Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs

Silicon Valley now can be renamed to Surveillance Valley
Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism with the classic slogan of Third Reich
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

The slide above is courtesy of The Guardian

News National Security State Recommended Links Big Uncle is Watching You Nephophobia: avoiding clouds to reclaim bits of your privacy Search engines privacy Is Google evil? "Everything in the Cloud" Utopia
Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance Issues of security and trust in "cloud" env Facebook as Giant Database about Users Blocking Facebook Email security MTA Log Analyzers HTTP Servers Log Analyses Cookie Cutting
Potemkin Villages of Computer Security Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance Cyberstalking How to collect and analyze your own Web activity metadata Steganography Anomaly detection Notes on Search Engines and Google
Malware Cyberwarfare Data Stealing Trojans Flame Duqu Trojan Magic Lantern CIPAV Google Toolbar
Nation under attack meme Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Search engines privacy Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Nineteen Eighty-Four Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Prizm-related humor Etc
Version 1.2, November 20, 2013

Introduction

"As a totalitarian society, the Soviet Union valued eavesdropping and thus developed ingenious methods to accomplish it."

This NSA document

Americans live in Russia, but think they live in Sweden

Chrystia Freeland

You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide

--Joseph Goebbels

I was always suspicious about the success of "cloud" Web mail services starting with Hotmail. There was something fishy here including the purchase of Hotmail by Microsoft. The problem is that if your emails are being stored "in the cloud" each single email is exposed as if it permanently "in transit". Moreover the collection of email in your Inbox and your email address book are a more valuable set of information than any single email and tells much more about you that any intercepted email can.

Just the set of headers (and your address book) constitute something much more dangerous then a single email.  All this talk about NSA or CIA ability to listen to your smartphone microphone or via microphones in your laptop, TV or other  devices looks like grossly exaggerated threat. Collection of just headers which can be done automatically and "for the duration of your life"  provides much more revealing information. And set of emails voluntarily stored by you on "cloud" provider (is not this stupid ?) is the place over which you've absolutely no control (and as such you should have no expectation of privacy) . 

The same is true about your phone calls. The ability to listen to your phone calls in most cases is immaterial. The list of your connections is enough to tell everything about you, may be even better then the content of your conversations via phone.  And I doubt that they are doing it without serious reasons and transcribing and analyzing your calls cost serious money.

Typically those guys who suspect that their phones are listened behave more carefully. Putting a cell  phone into a metal and metal mesh box completely disables the communication with the tower.  Ii such a box has a foam lining it pretty much disables sound too. Both those materials are cheap and widely available. 

The same is true about your usage of internet, but here situation is a little bit more complex because there is no guarantee that after Snowden revelation people do not try to distort their browsing provide, It is pretty easy to do using any programmable keyboard, or a scripting language and Expect-like module. 

I can see why Brazil and Germany are now concerned about NSA activities. I can't understand why they are not concerned about stupidity of their citizens opening accounts and putting confidential information on the Webmail systems such as Hotmail, Yahoo mail and Gmail (all three are mentioned in Prism slide above ;-). Is not this a new mass form of masochism?  Accounts in Hotmail or Gmail has their value, but they are primary useful as spam folders. You can direct all emails from you subscriptions on newspapers, sites and magazines to it.  Your real account should always be the account on one of small ISP on your own domain, and possibly using special DNS server.  Or, at least, POP3 account on your laptop, which does not store any emails on the server.

As we have all found out, that trust in cloud providers is misplaced, as "cloud" services were systematically abused.  So when I read that some high level honcho emails were exfiltrated (directly via  broken password, or indirectly or special interface in software) and published  the only reaction is -- Ohh God, yet another  idiot was caught in  this net and now will pay for his  transgressions. 

If publishing of your email box can cause you embarrassment or more serious harm the only place to keep this mailbox (may be outside the recent week or two) in encrypted thumb drive that is inserted in your laptop/desktop strictly for the period of your working with your email.

If publishing of your email box can cause you embarrassment or more serious harm the only place to keep this mailbox (may be outside the recent week or two) in encrypted thumb drive that is inserted in your laptop/desktop strictly for the period of your working with your email.

In a way after Snowden revelations we all now need to learn Aesop language (slang is actually almost in-penetratable to computer analysis, unless they are specifically programmed for the particular one) and be more careful.  Many people now understand why Facebook users should be very concerned. Facebook is nothing but an intelligence database about their users. That's their primary business model. So it is users data is what Facebook actually sells.  But we now need to understand that Yahoo, Microsoft and Google are no different. But after Snowden revelations the usage of Facebook/Yahoo/Gmail accounts was not affected. Several high profile email leaks happened after Snowden revelations. So it looks like in cyberspace a large number of people is more reckless then they behave in a "normal" environment.  In one  such profile case -- Podesta emails leak John Podesta even failed to purchase $15 key for two factor authentication for Gmail.  Podesta also made a very common and stupid mistake -- clicking on the links in email, especially emails with security alerts is really reckless.  It is undesirable even if you can verify that the URL used is not spoofed. And this was the person who was Bill Clinton Chief of Staff (1998-2001) -- so the person as close to trained in computer security professional as one can get. Who at one time has access to highest level of US security clearness and all respective briefing and DNS signing that it entails.  As a result of this  blunder on October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks started to publish thousands of emails reportedly retrieved from Podesta's private Gmail account, some of which contained controversial material regarding Clinton's positions or campaign strategy.

Social site promote "exhibitionism orgy"

Social sites, especially "Fecebook" skillfully promote what can be called "exhibitionism orgy"  People affected generally get what they deserve, but some teenagers paid with their life for this blunder. Not to say that feeling like each and every your "wall" post is like scrolled on NYC Times square is not very comfortable feeling for anybody except status hungry adolescent girls.  To say nothing that due to ubiquity of electronic communications all your life is watched anyway, as if East Germany STASI now became a universal world-wide phenomenon. Actually some details now available via electronic communications (your relocation data via your smartphone) were unavailable to STASI. It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect, See Big Uncle is Watching You.

In a current NSA-inspired debate about the moral consequences of digital technologies, it is important to realize the danger of  seamless integration of services under Google (especially within Android) as well as other Internet Oligopolies (I doubt that Microsoft with its Windows 10 is much better).  When everyone using an Android smartphone is forced to wear Google's digital straitjacket. This  can be a very bad thing, and it make combination of a "regular phone" and a 7 inch tablet much more attractive then smartphone (and available a fraction of the cost).

Smartphones  essentially invites snooping on you, especially government snooping as the less type of devices the government need to deal with, the cheaper is such mass collection of information on each citizen.  Whether this is done in the name of fighting terrorism, communist agents, or infiltration of Martians does not matter. As long as access to such data is extremely cheap, as is the case with both Android and Apple smartphones,  it will be abused by the government and some activities will be done without any court orders. In other words if technical means of snooping are cheap they will be  abused. It is a duty of concerned citizens who object this practice to make them more expensive and less effective.

If technical means of snooping are cheap they will be  abused. It is a duty of concerned citizens who object this practice to make them more expensive and less effective.

First of all we must fight against this strange "self-exposure" mania under which people have become enslaved to and endangered by the "cloud" sites they use. Again this nothing more nothing less then digital masochism.

First of all we must fight against this strange "self-exposure" mania under which people have become enslaved to and endangered by the "cloud" sites they use. Again this nothing more nothing less then digital masochism. But there is another important aspect of this problem which is different from the problem of unhealthy self-revelation zeal that large part of Facebook users demonstrates on the Net.

This second problem is often discussed under the meme Is Google evil ? and it is connected with inevitable corruption of Internet by large Internet oligopolies such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. And they become oligopolies because we agree to use them as primary sources, for example Google for search, independently whether it is good for all types of searches or not.  Actually if you compare the quality of retuned results Google is not good for all searches. Bing often beats Google on searches connected with Windows (and even some pure Linux topics) and  duckduckgo.com while not bad in most categories really excels if you search information about Eastern Europe, as well on several political themes (I suspect some searches in Google are censored). In any case after Snowden revelations it does not make sense to use a single search engine. You need  to spread your searches over several

After Snowden revelations it does not make sense to use a single search engine. You need  to spread your searches over several  with your primary/default search engine being anything but Google. The diversification (including diversification of search engines) is now a duty of concerned Internet users.

 IMHO if you did not put several search providers like say, duckduckgo.com in your browser and don't rotate them periodically, you are making a mistake. First of all you deprive yourself from the possibility to learn strong and weak point of different search engines. The second Google stores all searches, possibly indefinitely despite your ability to delete them from you personal history, so you potentially expose yourself to a larger extent by using a single provider.

And according to PRISM NSA is only one of possibly several agencies that can access your data.  Using three engines you create the need to merge and correlate for example three sets of your activities (if you separates searches between different engine by topic), which represent not an easy task. Also if you use VPN there is no guarantee that those activities represent actions of a single person or a group of persons (especially, if you use a local proxy).  See Alternative Search Engines to Google

“Internet solutionism” exemplified by Google and push to the cloud services is the dangerous romantic utopia of our age. Google-style "cloud uber alles" push is often counter-productive, even dangerous

As Eugeny Morozov argued in The Net Delusion The Dark Side of Internet Freedom Internet solutionism” exemplified by Google, is the dangerous romantic utopia of our age. He regards Google-style "cloud uber alles" push as counter-productive, even dangerous:

...Wouldn’t it be nice if one day, told that Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” we would finally read between the lines and discover its true meaning: “to monetize all of the world’s information and make it universally inaccessible and profitable”? With this act of subversive interpretation, we might eventually hit upon the greatest emancipatory insight of all: Letting Google organize all of the world’s information makes as much sense as letting Halliburton organize all of the world’s oil.

The reason why the digital debate feels so empty and toothless is simple: framed as a debate over “the digital” rather than “the political” and “the economic,” it’s conducted on terms that are already beneficial to technology companies. Unbeknownst to most of us, the seemingly exceptional nature of commodities in question – from “information” to “networks” to “the Internet” – is coded into our language.

 It’s this hidden exceptionalism that allows Silicon Valley to dismiss its critics as Luddites who, by opposing “technology,” “information” or “the Internet”-- they don’t do plurals in Silicon Valley, for the nuance risks overwhelming their brains – must also be opposed to “progress.”

Internet started as a network of decentralized servers, able to withstand a nuclear attack. Now it probably will eventually return to a similar model on a new level as the danger of cloud providers exceed their usefulness. In any case now it looks like anybody who is greedy enough to use "free" (as in "The only free cheese is in the mouse trap") Gmail instead of getting webmail account via ISP with your own (let it call vanity, but it's your own :-) website is playing with fire. Even if they are nothing to hide, if they use Hotmail of Gmail for anything but spam (aka registrations, newsletters, etc) they are entering a dangerous virtual room with multiple hidden camera that record and store information including all their emails and address book forever. Important email should probably now be limited to regular SMTP accounts with client like Thunderbird (which actually is tremendously better then Gmail Web mail client with its Google+ perversions).

For personal, private information, you need to have your own servers and keep nothing in the "cloud". The network was originally designed to be "peer-to-peer" and the only hold back has been the cost of local infrastructure to do it and the availability of local technical talent to keep those services running. Now cost of hardware is trivial and services are so well known that running them is not a big problem even at home, especially a pre-configured virtual machines with "business" cable ISP account ( $29 per month from Cablevision).

Maybe the huge centralized services like Google and Yahoo have really been temporary anomalies of the adolescence of the Internet and given the breach of trust by governments and by these large corporations the next step will be return on a new level to Internet decentralized roots. Maybe local services can still be no less viable then cloud services. Even email, one of the most popular "in the cloud" services can be split into a small part of pure SMTP delivery (important mails) and bulk mail which can stay on Webmail (but preferably you private ISP, not those monsters like Google, Yahoo or Microsoft). That does not exclude using "free" emails of this troika for storing spam :-). In short we actually don't have to be on Gmail to send or read email. Google search is not the best search engine for everything. Moreover it is not wise to put all eggs in one basket. Microsoft might be as bad, but spreading your searches makes perfect sense. TCP connection to small ISP is as good and if you do not trust ISP you can use you home server with cable provider ISP account.

Where I have concern is if the network itself got partitioned along national borders as a result of NSA snooping, large portions of the net can become unreachable. That would be a balkanization we would end up regretting. It would be far better if we take a preemptive action against this abuse and limit the use of our Gmail, hotmail, Yahoo accounts for "non essential" correspondence, if we spread our search activities among multiple search engines and have our web pages, if any on personal ISP account. We need to enforce some level of privacy ourselves and don't behave like lemmings. Years ago there was similar situation with telephones wiretaps, and before laws preventing abuse of this capability were eventually passed people often used public phones for important calls they wanted to keep private.

If you join Google or Facebook you should have no expectations of privacy for any information you share on those sites

In Australia any expectations of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once people voluntarily offered data to the third party. And I think Australians are right. Here is a relevant Slashdot post:

General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Robert S. Litt explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once we've offered it to a third party.

Thus, sifting through third party data doesn't qualify 'on a constitutional level' as invasive to our personal privacy. This he brought to an interesting point about volunteered personal data, and social media habits. Our willingness to give our information to companies and social networking websites is baffling to the ODNI.

'Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?,' he asked."

... ... ...

While Snowden's leaks have provoked Jimmy Carter into labeling this government a sham, and void of a functioning democracy, Litt presented how these wide data collection programs are in fact valued by our government, have legal justification, and all the necessary parameters.

Litt, echoing the president and his boss James Clapper, explained thusly:

"We do not use our foreign intelligence collection capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies in order to give American companies a competitive advantage. We do not indiscriminately sweep up and store the contents of the communications of Americans, or of the citizenry of any country. We do not use our intelligence collection for the purpose of repressing the citizens of any country because of their political, religious or other beliefs. We collect metadata—information about communications—more broadly than we collect the actual content of communications, because it is less intrusive than collecting content and in fact can provide us information that helps us more narrowly focus our collection of content on appropriate targets. But it simply is not true that the United States Government is listening to everything said by every citizen of any country."

It's great that the U.S. government behaves better than corporations on privacy—too bad it trusts/subcontracts corporations to deal with that privacy—but it's an uncomfortable thing to even be in a position of having to compare the two. This is the point Litt misses, and it's not a fine one.

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

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 or all your SMS. 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.

It means two things:

Not only the USA government with its Prism program is involved in this activity. British security services are probably even more intrusive. Most governments probably try to do some subset of the above. Two important conclusions we can get are:

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. 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 ;-)

The centralization of searches on Google (and to lesser extent on Bing) are also serious threats to your privacy. Here diversification between three or more search engines might help a bit. Other then that and generally limited your time behind the computer 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. 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. For comparison

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...

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:

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 highlight
what Google and Facebook can do with our data

The most constructive approach to NSA is to view it as 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 (and, closely related to power, the level of financing), no matter what are official declarations. And if breaching your privacy helps with this noble goal, 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 is open to review. We don't know how much we got in exchange for undermining internet security and the 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 sometimes it really looks like a shadow government (with three branches NSA, CIA and FBI). And now they will fight tooth-and nail to protect the fruits of a decade long bureaucratic expansion. It is an Intelligence Church of sorts and like any religious organization they do not need facts to support their doctrine and influence.

Typically there is a high level of infighting and many factions within any large hierarchical organization, typically with cards hold close the west and limited or not awareness about those turf battles of the outsiders. Basically any hierarchical institution corporate, religious, or 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 balances. 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 very flexible and in certain cases can be equal to "any opponent of regime" (any "dissident" n soviet terms). 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 the neoliberal elite 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 in pushing the USSR as a beacon of progress and bright hope for establishing democratic governance for 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.”

Infoglut and the 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" used. First of all Snowden revelations constitute a blow (but not a knockout) for all NSA activities against really serious opponents. Now they are forewarned and that mean forearmed. That simply means that they might start feeding NSA disinformation and that's a tremendous danger for NSA that far outweigh the value of any real information collected.

The main danger for NSA is the deliberate feeding of false information into the collection scream

There is another side of this story. As we mentioned above, even if NSA algorithms are incredibly clever they can't avoid producing large number of false positives taking into account that they are drinking from a fire hose. Especially now when people will try to bury useful signal in noise. And it is not that difficult to replay somebody else Web logs on a periodic basis -- that means that the task of analysis of web logs became not only more complex. It changed. The assumption that that the set of visited sites represents real activity of a particular user is now just a plausible hypothesis. Not  more then that. 

Inefficiency is another problem. After two year investigation into the post 9/11 intelligence agencies, the Washington Post came to conclusion that they were collecting far more information than anyone can comprehend (aka "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"

Such volume along creates a classic problem of "signal vs. noise" (infoglut).  And this is insolvable problem, which became only worse with the availability of more information. In this  sense Prism program which deals with already filtered by user information is a great help to NSA (and that  means that Goggle, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and fiends are very valuable for NSA partners and will remain partners despite all claims of their top honchos).

Unless special care is exercised by collection everything from the "line" NSA is like drinking from  the firehose:  

...Infoglut raises disturbing questions regarding new operations of power and control in a world of algorithms." —Jodi Dean, author of Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies

...Andrejevic argues that people prioritize correlation over comprehension - "what" and facts are more important than "why" and reasons.

As Washington Post noted:

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

In plain English that means that analysts produce reports, lion share of which is never read. The enormity of the database exacerbate the problems. That's why NSA is hunting for email on cloud providers, where they are already filtered from spam, and where processing required is so much less than for the same information intercepted from the wire. Still even with the direct access to user accounts, the volume of data, especially graphic info (pictures), sound and video data, is really huge and that stress the limits of processing capabilities and storage.

Which means that  switch to hieroglyphs in communication theoretically creates serious problems in intercepting the data stream.  Deciphering a meaning of pictograms used is not that easy. Classic captcha methods can be used to make direct conversion to text impossible. This method was actually widely used in letters in the past (when some words were deliberately replaced by hand written pictures. ). For one thing  that approach make it more  difficult "keyword-based" searches for relevant information in email as "trigger-words" can  be replaced by pictograms.  Add to this that the meaning of pictograms can be individualized and you can see that this is an approach close to stenography.

Presence of noise in the channel also makes signal much more difficult to detect. Now you can be sure that any serious opponent will try to disguise the traffic by all means available. So getting a "clean" steam of data for a given IP is now a pipe dream.

Problems typical for large bureaucracies also place limits of effective large scale data collection

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 a mess with a lot of incompetents at the helm. Which is typical for large government agencies and large corporations. Still the level of logs collection and monitoring proved to be surprisingly weak, and those are indirect signs of other rot. It looks like the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands. Unless this is a very clever insider operation, we need to assume that Edward Snowden stole thousands of documents, abused his sysadmin position in the NSA, and was never caught. The fact that he was able to bypass logs tells that the whole place is a complete  mess. In other words "The shoemaker’s children go barefoot."

the level of logs collection and monitoring proved to be surprisingly weak, and those are indirect signs of other rot. It looks like the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands.

 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 too good in making huge and complex software projects work. And any large software project is a very difficult undertaking in any case, which require talented and dedicated manager at the helm. In large bureaucracies such people are filtered out long before that get to the necessary position. Mostly sycophants, "yes men", or people who can well mask their real identities,  prosper. 

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"). The Conway law also suggest that the structure of software product reflect communication channels in the organization.

With pretty bizarre communication channels in a large hierarchical organization like NSA you can expect huge problems on architectural level. There are also counterexamples to that. Google Earth was initially a project of three letter agencies, which was "donated" to Google.  And this is a very good software product. Still it is given that large projects 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").

Any large software project is a very difficult undertaking in any case, which require talented and dedicated manager at the helm. In large bureaucracies such people are filtered out long before that get to the necessary position. Mostly sycophants, "yes men", or people who can well mask their real identities,  prosper.

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 project. Now when this activity come under fire some "ad hoc" adjustments might be especially badly thought out and could potentially cripple even 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 strict hierarchy, 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" type of personnel. Such people often have difficulties seeing "the bigger picture".  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.  Death by PowerPoint  of good ideas in large bureaucracies is a fact of life.

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 recollection of his service as a 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 they can chase mostly "big fish". Although one nasty 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

Mass collection of data represent dangers outside activities of three latter agencies. Data collected about you by Google, Facebook, etc are also very dangerous. And they are for sell. Errors in algorithms and bugs in data mining 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 such as your medical history.

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 all governments over the world are pushed into this shady area by the new technologies that open tremendous opportunities for collecting data and making 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. As we already mentioned several times before, 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.

Email privacy

I do not like when stranger is reading my mail,
overlooking over my shoulder

Famous Russian bard Vladimir Vissotsky,
Also on YouTube

Email security is a large and complex subject. It is a typical "bullet vs. armor" type of topic. In this respect the fact the US government were highly alarmed by Snowden revelations is understandable as this shift the balance from dominance of "bullet" by stimulating the development of various "armor" style methods to enhance email privacy. It also undermines/discredits cloud-based email services, especially large one such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo mail, which are the most important providers of emails.

You can't hide your correspondents so recreation of network of your email correspondents is a fact of life that you can do nothing about. But you can make searching emails for keywords and snooping of the text of your email considerably more difficult. And those methods not necessary means using PGP (actually from NSA point of view using PGP is warning sign that you has something to hide and that increase interest to your mailbox; and this is a pretty logical assumption).

