bought through Google

They also have data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books you've purchased, the Google groups you're in, the websites you've created, the phones you've owned, the pages you've shared, how many steps you walk in a day

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/takeout

Facebook has reams and reams of data on you, too

Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information. Mine was roughly 600MB, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.

This includes every message you've ever sent or been sent, every file you've ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you've ever sent or been sent.

Click here to see your data: https://www.facebook.com/help/131112897028467

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'A snapshot of the data Facebook has saved on me.' Photograph: Dylan Curran Facebook stores everything from your stickers to your login location

Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you've liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic "girl").

Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you've ever sent on Facebook (I have no idea why they do this. It's just a joke at this stage).

They also store every time you log in to Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.

And they store all the applications you've ever had connected to your Facebook account, so they can guess I'm interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November.

(Side note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of just the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10)

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Privacy options in Windows 10. Photograph: Dylan Curran They can access your webcam and microphone

The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.

Facebook told me it would act swiftly on data misuse – in 2015 | Harry Davies
Here are some of the different ways Google gets your data

I got the Google Takeout document with all my information, and this is a breakdown of all the different ways they get your information.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'My Google Takeout document.' Photograph: Dylan Curran

Here's the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed the Pirate Bay section to show how much damage this information can do).

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'My search history document has 90,000 different entries.' Photograph: Dylan Curran Google knows which events you attended, and when

Here's my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events I've ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is when I went for an interview for a marketing job, and what time I arrived).

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Here is my Google calendar showing a job interview I attended.' Photograph: Dylan Curran And Google has information you deleted

This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my résumé, my monthly budget, and all the code, files and websites I've ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, that I use to encrypt emails.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google can know your workout routine

This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps I've ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times I've recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts I've done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fit's permissions).

Facebook Twitter Pinterest And they have years' worth of photos

This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google has every email you ever sent

Every email I've ever sent, that's been sent to me, including the ones I deleted or were categorised as spam.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest And there is more

I'll just do a short summary of what's in the thousands of files I received under my Google Activity.

First, every Google Ad I've ever viewed or clicked on, every app I've ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I've ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app I've ever installed or searched for.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'They have every single Google search I've made since 2009.'

They also have every image I've ever searched for and saved, every location I've ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I've ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I've made since 2009. And then finally, every YouTube video I've ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.

This information has millions of nefarious uses. You say you're not a terrorist. Then how come you were googling Isis? Work at Google and you're suspicious of your wife? Perfect, just look up her location and search history for the last 10 years. Manage to gain access to someone's Google account? Perfect, you have a chronological diary of everything that person has done for the last 10 years.

This is one of the craziest things about the modern age. We would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us. But we just went ahead and did it ourselves because – to hell with it! – I want to watch cute dog videos.

NOTE: A caption was corrected on 28 March 2018 to replace "privacy options in Facebook" with "privacy options in Windows 10".

Dylan Curran is a data consultant and web developer, who does extensive research into spreading technical awareness and improving digital etiquette

[Feb 17, 2019] Trump is Russian asset memo is really neocon propaganda overkill

Highly recommended!
The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.
In neoliberal MSM there is positive feedback loop for "Trump is a Russian agent" stories. So the meme feeds on itself.
Notable quotes:
"... And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies. ..."
"... the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience. ..."
"... Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years ..."
"... Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water ..."
"... Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community . ..."
"... The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. ..."
"... The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man. ..."
Jan 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The always excellent Moon of Alabama blog has just published a sarcasm-laden piece documenting the many, many aggressive maneuvers that this administration has made against the interests of Russia, from pushing for more NATO funding to undermining Russia's natural gas interests to bombing Syria to sanctioning Russian oligarchs to dangerous military posturing.

<picture deleted>

And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, there would be a lot less "Putin's puppet" talk and a lot more "Hey, maybe we should avoid senseless escalations which could end all life on earth" talk among news media consumers. But there isn't, because the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience.

Like His Predecessors

Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, people would be no more worried about this administration than they were about the previous ones, because when it comes to his administration's actual behavior, he's just as reliable an upholder of the establishment-friendly status quo as his predecessors.

Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water.

Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community .

They do this for a reason, of course. The Yellow Vests protests in France have continued unabated for their ninth consecutive week , a decentralized populist uprising resulting from ordinary French citizens losing trust in their institutions and the official narratives which uphold them.