First of all using traditional POP3 account now makes much more sense (although on most ISPs undelivered mail is available via Web interface). In case of email security those who know Linux/Unix have a distinct advantage. Those OSes provide the ability to have a home server that performs most functions of the cloud services at a very moderate cost (essentially the cost of web connection, or an ISP Web account; sometime you need to convert you cable Internet account to "business" to open ports). Open source software for running Webmail on your own server is readily available and while it has its security holes at least they are not as evident as those in Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail. And what is the most important you escape aggregation of your emails on a large provider.

IMHO putting content in attachment, be it gif of a handwritten letter in DOC document, or MP3 file presents serious technical problems for snoopers. First of all any multimedia attachment, such a gif of your handwriting (plus a jpeg of your favorite cat ;-), dramatically increase the necessary storage and thus processing time. Samsung Note 10.1 and Microsoft Surface PRO tablets provide opportunity to add both audio and handwriting files to your letter with minimal effort. If you have those device, use them. Actually this is one of few areas when tablets are really useful. Sending content as a multimedia file makes snooping more difficult for several reasons:

Another important privacy enhancing feature of emails is related to a classic "noise vs. useful signal" problem. In this respect the existence of spam looks like a blessing. In case of mimicry filtering "signal from noise" became a complex problem. That's why NSA prefers accessing mail at final destination as we saw from slides published in Guardian. But using local delivery and Thunderbird or any other mail client make this avenue of snooping easily defeatable. Intercepted on the router, spam can clog arteries of automatic processing really fast. It also might slightly distort your "network of contacts" So if you switch off ISP provided spam filter and filter spam locally on your computer, the problem of "useful sig   le border="2" width="90%" bgcolor="#FFFF00">   " is offloaded to those who try to snoop your mail. And there are ways to ensure that they will filter out wrong emails ;-). Here is a one day sample of spam:

Subject: Hello!
Subject: Gold Watches
Subject: Cufflinks
Subject: Join us and Lose 8-12 lbs. in Only 7-10 Days!
Subject: New private social network for Ukrainian available ladies and foreign men.
Subject: Fresh closed social network for Russian attractive girls and foreigners.
Subject: hoy!
Subject: Daily Market Movers Digest
h=Content-Transfer-Encoding:Content-Type:MIME-Version:Subject:To:Message-ID:From:Date; bh=rabQUxPZjHIp1RwoC7c+cj41NudW37VFkMlmNcq4yig=;
Subject: =?utf-8?Q?=E1=B9=BD=E2=80=8D=C7=8F=E2=80=8D=E1=BE=B6=E2=80=8D=C4=A0=E2=80=8D=E1=B9=99=E2=80=8D=E1=BE=B6?=
Subject: IMPORTANT - WellsFargo
Subject: =?Windows-1251?B?z29j8nBv5e3o5SBj6GPyZez7IO7v62Hy+yDvbyBwZefz6/zy4PLz?=
Subject: New private social network for beautiful Ukrainian women and foreign men.
Subject: Fresh closed social network for Russian sexy women and foreign men.
Subject: Cufflinks
Subject: (SECURE)Electronic Account Statement 0558932870_06112013
Subject: (SECURE)Electronic Account Statement 0690671601_06112013
Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details
Subject: Bothered with censorship restrictions on Social networks?
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure) - [AKO Content Violation - SPAM]Are
Subject: (SECURE)Electronic Account Statement 0355009837_06112013
Subject: You need Ukrainian with large breasts that Madame ready to correspond to intimate topics?
Subject: =?Windows-1251?B?wfPy/CDjb/Lu4iDqIO/wb+Ll8Org7A==?=
Subject: You need a Russian woman with beautiful eyes is ready to correspond to private theme?
Subject: Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender
Subject: Are you bored with censorship limits at Social networks?
Subject: =?windows-1254?B?U0VSVN1G3UtBTEkgWUFOR0lOIEXQ3VTdTd0gSEVNRU4gQkHeVlVSVU4=?=
Subject: Join us and Lose 8-12 lbs. in Only 7-10 Days!
Subject: Important Activation needed
Subject: Hi!
Subject: WebSayt Sadece 35 Azn
Subject: Join us and Lose 8-12 lbs. in Only 7-10 Days!

Note the line "Subject: Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender". That means that in the spam filter you need to fight with the impersonalization (fake sender) as well. While typically this is easy based on content of "Received:" headers, there are some complex cases, especially with bounced mails and "onetime" identities (when the sender each time assumes a different identity at the same large provider). See also Using “impersonalization” in your email campaigns.

BTW fake erotic spam provides tremendous steganography opportunities. Here is a very simplistic example.

Subject: Do you want a Ukrainian girl with large breasts ready to chat with you on intimate topics?

New closed social network with hot Ukrainian ladies is open. If you want to talk on erotic themes, with sweet women then this is for you!

I dropped my previous girlfriend. Things deteriorates dramatically here and all my plans are now on hold.

So I decided to find a lady friend for regular erotic conversations! And I am now completely satisfied customer.

Give it is try. "http://t.co/FP8AnKQOyV" Free Registration and first three sessions !!!

Does the second paragraph starting with the phrase "I dropped my previous girlfriend..." in the email below contain real information masked in erotic spam, or the message is a regular junk?

Typical spam filter would filter this message out as spam, especially with such a subject line ;-).

You can also play a practical joke imitating spammer activity. Inform a couple of your friends about it and then send similar letter from one of your Gmail account to your friends. Enjoy change in advertisements ;-).

In many cases what you want to send via email, can be done more securely using phone. Avoid unnecessary emails like a plague. And not only because of NSA existence. Snooping into your mailbox is not limited to three-letter agencies.

Facebook Problem

I always wondered why Facebook -- a cluelessly designed site which imitates AOL, the hack written in PHP which provide no, or very little value to users, other then a poorly integrated environment for personal Web page (simple "vanity fair" pages), blog and email. It is definitely oriented on the most clueless or at least less sophisticated users and that's probably why it has such a level of popularity. They boast almost billion customers, although I suspect that half of those customers check their account only once a month or so. Kind of electronic tombstone to people's vanity...

The interface is second rate and just attests a very mediocre level of software engineering. It is difficult to imagine that serious guys are using Facebook. And those who do use it, usually are of no interest to three letter agencies. Due to this ability of the government to mine Facebook might be a less of a problem then people assume, much less of a problem than mining Hotmail or Gmail.

But that does not mean that Facebook does not have value. Just those entities for whom it provides tremendous value are not users ;-) Like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stated Facebook, Google, and Yahoo are actually extremely powerful tools for centralized information gathering that can used by advertisers, merchants, government, financial institutions and other powerful/wealthy players.

Such sites are also very valuable tools for advertisers who try to capitalize of the information about your Facebook or Google profile, Gmail messages content, network of fiends and activities. And this is pretty deep pool of information.

"Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented," Assange said in the interview, which was videotaped and published on the site. "Here we have the world's most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible ..."

That's why Google, who also lives and dies by advertising revenue put so much efforts at Google+. And promotes so heavily +1 button. They sense the opportunity for additional advertising revenue due to more precise targeting and try to replicate Facebook success on a better technological platform (Facebook is a hack written in PHP -- and writing in PHP tells a lot about real technological level of Mark Zuckerberg and friends).

But government is one think, advertisers is another. The magnitude of online information Facebook has available about each of us for targeted marketing is stunning. In Europe, laws give people the right to know what data companies have about them, but that is not the case in the United States. Here is what Wikipedia writes about Facebook data mining efforts:

There have been some concerns expressed regarding the use of Facebook as a means of surveillance and data mining. The Facebook privacy policy once stated,

"We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile."[23]

However, the policy was later updated and now states: "We may use information about you that we collect from other Facebook users to supplement your profile (such as when you are tagged in a photo or mentioned in a status update). In such cases we generally give you the ability to remove the content (such as allowing you to remove a photo tag of you) or limit its visibility on your profile."[23] The terminology regarding the use of collecting information from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, and instant messaging services, has been removed.

The possibility of data mining by private individuals unaffiliated with Facebook has been a concern, as evidenced by the fact that two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students were able to download, using an automated script, over 70,000 Facebook profiles from four schools (MIT, NYU, the University of Oklahoma, and Harvard University) as part of a research project on Facebook privacy published on December 14, 2005.[24] Since then, Facebook has bolstered security protection for users, responding: "We’ve built numerous defenses to combat phishing and malware, including complex automated systems that work behind the scenes to detect and flag Facebook accounts that are likely to be compromised (based on anomalous activity like lots of messages sent in a short period of time, or messages with links that are known to be bad)."[25]

A second clause that brought criticism from some users allowed Facebook the right to sell users' data to private companies, stating "We may share your information with third parties, including responsible companies with which we have a relationship." This concern was addressed by spokesman Chris Hughes, who said "Simply put, we have never provided our users' information to third party companies, nor do we intend to."[26] Facebook eventually removed this clause from its privacy policy.[27]

Previously, third party applications had access to almost all user information. Facebook's privacy policy previously stated: "Facebook does not screen or approve Platform Developers and cannot control how such Platform Developers use any personal information."[28] However, that language has since been removed. Regarding use of user data by third party applications, the ‘Pre-Approved Third-Party Websites and Applications’ section of the Facebook privacy policy now states:

In order to provide you with useful social experiences off of Facebook, we occasionally need to provide General Information about you to pre-approved third party websites and applications that use Platform at the time you visit them (if you are still logged in to Facebook). Similarly, when one of your friends visits a pre-approved website or application, it will receive General Information about you so you and your friend can be connected on that website as well (if you also have an account with that website). In these cases we require these websites and applications to go through an approval process, and to enter into separate agreements designed to protect your privacy…You can disable instant personalization on all pre-approved websites and applications using your Applications and Websites privacy setting. You can also block a particular pre-approved website or application by clicking "No Thanks" in the blue bar when you visit that application or website. In addition, if you log out of Facebook before visiting a pre-approved application or website, it will not be able to access your information.

In the United Kingdom, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has encouraged employers to allow their staff to access Facebook and other social-networking sites from work, provided they proceed with caution.[29]

In September 2007, Facebook drew a fresh round of criticism after it began allowing non-members to search for users, with the intent of opening limited "public profiles" up to search engines such as Google in the following months.[30] Facebook's privacy settings, however, allow users to block their profiles from search engines.

Concerns were also raised on the BBC's Watchdog programme in October 2007 when Facebook was shown to be an easy way in which to collect an individual's personal information in order to facilitate identity theft.[31] However, there is barely any personal information presented to non-friends - if users leave the privacy controls on their default settings, the only personal information visible to a non-friend is the user's name, gender, profile picture, networks, and user name.[32]

In addition, a New York Times article in February 2008 pointed out that Facebook does not actually provide a mechanism for users to close their accounts, and thus raised the concern that private user data would remain indefinitely on Facebook's servers.[33] However, Facebook now gives users the options to deactivate or delete their accounts, according to the Facebook Privacy Policy. "When you deactivate an account, no user will be able to see it, but it will not be deleted. We save your profile information (connections, photos, etc.) in case you later decide to reactivate your account." The policy further states: "When you delete an account, it is permanently deleted from Facebook."[23]

A third party site, USocial, was involved in a controversy surrounding the sale of fans and friends. USocial received a cease-and-desist letter from Facebook and has stopped selling friends.[34]

Inability to voluntarily terminate accounts

Facebook had allowed users to deactivate their accounts but not actually remove account content from its servers. A Facebook representative explained to a student from the University of British Columbia that users had to clear their own accounts by manually deleting all of the content including wall posts, friends, and groups. A New York Times article noted the issue, and also raised a concern that emails and other private user data remain indefinitely on Facebook's servers.[35]

Facebook subsequently began allowing users to permanently delete their accounts in 2010. Facebook's Privacy Policy now states: "When you delete an account, it is permanently deleted from Facebook."[23]

... ... ...

Quit Facebook Day

Quit Facebook Day was an online event which took place on May 31, 2010 (coinciding with Memorial Day), in which Facebook users stated that they would quit the social network, due to privacy concerns.[54] It was estimated that 2% of Facebook users coming from the United States would delete their accounts.[55] However, only 33,000 users quit the site.[56]

... ... ...

Tracking cookies

Facebook has been criticized heavily for 'tracking' users, even when logged out of the site. Australian technologist Nik Cubrilovic discovered that when a user logs out of Facebook, the cookies from that login are still kept in the browser, allowing Facebook to track users on websites that include "social widgets" distributed by the social network. Facebook has denied the claims, saying they have 'no interest' in tracking users or their activity. They also promised after the discovery of the cookies that they would remove them, saying they will no longer have them on the site. A group of users in the United States have sued Facebook for breaching privacy laws.[citation needed]

Read more at Facebook as Giant Database about Users

Google search monopoly

Google wants to be a sole intermediary between you and Internet. As Rebecca Solnit pointed out (Google eats the world):

Google, the company with the motto "Don't be evil", is rapidly becoming an empire. Not an empire of territory, as was Rome or the Soviet Union, but an empire controlling our access to data and our data itself. Antitrust lawsuits proliferating around the company demonstrate its quest for monopoly control over information in the information age.

Its search engine has become indispensable for most of us, and as Google critic and media professor Siva Vaidhyanathan puts it in his 2012 book The Googlization of Everything,

"[W]e now allow Google to determine what is important, relevant, and true on the Web and in the world. We trust and believe that Google acts in our best interest. But we have surrendered control over the values, methods, and processes that make sense of our information ecosystem."

And that's just the search engine. About three-quarters of a billion people use Gmail, which conveniently gives Google access to the content of their communications (scanned in such a way that they can target ads at you).

Now with Prism-related revelations, those guys are on the defensive as they sense a threat to their franchise. And the threat is quite real: if Google, Microsoft, Yahoo all work for NSA, why not feed them only a proportionate amount of your searches. And why not feed them with "search spam"?

Now with Prism-related revelations, those guys are on the defensive as they sense a threat to their franchise. And the threat is quite real: if Google, Microsoft, Yahoo all work for NSA, why not feed them only a proportionate amount of your searches. And why not feed them with "search spam"?

One third to Google and one third to Bing with the rest to https://duckduckgo.com/ (Yahoo uses Bing internally). You can rotate days and hope that the level of integration of searches from multiple providers is a weak point of the program ;-). After all while Google is still better on some searches, Bing comes close on typical searches and is superior in searches about Microsoft Windows and similar Microsoft related themes. It is only fair to diversify providers.

Here is one take from Is Google a threat to privacy from Digital Freedoms

Google’s motto may be ‘don’t be evil’ but people are increasingly unconvinced that it is as good as it says it is. The Guardian is currently running a poll asking users ‘Does Google ‘do evil’?’ and currently the Guardian reading public seems to think yes it does. This is partially about Google's attempt to minimize taxes in the UK but there are other concerns that are much more integral to what Google is about. At its core Google is an information business, so accusations that it is a threat to privacy strike at what it does rather than just its profits.

Google recently got a slap on the wrist by Germany for its intrusion of privacy through its street view and received a $189,225 fine. This was followed in April with several European privacy regulators criticizing the company for how it changed its privacy policy in 2012. Google attempted to simplify its privacy policy by having one that would operate across its services rather than the 70 different ones it had. Unfortunately it was not transparent in how it implemented the changes bringing the ire of the European regulators. This was followed by not implementing their suggested changes leading to the regulators considering more fines.

Facebook’s inventory of data and its revenue from advertising are small potatoes compared to Google. Google took in more than 10 times as much, with an estimated $36.5 billion in advertising revenue in 2011, by analyzing what people sent over Gmail and what they searched on the Web, and then using that data to sell ads. Hundreds of other companies (Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon to name a few) have also staked claims on people’s online data by depositing cookies or other tracking mechanisms on people’s browsers. If you’ve mentioned anxiety in an e-mail, done a Google search for “stress” or started using an online medical diary that lets you monitor your mood, expect ads for medications and services to treat your anxiety.

In other words stereotyping rules in data aggregation. Your application for credit could be declined not on the basis of your own finances or credit history, but on the basis of aggregate data — what other people whose likes and dislikes are similar to yours have done. If guitar players or divorcing couples are more likely to renege on their credit-card bills, then the fact that you’ve looked at guitar ads or sent an e-mail to a divorce lawyer might cause a data aggregator to classify you as less credit-worthy. When an Atlanta man returned from his honeymoon, he found that his credit limit had been lowered to $3,800 from $10,800. The switch was not based on anything he had done but on aggregate data. A letter from the company told him, “Other customers who have used their card at establishments where you recently shopped have a poor repayment history with American Express.”

Even though laws allow people to challenge false information in credit reports, there are no laws that require data aggregators to reveal what they know about you. If I’ve Googled “diabetes” for my mother or “date rape drugs” for a mystery I’m writing, data aggregators assume those searches reflect my own health and proclivities. Because no laws regulate what types of data these aggregators can collect, they make their own rules.

In another post Frank Schaeffer (Google, Microsoft and Facebook Are More of a Threat to Privacy Than the US Government, June 7, 2013) thinks the Google and other companies actually represent a different threat then the government due to viewing themselves as a special privileged caste:

It’s amazing that there are naive people who worry about government intrusion into our privacy when we already gave away our civil rights to the billionaires in Silicon Valley. The NSA is taking note of our calls and emails, but anyone – me included! — who uses the internet and social media has already sold out our privacy rights to the trillion dollar multinational companies now dominating our lives and – literally – buying and selling us.

The NSA isn’t our biggest worry when it comes to who is using our calls, emails and records for purposes we didn’t intend. We are going to pay forever for trusting Google, Facebook. Microsoft, AOL and all the rest. They and the companies that follow them are the real threat to liberty and privacy.

The government may be wrong in how it is trying to protect us but at least it isn’t literally selling us. Google’s and Facebook’s et al highest purpose is to control our lives, what we buy, sell, like and do for money. Broken as our democracy is we citizens at least still have a voice and ultimately decide on who runs Congress. Google and company answer to no one. They see themselves as an elite and superior to everyone else.

In fact they are part of a business culture that sees itself not only above the law but believes it’s run by superior beings. Google even has its own bus line, closed to the public, so its “genius” employees don’t have to be bothered mingling with us regular folk. A top internet exec just ruined the America’s Cup race by making it so exclusive that so far only four groups have been able to sign up for the next race to be held in San Francisco because all but billionaires are now excluded because this internet genius changed the rules to favor his kind of elite.

Google and Facebook have done little-to-nothing to curb human trafficking pleading free speech as the reason their search engines and social networks have become the new slave ships “carrying” child rape victims to their new masters internationally. That’s just who and what these internet profiteers are.

Face it: the big tech companies aren’t run by nice people even if they do make it pleasant for their workers by letting them skateboard in the hallways and offering them free sushi. They aren’t smarter than anyone else, just lucky to be riding a new tech wave. That wave is cresting.

Lots of us lesser mortals are wondering just what we get from people storing all our private data. For a start we have a generation hooked on a mediated reality. They look at the world through a screen.

In other words these profiteers are selling reality back to us, packaged by them into entertainment. And they want to put a computer on every desk to make sure that no child ever develops an attention span long enough so that they might actually read a book or look up from whatever tech device they are holding. These are the billionaires determined to make real life so boring that you won’t be able to concentrate long enough pee without using an app that makes bodily functions more entertaining.

These guys are also the world’s biggest hypocrites. The New York Times published a story about how some of the top executives in Silicon Valley send their own children to a school that does not allow computers. In “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute” (October 22, 2011) the Times revealed that the leaders who run the computer business demand a computer-free, hands-on approach to education for their own children.

Usage of home Web Proxy is a must

This new situation makes usage of Web proxy at home a must. Not to protect yourself ( this is still impossible ), but to control what information you release and to whom. See Squid. It provides powerful means to analyze your Web traffic as well as Web site blocking techniques:

In my experience, Squid’s built-in blocking mechanism or access control is the easiest method to use for implementing web site blocking policy. All you need to do is modify the Squid configuration file.

Before you can implement web site blocking policy, you have to make sure that you have already installed Squid and that it works. You can consult the Squid web site to get the latest version of Squid and a guide for installing it.

To deploy the web-site blocking mechanism in Squid, add the following entries to your Squid configuration file (in my system, it’s called squid.conf and it’s located in the /etc/squid directory):

acl bad url_regex "/etc/squid/squid-block.acl"
http_access deny bad

The file /etc/squid/squid-block.acl contains web sites or words you want to block. You can name the file whatever you like. If a site has the URL or word listed in squid-block.acl file, it won’t be accessible to your users. The entries below are found in squid-block.acl file used by my clients:

.oracle.com
.playboy.com.br
sex
...

With the squid-block.acl file in action, internet users cannot access the following sites:

You should beware that by blocking sites containing the word “sex”, you will also block sites such as Middlesex University, Sussex University, etc. To resolve this problem, you can put those sites in a special file called squid-noblock.acl:

^http://www.middlesex.ac.uk
^http://www.sussex.ac.uk 

You must also put the “no-block” rule before the “block” rule in the Squid configuration file:

...
acl special_urls url_regex "/etc/squid/squid-noblock.acl"
http_access allow admin_ips special_urls

acl bad url_regex "/etc/squid/squid-block.acl"
http_access deny bad
...

Sometimes you also need to add a no-block file to allow access to useful sites

After editing the ACL files (squid-block.acl and squid-noblock.acl), you need to restart Squid. If you install the RPM version, usually there is a script in the /etc/rc.d/init.d directory to help you manage Squid:

# /etc/rc.d/init.d/squid reload

To test to see if your Squid blocking mechanism has worked, you can use your browser. Just enter a site whose address is listed on the squid-block.acl file in the URL address.

In the example above, I block .oracle.com, and when I try to access oracle.com, the browser returns an error page.

Limiting your activity on social sites

Vanity fair posting should probably now be severely limited. Self-exposure entails dangers that can became evident only in retrospect. The key problem is that nothing that you post is ever erased. Ever. Limiting your activity in social network to few things that are of real value, or what is necessary for business or professional development, not just vanity fair staff or, God forbid, shady activities is now a must.

And remember that those days information about your searches, books that you bought on Amazon, your friends in Facebook, your connections in LinkedIn, etc are public. If you want to buy a used book without it getting into your database, go to the major city and buy with cash.

Also getting you own email address and simple web site at any hosting site is easy and does not require extraordinary technical sophistication. Prices are starting from $3 per month. Storing your data on Facebook servers might cost you more. See Guide for selecting Web hosting provider with SSH access for some ideas for programmers and system administrators.

Conclusions: Death of Privacy

In a way the situation with cloud sites providing feeds to spy on the users is a version of autoimmune disease: defense systems are attacking other critical systems instead of rogue agents.

As we mentioned before, technological development has their set of externalities. One side effect of internet technologies and, especially, cloud technologies as well as wide proliferation of smartphones is that they greatly simplify "total surveillance." Previously total surveillance was a very expensive proposition, now it became vey cheap. In a way technological genie is out of the bottle. And it is impossible to put him back. Youtube (funny, it's another site targeted by NSA) contains several informative talks about this issue. From the talk:

“This is the current state of affairs. There is no more sense of privacy. Not because it’s been ripped away from you in some Orwellian way, but because you flushed it down the toilet”.

All-in-all on Internet on one hand provides excellent, unique capability of searching information (and search sites are really amplifiers of human intelligence) , but on the other put you like a bug under microscope. Of course, as so many Internet users exists, the time to store all the information about you is probably less then your lifespan, but considerable part of it can be stored for a long time (measured in years, not months, or days) and some part is stored forever. In other words both government and several large companies and first of all Facebook and Google are constantly profiling you. That's why we can talk about death of privacy.

Add to this a real possibility that malware is installed on your PC (and Google Bar and similar applications are as close to spyware as one can get) and situation became really interesting.

Looking at the headlines about the government’s documents on how to use social networking and it’s surprising that anyone thinks this is a big deal. Undercover Feds on Facebook? Gasp! IRS using social networking to piece together a few facts that illustrate you lied about your taxes? Oooh.

Give me a break. Why wouldn’t the Feds use these tools? They’d be idiots if they didn’t. Repeat after me:

Let’s face it; folks are broadcasting everything from the breakfast they eat to their bowel movements to when and where they are on vacation. They use services that track every movement they make (willingly!) on Foursquare and Google Latitude. Why wouldn’t an FBI agent chasing a perp get into some idiot’s network so he can track him everywhere? It’s called efficiency people.

Here are some simple measures that might help, although they can't change the situation:

Again, none of those measures change the situation dramatically, but each of them slightly increase the level of your privacy.


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Old News ;-)

For details of NSA collection of Internet traffic and major cloud provider data see Big Brother is Watching You

[Feb 23, 2018] NSA Genius Debunks Russiagate Once For All

Highly recommended!
Interesting information Guccifer II. He falsified the evidence.
Follow the money. Along with a smoke screen for Hillary political fiasco, Russiagate is a swindle to get more money for intelligence agencies and MIC. For about 15 companies who run the US foreign policy.
Notable quotes:
"... The CIA and NSA, and other intelligence agencies all work on behalf of these corporate entities. There main objective is to keep us all uninformed and dumber than a bag of hammers, so they can extort all the wealth from our great nation ..."
"... If this video won't stop the brainless McCarthyist regressives from knowing the truth about Russiagate, nothing will. And I mean absolutely nothing. Except maybe if they come here to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NYC. We got lots of Russian immigrants here and they are just normal people ..."
"... Russiagate is an excuse to spend more on the military. Wow- surprising, yet somehow not surprising. American Empire is the biggest destabilizing force in the world ..."
"... Guccifer 2.0 is the United States government. Either the CIA, FBI, NSA or DHS. I'd say it was the CIA with the NSA being a close second ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Art Dehls , 2 months ago

Also, when did Russian hackers become so stupid? Since when has the GRU being unable to get even the basics like the up to date email list for the Clinton campaign, started using two-year-old obsolete malware instead of 0-day exploits, completely forgetting that VPN's exist and how to spoof an IP address, and on and on and on. These aren't the guys who cloned Nasdaq!

SeaRose , 2 months ago

Wish I could give this 1000.

Thank you jimmy so much for doing this interview and thank you Bill Binney for so clearly explaining the technical and structural reasons why Russiagate is both false and ceaselessly pushed. Amazing interview!

David Schnell , 2 months ago

My experience working on the Mississippi democratic party executive committee, the Hinds county Executive committee, and working for the state employees union here in Mississippi has educated me on the fact that democratic reps and republican reps work together to pass legislation to benefit the corporate class i.e. business. All you who have replied to my comment make sense, but we must remember that there is no difference between the Democratic and Republician parties, they all work for their corporate masters.

The CIA and NSA, and other intelligence agencies all work on behalf of these corporate entities. There main objective is to keep us all uninformed and dumber than a bag of hammers, so they can extort all the wealth from our great nation. In other words they our commiting treason upon the American people and our constitution and all should be through in prison for the rest of their lives and all ill-gotten wealth given back to the people of these great nation by rebuilding the infrastructure of America, investing in the education of our people to secure a prosperous future, and provide healthcare for all Americans. We can ensure this happens in two ways, pass the 28th amendment and pass FDR's 2nd bill of rights(worker's bill of rights). This will ensure that corporations will never take control of our country again.

hamdoggius , 2 months ago

Can we please now move onto whom the person was that stole the data from the DNC? Can I take a stab in the dark (or maybe two shots to the back of the head?) and guess his name was Seth Rich?

James Williamson , 2 months ago

The fraudulent "war on terror" is a big money-making scam. I've been saying this for the past three years.

P , 2 months ago

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." Goethe (requote for google... best line)

Atze Peng Bar , 2 months ago

I know I commented this already in the last segment, but this guy is absolutely awesome. Everything he says is substantial, non-speculative and supported by facts. You're becoming a proper journalist Jimmy. More of people like this please. I got my credit card again. I will donate shortly. Keep up.

Laura Cortez , 2 months ago (edited)

Russia didn't hack USA democracy .. AIPAC did long time ago and you didn't even know it.

Tommy O Donovan , 2 months ago

This is earth shaking news. World class Jimmy....I never thought you had it in you.

tesscot , 2 months ago

As long as they keep lying about Russia they can continue the sanctions against Russia. Russia is holding it's own even with the sanctions but originally under Putin Russia had paid off all it's debt to the IMF (World Bank). Now their debt is increasing, partly because of the sanctions and partly because of helping Syria and preparing for the US to cause a great war. Russia is a threat to the IMF (World Bank). Russia and China want trade outside of the Petrol Dollar. When Russia was debt free from the IMF (World Bank) it was completely independent of them. Russia did not have to take orders from the international bankers. That is why they lie about Russia.

Amateur Professional , 2 months ago

If this video won't stop the brainless McCarthyist regressives from knowing the truth about Russiagate, nothing will. And I mean absolutely nothing. Except maybe if they come here to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NYC. We got lots of Russian immigrants here and they are just normal people.

stephen0793 , 2 months ago (edited)

Russiagate is an excuse to spend more on the military. Wow- surprising, yet somehow not surprising. American Empire is the biggest destabilizing force in the world

branden burks , 2 months ago

Guccifer 2.0 is the United States government. Either the CIA, FBI, NSA or DHS. I'd say it was the CIA with the NSA being a close second.

branden burks , 2 months ago

A war on terror is a war on ourselves since the United States are the largest terrorists in the world and fund and arm terrorists around the world.

jennings mills , 2 months ago

So you would need a Internet speed of 392 mbps from Russia to Washington. yeah there was no hack. R.I.P Seth Rich,

Matt Erbst , 2 months ago

As I tried to tell you the previous time you had referenced the "conclusions" of the CIA groups, this data nonsense he is handwaving about is all quite feasible, by using a nearby national server, and much skepticism is deserved! Also he doesn't seem to know what he is talking about, from all of the paraphrasing.

I am also quite reminded of the psychological incorporation into personal behaviors by habit of the standards and policies of the industry or professional standards, which for the US Intelligence community includes an explicit policy of disinformation and dishonesty.

How the hell would the NSA's "man in the middle" logging servers see that the transfer occurs to a local USB2 drive (he assumes this is the case because 40 megabytes per second is approximately the rate of the USB2 protocol of 400 megabits per second... Very few USB flash drives were manufactured with solid state storage chips fast enough to reach that full transfer rate before the widespread adoption of USB3, or the modern USB3.1. Essentially, your chosen headline title is a false clickbait, because as of today there is insufficient evidence to draw ANY conclusion

earthie48 Johnson , 2 months ago

Just as they smeared Joe Wilson & his wife, and other great Courageous Americans that came out AGAINST the invasion of Iraq! Until we start DEMANDING those LIARS leave their seats in Washington, put on the Military Gear, and GO to the Countries they want to invade! I am past FED UP with them sacrificing our Troops, they return home to be MISTREATED, and kicked to the curb! Americans, wake up and DEMAND that they GO!

[Feb 22, 2018] Bill Binney explodes the rile of 17 agances security assessment memo in launching the Russia witch-hunt

Highly recommended!
A very interesting interview. It is almost one year old.
When intelligence agencies use the phase "with high confidence" means that they do not have evidence. This is one of the biggest lie intelligence agencies resort to. They are all professional liars and should be treated as such.
If DNC email offloading was done over Internet (which means it was a hack not an internal leak) NSA should have the direct evidence. They do not. So this is a progpaganda move by Brennan and Clapper to unleash MSM witch hunt, which is a key part of the color revolution against Trump.
Another question is who downloaded this information to Wikileaks. Here NSA also should have evidence. And again they do not.
They have already to direct attention from the main issues. Oversight of intelligence agencies is joke. They can lie with impunity.
BTW NSA has all Hillary emails, including deleted.
Mar 4, 2017 | www.youtube.com

He also exposes the NSA penchant for "swindles", such as preventing the plugging of holes in software around the world, to preserve their spying access.

John, 10 months ago

It's almost comical to hear that they lie to each other. No wonder why these retards in the mid-east and every other third world country gets the better of us.

Nancy M, 10 months ago

The Clinton campaign to divert attention to Russia instead of her myriad of crimes that were revealed during the election must be stopped and the alt media needs to start talking about her and Obama's crimes again and demand justice...control the dialogue

[Feb 19, 2018] Kim Dotcom Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn t Even A Hack Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... All fucking Kabuki. All of it. ..."
"... The Deep State (Oligarchs and the MIC) is totally fucking loving this: they have Trump and the GOP giving them everything they ever wanted and they have the optics and distraction of an "embattled" president that claims to be against or a victim of the "deep state" and a base that rally's, circles the wagons around him, and falls for the narrative. ..."
"... They know exactly who it was with the memory stick, there is always video of one form or another either in the data center or near the premises that can indicate who it was. They either have a video of Seth Rich putting the stick into the server directly, or they at least have a video of his car entering and leaving the vicinity of the ex-filtration. ..."
"... This would have been an open and shut case if shillary was not involved. Since it was involved, you can all chalk it up to the Clinton body count. I pray that it gets justice. It and the country, the world - needs justice. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn't Even A Hack"

by Tyler Durden Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:51 3.4K SHARES

Kim Dotcom has once again chimed in on the DNC hack, following a Sunday morning tweet from President Trump clarifying his previous comments on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In response, Dotcom tweeted " Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn't even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why," adding "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds! " alluding of course to Trump's "400 pound genius" comment.

Dotcom's assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator , who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s - a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network - yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.

The local transfer theory of course blows the Russian hacking narrative out of the water, lending credibility to the theory that the DNC "hack" was in fact an inside job, potentially implicating late DNC IT staffer, Seth Rich.

John Podesta's email was allegely successfully "hacked" (he fell victim to a phishing scam ) in March 2016, while the DNC reported suspicious activity (the suspected Seth Rich file transfer) in late April, 2016 according to the Washington Post.

On May 18, 2017, Dotcom proposed that if Congress includes the Seth Rich investigation in their Russia probe, he would provide written testimony with evidence that Seth Rich was WikiLeaks' source.

On May 19 2017 Dotcom tweeted "I knew Seth Rich. I was involved"

Three days later, Dotcom again released a guarded statement saying "I KNOW THAT SETH RICH WAS INVOLVED IN THE DNC LEAK," adding:

"I have consulted with my lawyers. I accept that my full statement should be provided to the authorities and I am prepared to do that so that there can be a full investigation. My lawyers will speak with the authorities regarding the proper process.

If my evidence is required to be given in the United States I would be prepared to do so if appropriate arrangements are made. I would need a guarantee from Special Counsel Mueller, on behalf of the United States, of safe passage from New Zealand to the United States and back. In the coming days we will be communicating with the appropriate authorities to make the necessary arrangements. In the meantime, I will make no further comment."

Dotcom knew.

While one could simply write off Dotcom's claims as an attention seeking stunt, he made several comments and a series of tweets hinting at the upcoming email releases prior to both the WikiLeaks dumps as well as the publication of the hacked DNC emails to a website known as "DCLeaks."

In a May 14, 2015 Bloomberg article entitled "Kim Dotcom: Julian Assange Will Be Hillary Clinton's Worst Nightmare In 2016 ": "I have to say it's probably more Julian," who threatens Hillary, Dotcom said. " But I'm aware of some of the things that are going to be roadblocks for her ."

Two days later, Dotcom tweeted this:

Around two months later, Kim asks a provocative question

Two weeks after that, Dotcom then tweeted "Mishandling classified info is a crime. When Hillary's emails eventually pop up on the internet who's going to jail?"

It should thus be fairly obvious to anyone that Dotcom was somehow involved, and therefore any evidence he claims to have, should be taken seriously as part of Mueller's investigation. Instead, as Dotcom tweeted, "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. "

chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 21:59 Permalink

Pffft...this guy sounds like the reds with their "blockbuster" memo. Honest Hill'rey is laughing!

SethPoor -> chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_8VaMbPjUU

Bes -> J S Bach Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:17 Permalink

All fucking Kabuki. All of it.

The Deep State (Oligarchs and the MIC) is totally fucking loving this: they have Trump and the GOP giving them everything they ever wanted and they have the optics and distraction of an "embattled" president that claims to be against or a victim of the "deep state" and a base that rally's, circles the wagons around him, and falls for the narrative.

Meanwhile they keep enacting the most Pro Deep State/MIC/Police State/Zionist/Wall Street agenda possible. And they call it #winning

----

pathetic.

bigkahuna -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:58 Permalink

"Had to be a Russian mole with a computer stick. MSM, DNC and Muller say so."

They know exactly who it was with the memory stick, there is always video of one form or another either in the data center or near the premises that can indicate who it was. They either have a video of Seth Rich putting the stick into the server directly, or they at least have a video of his car entering and leaving the vicinity of the ex-filtration.

This would have been an open and shut case if shillary was not involved. Since it was involved, you can all chalk it up to the Clinton body count. I pray that it gets justice. It and the country, the world - needs justice.

StarGate -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:23 Permalink

Don't forget the "hack" analysis of Russian owned "Crowdstrike" since the FBI did and continues to, refuse to analyze the DNC computers.

KuriousKat -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

Isn't Alperovitch the Only Russian in there?.. When you rule out the impossible...whatever remains probable.. probably is..

wildbad -> IntercoursetheEU Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:05 Permalink

Kim is great, Assange is great. Kim is playing a double game. He wants immunity from the US GUmmint overreach that destroyed his company and made him a prisoner in NZ.

Good on ya Kim.

His name was Seth Rich...and he will reach out from the grave and bury Killary who murdered him.

NumberNone -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:04 Permalink

There are so many nuances to this and all are getting mentioned but the one that also stands out is that in an age of demands for gun control by the Dems, Seth Rich is never, ever mentioned. He should be the poster child for gun control. Young man, draped in a American flag, helping democracy, gunned down...it writes itself.

They either are afraid of the possible racial issues should it turn out to be a black man killing a white man (but why should that matter in a gun control debate?) or they just don't want people looking at this case. I go for #2.

Socratic Dog -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:09 Permalink

Funny that George Webb can figure it out, but Trump, Leader of the Free World, is sitting there with his dick in his hand waiting for someone to save him.

Whatever he might turn out to be, this much is clear: Trump is a spineless weakling. He might be able to fuck starlets, but he hasn't got the balls to defend either himself or the Republic.

verumcuibono -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

Webb's research is also...managed. But a lot of it was/is really good (don't follow it anymore) and I agree re: SR piece of it.

I think SR is such an interesting case. It's not really an anomaly because SO many Bush-CFR-related hits end the same way and his had typical signatures. But his also squeels of a job done w/out much prior planning because I think SR surprised everyone. If, in fact, that was when he was killed. Everything regarding the family's demeanor suggests no.

verumcuibono -> NumberNone Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:41 Permalink

MANY patterns in shootings: failure in law enforcement/intelligence who were notified of problem individuals ahead of time, ARs, mental health and SSRIs, and ongoing resistance to gun control in DC ----these are NOT coincidences. Nor are distractions in MSM's version of events w/ controlled propaganda.

Children will stop being killed when America wakes the fuck up and starts asking the right questions, making the right demands. It's time.

KJWqonfo7 -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:15 Permalink

Kim is awesome to watch, I remember his old website of pics of him on yachts with hot girls and racing the Gumball Rally.

verumcuibono -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:28 Permalink

I don't think you know how these hackers have nearly ALL been intercepted by CIA--for decades now. DS has had backdoor access to just about all of them. I agree that Kim is great, brilliant and was sabotaged but he's also cooperating. Otherwise he'd be dead.

StarGate -> Billy the Poet Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:48 Permalink

Bes is either "disinfo plant" or energy draining pessimist. Result is the same - to deflate your power to create a new future.

Trump saw the goal of the Fed Reserve banksters decades ago and spoke often about it. Like Prez Kennedy he wants to return USA economy to silver or gold backed dollar then transition to new system away from the Black Magic fed reserve/ tax natl debt machine.

The Globalist Cabal has been working to destroy the US economy ever since they income tax April 15th Lincoln at the Ford theater. 125 years. But Bes claims because Trump cannot reverse 125 years of history in one year that it is kabuki.

Pessimism is its own reward.

[Feb 19, 2018] Fearless Adversarial Journalism Doesn't Work When You Are Funded By A Billionaire

Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Disobedient Media

Disobedient Media previously opined on the dagger-in-the-back publication of a hit piece against Wikileaks' Julian Assange just one day after a UK magistrate, with blatant conflict of interest in the matter, shot down his legal representatives' attempt to finally free him from the confines of the Ecuadorian embassy.

What that article did not address was the patently obvious terminal illness suffered by The Intercept. That is, the outlet claims to publish "fearless, adversarial" reporting, while it is funded by a billionaire. Ken Silverstein , formerly employed at The Intercept and by Omidyar's First Look Media, has described endemic problems at the outlet that have risen directly out of Omidyar's leadership or lack thereof.

The fundamental problem facing The Intercept is not ultimately about how or why the outlet published a smear specifically timed to cut support away from Assange, even though that is in and of itself despicable. It's that doing so acts in support of the very deep state and moneyed, military interests that The Intercept purports to critique "fearlessly."

Adding to a sense of betrayal of The Intercept's principals in the wake of the outlet's hit-piece is the fact that a number of writers at the publication are by all accounts on good terms with Assange, and have worked with mutual supporters including the superb Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi. Maurizi collaborated with Wikileaks on the verification of documents for many years, and worked with Glenn Greenwald on preparation for the disclosure of the Snowden files.

Adding to the years of support Greenwald has shown Assange, the Wikileaks co-founder also sent Wikileaks' own Sarah Harrison to the aid of Snowden after he was marooned in Hong Kong in 2013, an act which Stefania Maurizi revealed very likely cost the publisher his freedom.

After the publication of the Snowden files, the UK ceased any attempt to create a legal process by which Assange might have been safely freed , and in the same year pressured Sweden to continue its investigation after the country's authorities expressed their intent to drop the matter. Likewise, in the wake of Assange's actions towards Snowden, the Obama White House changed its stance from a reluctant acceptance that prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing might not be possible given that US publishers had also published the same material.

Snowden's revelations also provided much of the impetus for the launch of The Intercept as an outlet, after Glenn Greenwald departed from The Guardian . In this way, Assange's story and his fate in the Ecuadorian embassy is inextricably linked with the origin of The Intercept's rise on the back of the Snowden revelations.

Only a few months later, in October 2013 while Snowden was still stuck in a Moscow airport and out of reach of US authorities and The Intercept was gearing up for launch, the UK made it clear to the Swedish prosecutor that she should not drop her investigation and European Arrest Warrant for Assange, even though Sweden's law on proportionality required her to do so.

In the wake of Snowden's escape to Russia, Assange remained trapped in 30 square meters of an embassy and lost any hope that had existed earlier in 2013 that he would soon be released from that space, where we now know he cannot receive even the most basic medical care. Meanwhile, The Intercept has become what it set out to destroy.