The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. Right now they've got Republicans cheering on the White House and Democrats cheering on the U.S. intelligence community, but that could all change should something happen which causes them to lose control over the thoughts that Americans think about their rulers.

Propaganda is the single most-overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of human society. The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.

The only thing that will lead to real change is the people losing trust in corrupt institutions and rising like lions against them. That gets increasingly likely as those institutions lose control of the narrative, and with trust in the mass media at an all-time low, populist uprisings restoring power to the people in France, and media corporations acting increasingly weird and insecure , that looks more and more likely by the day.

[Jan 08, 2019] No, wealth isn t created at the top. It is merely devoured there by Rutger Bregman

Highly recommended!
Financialization is a new type of racket...
Notable quotes:
"... Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook ... a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they're sucking the rest of us dry @rcbregman ..."
"... 'A big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body' ..."
"... This piece is about one of the biggest taboos of our times. About a truth that is seldom acknowledged, and yet – on reflection – cannot be denied. The truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state. These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have "made it". By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurialism that are helping to advance the whole world. ..."
"... To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our "human capital" in economic terms) to create something new, whether that's a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth. ..."
"... But there is also a second way to make money. That's the rentier way : by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others' expense, using his power to claim economic benefit. ..."
"... For those who know their history, the term "rentier" conjures associations with heirs to estates, such as the 19th century's large class of useless rentiers, well-described by the French economist Thomas Piketty . These days, that class is making a comeback. (Ironically, however, conservative politicians adamantly defend the rentier's right to lounge around, deeming inheritance tax to be the height of unfairness.) But there are also other ways of rent-seeking. From Wall Street to Silicon Valley , from big pharma to the lobby machines in Washington and Westminster, zoom in and you'll see rentiers everywhere. ..."
"... It may take quite a mental leap to see our economy as a system that shows solidarity with the rich rather than the poor. So I'll start with the clearest illustration of modern freeloaders at the top: bankers. Studies conducted by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements – not exactly leftist thinktanks – have revealed that much of the financial sector has become downright parasitic. How instead of creating wealth, they gobble it up whole. ..."
"... In other words, a big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body. It's not creating anything new, merely sucking others dry. Bankers have found a hundred and one ways to accomplish this. The basic mechanism, however, is always the same: offer loans like it's going out of style, which in turn inflates the price of things like houses and shares, then earn a tidy percentage off those overblown prices (in the form of interest, commissions, brokerage fees, or what have you), and if the shit hits the fan, let Uncle Sam mop it up. ..."
"... Bankers are the most obvious class of closet freeloaders, but they are certainly not alone. Many a lawyer and an accountant wields a similar revenue model. Take tax evasion . Untold hardworking, academically degreed professionals make a good living at the expense of the populations of other countries. Or take the tide of privatisations over the past three decades, which have been all but a carte blanche for rentiers. One of the richest people in the world, Carlos Slim , earned his millions by obtaining a monopoly of the Mexican telecom market and then hiking prices sky high. The same goes for the Russian oligarchs who rose after the Berlin Wall fell , who bought up valuable state-owned assets for song to live off the rent. ..."
"... Even paragons of modern progress like Apple, Amazon, Google , Facebook, Uber and Airbnb are woven from the fabric of rentierism. Firstly, because they owe their existence to government discoveries and inventions (every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll). And second, because they tie themselves into knots to avoid paying taxes, retaining countless bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists for this very purpose. ..."
"... Even more important, many of these companies function as "natural monopolies", operating in a positive feedback loop of increasing growth and value as more and more people contribute free content to their platforms. Companies like this are incredibly difficult to compete with, because as they grow bigger, they only get stronger. ..."
"... Most of Mark Zuckerberg's income is just rent collected off the millions of picture and video posts that we give away daily for free. And sure, we have fun doing it. But we also have no alternative – after all, everybody is on Facebook these days. Zuckerberg has a website that advertisers are clamouring to get onto, and that doesn't come cheap. Don't be fooled by endearing pilots with free internet in Zambia. Stripped down to essentials, it's an ordinary ad agency. In fact, in 2015 Google and Facebook pocketed an astounding 64% of all online ad revenue in the US. ..."
"... Rentierism is, in essence, a question of power. That the Sun King Louis XIV was able to exploit millions was purely because he had the biggest army in Europe. It's no different for the modern rentier. He's got the law, politicians and journalists squarely in his court. That's why bankers get fined peanuts for preposterous fraud, while a mother on government assistance gets penalised within an inch of her life if she checks the wrong box. ..."
"... The biggest tragedy of all, however, is that the rentier economy is gobbling up society's best and brightest. Where once upon a time Ivy League graduates chose careers in science, public service or education, these days they are more likely to opt for banks, law firms, or trumped up ad agencies like Google and Facebook. When you think about it, it's insane. We are forking over billions in taxes to help our brightest minds on and up the corporate ladder so they can learn how to score ever more outrageous handouts. ..."
"... One thing is certain: countries where rentiers gain the upper hand gradually fall into decline. Just look at the Roman Empire. Or Venice in the 15th century. Look at the Dutch Republic in the 18th century. Like a parasite stunts a child's growth, so the rentier drains a country of its vitality. ..."
Mar 30, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Rutger Bregman

Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook ... a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they're sucking the rest of us dry @rcbregman

Comments 890

'A big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body'.

This piece is about one of the biggest taboos of our times. About a truth that is seldom acknowledged, and yet – on reflection – cannot be denied. The truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state. These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have "made it". By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurialism that are helping to advance the whole world.

Now, we may disagree about the extent to which success deserves to be rewarded – the philosophy of the left is that the strongest shoulders should bear the heaviest burden, while the right fears high taxes will blunt enterprise – but across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top.

So entrenched is this assumption that it's even embedded in our language. When economists talk about "productivity", what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like " welfare state ", "redistribution" and "solidarity", we're implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.

In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as "successful" and "innovative" are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it's a non-issue.

To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our "human capital" in economic terms) to create something new, whether that's a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.

But there is also a second way to make money. That's the rentier way : by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others' expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.

'From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, zoom in and you'll see rentiers everywhere.'

For those who know their history, the term "rentier" conjures associations with heirs to estates, such as the 19th century's large class of useless rentiers, well-described by the French economist Thomas Piketty . These days, that class is making a comeback. (Ironically, however, conservative politicians adamantly defend the rentier's right to lounge around, deeming inheritance tax to be the height of unfairness.) But there are also other ways of rent-seeking. From Wall Street to Silicon Valley , from big pharma to the lobby machines in Washington and Westminster, zoom in and you'll see rentiers everywhere.

There is no longer a sharp dividing line between working and rentiering. In fact, the modern-day rentier often works damn hard. Countless people in the financial sector, for example, apply great ingenuity and effort to amass "rent" on their wealth. Even the big innovations of our age – businesses like Facebook and Uber – are interested mainly in expanding the rentier economy. The problem with most rich people therefore is not that they are coach potatoes. Many a CEO toils 80 hours a week to multiply his allowance. It's hardly surprising, then, that they feel wholly entitled to their wealth.

It may take quite a mental leap to see our economy as a system that shows solidarity with the rich rather than the poor. So I'll start with the clearest illustration of modern freeloaders at the top: bankers. Studies conducted by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements – not exactly leftist thinktanks – have revealed that much of the financial sector has become downright parasitic. How instead of creating wealth, they gobble it up whole.

Don't get me wrong. Banks can help to gauge risks and get money where it is needed, both of which are vital to a well-functioning economy. But consider this: economists tell us that the optimum level of total private-sector debt is 100% of GDP. Based on this equation, if the financial sector only grows, it won't equal more wealth, but less. So here's the bad news. In the United Kingdom, private-sector debt is now at 157.5% . In the United States, the figure is 188.8% .

In other words, a big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body. It's not creating anything new, merely sucking others dry. Bankers have found a hundred and one ways to accomplish this. The basic mechanism, however, is always the same: offer loans like it's going out of style, which in turn inflates the price of things like houses and shares, then earn a tidy percentage off those overblown prices (in the form of interest, commissions, brokerage fees, or what have you), and if the shit hits the fan, let Uncle Sam mop it up.

The financial innovation concocted by all the math whizzes working in modern banking (instead of at universities or companies that contribute to real prosperity) basically boils down to maximizing the total amount of debt. And debt, of course, is a means of earning rent. So for those who believe that pay ought to be proportionate to the value of work, the conclusion we have to draw is that many bankers should be earning a negative salary; a fine, if you will, for destroying more wealth than they create.