The relationship between Assange and The intercept makes it impossible to see the organization's publication of an intrinsically flawed smear piece aimed at Assange as anything other than a deep betrayal.

Which brings us inevitably to Pierre Omidyar . That the multi-billionaire Ebay founder despises Trump and would have preferred former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to assume the mantle of the Presidency is an understatement, but to focus only on his political outlook also misses the point of the larger issue facing The Intercept.

The billionaire's incoherent vision of the First Amendment (disturbing for someone who funds journalistic endeavors) aside, the nature of The Intercept's fatal catch-22 would remain if Omidyar woke up tomorrow to become a MAGA-hat wearing, NRA-supporting conservative. That is, a media outlet cannot perform as an 'independent and adversarial' entity when it is birthed within and nurtured by the very establishment it must confront.

When USA Today reported that Omidyar would contribute $250 million to pursue "independent journalism," a genetic malfunction was written into the Intercept's DNA. One cannot operate in an adversarial manner when one is supported directly by the same moneyed interests that require the most scrutiny and transparency of all.

That the magnate's influence would seep, tide-like, into the reporting and editorial decisions of The Intercept seems difficult to ignore, but it is that inevitable creep itself and not the flavor of his beliefs which makes the situation so damning for The Intercept.

I've previously written at length in an effort to describe the chilling uniformity that ultimately pervades the plutocratic class. Being a billionaire makes Pierre Omidyar much more like one of the Koch Brothers than any liberal without access to the same magnitude of wealth and influence in the US political sphere. The fact that wealth translates to political influence was described in a Princeton University study, indicating that the United States operates as a plutocracy. In that light, it is the wealth that binds Omidyar, the Kochs and their ilk, as opposed to political outlook.

When Omidyar made use of Citizens' United to supply an anti-Trump super PAC with $100,000 in 2016, it's not the flavor of the political activism that he bought – it's that he bought it at all. Omidyar is a power-player within the same corrupt establishment that WikiLeaks and The Intercept – in principle – aim to critique regularly.

Omidyar has also provided funds to the Clinton Foundation. As indicated by Wikileaks via Twitter , the Freedom Of The Press Foundation recently made the controversial decision to terminate processing of Wikileaks donations. The move represented an end to the role that was a central cause for the Foundation's creation, according to a statement by Assange.

Ironically, the initial financial blockade that made the Freedom Of The Press necessary was in part initiated by Paypal, which was a spin-off from Ebay, a company that Omidyar founded. Omidyar served on the board of the company until last year.

Sarah Harisson expressed the conflict of interest that Omidyar's involvement with The Intercept represents to German Press , saying: " How can you take something seriously when the person behind this platform went along with the financial boycott against WikiLeaks?"

Here lies the gulf between an adversarial organization like WikiLeaks and a news outlet that purports to be fearless while subsisting on the payroll of a member of the plutocratic elite.

The issue here goes beyond Omidyar's politics and the petty, obsessively personal derangement of The Intercept's Micah Lee towards Julian Assange. The crux of the terminal illness suffered by The Intercept is that it cannot stand as an outlet that wishes to both participate in adversarial, anti-establishment reporting while it also relies on the funds of a billionaire – any billionaire.

The rough beast born of the marriage between Omidyar's funds and the yearning for freedom that surrounded the release of the Snowden Files cannot help but spiral towards its inevitable fate.

At The Intercept, the center cannot hold in the widening gyre between its best journalists and its worst impulses.

[Feb 18, 2018] Opinion Fearless Adversarial Journalism Doesn't Work When You Are Funded By A Billionaire Zero Hedge Zero Hedge

Feb 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Disobedient Media

Disobedient Media previously opined on the dagger-in-the-back publication of a hit piece against Wikileaks' Julian Assange just one day after a UK magistrate, with blatant conflict of interest in the matter, shot down his legal representatives' attempt to finally free him from the confines of the Ecuadorian embassy.

What that article did not address was the patently obvious terminal illness suffered by The Intercept. That is, the outlet claims to publish "fearless, adversarial" reporting, while it is funded by a billionaire. Ken Silverstein , formerly employed at The Intercept and by Omidyar's First Look Media, has described endemic problems at the outlet that have risen directly out of Omidyar's leadership or lack thereof.

The fundamental problem facing The Intercept is not ultimately about how or why the outlet published a smear specifically timed to cut support away from Assange, even though that is in and of itself despicable. It's that doing so acts in support of the very deep state and moneyed, military interests that The Intercept purports to critique "fearlessly."

Adding to a sense of betrayal of The Intercept's principals in the wake of the outlet's hit-piece is the fact that a number of writers at the publication are by all accounts on good terms with Assange, and have worked with mutual supporters including the superb Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi. Maurizi collaborated with Wikileaks on the verification of documents for many years, and worked with Glenn Greenwald on preparation for the disclosure of the Snowden files.

Adding to the years of support Greenwald has shown Assange, the Wikileaks co-founder also sent Wikileaks' own Sarah Harrison to the aid of Snowden after he was marooned in Hong Kong in 2013, an act which Stefania Maurizi revealed very likely cost the publisher his freedom.

After the publication of the Snowden files, the UK ceased any attempt to create a legal process by which Assange might have been safely freed , and in the same year pressured Sweden to continue its investigation after the country's authorities expressed their intent to drop the matter. Likewise, in the wake of Assange's actions towards Snowden, the Obama White House changed its stance from a reluctant acceptance that prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing might not be possible given that US publishers had also published the same material.

Snowden's revelations also provided much of the impetus for the launch of The Intercept as an outlet, after Glenn Greenwald departed from The Guardian . In this way, Assange's story and his fate in the Ecuadorian embassy is inextricably linked with the origin of The Intercept's rise on the back of the Snowden revelations.

Only a few months later, in October 2013 while Snowden was still stuck in a Moscow airport and out of reach of US authorities and The Intercept was gearing up for launch, the UK made it clear to the Swedish prosecutor that she should not drop her investigation and European Arrest Warrant for Assange, even though Sweden's law on proportionality required her to do so.

In the wake of Snowden's escape to Russia, Assange remained trapped in 30 square meters of an embassy and lost any hope that had existed earlier in 2013 that he would soon be released from that space, where we now know he cannot receive even the most basic medical care. Meanwhile, The Intercept has become what it set out to destroy.

The relationship between Assange and The intercept makes it impossible to see the organization's publication of an intrinsically flawed smear piece aimed at Assange as anything other than a deep betrayal.

Which brings us inevitably to Pierre Omidyar . That the multi-billionaire Ebay founder despises Trump and would have preferred former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to assume the mantle of the Presidency is an understatement, but to focus only on his political outlook also misses the point of the larger issue facing The Intercept.

The billionaire's incoherent vision of the First Amendment (disturbing for someone who funds journalistic endeavors) aside, the nature of The Intercept's fatal catch-22 would remain if Omidyar woke up tomorrow to become a MAGA-hat wearing, NRA-supporting conservative. That is, a media outlet cannot perform as an 'independent and adversarial' entity when it is birthed within and nurtured by the very establishment it must confront.

When USA Today reported that Omidyar would contribute $250 million to pursue "independent journalism," a genetic malfunction was written into the Intercept's DNA. One cannot operate in an adversarial manner when one is supported directly by the same moneyed interests that require the most scrutiny and transparency of all.

That the magnate's influence would seep, tide-like, into the reporting and editorial decisions of The Intercept seems difficult to ignore, but it is that inevitable creep itself and not the flavor of his beliefs which makes the situation so damning for The Intercept.

I've previously written at length in an effort to describe the chilling uniformity that ultimately pervades the plutocratic class. Being a billionaire makes Pierre Omidyar much more like one of the Koch Brothers than any liberal without access to the same magnitude of wealth and influence in the US political sphere. The fact that wealth translates to political influence was described in a Princeton University study, indicating that the United States operates as a plutocracy. In that light, it is the wealth that binds Omidyar, the Kochs and their ilk, as opposed to political outlook.

When Omidyar made use of Citizens' United to supply an anti-Trump super PAC with $100,000 in 2016, it's not the flavor of the political activism that he bought – it's that he bought it at all. Omidyar is a power-player within the same corrupt establishment that WikiLeaks and The Intercept – in principle – aim to critique regularly.

Omidyar has also provided funds to the Clinton Foundation. As indicated by Wikileaks via Twitter , the Freedom Of The Press Foundation recently made the controversial decision to terminate processing of Wikileaks donations. The move represented an end to the role that was a central cause for the Foundation's creation, according to a statement by Assange.

Ironically, the initial financial blockade that made the Freedom Of The Press necessary was in part initiated by Paypal, which was a spin-off from Ebay, a company that Omidyar founded. Omidyar served on the board of the company until last year.

Sarah Harisson expressed the conflict of interest that Omidyar's involvement with The Intercept represents to German Press , saying: " How can you take something seriously when the person behind this platform went along with the financial boycott against WikiLeaks?"

Here lies the gulf between an adversarial organization like WikiLeaks and a news outlet that purports to be fearless while subsisting on the payroll of a member of the plutocratic elite.

The issue here goes beyond Omidyar's politics and the petty, obsessively personal derangement of The Intercept's Micah Lee towards Julian Assange. The crux of the terminal illness suffered by The Intercept is that it cannot stand as an outlet that wishes to both participate in adversarial, anti-establishment reporting while it also relies on the funds of a billionaire – any billionaire.

The rough beast born of the marriage between Omidyar's funds and the yearning for freedom that surrounded the release of the Snowden Files cannot help but spiral towards its inevitable fate.

At The Intercept, the center cannot hold in the widening gyre between its best journalists and its worst impulses.

[Feb 18, 2018] Both agencies were complicit in the most infamous assassinations and false flag episodes since the Kennedy/MLK Vietnam days. Don't forget Air America CIA drug running and Iran/Contra / October Surprise affairs.

Notable quotes:
"... The Dulles brothers, with Allan as head of Sullivan and Cromwells' CIA were notorious facilitators for the international banksters and their subsidiary corporations which comprise the largest oil and military entities which have literally plainly stated in writing, need to occasionally "GALVANIZE" the American public through catastrophic and catalyzing events in order for Americans to be terrified into funding and fighting for those interlocked corporations in their quest to spread "FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE," throughout the globe. ..."
"... The book by Peter Dale Scott, "The American Deep State Wall Street, Big Oil And the Attack on American Democracy" covers in detail some of the points you mention in your reply. It is a fascinating book. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Lee Anderson , February 17, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Your link to the Giraldi piece is appreciated, however, Giraldi starts off on a false premise: He claims that people generally liked and trusted the FBI and CIA up until or shortly after 9/11. Not so! Both agencies were complicit in the most infamous assassinations and false flag episodes since the Kennedy/MLK Vietnam days. Don't forget Air America CIA drug running and Iran/Contra / October Surprise affairs.

The Dulles brothers, with Allan as head of Sullivan and Cromwells' CIA were notorious facilitators for the international banksters and their subsidiary corporations which comprise the largest oil and military entities which have literally plainly stated in writing, need to occasionally "GALVANIZE" the American public through catastrophic and catalyzing events in order for Americans to be terrified into funding and fighting for those interlocked corporations in their quest to spread "FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE," throughout the globe.

The political parties are theatre designed to fool the people into believing we are living in some sort of legitimate, representative system, when it's the same old plutocracy that manages to get elected because they've long figured out the art of polarizing people and capitalising on tribal alignments.

We should eliminate all government for a time so that people can begin to see that corporations really do and most always have run the country.

It's preposterous to think the stupid public is actually discussing saddling ourselves and future generations with gargantuan debt through a system designed and run by banksters!

it should be self evident a sovereign nation should maintain and forever hold the rights to develop a monetary/financial system that serves the needs of the people, not be indentured servants in a financial system that serves the insatiable greed of a handful of parasitic banksters and corporate tycoons!

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm

You are so right, in fact Robert Parry made quite a journalistic career out of exposing the CIA for such things as drug running. I gave up on that agency a longtime ago, after JFK was murdered, and I was only 13 then. Yeah maybe Phil discounts the time while he worked for the CIA, but the CIA has many, many rooms in which plots are hatched, so the valiant truth teller Giraldi maybe excused this one time for his lack of memory .I guess, right?

Good comment Lee. Joe

Annie , February 17, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Yes, but he's referring to the public's opinion of these agencies, and if they didn't continue to retain, even after 9/11, a significant popularity in the public's mind how would we have so many American's buying into Russia-gate? In my perception of things they only lost some ground after 9/11, but Americans notoriously have a short memory span.

Gregory Herr , February 17, 2018 at 6:42 pm

And films that are supposed to help Americans feel good about the aims and efficacy of the agencies like Zero Dark Thirty and Argo are in the popular imagination.

Skeptigal , February 17, 2018 at 7:19 pm

The book by Peter Dale Scott, "The American Deep State Wall Street, Big Oil And the Attack on American Democracy" covers in detail some of the points you mention in your reply. It is a fascinating book.

[Feb 16, 2018] Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy Consortiumnews

Feb 16, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy February 16, 2018

New U.S. policy on nuclear retaliatory strikes for cyber-attacks is raising concerns, with Russia claiming that it's already been blamed for a false-flag cyber-attack – namely the election hacking allegations of 2016, explain Ray McGovern and William Binney.

By Ray McGovern and William Binney

Moscow is showing understandable concern over the lowering of the threshold for employing nuclear weapons to include retaliation for cyber-attacks, a change announced on Feb. 2 in the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

Explaining the shift in U.S. doctrine on first-use, the NPR cites the efforts of potential adversaries "to design and use cyber weapons" and explains the change as a "hedge" against non-nuclear threats. In response, Russia described the move as an "attempt to shift onto others one's own responsibility" for the deteriorating security situation.

Moscow's concern goes beyond rhetoric. Cyber-attacks are notoriously difficult to trace to the actual perpetrator and can be pinned easily on others in what we call "false-flag" operations. These can be highly destabilizing – not only in the strategic context, but in the political arena as well.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has good reason to believe he has been the target of a false-flag attack of the political genre. We judged this to be the case a year and a half ago, and said so. Our judgment was fortified last summer – thanks to forensic evidence challenging accusations that the Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee and provided emails to WikiLeaks. (Curiously, the FBI declined to do forensics, even though the "Russian hack" was being described as an "act of war.")

Our conclusions were based on work conducted over several months by highly experienced technical specialists, including another former NSA technical director (besides co-author Binney) and experts from outside the circle of intelligence analysts.

On August 9, 2017, investigative reporter Patrick Lawrence summed up our findings in The Nation. "They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation," he explained.

As we wrote in an open letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the NSA's programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. "We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks," our letter said. "If NSA cannot produce such evidence – and quickly – this would probably mean it does not have any."

A 'Dot' Pointing to a False Flag?

In his article, Lawrence included mention of one key, previously unknown "dot" revealed by WikiLeaks on March 31, 2017. When connected with other dots, it puts a huge dent in the dominant narrative about Russian hacking. Small wonder that the mainstream media immediately applied white-out to the offending dot.

Lawrence, however, let the dot out of the bag, so to speak: "The list of the CIA's cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble Framework that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to."

If congressional oversight committees summon the courage to look into "Obfus-Gate" and Marble, they are likely to find this line of inquiry as lucrative as the Steele "dossier." In fact, they are likely to find the same dramatis personae playing leading roles in both productions.

Two Surprising Visits

Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it.

In retrospect, the Pompeo-Binney meeting appears to have been a shot across the bow of those cyber warriors in the CIA, FBI, and NSA with the means and incentive to adduce "just discovered" evidence of Russian hacking. That Pompeo could promptly invite Binney back to evaluate any such "evidence" would be seen as a strong deterrent to that kind of operation.

Pompeo's closeness to President Donald Trump is probably why the heads of Russia's three top intelligence agencies paid Pompeo an unprecedented visit in late January. We think it likely that the proximate cause was the strategic danger Moscow sees in the nuclear-hedge-against-cyber-attack provision of the Nuclear Posture Statement (a draft of which had been leaked a few weeks before).

If so, the discussion presumably focused on enhancing hot-line and other fail-safe arrangements to reduce the possibility of false-flag attacks in the strategic arena -- by anyone – given the extremely high stakes.

Putin may have told his intelligence chiefs to pick up on President Donald Trump's suggestion, after the two met last July, to establish a U.S.-Russian cyber security unit. That proposal was widely ridiculed at the time. It may make good sense now.

Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, was chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and briefed the President's Daily Brief one-on-one from 1981-1985. William Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.


mike k , February 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Those Russians had a strange mission coming to CIA headquarters to try to negotiate with soulless mass murderers in the name of maintaining a precarious semblance of peace, knowing full well that these men's words and assurances were worth less than nothing. Ah well, I guess in a mad situation one is reduced to making desperate gestures, hoping against hope .

Mild-ly -Facetious , February 16, 2018 at 5:42 pm

F Y I :> Putin prefers Aramco to Trump's sword dance

Hardly 10 months after honoring the visiting US president, the Saudis are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the upcoming Aramco IPO

By M.K. BHADRAKUMAR
FEBRUARY 16, 2018

[extract]

In the slideshow that is Middle Eastern politics, the series of still images seldom add up to make an enduring narrative. And the probability is high that when an indelible image appears, it might go unnoticed – such as Russia and Saudi Arabia wrapping up huge energy deals on Wednesday underscoring a new narrative in regional and international security.

The ebb and flow of events in Syria – Turkey's campaign in Afrin and its threat to administer an "Ottoman slap" to the United States, and the shooting down of an Israeli F-16 jet – hogged the attention. But something of far greater importance was unfolding in Riyadh, as Saudi and Russian officials met to seal major deals marking a historic challenge to the US dominance in the Persian Gulf region.

The big news is the Russian offer to the Saudi authorities to invest directly in the upcoming Aramco initial public offering – and the Saudis acknowledging the offer. Even bigger news, surely, is that Moscow is putting together a Russian-Chinese consortium of joint investment funds plus several major Russian banks to be part of the Aramco IPO.

Chinese state oil companies were interested in becoming cornerstone investors in the IPO, but the participation of a Russia-China joint investment fund takes matters to an entirely different realm. Clearly, the Chinese side is willing to hand over tens of billions of dollars.

Yet the Aramco IPO was a prime motive for US President Donald Trump to choose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip. The Saudi hosts extended the ultimate honor to Trump – a ceremonial sword dance outside the Murabba Palace in Riyadh. Hardly 10 months later, they are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the Aramco IPO.

Riyadh plans to sell 5% of Saudi Aramco in what is billed as the largest IPO in world history. In the Saudi estimation, Aramco is worth US$2 trillion; a 5% stake sale could fetch as much as $100 billion. The IPO is a crucial segment of Vision 2030, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's ambitious plan to diversify the kingdom's economy.

MORE : http://www.atimes.com/article/putin-prefers-aramco-trumps-sword-dance/

Anna , February 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm

"Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it."

That was about some Dm. Alperovitch for CrowdStrike fame, who had discovered the "hacking" in 10 sec. Guess Alperovitch, as an "expert" at the viciously Russophobic Atlantic Council (funded by the State Dept., NATO, and a set of unsavory characters like Ukrainian oligrach Pinchuk) decided to show his "understanding" of the task. The shy FBI did not even attempt to look at the Clinton's server because the bosses "knew better."

Alperovitch must be investigated for anti-American activities; the scoundrel has been sowing discord into the US society with his lies while endangering the US citizenry.

[Feb 16, 2018] Mueller Indicts 13 Russians For Interfering In US Election

False flag or real ?
Is not "included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton . " (or vise versa) by posting on social media an example of free speech ?
But usage of fake identities clearly is not: "The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities."
The question is how those unquestionable very talented Russians managed to learn English language without living in the USA and operate such a sophisticated operation from oversees? English is a very difficult language for Russians to master and Russian immigrants who came to the USA being older then 16 and living in the USA for ten or twenty years typically still have horrible accent and bad or very bad grammar (tenses, "a" and "the" usage, you name it). Actually Russian woman are noticeably better then men in this area, especially if they are married to a US spouse. Ass to this dismal understanding of the USA politics including differences between Democratic and Republican parties (you probably need to live in the USA for ten years to start appreciate those differences ;-) . How they managed to learn local political culture to be effective? That's a strong argument in favor of false flag operation -- in case they have puppeteers from the USA everything is more or less rationally explainable.
Notable quotes:
"... It gets better: the defendants reportedly worked day and night shifts to pump out messages, controlling pages targeting a range of issues, including immigration, Black Lives Matter, and they amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. They set up and used servers inside the U.S. to mask the Russian origin of the accounts. ..."
"... The Russian organization named in the indictment - the Internet Research Agency - and the defendants began working in 2014 - so one year before the Trump candidacy was even announced - to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment in Washington. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with "unwitting individuals" associated with the Trump campaign, it said. ..."
"... The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities. ..."
"... Defendant ORGANIZATION had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton . ..."
"... Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive U.S. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants' means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system, including the presidential election of 2016 ..."
"... Sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016, organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS, a Russian-linked group that sought to capitalize on racial tensions between black and white Americans. The event was shared with 61,000 users. ..."
"... As many as 5,000 to 10,000 protesters actually convened at Manhattan's Union Square. They then marched to Trump Tower, according to media reports at the time . ..."
"... 13 Russians can influence US elections meanwhile US CIA and State Department spend $1 BIllion every year on opposition groups inside Russia without success. ..."
"... Indict AIPAC. That is the real foreign interference in ALL US elections. Such hypocrisy. At the very least, make them register as a foreign operation! Information warfare using social media ? What, you mean like the Israeli students who are paid to shape public opinion thru social media? This is no secret and has been in the news. I fail to find the difference? Psychologists call this projection, that is where you accuse others of the crimes you commit . ..."
"... It looks like Mueller would have these people for identity theft if he had them in the US, which he probably doesn't. ..."
"... Deep state pivot to keep the Russian hate alive. ..."
"... Fucking hilarious - Mueller has indicted an anti-Russian CIA operation that was run out of St. Petersburg. http://thesaker.is/a-brief-history-of-the-kremlin-trolls/ ..."
"... The bigger question is "when is Mueller going to be indicted for covering up the controlled demolition of the WTC buildings on nine eleven??" ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Mueller charges "defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016."