Bankers are the most obvious class of closet freeloaders, but they are certainly not alone. Many a lawyer and an accountant wields a similar revenue model. Take tax evasion . Untold hardworking, academically degreed professionals make a good living at the expense of the populations of other countries. Or take the tide of privatisations over the past three decades, which have been all but a carte blanche for rentiers. One of the richest people in the world, Carlos Slim , earned his millions by obtaining a monopoly of the Mexican telecom market and then hiking prices sky high. The same goes for the Russian oligarchs who rose after the Berlin Wall fell , who bought up valuable state-owned assets for song to live off the rent.

But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking.

Take the pharmaceutical industry. Companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer regularly unveil new drugs, yet most real medical breakthroughs are made quietly at government-subsidised labs. Private companies mostly manufacture medications that resemble what we've already got. They get it patented and, with a hefty dose of marketing, a legion of lawyers, and a strong lobby, can live off the profits for years. In other words, the vast revenues of the pharmaceutical industry are the result of a tiny pinch of innovation and fistfuls of rent.

Even paragons of modern progress like Apple, Amazon, Google , Facebook, Uber and Airbnb are woven from the fabric of rentierism. Firstly, because they owe their existence to government discoveries and inventions (every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll). And second, because they tie themselves into knots to avoid paying taxes, retaining countless bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists for this very purpose.

Even more important, many of these companies function as "natural monopolies", operating in a positive feedback loop of increasing growth and value as more and more people contribute free content to their platforms. Companies like this are incredibly difficult to compete with, because as they grow bigger, they only get stronger.

Aptly characterising this "platform capitalism" in an article, Tom Goodwin writes : "Uber, the world's largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world's most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world's largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate."

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll.' Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

So what do these companies own? A platform. A platform that lots and lots of people want to use. Why? First and foremost, because they're cool and they're fun – and in that respect, they do offer something of value. However, the main reason why we're all happy to hand over free content to Facebook is because all of our friends are on Facebook too, because their friends are on Facebook because their friends are on Facebook.

Most of Mark Zuckerberg's income is just rent collected off the millions of picture and video posts that we give away daily for free. And sure, we have fun doing it. But we also have no alternative – after all, everybody is on Facebook these days. Zuckerberg has a website that advertisers are clamouring to get onto, and that doesn't come cheap. Don't be fooled by endearing pilots with free internet in Zambia. Stripped down to essentials, it's an ordinary ad agency. In fact, in 2015 Google and Facebook pocketed an astounding 64% of all online ad revenue in the US.

But don't Google and Facebook make anything useful at all? Sure they do. The irony, however, is that their best innovations only make the rentier economy even bigger. They employ scores of programmers to create new algorithms so that we'll all click on more and more ads. Uber has usurped the whole taxi sector just as Airbnb has upended the hotel industry and Amazon has overrun the book trade. The bigger such platforms grow the more powerful they become, enabling the lords of these digital feudalities to demand more and more rent.

Think back a minute to the definition of a rentier: someone who uses their control over something that already exists in order to increase their own wealth. The feudal lord of medieval times did that by building a tollgate along a road and making everybody who passed by pay. Today's tech giants are doing basically the same thing, but transposed to the digital highway. Using technology funded by taxpayers, they build tollgates between you and other people's free content and all the while pay almost no tax on their earnings.

This is the so-called innovation that has Silicon Valley gurus in raptures: ever bigger platforms that claim ever bigger handouts. So why do we accept this? Why does most of the population work itself to the bone to support these rentiers?

I think there are two answers. Firstly, the modern rentier knows to keep a low profile. There was a time when everybody knew who was freeloading. The king, the church, and the aristocrats controlled almost all the land and made peasants pay dearly to farm it. But in the modern economy, making rentierism work is a great deal more complicated. How many people can explain a credit default swap , or a collateralised debt obligation ? Or the revenue model behind those cute Google Doodles? And don't the folks on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley work themselves to the bone, too? Well then, they must be doing something useful, right?