The indictment adds that the Russians " were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the USA' and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump -- we support them)' ."

It gets better: the defendants reportedly worked day and night shifts to pump out messages, controlling pages targeting a range of issues, including immigration, Black Lives Matter, and they amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. They set up and used servers inside the U.S. to mask the Russian origin of the accounts.

Ultimately, and this is the punchline, the goal was to disparage Hillary Clinton and to assist the election of Donald Trump.

In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election.

The Russian organization named in the indictment - the Internet Research Agency - and the defendants began working in 2014 - so one year before the Trump candidacy was even announced - to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment in Washington. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with "unwitting individuals" associated with the Trump campaign, it said.

The Russians "had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system," according to the indictment in Washington.

The Russians also reportedly bought advertisements on U.S. social media, created numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if they were U.S. groups or people, according to the indictment. One fake account, @TEN_GOP account, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.

The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities.

The full list of named defendants in addition to the Internet Research Agency, as well as Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering, include:

Mueller's office said that none of the defendants was in custody.

So how is Trump involved? Well, he isn't, as it now seems that collusion narrative is dead, and instead Russian involvement was unilateral. Instead, according to the indictment, the Russian operations were unsolicited and pro bono, and included " supporting Trump... and disparaging Hillary Clinton,' staging political rallies, buying political advertising while posing as grassroots U.S. groups. Oh, and communicating " with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities. "

Defendant ORGANIZATION had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton .

Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities. Defendants also staged political rallies inside the United States, and while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without revealing their Russian identities and ORGANIZATION affiliation, solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates. Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.

Furthermore, the dastardly Russians created fake accounts to pretend they are Americans:

Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive U.S. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants' means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system, including the presidential election of 2016

Mueller also alleges a combination of traditional and modern espionage...

Certain Defendants traveled to the United States under false pretenses for the purpose of collecting intelligence to inform Defendants' operations. Defendants also procured and used computer infrastructure, based partly in the United States, to hide the Russian origin of their activities and to avoid detection by U.S. regulators and law enforcement.

Mueller also charges that two of the defendants received US visas and from approximately June 4, 2014 through June 26, 2014, KRYLOVA and BOGACHEVA " traveled in and around the United States, including stops in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and New York to gather intelligence, After the trip, KRYLOVA and BURCHIK exchanged an intelligence report regarding the trip."

* * *

The indictment points to a broader conspiracy beyond the pages of the indictment, saying the grand jury has heard about other people with whom the Russians allegedly conspired in their efforts.


Joe Davola -> Pandelis Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

Concord Catering - what, were they offering chicken wings and pigs ears at the polling places?

Never One Roach -> Joe Davola Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:03 Permalink

So how often does Mueller hear those demon voices in his head?

Billy the Poet -> Never One Roach Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

I wonder if any of these Russians were behind the anti-Trump rallies of November 2016? Thousands attended protest organized by Russians on Facebook.

Thousands of Americans attended a march last November organized by a Russian group that used social media to interfere in the 2016 election.

The demonstration in New York City, which took place a few days after the election, appears to be the largest and most successful known effort to date pulled off by Russian-linked groups intent on using social media platforms to influence American politics.

Sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016, organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS, a Russian-linked group that sought to capitalize on racial tensions between black and white Americans. The event was shared with 61,000 users.

As many as 5,000 to 10,000 protesters actually convened at Manhattan's Union Square. They then marched to Trump Tower, according to media reports at the time .

The BlackMattersUS-organized rally took advantage of outrage among groups on the left following President Trump's victory on Nov. 8 to galvanize support for its event. The group's protest was the fourth consecutive anti-Trump rally in New York following election night, and one of many across the country.

"Join us in the streets! Stop Trump and his bigoted agenda!" reads the Facebook event page for the rally. "Divided is the reason we just fell. We must unite despite our differences to stop HATE from ruling the land."

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/358025-thousands-attended-protest-

Belrev -> Billy the Poet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:07 Permalink

13 Russians can influence US elections meanwhile US CIA and State Department spend $1 BIllion every year on opposition groups inside Russia without success.

SamAdams -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Indict AIPAC. That is the real foreign interference in ALL US elections. Such hypocrisy. At the very least, make them register as a foreign operation! Information warfare using social media ? What, you mean like the Israeli students who are paid to shape public opinion thru social media? This is no secret and has been in the news. I fail to find the difference? Psychologists call this projection, that is where you accuse others of the crimes you commit .

Belrev -> SamAdams Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:10 Permalink

That is a regime change in DC proposition.

IH8OBAMA -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:21 Permalink

If Mueller is going outside the Trump organization to indict Russians, when is he going to indict some equally criminal Democraps?

I also see that one of the 13 Russians was Valdimir. ( VLADIMIR VENKOV ) LOL

Shillinlikeavillan -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:24 Permalink

Soooooooo...

They basically indicted the $100,000 facebook ad russian group... Bravo! Ur really on the path to impeaching trump now!
LULZ!

overbet -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:34 Permalink

Boy Hillary sure didnt get her money's worth. She shoulda hired these people.

Is it ok for MSM for to make all of their disparaging commentary, but not ok for people to do the same? Mueller mustve forgot about the craigslist ads hiring protesters to attack Trump rallies. What a fucking clown show.

I guess that's it Mueller gets his indictments to save face and Trump is pleased its over.

El Vaquero -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 Permalink

This ties directly into the October 31, 2017 testimony from Facebook, Twitter and Google regarding Russian media presence on social media. Mueller is grasping here, and given that it talks about visas granted for short visits, I'm led to believe that most of these people are actually not on US soil to be arrested. This means political grandstanding via an indictment that is never going to see a courtroom where the evidence can be examined and witnesses can be cross examined. It looks like Mueller would have these people for identity theft if he had them in the US, which he probably doesn't.

I'm going to get called a Russian bot over this elsewhere. Well, maybe facetiously here. #WeAreAllRussianBotsNow

spanish inquisition -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 Permalink

Deep state pivot to keep the Russian hate alive.

FoggyWorld -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

And set us up for war.

Shemp 4 Victory -> FoggyWorld Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

Fucking hilarious - Mueller has indicted an anti-Russian CIA operation that was run out of St. Petersburg. http://thesaker.is/a-brief-history-of-the-kremlin-trolls/

pods -> Shemp 4 Victory Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:22 Permalink

Wow, I am going to have to keep the radio off for a couple of days. They are going to be wall to wall on this. Maybe even bump the stories where fakely sympathetic reporter cunts (FSRC) ask mother's if they miss their dead kids.

This is a fucking clownshow anymore. Jesus, THIS is what the investigation brought home? Holy fuckshit, this is a joke. Some guy had 100k followers? Really? Like anyone GAF about that? We have AIPAC making candidates kneel before them and yet some guys on Tweeter fucked around. I think that is even bullshit. If Russians really did that, they wouldn't "work in shifts" they would program some fucking bots to do this.

I can just imagine the fake outrage that that worthless kike from NY Chuckie "don't get between me and a camera" Schumer has to say about this.

This is a Matrix alright, and a cheap ass one at that.

Mueller should be taken out and horsewhipped for bringing this shit home.

Hey Mueller, I read a comment on Yahoo news that was in broken English. Go get um!

pods

stizazz -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:30 Permalink

They HATE Russia because PUTIN OPENLY derided the American Empire.

BennyBoy -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:38 Permalink

The Russians duped me.

I was gonna vote for Hillary then I read tweets where she bullied the woman her husband raped to keep quiet. And how her foundation got hundreds of $millions from countries with business before her at the state dept. ALEKSANDRA YURYEVNA KRYLOVA mislead me.

BennyBoy -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 Permalink

Its probably nothing....

CHINESE STATE-OWNED CHEMICAL FIRM JOINS DARK MONEY GROUP POURING CASH INTO U.S. ELECTIONS

Lee Fang February 15 2018, 10:10 a.m.

WANHUA CHEMICAL, A $10 billion chemical company controlled by the Chinese government, now has an avenue to influence American elections.

On Monday, Wanhua joined the American Chemistry Council, a lobby organization for chemical manufacturers that is unusually aggressive in intervening in U.S. politics.

The ACC is a prominent recipient of so-called dark money -- that is, unlimited amounts of cash from corporations or individuals the origins of which are only disclosed to the IRS, not the public. During the 2012 , 2014 , and 2016 election cycles, the ACC took this dark money and spent over $40 million of it on contributions to super PACs, lobbying, and direct expenditures. (Additional money flowed directly to candidates via the ACC's political action committee.).....

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/15/chinese-state-owned-chemical-firm-j

ThanksChump -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

Duped by facts and truth is no way to go through life, son.

JimmyJones -> ThanksChump Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:59 Permalink

Obama, "I can do more after I'm reelected" to Putin caught on a hot mic.

I always knew Hillary was as pure as the first winter's snow.

Theosebes Goodfellow -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 Permalink

~" In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election. "~

Wait, does this mean that "disparaging Hillary" was just for the witless? I've been doing that for years, (without any Russian influence at all), and have found it to be rather witty virtually all the time.

Can we NOW get to the point where we appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary?

rwe2late -> Theosebes Goodfellow Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:09 Permalink

not yet ...

any of us who spread "fake news" are now "conspirators" who gave "support" to foreign agents with the goal of undermining the "democratic process" by denying Hillary the presidency.

tsk, tsk.

ignorance can be no excuse for such wanton lawlessness.

rwe2late -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:36 Permalink

oh, oh

I almost forgot. "conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord" obvious "proof" of "cooperating" with the Russians

Boxed Merlot -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

..."conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord"...

Yep, so on top of being "Deplorable", I'm also without wit.

His name was Seth.

Squid Viscous -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:57 Permalink

well said pods, i wish i could upvote you like, 13 times

Machbet -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:32 Permalink

Well said, my brother. "A fucking clownshow..." A clownshow run by juvenile, idiotic fallen angels.

sixsigma cygnu -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:01 Permalink

I'm just relieved they didn't get Boris. Not this time.

Telling people the truth makes one a very desirable target.

BigCumulusClouds -> sixsigma cygnu Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:06 Permalink

The bigger question is "when is Mueller going to be indicted for covering up the controlled demolition of the WTC buildings on nine eleven??"

eatthebanksters -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

So this is all they have?

Bubba Rum Das -> Citizen in 1984 Fri, 02/16/2018 - 16:08 Permalink

Yes, Mueller is a clown show, but he came up w/ this crap in an attempt to divert media attention away from his & McCabes direct involvement in trying to cover up Uranium 1 for Hillary...The Truth!

Boxed Merlot -> eatthebanksters Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:48 Permalink

...all they have?...

Sure hope they weren't bettin' the farm.

jmo.

DosZap -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:05 Permalink

He has to INDICT someone,since he can't get Trump except on adultery.(the only thing NOT under his purview)

I see a distant MELANIA in his near future.

eclectic syncretist -> DosZap Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:43 Permalink

The FBI going DEEP (#sarc) into its playbook for this one.

Simultaneously distracting from their incompetencies with regards to domestic threats (school shooters/government collusion to subvert presidential election), and exonerating Hillary AGAIN.

"Using lies and deception to cover our lies and deceptions, so that we can enslave the populace to our will" (visualize Meuller/Comey/Strzok/Page/Ohr/Rosenstein/Obama/Rice/ with left hands on Satanic Bible and right arms extended giving oath in Temple of Mammon before upside down American flag).

ebear -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:17 Permalink

"#WeAreAllRussianBotsNow"

Ich bin ein Russe!

agNau -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

Hillary hired the entire Russian government with the Uranium one deal.

BigCumulusClouds -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:04 Permalink

Protestors?? HRC hired thugs who beat people up at Trump rallies. That's a felony. Some people got hurt real bad.

IH8OBAMA -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:37 Permalink

I wonder if Mueller is going to indict Obama for interfering in the Israeli election?

giovanni_f -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 Permalink

1. CNN can now say Russian interference is a "proven fact".

2. "13 individuals" and "3 companies" - this is a casus belli even for the most pacifist peaceniks on ZH

3. US can now continue to meddle in Russian elections as they did since 1919 pointing to the existential thread those 13 individuals posed.

rwe2late -> giovanni_f Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

worse than 3.meddling in Russian elections,

anyone who objects to US military and economic aggression,

will be further branded/dismissed (prosecuted?)

as a "proven dupe" of Russia/Putin.

caconhma -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:08 Permalink

The US Constitution. RIP

The DoJ and Miller activities are anti-American. What else is new in occupied America?

PS

Note Trump does nothing about this unprecedented assault on Freedom of Speech and Assembly in the USA. Therefore, Trump is a willing player in these criminal activities.

commiebastid -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:21 Permalink

and Brexit and the French election and Venezuela election and The Ukraine; Libya; Palestinian Territories..... lmao

DownWithYogaPants -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 Permalink

Ohhh fake social accounts.........the horror!

( If I had known they were the equivalent of Harry Potters magic wand I would have opened a few long ago! )

Seems like Mr Mueller is in face saving mode.

What is Rod Rosenstein doing still at the FBI. He should be in prison.

MEFOBILLS -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

Mueller is going to go until he gets some meat. Maybe this lean and stringy meat is enough to satisfy. Of course, nobody will look at AIPAC and all of the foreign influence money funneling into senators coffers.

Endgame Napoleon -> carni Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

He said they stole identities, posting anti-Hillary remarks on Russian-controlled sites, using the stolen identities. They must do that through hacking, which is illegal.

They also organized rallies, he said. There were ads on job sites, advertising for paid [leftist] protestors, long before Trump emerged as a candidate. People posted them on American sites. Some attribute it to Soros. I am a little skeptical that Soros controls the world, anymore than Russians, but that is what people often believe, when it is leftist ads.

Advertisements are all over the Internet. Is that illegal? He called it fraud, referring to the misrepresentation of identity, I guess. They should not be manipulating unknowing people.

But, I wonder if he has the same vigilance when illegal aliens use fake SS cards to acquire jobs, while their girlfriends use real SS cards of US-born kids to get $450 on average in EBT food assistance, in addition to other welfare, making it easy for illegal aliens to undercut American citizens in jobs. Using a fake SS number -- i.e. posing as an American to get a job -- is fraud.

As long as the illegal aliens have sex after illegal border crossings, reproduce and say they misrepresent their identities for the good of their kids, this is legal and deserving of pay-per-birth welfare / child-tax-credit freebies and citizenship, whereas these Russians are committing fraud.

They should not be doing that in either case, but the double standard is interesting.

And if people cannot post freely on the internet without revealing their real names, a lot of internet activity (and a lot of related commerce) will cease. Many people post anonymously, often due to jobs or other factors that have nothing to do with elections.

In fact, FBI agents post under identities (personas) that are not their own. There are many articles, describing how police agencies use fake identities on the internet to track down criminals, including those who abuse children. They do the same thing to monitor terrorists; they use fake identities.

[Feb 16, 2018] Where are these indictments ? Obama, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt and John McCain.

Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Vote up! 2 Vote down! 0

Mike Masr Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:41 Permalink

Where are these indictments ? Obama, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt and John McCain.

The US has been meddling and interfering in other countries elections and internal affairs for decades. Not only does the US meddle and interfere in other countries elections it overthrows democratically elected governments it simply doesn't like, and then installs its own puppet leaders. Our deep-state MIC owned neocons casually refer to this as "regime change".

I can only imagine the hell that would break loose if Russia fomented, paid for, and assisted in a violent overthrow of the legitimately and democratically elected government in Mexico. Imagine Russian spymasters working from the Russian Embassy in Mexico City training radicals how to use social media to bring out angry people and foment violent pubic unrest. Then Russian Duma members in Mexico City handing out tacos, and tamales emboldening and urging these angry people to riot, and overthrow the government and toss the bums out. Then Putin's executive group hand picking all the new (anti-USA) drug cartel junta puppet leaders and an old senile Russian senator in Mexico City stating at a podium on RT, there are no drug cartels here, that's all propaganda!

On the other side of the world Obama's neocon warmongers spent billions doing exactly this. Instead of drug cartels it was Banderist Neo-Nazis. Obama and our neocons, including John McCain intentionally caused all of this fucking mess, civil war and horrific death in Ukraine on Russia's border and then placed the blame on Putin and Russia.

Thanks to John McCain and our evil fucking neocons - the regime change policy implemented by Obama, Clinton and Nuland's minions, like Geoffrey Pyatt, the Ukraine today is totally fucked. It is now a corrupt banana republic embroiled in a bloody civil war. For the US and NATO the golden prize of this violent undemocratic regime change was supposed to be the Crimea. This scheme did not play out as intended. No matter what sanctions the warmongering neocons place on Russia they will NEVER give back the Crimea!

Our neocon fuck heads spent billions of our hard earned taxpayer dollars to create pain, suffering, death and a civil war in Ukraine on the border with Russia.

This is a case of don't do what we do, only do what we tell you to do. It's perfectly okay when we meddle. We don't like it when we think it may have been done to us. It's hypocrisy and duplicity at its finest!

Tech Camp NGO - operating out of US Embassy in Kiev

(using social media to help bring out radicals-and cause civil war-pre Maidan 2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9hOl8TuBUM

Nuland talks about $5 billion spent on Ukraine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaR1_an9CnQ

Nuland plotting(on intercepted phone call) the new handpicked puppet leaders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o

US Support of Banderist Neo-Nazis in Ukraine 2014

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

Lavrov reminds the UN a West-inspired coup d'état started Ukraine crisis, not Russia

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/404247-un-lavrov-ukraine-sanctions/

[Feb 16, 2018] What is the definition of a fake social media account ? What is the crime for operatine a fake social medial account? Is this the standard by which we will all be judged?

Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Genby Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:51 Permalink

Mueller effectively called himself an idiot and degenerate.

13 people won against the whole apparatus of FBI (including Mueller). That makes FBI a herd of idiots and degenerates (including Mueller).

SirBarksAlot -> rgraf Fri, 02/16/2018 - 16:44 Permalink

What crime?

Impersonating an American?

Practicing freedom of speech?

Trying to influence an election?

I don't see any crimes.

Joiningupthedots Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:31 Permalink

When does Mueller get charged?

He is part of the fabric of the Clinton Gang along with Comey and others.

How many people have posted derogatory comments about Clinton on ZH alone.

This sounds like when they ludicrously charged and entire unit of the Chinese PLA.

FringeImaginigs Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:31 Permalink

Agreed, it's against the law to steal identities and operate bank accounts and all that. But really, compared to the fraud committed by just one bank - Wells Fargo- this is smal small potatoes. And did I miss it or did the indictment not even mention the value of the ads bought on Facebook - $100,000. (nope, not missing any zeros). And it all started in 2014 while Donald was playing golf and sticking his dick in some whore. And a few ruskies got into the good ol USofA with false statements on their visas. While the courts fought Trump on the fact that immigration from a few countries need to be stopped because there was not way of checking data. I get it - somebody driving too fast gets a speeding ticket, and Muellers investigation gets to issue an indictment. I'm sure we all feel better now.

Lostinfortwalton Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:32 Permalink

So, did Mueller address the crime committed by the then FBI head who refused to allow a FBI informant to address Congress on the Uranium One scam before it was authorized? Uh, that would be Mueller, his very self, so the answer is no.

soyungato Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:33 Permalink

Bob honey, the people are laughing.

But but but those Russians, they call me names.

Grandad Grumps Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:35 Permalink

What is the definition of a "fake social media account"? What is the crime for operatine a fake social medial account? Is this the standard by which we will all be judged?

Or is it that Mueller has NOTHING and is too big of a corrupt idiot to admit it.

Rick Cerone Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

Putin should define what a NGO is.

He should tell the world how the US uses NGO's to destabilize elections.

He wont do it because he's digging tunnels for the big day.

BigPunny Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

"In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election. "

No, not "in other words." That's not what he said at all. Idiot propagandist.

devnickle Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

And Hillary has done nothing criminal in the last 40 years. All of the evidence has been a fabrication. The Russians perfected time travel technology in the 70's, and have been conspiring against her and planting evidence since then.

What planet am I living on again? We have now stepped into the twilight zone. Facepalm.....

moneybots Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:55 Permalink

"Ultimately, and this is the punchline, the goal was to disparage Hillary Clinton and to assist the election of Donald Trump."

The goal of the MSM was the opposite. To unfairly disparage Trump and assist the election of Hillary Clinton. So why no indictments of members of the American MSM?

Montana Cowboy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

What a bunch of horseshit. Mueller did nothing to locate just as much foreign or Russian support for Hillary. Grand Jury is just another one-sided court that passes judgment without any input from the other side. Now where have we seen that before? FISA.

What is wrong with anyone doing what they want to support a candidate? If that is somehow illegal interference, why is Soros running loose in the world?

I have a friend that was a US Federal Prosecutor. He once told me that the most un-American concepts that exist are grand juries and conspiracy laws. I'm sure he would have included FISA if it existed then.

dot_bust Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

The indictment adds that the Russians " were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the USA' and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump -- we support them)' ."

Criticizing Hillary Clinton constitutes election interference? This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Over half the United States said she was corrupt and morally bankrupt. Does that mean all those Americans interfered in the election?

Son of Captain Nemo Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:04 Permalink

"Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities."

I thought this was our "shtick" for subverting and overthrowing government(s) since 194_?... Fast forward to 2012 and subverting sovereign foreign government(s) using other means then election(s) ( https://jasirx.wordpress.com/ )

Just ask this person ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o ) who handed out cookies before starting an "overthrow of a sovereign government" right before a Winter Olympics?... And while we're on the subject of subversion of sovereign Nation(s) "OCONUS" ask this fat shit how it's going in the Middle East with it's "partners" ( https://southfront.org/meeting-between-us-state-secretary-and-lebanese- ) Nor should we forget 22 within the Russian diplomatic community in the last 6 years "eliminated" for early retirement courtesy of the U.S. government...

And if all this is true why isn't Muelller indicting government officials within the FBI Department of immigration and Homeland Security that would allow "some defendants" to impersonate Americans after 9/11 and the security infrastructure we built around U.S. to prevent "future attacks" that were obviously (here illegally)???...

On second thought DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!

atabrigade Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:05 Permalink

Our enemies are not overseas. They are right here at home.

Son of Captain Nemo -> atabrigade Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:13 Permalink

That did this ( http://www.ae911truth.org/ ) to their own to grab oil everyplace else they didn't control it!

Concertedmaniac Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:08 Permalink

What a complete load of horseshit. Waste of time and money while the crimes of the clintons and collaborators remain unpunished, including Mueller himself.

wobblie Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:08 Permalink

"Mueller describes a sweeping, years-long, multimillion-dollar conspiracy by hundreds of Russians aimed at criticizing Hillary Clinton and supporting Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump"

Only in the idiot world of Liberalism and Conservatism is this not a laughable statement.

Stupid fucks.

https://therulingclassobserver.com/

Obamaroid Ointment Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:10 Permalink

13 Russian bots to get life sentences in Twitter jail? Is a prisoner exchange with Putin for American bots a possibility?

[Feb 16, 2018] The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, 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, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.

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.
Notable quotes:
"... And the USA has indeed thoroughly developed means to falsely laying blame for cyber attacks it actually performs itself (next to it's proven credentials of falsely laying blame with chemical and terrorist attacks). ..."
"... And the USA has indeed thoroughly developed means to falsely laying blame for cyber attacks it actually performs itself (next to it's proven credentials of falsely laying blame with chemical and terrorist attacks). ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

xor | Feb 16, 2018 2:54:51 PM | 33

There indeed doesn't seem to be a motive to why the Russian authorities would launch a cyber attack that economically disrupts both itself, allies and other countries. Either the virus writers didn't care for a solution, hoped that a solution that never works might panic the victims even more so they make more cash transfers or enjoyed reaping money while seeing their victims suffer of something where there is no solution for. The last 2 reasons are short term because news that there is no solution for the ransomware will stop victims from making cash transfers. More convincing would be a cyber attack initiated by USA authorities that would hit already crumbling Ukraine businesses even further and create even more mistrust between Ukraine and Russia.

And the USA has indeed thoroughly developed means to falsely laying blame for cyber attacks it actually performs itself (next to it's proven credentials of falsely laying blame with chemical and terrorist attacks). On 31 March 2017:

WikiLeaks published hundreds of more files from the Vault 7 series today which, it claims, show how CIA can mask its hacking attacks to make it look like it came from other countries, including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

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.

...

The White House has condemned the revelations made by Wikileaks, saying that those responsible for leaking classified information from the agency should be held accountable by the law.

WikiLeaks Reveals 'Marble' Source Code that CIA Used to Frame Russia and China

There indeed doesn't seem to be a motive to why the Russian authorities would launch a cyber attack that economically disrupts both itself, allies and other countries. Either the virus writers didn't care for a solution, hoped that a solution that never works might panic the victims even more so they make more cash transfers or enjoyed reaping money while seeing their victims suffer of something where there is no solution for. The last 2 reasons are short term because news that there is no solution for the ransomware will stop victims from making cash transfers. More convincing would be a cyber attack initiated by USA authorities that would hit already crumbling Ukraine businesses even further and create even more mistrust between Ukraine and Russia.

And the USA has indeed thoroughly developed means to falsely laying blame for cyber attacks it actually performs itself (next to it's proven credentials of falsely laying blame with chemical and terrorist attacks). On 31 March 2017:

WikiLeaks published hundreds of more files from the Vault 7 series today which, it claims, show how CIA can mask its hacking attacks to make it look like it came from other countries, including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

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.

...

The White House has condemned the revelations made by Wikileaks, saying that those responsible for leaking classified information from the agency should be held accountable by the law.

WikiLeaks Reveals 'Marble' Source Code that CIA Used to Frame Russia and China div

Source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, 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, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.

WikiLeaks: Marble Framework

The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, 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, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.

WikiLeaks: Marble Framework

When the White House (doesn't matter who's ostensibly in charge) claims leaker's like Julian Assange should be accountable by the law, it of course means the malleable arbitrary law which none of the serpents in the White House, Langley, ... are accountable to.

[Feb 12, 2018] A CIA Cyber False Flag by Federico Pieraccini.

Notable quotes:
"... Hardware and software vendors that are complicit -- most of which are American, British or Israeli -- give the CIA the opportunity to achieve informational full-spectrum dominance, relegating privacy to extinction. Such a convergence of power, money and technology entails major conflicts of interest, as can be seen in the case of Amazon AWS (Amazon's Cloud Service), cloud provider for the CIA , whose owner, Jeff Bezos, is also the owner of The Washington Post ..."
"... In general, when the 16 US spy agencies blamed Russia for the hacking of the elections, they were never specific in terms of forensic evidence. Simply put, the media, spies and politicians created false accusations based on the fact that Moscow, together with RT ..."
"... Now what is revealed through Wikileaks' publications in Vault 7 is the ability of a subsection of the CIA, known as Umbrage , to use malware, viruses, trojans and other cyber tools for their own geopolitical purposes. The CIA's Umbrage collects, analyzes and then employs software created variously from foreign security agencies, cyber mafia, private companies, and hackers in general. ..."
"... These revelations are yet more reason why countries targeted by Washington, like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, should get rid of European and American products and invest in reducing technological dependence on American products in particular. ..."
"... This article first appeared on Strategic-Culture.org and was authored by Federico Pieraccini. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | wearechange.org

Article via Strategic-Culture

New revelations from Wikileaks' 'Vault 7' leak shed a disturbing light on the safeguarding of privacy. Something already known and largely suspected has now become documented by Wikileaks. It seems evident that the CIA is now a state within a state, an entity out of control that has even arrived at the point of creating its own hacking network in order to avoid the scrutiny of the NSA and other agencies.

Reading the revelations contained in the documents released by WikiLeaks and adding them to those already presented in recent years by Snowden, it now seems evident that the technological aspect regarding espionage is a specialty in which the CIA, as far as we know, excels. Hardware and software vendors that are complicit -- most of which are American, British or Israeli -- give the CIA the opportunity to achieve informational full-spectrum dominance, relegating privacy to extinction. Such a convergence of power, money and technology entails major conflicts of interest, as can be seen in the case of Amazon AWS (Amazon's Cloud Service), cloud provider for the CIA , whose owner, Jeff Bezos, is also the owner of The Washington Post . It is a clear overlap of private interests that conflicts with the theoretical need to declare uncomfortable truths without the need to consider orders numbering in the millions of dollars from clients like the CIA.

While it is just one example, there are thousands more out there. The perverse interplay between media, spy agencies and politicians has compromised the very meaning of the much vaunted democracy of the land of the Stars and Stripes. The constant scandals that are beamed onto our screens now serve the sole purpose of advancing the deep interest of the Washington establishment. In geopolitical terms, it is now more than obvious that the deep state has committed all available means toward sabotaging any dialogue and détente between the United States and Russia. In terms of news, the Wikileaks revelations shed light on the methods used by US intelligence agencies like the CIA to place blame on the Kremlin, or networks associated with it, for the hacking that occurred during the American elections.

Perhaps this is too generous a depiction of matters, given that the general public has yet to see any evidence of the hacking of the DNC servers. In addition to this, we know that the origin of Podesta's email revelations stem from the loss of a smartphone and the low data-security measures employed by the chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. In general, when the 16 US spy agencies blamed Russia for the hacking of the elections, they were never specific in terms of forensic evidence. Simply put, the media, spies and politicians created false accusations based on the fact that Moscow, together with RT and other media (not directly linked to the Kremlin), finally enjoy a major presence in the mainstream media. The biggest problem for the Washington establishment lies in the revelation of news that is counterproductive to the interests of the deep state. RT, Sputnik, this site and many others have diligently covered and reported to the general public every development concerning the Podesta revelations or the hacking of the DNC.

Now what is revealed through Wikileaks' publications in Vault 7 is the ability of a subsection of the CIA, known as Umbrage , to use malware, viruses, trojans and other cyber tools for their own geopolitical purposes. The CIA's Umbrage collects, analyzes and then employs software created variously from foreign security agencies, cyber mafia, private companies, and hackers in general. These revelations become particularly relevant when we consider the consequences of these actions. The main example can be seen in the hacking of the DNC. For now, what we know is that the hacking – if it ever occurred – is of Russian origin. This does not mean at all that the Kremlin directed it. It could actually be very much the opposite, its responsibility falling into the category of a cyber false-flag. One thing is for sure: all 16 US intelligence agencies are of the view that "the Russians did it". That said, the methods used to hack vulnerabilities cannot be revealed, so as to limit the spread of easily reusable exploits on systems, such as the one that hosted the DNC server. It is a great excuse for avoiding the revelation of any evidence at all.

So, with little information available, independent citizens are left with very little information on which to reliably form an opinion on what happened. There is no evidence, and no evidence will be provided to the media. For politicians and so-called mainstream journalists, this is an acceptable state of affairs. What we are left with instead is blind faith in the 16 spy agencies. The problem for them is that what WikiLeaks revealed with Vault 7 exposes a scenario that looks more likely than not: a cyber false-flag carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency using engineered malware and viruses made in Russia and hypothetically linking them back to hacking networks in Russia. In all likelihood, it looks like the Democrats' server was hacked by the CIA with the clear objective of leaving Russian fingerprints and obvious traces to be picked up by other US agencies.

In this way, it becomes easier to explain the unique views of all 16 spy agencies. Thus, it is far more likely that the CIA intentionally left fake Russian fingerprints all over the DNC server, thereby misleading other intelligence agencies in promoting the narrative that Russia hacked the DNC server. Of course the objective was to create a false narrative that could immediately be picked up by the media, creating even more hysteria surrounding any rapprochement with Russia.

Diversification of computer systems.

The revelations contained in the Wikileaks vault 7 ( less than 1 % of the total data in Wikileaks' possession has been released to date) have caused a stir, especially by exposing the astonishing complicity between hardware and software manufacturers, often intentionally creating backdoors in their products to allow access by the CIA and NSA. In today's digital environment, all essential services rely on computer technology and connectivity. These revelations are yet more reason why countries targeted by Washington, like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, should get rid of European and American products and invest in reducing technological dependence on American products in particular.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/9678427951402854?pubid=ld-4970-8393&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwearechange.org&rid=duckduckgo.com&width=550

The People's Republic has already started down this track, with the replacement of many network devices with local vendors like Huawei in order to avoid the type of interference revealed by Snowden. Russia has been doing the same in terms of software, even laying the groundwork to launch of its own operating system, abandoning American and European systems. In North Korea, this idea was already put into practice years ago and is an excellent tool for deterrence for external interference. In more than one computer security conference, US experts have praised the capabilities of the DPRK to isolate its Internet network from the rest of the world, allowing them to have strong safety mechanisms. Often, the only access route to the DPRK systems are through the People's Republic of China, not the easiest way for the CIA or NSA to infiltrate a protected computer network.

An important aspect of the world in which we live today involves information security, something all nations have to deal with. At the moment, we still live in a world in which the realization of the danger and effect of hacking attacks are not apparent to many. On the other hand, militarily speaking, the diversification and rationalization of critical equipment in terms of networks and operability (smartphones, laptops, etc) has already produced strong growth in non-American and European manufacturers, with the aim of making their systems more secure.

This strengthening of technology also produces deleterious consequences, such as the need for intelligence agencies to be able to prevent the spread of data encryption so as to always enjoy access to any desired information. The birth of the Tor protocol, the deployment of Bitcoin, and apps that are more and more encrypted (although the WikiLeaks documents have shown that the collection of information takes place on the device b efore the information is encrypted ) are all responses to an exponential increase in the invasion of privacy by federal or American government entities.

We live in a world that has an enormous dependence on the Internet and computer technology. The CIA over the years has focused on the ability to make sure vulnerable systems are exploited as well as seeking out major security flaws in consumer products without disclosing this to vendors, thereby taking advantage of these security gaps and leaving all consumers with a potential lack of security. Slowly, thanks to the work and courage of people like Snowden and Assange, the world is beginning to understand how important it is to keep personal data under control and prevent access to it by third parties, especially if they are state actors. In the case of national security, the issue is expanded exponentially by the need to protect key and vital infrastructure, considering how many critical services operate via the Internet and rely on computing devices.

The wars of the future will have a strong technological basis, and it is no coincidence that many armed forces, primarily the Russian and Chinese, have opted in recent years to training troops, and conducting operations, not completely relying on connectivity. No one can deny that in the event of a large-scale conflict, connectivity is far from guaranteed. One of the major goals of competing nations is to penetrate the military security systems of rival nations and be able to disarm the internal networks that operates major systems of defense and attack.

The Wikileaks revelations are yet another confirmation of how important it is to break the technological unipolar moment, if it may be dubbed this way, especially for nations targeted by the United States. Currently Washington dictates the technological capacities of the private and government sectors of Europe and America, steering their development, timing and methods to suit its own interests. It represents a clear disadvantage that the PRC and its allies will inevitably have to redress in the near future in order to achieve full security for its vital infrastructure.


This article first appeared on Strategic-Culture.org and was authored by Federico Pieraccini.

[Feb 03, 2018] Whole Foods Becomes Amazon Hell Foods as Employees, Managers Quit, Cry on the Job....and These People Want to Run Your Healthca

Notable quotes:
"... Cooks at restaurants routinely work in similar heat with similar levels of exertion. I know, because I was a cook at multiple restaurants. ..."
"... The reason OSHA doesn't care is because working people in extreme heat is SOP for scores of industries that you may not even realize. ..."
"... In an earlier generation, that would be an excellent question. But since then, we've seen the distribution and adoption of the neoliberal memo that such things are always and everywhere bad. Nor would they be high on the current administration's to do list. ..."
"... Amazon doesn't employ the workers. It employs temp agencies who supply the workers. This is a standard procedure these days for high-turnover workplaces, because in the end no one is responsible for what happens to the workers. ..."
"... A service business that gives crappy service will not prosper. ..."
"... I spent 25 years in the grocery business with 20 of them in management. The expectations stated above were industry standards (except the minutiae of sales goals). Only in Whole Foods was this model ignored. When the industry wide profit margin of grocers is less the 3cents on the dollar you have to be a TIGHT operator to turn a profit or you are doomed. As a department manager my entire job depended on how I managed my P&L report on a quarterly basis .. if I was over on payroll hours I DAMN well better be cutting back on other areas such as shrink, supplies or payroll mix (high paid FT vs low paid PT) ..."
"... Thanks for bringing up the industry baseline! Bezos' intense exploitation of labor merits a spotlight, but what's happening off in the shadows in other corporations? I recall seeing Costco held up as a + example, but what about others? ..."
"... It seems to me that Amazon are a one trick company (albeit, a very good trick), and they are likely to get burned very badly if they extend their predatory model to high value brands.. ..."
"... "When the industry wide profit margin of grocers is less the 3cents on the dollar" This figure is complete nonsense. It means nothing. It's the "profit margin" after paying themselves rent, which is where the profits in grocery stores end up.. No one is in business for a 3% return. It does make good for PR though. ..."
"... Its not clear to me that OTS originated with Amazon. Amazon only completed the Whole Foods purchase around Labor Day in 2017. It usually takes more than a month or two to come up with an entire computer-based software system and roll it out company-wide. ..."
"... Corporate America is capable of coming up with bone-headed implementations of what could be good ideas without the need to get Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Apple to push them to it. Wells Fargo was able to come up with "Eight is Great" for new account generation even with the guidance of Warren Buffet instead of Jeff Bezos. ..."
"... At any rate, I won't be frequenting Whole Foods any longer as I find worker abuse nauseating. ..."
"... So much paperwork that there's no time to deliver the food, hence empty shelves. A situation instantly recognizable to anyone who ever lived in the USSR. ..."
"... You didn't hear it from me, but from a friend who was a cashier at a grocery store, a small way to fight back against self checkout is to be creative in naming your produce to get a 95% discount ..."
"... Wal-Mart can man-up with a new ad campaign – Our Employees Don't Cry, they get food stamps. ..."
"... "I'm amazed at how many people choose to simply ignore the fate of Amazon's employees in order to receive free shipping." ..."
"... (Suggesting that AMZ is a sh*t business.) ..."
"... fast forward 1-2 years ..."
"... fast forward 1-2 more years . ..."
"... Rinse. Repeat. Ad nauseum, ad infinitum . ..."
"... the first time in my life ..."
Feb 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on February 2, 2018 by Yves Smith As we've said, Jeff Bezos clearly hates people, except as appendages to bank accounts. All you need to do is observe how he treats his workers.

In a scoop, Business Insider reports on how Amazon is creating massive turnover and pointless misery at Whole Food by imposing a reign of terror impossible and misguided productivity targets.

Anyone who has paid the slightest attention to Amazon will see its abuse of out of Whole Foods workers as confirmation of an established pattern. And even more tellingly, despite Whole Foods supposedly being a retail business that Bezos would understand, the unrealistic Whole Foods metrics aren't making the shopping experience better.

As we'll discuss below, we'd already expressed doubts about how relevant Bezos' hyped Amazon model would be to Whole Foods. Proof is surfacing even faster than we expected.

But first to Bezos' general pattern of employee mistreatment.

It's bad enough that Bezos engages in the worst sort of class warfare and treats warehouse workers worse than the ASPCA would allow livery drivers to use horses. Not only do horses at least get fed an adequate ration, while Amazon warehouse workers regularly earn less than a local living wage, but even after pressure to end literal sweatshop conditions (no air conditioning so inside temperatures could hit 100 degrees; Amazon preferred to have ambulances at ready for the inevitable heatstroke victims rather than pay to cool air ), Amazon warehouse workers are, thanks to intensive monitoring, pressed to work at such a brutal pace that most can't handle it physically and quit by the six month mark. For instance, from a 2017 Gizmodo story, Reminder: Amazon Treats Its Employees Like Shit :

Amazon, like most tech companies, is skilled at getting stories about whatever bullshit it decides to feed the press. Amazon would very much prefer to have reporters writing some drivel about a discount code than reminding people that its tens of thousands of engineers and warehouse workers are fucking miserable. How do I know they're miserable? Because (as the testimony below demonstrates) they've told every writer who's bothered to ask for years.

Gawker, May 2014 – "I Do Not Know One Person Who Is Happy at Amazon"

.

The New York Times, August 2015- " Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace "

..

The Huffington Post, October 2015 – " The Life and Death of an Amazon Warehouse Temp "

For a good overview of the how Amazon goes about making its warehouse workers' lives hell, see Salon's Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon's sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers .

Mind you, Amazon's institutionalized sadism isn't limited to its sweatshops. Amazon is also cruel to its office workers. The New York Times story that Gizmodo selected, based on over 100 employee interviews, included:

Bo Olson lasted less than two years in a book marketing role and said that his enduring image was watching people weep in the office, a sight other workers described as well. "You walk out of a conference room and you'll see a grown man covering his face," he said. "Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk."

While that paragraph was the most widely quoted from that story, some reporters reacted strongly to other bits. For instance, from The Verge :

Perhaps worst of all is Amazon's apparent approach when its employees need help. The Times has uncovered several cases where workers who were sick, grieving, or otherwise encumbered by the realities of life were pushed out of the company. A woman who had a miscarriage was told to travel on a business trip the day after both her twins were stillborn. Another woman recovering from breast cancer was given poor performance rankings and was warned that she was in danger of losing her job.

The Business Insider story on Amazon, 'Seeing someone cry at work is becoming normal': Employees say Whole Foods is using 'scorecards' to punish them , is another window on how Bezos thinks whipping his workers is the best way to get results from them:


voteforno6 , February 2, 2018 at 6:21 am

I have yet to hear of anyone who has actually enjoyed working for Amazon. I know several people who have worked on building out their data centers, and it's the same type of experience – demanding, long hours, must be responsive to calls and emails 24×7. Even people who are otherwise highly skilled, highly competent workers are treated as disposable items. It's no surprise that they treat grocery workers the same.