Maybe not. The typical workday of Goldman Sachs' CEO may be worlds away from that of King Louis XIV, but their revenue models both essentially revolve around obtaining the biggest possible handouts. "The world's most powerful investment bank," wrote the journalist Matt Taibbi about Goldman Sachs , "is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

But far from squids and vampires, the average rich freeloader manages to masquerade quite successfully as a decent hard worker. He goes to great lengths to present himself as a "job creator" and an "investor" who "earns" his income by virtue of his high "productivity". Most economists, journalists, and politicians from left to right are quite happy to swallow this story. Time and again language is twisted around to cloak funneling and exploitation as creation and generation.

However, it would be wrong to think that all this is part of some ingenious conspiracy. Many modern rentiers have convinced even themselves that they are bona fide value creators. When current Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was asked about the purpose of his job, his straight-faced answer was that he is " doing God's work ". The Sun King would have approved.

The second thing that keeps rentiers safe is even more insidious. We're all wannabe rentiers. They have made millions of people complicit in their revenue model. Consider this: What are our financial sector's two biggest cash cows? Answer: the housing market and pensions. Both are markets in which many of us are deeply invested.

Recent decades have seen more and more people contract debts to buy a home, and naturally it's in their interest if house prices continue to scale new heights (read: burst bubble upon bubble). The same goes for pensions. Over the past few decades we've all scrimped and saved up a mountainous pension piggy bank. Now pension funds are under immense pressure to ally with the biggest exploiters in order to ensure they pay out enough to please their investors.

The fact of the matter is that feudalism has been democratised. To a lesser or greater extent, we are all depending on handouts. En masse, we have been made complicit in this exploitation by the rentier elite, resulting in a political covenant between the rich rent-seekers and the homeowners and retirees.

Don't get me wrong, most homeowners and retirees are not benefiting from this situation. On the contrary, the banks are bleeding them far beyond the extent to which they themselves profit from their houses and pensions. Still, it's hard to point fingers at a kleptomaniac when you have sticky fingers too.

So why is this happening? The answer can be summed up in three little words: Because it can.

Rentierism is, in essence, a question of power. That the Sun King Louis XIV was able to exploit millions was purely because he had the biggest army in Europe. It's no different for the modern rentier. He's got the law, politicians and journalists squarely in his court. That's why bankers get fined peanuts for preposterous fraud, while a mother on government assistance gets penalised within an inch of her life if she checks the wrong box.

The biggest tragedy of all, however, is that the rentier economy is gobbling up society's best and brightest. Where once upon a time Ivy League graduates chose careers in science, public service or education, these days they are more likely to opt for banks, law firms, or trumped up ad agencies like Google and Facebook. When you think about it, it's insane. We are forking over billions in taxes to help our brightest minds on and up the corporate ladder so they can learn how to score ever more outrageous handouts.

One thing is certain: countries where rentiers gain the upper hand gradually fall into decline. Just look at the Roman Empire. Or Venice in the 15th century. Look at the Dutch Republic in the 18th century. Like a parasite stunts a child's growth, so the rentier drains a country of its vitality.

What innovation remains in a rentier economy is mostly just concerned with further bolstering that very same economy. This may explain why the big dreams of the 1970s, like flying cars, curing cancer, and colonising Mars, have yet to be realised, while bankers and ad-makers have at their fingertips technologies a thousand times more powerful.

Yet it doesn't have to be this way. Tollgates can be torn down, financial products can be banned, tax havens dismantled, lobbies tamed, and patents rejected. Higher taxes on the ultra-rich can make rentierism less attractive, precisely because society's biggest freeloaders are at the very top of the pyramid. And we can more fairly distribute our earnings on land, oil, and innovation through a system of, say, employee shares, or a universal basic income .

But such a revolution will require a wholly different narrative about the origins of our wealth. It will require ditching the old-fashioned faith in "solidarity" with a miserable underclass that deserves to be borne aloft on the market-level salaried shoulders of society's strongest. All we need to do is to give real hard-working people what they deserve.

And, yes, by that I mean the waste collectors, the nurses, the cleaners – theirs are the shoulders that carry us all.

• Pre-order Utopia for Realists and How Can We Get There by Rutger Bregman

• Translated from the original Dutch by Elizabeth Manton

See also:

[Jan 02, 2019] American People Admit Having Facebook Data Stolen Kind Of Worth It To Watch That Lit