Collapsar , February 2, 2018 at 7:45 am

According to this Business Insider article the OTS inventory management system was something brought in by whole foods management; not amazon. Employees are actually hoping amazon fixes the issues created by OTS.

Things are definitely bad when workers are hoping things will get better with Bezos in charge.

I can't remember where I read an article in which an amazon employee said people at the company joked that amazon is where overachievers go to feel bad about themselves.

David Carl Grimes , February 2, 2018 at 7:54 am

If working conditions are so bad at the warehouses (heatstrokes from lack of air conditioning), then why hasn't the Department of Labor gone after them? Surely the DoL or some local labor bureau most have gotten hundreds if not thousands of complaints?

Left in Wisconsin , February 2, 2018 at 10:37 am

Where are the unions? The Teamsters or UFCW should be all over this. Their complete absence from the story is telling. When the first three conclusions to be drawn from this story are:
1. That boss (and company culture) are awful
2. Why doesn't the government do something?
3. Maybe the workers can do a class action
then it's really not surprising that things are this bad.

Ransom Headweight , February 2, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Where are the unions? They've been systematic eradicated or are being led by "pro-business" stooges. About the only union worth a damn and bucking the system is the Nurses Union led by Rose Ann DeMoro. If you have the inclunation, take a look at labor during the first Gilded Age (late 1800s early 1900s) to see what it took to get the modest reforms of the New Deal enacted -- the very policies that are almost extinct now.

jrs , February 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Well even trying to unionize fast food failed badly is my impression. So often the laws make it hard but the workers also have to *WANT* to unionize.

Anon , February 2, 2018 at 1:53 pm

An article in The Atlantic provides an explanation for the absence of unions:

Efforts to get Amazon to change its labor practices have been unsuccessful thus far. Randy Korgan, the business representative and director of the Teamsters Local 63, which represents the Stater Brothers employees, told me that his office frequently gets calls from Amazon employees wanting to organize. But organizing is difficult because there's so much turnover at Amazon facilities and because people fear losing their jobs if they speak up. Burgett, the Indiana Amazon worker, repeatedly tried to organize his facility, he told me. The turnover was so high that it was difficult to get people to commit to a union campaign. The temps at Amazon are too focused on getting a full-time job to join a union, he said, and the full-time employees don't stick around long enough to join. He worked with both the local SEIU and then the Teamsters to start an organizing drive, but could never get any traction. He told me that whenever Amazon hears rumors of a union drive, the company calls a special "all hands" meeting to explain why a union wouldn't be good for the facility. (Lindsey said that Amazon has an open-door policy that encourages associates to bring concerns directly to the management team. "We firmly believe this direct connection is the most effective way to understand and respond to the needs of our workforce," she wrote, in an email.)

This is a common anti-union trick among low-wage jobs these days -- intentionally abuse your workers as much as possible to ensure the highest possible turnover (and even better, turnover in the form of voluntary quits, which do not qualify for unemployment benefits or impact the employer's UI tax). Workers who have zero investment in their jobs and who intend to quit at the earliest possible opportunity are less likely to go through the trouble and risk of supporting a union effort.

As a bonus, the high turnover results in many of the workers not ever becoming eligible for benefits. Most common tax-advantaged benefit plans, like health insurance and 401(k), are required to be offered to all employees with only a few limited exceptions. The permitted exceptions differ depending on the benefit type, but usually include criteria like length of service (often no more than 12 months or so) and in some cases, minimum work hours. The plan will lose its tax-advantaged status if it excludes more employees than the law permits, which can cost the employer back taxes and penalties. Firing employees for the purpose of interfering with their ERISA-regulated benefits is illegal , but treating them so poorly from day 1 that they are unlikely to last long enough to qualify for benefits is not.

From a policy perspective, we need to realize the instability created by high-turnover and fissured work environments and penalize it accordingly. A beneficial side effect of this is that it would likely incentivize employers to train and promote low-level workers upwards; low-level jobs like warehouse workers probably inherently have higher turnover than average, just because most workers don't want to do that for the rest of their lives (and some are successful in finding a way out), but when there's a path for the janitor to become CTO you can reduce that turnover.

flora , February 2, 2018 at 11:21 am

When you own the politicians' trade newspaper – WaPo – why would the politicians attack you?

Fraibert , February 2, 2018 at 9:09 am

Pretty sure, at least at the federal level, it would be OSHA jurisdiction issues. With that said, OSHA has received complaints, and done investigations: e.g., https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/region3/01122016 ; https://www.recode.net/2017/11/9/16629412/amazon-warehouse-worker-killed-deaths-osha-fines-penalties

I found these just by Googling "OSHA amazon". Keep in mind, the low amounts of the fines doesn't necessarily reflect the severity of the underlying issues–my understanding is that OSHA has relatively weak abilities to fine violators in the first place.

Pespi , February 2, 2018 at 4:02 pm

OSHA has been neutered. If you're lucky enough to get someone to come without also being fired, they'll fine the business an ant's eyelid and be gone.

maria gostrey , February 2, 2018 at 9:38 am

the salon article referenced above perhaps is indicative of regulators' attitude toward those we expect them to regulate:

june 2, june 10 & july 25 – the days OSHA received complaints about the 100+ weather in the Allentown warehouse.

nothing about any sort of OSHA response.

Adam , February 2, 2018 at 2:07 pm

Cooks at restaurants routinely work in similar heat with similar levels of exertion. I know, because I was a cook at multiple restaurants.

Now I am a machinist, and temps like this are routine during the summer in most shops I worked.

The reason OSHA doesn't care is because working people in extreme heat is SOP for scores of industries that you may not even realize.

Big River Bandido , February 2, 2018 at 10:00 am

The regulatory agencies were captured decades ago by the industries they purport to regulate.

EoH , February 2, 2018 at 11:27 am

Government regulation and enforcement? In an earlier generation, that would be an excellent question. But since then, we've seen the distribution and adoption of the neoliberal memo that such things are always and everywhere bad. Nor would they be high on the current administration's to do list.

Elizabeth Burton , February 2, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Amazon doesn't employ the workers. It employs temp agencies who supply the workers. This is a standard procedure these days for high-turnover workplaces, because in the end no one is responsible for what happens to the workers.

Mikerw , February 2, 2018 at 8:18 am

To quote: "the beatings will continue until morale improves"

A service business that gives crappy service will not prosper. There is a high touch rate between customers and employees in this industry. Also, this is an industry with many options and competition; unlike airlines for example. We shop at WF from time to time, partly due to the experience being more pleasant. We have no issue moving (and no love of Amazon).

visitor , February 2, 2018 at 8:34 am

A service business that gives crappy service will not prosper.

if and only if there are preferable alternatives. If that business is cheaper, a monopoly, or if all other businesses deliver crappy service too, then it may well prosper. Case in point: the telecommunications market in the USA.

Fraibert , February 2, 2018 at 9:24 am

This is an important reason why the notion that market competition will increase social welfare isn't inherently true. It's long been understood that in concentrated markets (oligopolies) the market actors might implicitly coordinate their prices without a price increase. For example, Companies A, B, and C sell widgets; Company A announces a price increase via press release; B and C follow with similar increases a week later.

But companies can also implicitly coordinate on the quality of goods. If Company A pursues crapification, that can cover B and C for doing the same.

It's akin the the Greesham's Dyamic that Professor Black has written about extensively on this blog and in other places in connection with finance creating a criminogenic environment. Under the right circumstances, cheap bad quality can drive out good quality, leaving only bad.

EoH , February 2, 2018 at 11:41 am

Indeed. A "market" focusing solely on profitability would consider human values an inefficiency. It would remove them, along with what produced them, from the system, using routine failure modes and effects analysis. (An interesting point for promoters of AI.)

California witnessed considerable consolidation in its grocery business ten years or so ago. Similar, if somewhat less draconian conditions, resulted. I don't believe the "market" will generate a different result this time.

In addition, there's the question of Jeff Bezos's purposes in buying WF. It would not be to learn from another industry; I don't imagine Bezos values that concept. It would more likely be to expand his own methodologies and priorities to another industry, one that gives him access to a human activity outside the already extensive reach of his current business.

WF may be an experiment, whose survival might not be dictated by immediate notional profitability. Besides, the utility and profitability of the data flow from this experiment might never be visible.

Wisdom Seeker , February 2, 2018 at 2:03 pm

This is an important reason why the notion that market competition will increase social welfare isn't inherently true. It's long been understood that in concentrated markets (oligopolies) the market actors might implicitly coordinate their prices without a price increase.

I agree, except that the situations you describe are not "market competition". Any marketplace with fewer than about 7 truly independent competitors is not a competitive market.

But as you say, when there are few participants there is a lot of implicit signaling and coordination, which work to benefit the few participants at the expense of the general welfare.

We have a lot of faux markets, and a lot of faux competition. This is not helped by the prevalence of multiple "brands" owned by the same small number of large conglomerates. You could shut down just 2 or 3 companies in each product line and the supermarket shelves would lose 90% of their items. That ain't a competitive marketplace, even though the proliferation of brands provides the illusion of freedom of choice.

We need a populist wave to take back our democracy.

jrs , February 2, 2018 at 2:10 pm

Yes it's not textbook competition, but while textbook competition with many small players may be good for the consumer, there is no evidence that it is good for the worker. In fact I suspect it's bad for the worker as super competitive industries will nearly kill their employees just to stay in business. I'd rather work for an oligopoly (but it all depends on which one) as the freedom from relentless competition enables better working conditions in theory (again does not always materialize).

Dave , February 2, 2018 at 8:22 am

I spent 25 years in the grocery business with 20 of them in management. The expectations stated above were industry standards (except the minutiae of sales goals). Only in Whole Foods was this model ignored. When the industry wide profit margin of grocers is less the 3cents on the dollar you have to be a TIGHT operator to turn a profit or you are doomed. As a department manager my entire job depended on how I managed my P&L report on a quarterly basis .. if I was over on payroll hours I DAMN well better be cutting back on other areas such as shrink, supplies or payroll mix (high paid FT vs low paid PT)

I guess the Whole Foods employees are learning this now.

hemeantwell , February 2, 2018 at 8:42 am

Thanks for bringing up the industry baseline! Bezos' intense exploitation of labor merits a spotlight, but what's happening off in the shadows in other corporations? I recall seeing Costco held up as a + example, but what about others?

pretzelattack , February 2, 2018 at 8:48 am

if the industry standards decimate the work force and make customers unhappy, maybe it's the standards that are at fault.

Fraibert , February 2, 2018 at 9:15 am

To me, it doesn't make sense to penny pinch if you're a quasi-monopolistic supplier due to a special brand position. Whole Foods was associated with high quality goods, and was clearly able to charge a substantial price premium. Changing its operations as described above appears to reduce the justification for the price premium and destroy the company's unique market position.

It is almost like McDonald's deciding that beef patties cost too much, and that it would only serve chicken going forward.

PlutoniumKun , February 2, 2018 at 9:36 am

It seems to me that in the grocery business (like many), you either make money by being more efficient and cheaper than your competitors, or by having a unique selling point that allows you charge a premium (high quality, great service, etc).

If you look at the car industry, when mass market brands have bought high value brands (for example, Ford buying Jaguar), the sensible companies have been very cautious about ensuring that the brand aura (and hence high profit margin per car) is not tarnished by crudely cutting costs. Mercedes made that mistake in the 1980's with excessive cost cutting and it took them more than a decade, and billions of DM in investment, to win back their brand value when it became apparent that their cars were often less reliable than cheap Asian compacts.

It seems to me that Amazon are a one trick company (albeit, a very good trick), and they are likely to get burned very badly if they extend their predatory model to high value brands..

EoH , February 2, 2018 at 11:45 am

In scale, WF is a hobby business for Bezos, little more than a personal tax deduction. If it does not go as Bezos intends, it is not likely to have an effect on his primary business.

bob , February 2, 2018 at 9:19 am

"When the industry wide profit margin of grocers is less the 3cents on the dollar" This figure is complete nonsense. It means nothing. It's the "profit margin" after paying themselves rent, which is where the profits in grocery stores end up.. No one is in business for a 3% return. It does make good for PR though.

Chuck W , February 2, 2018 at 11:12 am

A 3% margin isn't the same thing as a 3% return. Maybe think about it this way, 26 turns on a 3% margin (once every 2 weeks). Without compounding that's a 78% return on average inventory level, before fixed and variable costs, interest expense and equity returns. You're right nobody is in the business for a 3% return!

bob , February 2, 2018 at 11:44 am

"A 3% margin isn't the same thing as a 3% return." I know this. But the way that figure is trotted out, relentlessly, is to leave the masses, and employees, with the idea that they only 'make' 3%, which is nonsense. Whatever they "make" is carefully chosen in accounting fairytale land.

The point about rents still stands. Most grocery stores/chains are REITs with captive retailers. No one ever sees the REIT side of things. Rite Aid is well know for being the captive retailer in this practice. Rite Aid doesn't 'make' any money (118M 'income' over 25 billion in sales = .004 Less that half a percent).. They 'make' the landlord LOTS of money. Tax dodge or money laundering, which does it better fit the definition of?

Chuck W , February 2, 2018 at 12:31 pm

Agreed. I think they trot out the 3% meme so nobody pushes them too hard on their "providing a public good" nature.

And on rent and landlord's, I absolutely agree. Regrettably it seems most of us are making our commercial landlords a lot of money (before we ever get to equity returns). So many small business owner's would loose their minds if they thought about that thoroughly. And to answer your last question, "I'll take Tax Dodge for $500, Alex"

Mel , February 2, 2018 at 12:40 pm

The way I read it way back when was that that 3% markup is on fresh produce and what not. So the turnover is necessarily high. So their return on invested capital might get as high as 3%/day, if they're lucky.

Jean , February 2, 2018 at 9:46 pm

Chuck W, please explain the "26 turns comment", don't assume people understand business jargon.

cnchal , February 3, 2018 at 12:26 am

Assumes stock turns over every two weeks, so 26 times per year.

Dave , February 2, 2018 at 10:41 pm

bob, can you direct me to an article and/or site which backs your claims. I would be most interested to read it. Perhaps my information is incorrect, but multiple Google searches have articles in which independent grocery business analysts confirm my number.

rd , February 2, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Its not clear to me that OTS originated with Amazon. Amazon only completed the Whole Foods purchase around Labor Day in 2017. It usually takes more than a month or two to come up with an entire computer-based software system and roll it out company-wide.

My guess is that Whole Foods was able to conceive of this all by themselves and since it fits into the Amazon way of doing things, they didn't stop them.

Corporate America is capable of coming up with bone-headed implementations of what could be good ideas without the need to get Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Apple to push them to it. Wells Fargo was able to come up with "Eight is Great" for new account generation even with the guidance of Warren Buffet instead of Jeff Bezos.

Kurtismayfield , February 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Does this 3% margin count the rent that is extracted from manufacturers for prime real estate in the stores? ( End caps for example). Slotting fees are rent extraction. Customers pay for this with higher prices for the items.

Whiteylockmandoubled , February 2, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Oh please. I shop at two of the major branded grocery chains, and while the staff is generally good and competent, they exhibit none of the hyper-awareness expected under OTS.

If you run into an employee and ask them where certain items can be found, they'll usually know and usually direct you to an aisle that has the item. But they will generally not know the exact location in the aisle, shelf, blah blah.

And the stupidity of corporate management is beyond belief. Due to niche marketing, items can be found in 3, 4 or even 5 different places. (My favorite is canned beans – organic and other high-end brands in the specialty fancy food aisle, a bunch in the Mexican/international/Spanish aisle, run of the mill murican brands and the same Goya brands that are in the international aisle in the general canned vegetable aisle, sale displays at the end of any random aisle. And dont even get me started on gluten-freeness).

At stop and shop they replaced the end of the checkout counters with a carousel for bagging, meaning a) that checkers had to bag each item as they went, b) no more baggers c) customers couldn't help bag stuff, and, my favorite, d) making it nearly impossible to use reusable bags. Talking to workers about it is simultaneously hilarious and enraging. "They said it was supposed to make it easier for us, but *shrug*". Everyone understands that it's designed to fail, slow things to a crawl, and piss customers off so they'll use the self-check line.

So spare us the tight-ship, low margin Whole-Foods-and-Amazon-are-just-just-learning-how-intense-the-business-really-is-and-too-bad-for-those-whiney-workers old school macho bullshit. Yes, it's not the most profitable industry in the world. But amazon is a whole other level of abusive monitoring of workers everywhere it goes.

Tony Wikrent , February 2, 2018 at 8:29 am

Makes me wonder what's happening at Washington Post. Quick search results are that Post has been "revived." Note that Bezos stays out of editorial process, but is heavily involved in tech ops.

Huey Long , February 2, 2018 at 8:29 am

I happened to stop by the Whole Foods in Columbus Circle, NYC yesterday for some produce and something is definitely different there.

It was around 4 pm, the store was packed, and apparently management had people out there with brooms and dustpans sweeping up what appeared to be clean floors. Between the crowds, the sweeping employees, and the boxes of stock on the floor it was much harder to move in there.

After navigating the aisles, I grabbed a bottle of cold beer for my subway ride home, and then proceeded to the in-house ramen/draft beer spot. The employees there seemed absolutely miserable and kept wandering away to talk in hushed voices about what was clearly some sort of work problem in the store from what I could gather. To the employees' credit however, they treated me with courtesy and respect even though their body language and demeanor screamed misery.

Following my mediocre Ramen and yummy draft beers, I wandered back over to the beer aisle to exchange my now warm subway subs for a cold bottle. I was shocked to find that the entire cold reach-in beer shelves had been re-stocked while I was in the ramen bar. After several moments of digging through freshly stocked warm beer I found a cold one, paid, and departed Whole Foods.

Thanks for this article, as it ties together all the oddities I observed today. It is really sad what happened to Whole Foods, particularly that location. I used to work on the Time Warner Center maintenance staff and frequently interacted with employees in that particular store and they used to be a jolly bunch.

At any rate, I won't be frequenting Whole Foods any longer as I find worker abuse nauseating.

SufferinSuccotash , February 2, 2018 at 8:37 am

So much paperwork that there's no time to deliver the food, hence empty shelves. A situation instantly recognizable to anyone who ever lived in the USSR.

The Rev Kev , February 2, 2018 at 8:56 am

Funny that. It was only a coupla months ago that a big story making the rounds was that Walmart shelves ( http://theweek.com/articles/466144/why-walmarts-shelves-are-empty ) were constantly empty. I suppose you have to be a mega-corporation to make blunders like this but still get away with it for a few months running.

Wyoming , February 2, 2018 at 9:56 am

Interesting you mention Wallmart. I live in central AZ and our local Wallmarts (3 ea) for several years had empty shelves, few workers – and they did not know where anything was, the greeters were gone, literally 1-2 actual cashiers – they were trying to force you to the self-checkout. Recently the stores are almost like they used to be with more workers, greeters back, still not enough cashiers though, and better stocking.

Has anyone else noticed this. It does seem to coincide with the Amazon purchase of WF. Correlation is not causation and all that but it might be a reaction to some extent.

Carolinian , February 2, 2018 at 1:23 pm

I'm probably one of the few people around here that shops at Walmart and yes they have cleaned up their act although it depends on the store. I'd say the thing people don't get about Walmart is that they are responsive to public opinion and customer gripes even if they supposedly treat their employees like disposable parts, easily replaced (but then they have lots of company in that department). For example a few years ago they took the clutter out of the aisles and did away with the craft/sewing section–trying to be more like Target -- and then reversed all those changes because their customers hated it.

Seems to me Bezos is taking on a much bigger challenge trying to reinvent brick and mortar than he did by innovating mail order. Here's betting he's not up to it. Perhaps his top honchos–meditating in their new waterfall equipped Seattle biosphere–will prove me wrong.

Pespi , February 2, 2018 at 4:07 pm

You didn't hear it from me, but from a friend who was a cashier at a grocery store, a small way to fight back against self checkout is to be creative in naming your produce to get a 95% discount

diptherio , February 2, 2018 at 10:01 am

Just FYI, that article is 5 years old. I remember discussing it here on NC. Unfortunately, it didn't portend the end of Wally World.

The Rev Kev , February 2, 2018 at 7:52 pm

Yeah, that one was 5 year old but I chose it because it gave a bit more info in it. There are plenty more from last year. Just go to Google and punch in the search term Wal-Mart shelves empty and see what come back, especially Google images. This means that this problem is not a one-off but has been a running theme for at least a four year period. Amazing.

Eureka Springs , February 2, 2018 at 8:47 am

People who shop at Whole Foods want to look at employees with that NPR vegan faux-hippy gaze. Not a lot of difference from the evangelical gaze, imo. Some sort of self hypnosis involved? Now that gaze will be replaced with the look of a desperate near homeless employee all Wal-Mart shoppers have grown accustomed to ignoring, Wal-Mart can man-up with a new ad campaign – Our Employees Don't Cry, they get food stamps.

If I were a rich man I would give everyone of these people a T-shirt which says – I am not a robot.

Fraibert , February 2, 2018 at 9:18 am

I wonder if Wal-Mart will discover increasing in-store staff, as well as an upgraded store experience, will actually improve its competitive position versus online retailers. That's pretty much what Best Buy has to do.

SufferinSuccotash , February 2, 2018 at 10:06 am

Or maybe pay the help more. falls out of chair laughing

Marco , February 2, 2018 at 10:32 am

Is this just an Amazon/WF issue or something larger for grocer chains? I find myself shopping at a Meijers (big Midwest chain) superstore whilst visiting my mother and noticed the same kind of strangeness with not just employee morale (they are clearly miserable) but stocking issues. Items that were ALWAYS available are no longer there. I needed pasta shells the other day. They had none. How can a super grocer NOT have pasta shells. Larger than normal sections of shelves are bare. Pallets haphazardly placed. Meijors used to be a somewhat pleasant and orderly experience with happy workers now approaching a WalMart experience.

oh , February 2, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Vegan faux-hippy-Hillary Obamba-gaze?

Adar , February 2, 2018 at 3:34 pm

Re the NPR vegan faux-hippy gaze, The WF near me in suburban Philadelphia, has a very upscale clientele. Once, in the produce section, they had set up a booth where a Hispanic woman would mix guacamole using just the ingredients the customers wished, without any extraneous chatter on her part. Wow! Your guac would be mixed by an ACTUAL MEXICAN PERSON! Just gotta be good, eh? Conservatives might say she was happy to have such a nice job. I thought it was downright creepy, like those catalogues where people beam as they demonstrate expensive vacuum cleaners. Yuk.

lakecabs , February 2, 2018 at 9:16 am

Our Soviet style master planners hard at work. At least the Soviets had 5 year plans that they would abandon after 5 years. How many years of failure can we tolerate? What ever happened to profit?

McWoot , February 2, 2018 at 9:47 am

Not a fan of Bezos, Amazon, or their practices, but strict planogram scorecarding is not uncommon in grocery, auto parts and similar retail orgs. The only part of that section of the article that strikes me as out of the ordinary is the employee's reaction to it.

diptherio , February 2, 2018 at 10:04 am

Translation: "Employee abuse is the norm, so I don't see what everyone is complaining about. Back to work, peasants!"

McWoot , February 2, 2018 at 10:16 am

The framing of the article suggests this is Amazon-ian behavior. Just pointing out that I don't believe that's accurate because the practice is commonplace in the industry.

diptherio , February 2, 2018 at 1:54 pm

I've got more than a few friends who have worked in grocery stores recently, and while they had many complaints, having to know last week's best selling item or this week's sales goals weren't among them. Just sayin' .

Harry , February 2, 2018 at 10:00 am

DE shaw culture spread by its alumni

Chuck , February 2, 2018 at 10:05 am

Thank you for highlighting Amazon's continued abuse of its employees. I'm amazed at how many people choose to simply ignore the fate of Amazon's employees in order to receive free shipping. My favorite people are the type that by books on late stage capitalism and plutocracy through their Amazon prime accounts.

Bukko Boomeranger , February 2, 2018 at 6:12 pm

"I'm amazed at how many people choose to simply ignore the fate of Amazon's employees in order to receive free shipping."

Sad but true, Chuck. My daughter, who's a total Social Justice Warrior type (speaking as a progessive, I'm proud of her for that) and her long-time boyfriend are proud Amazon customers. They have Amazon technobuttons on the walls of the house they bought so that all they have to do to re-order toilet paper and kitty litter is touch the device. (Suggesting that AMZ is a sh*t business.) A day or two later, it's delivered, for free, because they are Primes! Daughter's BF, who luuuuuvs him some tech, revels in this because it's so futuristic. When I suggest going to the store to buy some -- it's quicker -- or simply thinking ahead and purchasing stuff before they run out, I get the eye-roll given to Olds who old-splain oldways. They're Jellbylically concerned about the plight of abused North Koreans and the like. When I mentioned why I was buying their Christmas book gifts via Barnes & Noble rather than Amazon due to its mistreatment of workers, their ears glazed over. I'll forward this post to her, but I doubt it will get read, since it wasn't on her Fakebook feed.

J-Mann , February 2, 2018 at 7:41 pm

heh

I like the cut of your jib: " to Olds who old-splain oldways."

Grampa Simpson classic – One trick is to tell 'em stories that don't go anywhere – like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. "Give me five bees for a quarter," you'd say.

Now where were we? Oh yeah: the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones

Simple Life , February 2, 2018 at 10:35 am

Find a local co-op market. if you can't find one, start one!

Louis Fyne , February 2, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Local co-ops are a great idea but (sorry for the but) in much of the country wholesale food distribution has been decimated or wiped out over the years due to competition from Wal-Mart, Target, Whole Foods, the legacy grocers or Sysco (on the restaurant side).

Geographically, few areas in the US are fortunate enough to have an independent and thriving food/produce wholesale market which helps bring down price and bring up quality to be competitive with the vertically integrated big boys.

Arizona Slim , February 2, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Well, here's Slim from drought-stricken AZ. And I'm about to rain on that co-op parade. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I worked at a food co-op that was the lone survivor after its main competitor went under. And we got REAL busy. We also had a bit of a management problem. Ours was a drunk who often came to work hungover. All the better way to abuse the rest of us. After a staff revolt (yes, I took part in it), he left and took a job as manager of the regional co-op warehouse in Columbus, Ohio. Where he treated the warehouse gals as his harem and got one of them pregnant.

To our utter and total amazement back in Pittsburgh, he took responsibility for his son and tried to be the best father he could. I have no idea what happened with the drinking problem.

The manager who succeeded him was even worse. He even called himself a martinet, and he was. After less than a year of his BS, I bailed out of the co-op and got a sit-down job in an office. Yeah, there was another lousy boss there, and I've talked about her on other threads.

But there was further fun and merriment back at the co-op. I was still friendly with the people who worked there, and guess what? Another staff revolt! They ran Mr. Martinet outta there too! Go staff! Mr. Martinet went to a yuppie grocery store in North Carolina. From there, he went on to become one of the original senior executives in Whole Foods.

diptherio , February 2, 2018 at 3:32 pm

Bummer about the food co-op, Slim. Some of us "in the movement" are trying to work out how to provide accountability for guys like the drunk manager you mention, so that they don't end up doing like he did, and just sliding around from one co-op to another. Open to suggestions

Unfortunately, the co-op name doesn't necessarily imply that everything is groovy for the workers. Hence, REI workers in Seattle trying to unionize, and why UFCW has had such success in organizing every single food co-op in Minneapolis-St. Paul (and there are quite a few). The history of consumer co-ops seems pretty clear – workers in them need union representation just as much as workers in regular businesses.

Pespi , February 2, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Hahaha, an excellent story, well told. I have fond memories of the little local co-op from when I was a kid.

jrs , February 2, 2018 at 1:54 pm

it failed.

rd , February 2, 2018 at 3:46 pm

Or a Wegmans. https://www.wegmans.com/

https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/business/2010/05/14/alec-baldwins-mom-really-really-likes-wegmans/2195927/

EoH , February 2, 2018 at 4:00 pm

For those who need examples, there is an excellent co-op in Ocean Beach, San Diego. Its customer/members are devoutly loyal. By design, each is small and adapted to its local culture and food ecosystem. Michael Pollan is a good resource for ideas on this topic and on real food in general.

American businesses might prefer home runs, but singles and bunts are more common and sustainable. Besides, co-ops are harder to buy up or put out of business in the manner reputed to be practiced by, say, some retail coffee companies.

EoH , February 2, 2018 at 10:35 am

Jeff Bezos. John Galt. No difference.

Louis Fyne , February 2, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Except Jeff Bezos has sold the Ayn Rand way of life to the 'progressive' intelligensia who would happily rant over John Galt if you gave them your ear and a glass of Bordeaux.

HotFlash , February 2, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Didn't John Galt go away?

cnchal , February 2, 2018 at 4:18 pm

I don't know, did he?. I didn't finish the stupid book to find out.

Jeff N , February 2, 2018 at 10:38 am

Not just at Amazon, but I'm seeing an anecdotal trend of "get people to quit within a year or two of starting". Not just with ridiculous requests from above, but even with good ol' passive-aggressiveness. I can't remember if this article was tipped off to me by NC but here it is anyway:
https://www.ft.com/content/356ea48c-e6cf-11e6-967b-c88452263daf
(paywall, or websearch for "how employers manage out unwanted staff")

Croatoan , February 2, 2018 at 10:42 am

Don't you all get it? First they took away their freedom to form unions with others. Now they want to take away your freedom to form a union with you own bodies actions. This will crush the idea of sabotage and work slowdowns as an expression of labor power.

The Rev Kev , February 2, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Of course there is always this simple WW2 manual-https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2012-featured-story-archive/simple-sabotage.html

Jeff Z , February 2, 2018 at 10:57 am

OSHA is a part of the DOL. https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/safety-health

EoH , February 2, 2018 at 11:04 am

Waste is inherent to selling fresh food. Trimmings, dry, damaged meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, breads, prepared foods. That's especially true of anything organic and not engineered to be harder, more colorful, durable and less tasty than their natural analogs. Whole Paycheck's intended customers – really, most shoppers anywhere – do not want to buy adulterated, processed versions of eggs, beakless turkeys, caged hens, and drugged industrially raised cows and pigs.

Fresh food, especially organic, does not last as long as industrial bread, fruits and vegetables or highly sugared packaged foods. It is the antithesis of such foods. The reason chicken soup made the way it was c.1940 is tastier and nutritionally better than soup made from a caged, medicated, neurotic fowl today is not great Grandma's recipe: it's the chicken.

Local sourcing, environmentally safe, animal friendly methods of raising require a wider supplier net. What Michael Pollan would call real food costs more. It should. But real food and real people are ripe for the cruel "more efficient" methods of production, distribution and sale that seem part of Jeff Bezos's DNA. Besides, what he really wants is probably the data flow. WF is simply a way to get it.

rd , February 2, 2018 at 3:52 pm

https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/business/2017/03/03/wegmans-looks-cut-food-waste-with-new-state-regulations-coming/98049694/

Trey N , February 2, 2018 at 11:19 am

Typical uber-"capitalist" idiocy -- seen this happen in a lot of different industries over the years (esp techs):

CEO: "Our product sucks. We've grown too big, lost our innovative edge, we need to get back to our roots!"

Toady: "Uh, tried that already, boss. No can do. Too much bureaucracy now."

CEO: "Shit! Any ideas?"

Toady: "Actually, yes! We can buy out and take over one of the smaller competitors that's eating our lunch now, and steal their latest ideas and projects."

CEO: "Brilliant! Make it so!"

fast forward 1-2 years

CEO: "How's that takeover working out?"

Toady: "Well, it's taken a while, but we've fully integrated the company in with ours -- all of our corporate policies and procedures etc etc are in place there now."

CEO: "Excellent!"

fast forward 1-2 more years .

CEO: "Our product sucks! What happened to all those great ideas coming from that company we took over?"

Toady: "Well, most everyone working there when we bought it out are gone now. The founders and senior management cashed out the takeover premium and bailed immediately, and everybody else got frustrated with our corporate style and policies and eventually quit. Our people took over their projects, and promptly fucked them up beyond all belief. Instead of a cash cow, we got a dead cow on our hands now."

CEO: "Shit! Any ideas?"

Toady: "Yeah. We can either spin it off to the public again or just shut the whole fucking thing down and take a huge earnings write-off."

CEO: "Hmmm,..decisions, decisions . By the way, are there any other small competitors out there that we can buy out to rejuvenate our stale product line, toady?

Rinse. Repeat. Ad nauseum, ad infinitum .

Jeff N , February 2, 2018 at 4:41 pm

haha that's my place!

Sean , February 2, 2018 at 11:20 am

Amazon corporate sounds like a sweatshop. Their treatment of warehouse staff is nothing short of an abomination. But I can't help feeling that some of the employee comments at WholeFoods are less about bad management and work conditions and more about Millenials and a lack of ability handle criticism and work pressure. (The average age of a Whole Food employee at my store is easily 28yo.)

To call working on an inventory system "punitive". It's called business, and yes, it is difficult and takes a lot of effort. Punitive, though. To use an inventory system. Sorry. Not buying the whole story.

JBird , February 2, 2018 at 12:35 pm

If it's common for people to actually cry at work, and to have nightmares, with massive turnover, decreasing quality of service, product, and cleanliness blaming millennials is an inadequate response. Apparently Amazon wants to run Whole Foods with inadequate staff, fails to reward good good work, unfailingly punish not only poor work, but honest mistakes, and makes no allowance within the system for reality. If you did animal training this way, you would see the same results, I promise. The management "techniques" described will destroy any company, or at least reduce productivity massively.

Yves Smith Post author , February 2, 2018 at 3:11 pm

You are straw manning the post and the underlying article. The staff is grilled very frequently and graded, and much of what they are graded on isn't relevant to customer service. The shelves are supposed to be "leveled" all day, which is a ridiculous standard. The testing and insane shelf appearance standards are not normal to the industry and minor deviations are the basis for firing.

RMO , February 3, 2018 at 12:11 am

I have yet to met a single "Millennial" that fits that ridiculous stereotype – and I know a lot of people in that age bracket even though I was born in 1970. The very few who even seem to have tendencies in those directions seem more influenced by being from wealthy families than by their year of birth and I can think of at least as many Boomers and Gen X'ers that are like that too.

When I think of the high-school age or university age jobs the people I grew up with had and compare them to the jobs I've seen my "Millennial" friends doing the younger people have had it substantially worse over all.

Anarcissie , February 2, 2018 at 11:54 am

According to my browser, the word 'union' does not exist in this article.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , February 2, 2018 at 12:40 pm

#Famazon

Also theres an Ad for the 'United States Secret Service' that wants to recruit me. Lol Not with my Reenlistment Code (RE4)!!!!!

Arizona Slim , February 2, 2018 at 1:09 pm

A college friend of my mother went on to run the Secret Service detail for the White House. Very demanding position, but one that Mom's friend was quite proud of.

Eclair , February 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Lordy, Yves, please put a warning sign on that video! It's still breakfast time here in Seattle, and I clicked on it. No, it didn't offend my 'sensibilities.' But it encapsulated all the frustration and anger and helplessness I feel against our system. As well as being a powerful metaphor for 'late stage capitalism.'

Chauncey Gardiner , February 2, 2018 at 3:32 pm

Share your sentiments, Eclair. Having breakfast? The observations about employee abuse also pair well with a video of a 10 minute bike ride through the homeless encampments along the Santa Ana River near Angels Stadium and Disneyland in Anaheim:
https://mobile.twitter.com/Dalrymple/status/953739188050059265

Fear is part of their toolkit.

Pelham , February 2, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Whole Foods employees still outnumber these Amazon creatures checking up on them, I presume. If the WF workers and others at Amazon are so universally tormented and humiliated, shouldn't they be taking some kind of collective action?

Twice during WWII German officers tried to get rid of Hitler. I guess American workers don't measure up to even that standard.

Oregoncharles , February 2, 2018 at 1:59 pm

Those places are begging for union organizers – but are likely to fight back ruthlessly.

EoH , February 2, 2018 at 3:37 pm

I suspect Jeff Bezos would view unions at WF or Amazon the way Reagan viewed unionized Air Traffic Controllers. Or Wal-Mart, which has abandoned markets whose employment laws provide for unions or simply too many protections for employees.

Bezos is extracting resources from his employees with the same thought and in the same manner that early California hard rock miners used massive water hoses (monitors) to liquidate mountains in search for a few gold nuggets. (h/t Gray Brechin)

Petter , February 2, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Why don't they quit? If you allow yourself to be treated as and act as a slave, you become complicit in your own slavery.

Arizona Slim , February 2, 2018 at 1:53 pm

Which is why I Q-U-I-T the food co-op job mentioned above. Did the same in that office job, which was my second-to-last full-time job.

Have I ever had a good job? Yup. Working in a hot, dark, and greasy bike shop. Place closed in 2000 and I still miss the camaraderie with my fellow mechanics -- and the pride of accomplishment that came with fixing the customers' bikes.

Oregoncharles , February 2, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Because, like most Americans, they have no savings and no fallback if they lose their job.

Yves Smith Post author , February 2, 2018 at 3:13 pm

The article said many are quitting. Of course, the better employees will probably have the best options and be able to leave faster.

Craig H. , February 2, 2018 at 2:16 pm

From The Atlantic:

What Amazon Does to Poor Cities

Mostly about their warehouse in San Bernardino. The employees describe working there as The Hunger Games.

Punxsutawney , February 2, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Decades ago I worked in retail,

When arguing with my boss about crap we were required to do, he finally got frustrated and told me "Shit flows downhill", "DEAL WITH IT!". To which my response was "Yep, right onto the customer!"

It made him so angry I was lucky I wasn't fired on the spot, though in hindsight it would have been a blessing. Looks like nothing has changed 30 years later.

JBird , February 2, 2018 at 7:06 pm

I think it's gotten worse as the whole retail industry specifically and perhaps most industries gradually, have had the slowly MBA'd management reorganized, streamlined, outsourced and efficiencied it into a monetized Hades.

I was lucky to work in a couple of well run, or at competently run, businesses. So I know one can be profitable without brutalizing people. It's depressing to see what has happened.

Synoia , February 2, 2018 at 6:42 pm

I imaging the quickest route to being fired is:

Hi, my name is Jeff Bezos, and I'm a union organizer!

Well maybe not the Bezos part.

Jean , February 2, 2018 at 10:03 pm

Wonder what would happen if a customer started handing out union brochures to Whole Foods employees in one of their stores. What are they going to do? Kick you, a customer, out of the store?

Yves Smith Post author , February 2, 2018 at 10:29 pm

They probably would. It's private space. But it would make for good news stories. You would need to actually shop in fact handing them out to all the cashiers when you are checking out would be the best move, since you'd be out the store before management would catch on.

Dongo , February 2, 2018 at 8:51 pm

As the articles in the Business Insider series explicitly point out, this hated new system preceded the acquisition by Amazon.

Amazon is terrible. The way Whole Foods is now treating its workers is terrible. But Amazon simply did not develop or implement the policies at Whole Foods that this article is ascribing to it.

Jean , February 2, 2018 at 9:37 pm

OTS, What is that?

I know two Whole Foods employees who have quit in the last week.

The new name for the store is "Asswhole Foods".

The game is to sabotage as much as possible and give away and undercharge customers for as much as possible in the weeks before you quit.

A walkout strike on a busy Saturday would be a beautiful thing to see and would really get the public's attention.

Yves Smith Post author , February 2, 2018 at 10:39 pm

Good for your saboteurs! Amazon is trying to stop shrinkage but they'll lose more through deliberately missed scans. Oh, and a freezer door left open or temperature mysteriously reset would wreak even more havoc.

lentilsoup , February 2, 2018 at 10:40 pm

I was in a Whole Foods last night, where I shop a few times per month, here in central California. Lots of unfamiliar faces working there. Produce section definitely looking worse than usual -- empty shelves, low quality items. At checkout, the cashier was a young woman I'd never seen before, who looked tired and dispirited. I asked how she was doing that evening. Smirking wearily, she said, "Hangin' in there " (Which is about how I feel these days, too.) When it came time to pay, it was the first time in my life that the total at Whole Foods was less than I was expecting. Wow, I thought, I didn't think Amazon changed the prices that much? After I got home and looked at the receipt, I realized why -- she hadn't charged me for all the items! Bless her.

I don't believe Amazon and Whole Foods were ever a good match for each other, and with unhappy employees and other problems, I expect this particular branch of WF to be gone in a few years. And I really couldn't care less. There are other good places to shop.

[Feb 02, 2018] Lying, Spying and Hiding by Andrew Napolitano

Notable quotes:
"... The abuse summarized in the Republican memo apparently spans the last year of the Obama administration and the first year of the Trump administration. If it comes through as advertised, it will show the deep state using the government's powers for petty or political or ideological reasons. ..."
"... The use of raw intelligence data by the NSA or the FBI for political purposes or to manipulate those in government is as serious a threat to popular government -- to personal liberty in a free society -- as has ever occurred in America since Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which punished speech critical of the government. ..."
"... No politician gives a hoot about what the people who vote for them think. I am sure, even if any house member or a senator knew of this memo, the bill would still have passed. ..."
"... It appears that the judge doesn't understand how the US government is run these days. ..."
"... Among other Establishment officials, "Robert Mueller, the no-nonsense special counsel investigating whether any Americans aided the Russian government in its now well-known interference in the 2016 American presidential election" (Andrew Napolitano, 12/7/17) helped conduct unlawful, mass surveillance in his FBI gig, and thus violated his "oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution." Right, "Judge"? ..."
"... Senator Wyden knew when Mr. Clapper was lying about governmental spying on every American in a public hearing years ago, Mr. Snowden pulled back the curtain for all to see, and Congress has since flopped. Right, "Judge"? ..."
Feb 01, 2018 | www.unz.com

I have argued for a few weeks now that House Intelligence Committee members have committed misconduct in office by concealing evidence of spying abuses by the National Security Agency and the FBI. They did this by sitting on a four-page memo that summarizes the abuse of raw intelligence data while Congress was debating a massive expansion of FISA.

FISA is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which was written to enable the federal government to spy on foreign agents here and abroad. Using absurd and paranoid logic, the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which only hears the government's lawyers, has morphed "foreign intelligence surveillance" into undifferentiated bulk surveillance of all Americans.

Undifferentiated bulk surveillance is the governmental acquisition of fiber-optic data stored and transmitted by nearly everyone in America. This includes all telephone conversations, text messages and emails, as well as all medical, legal and financial records.

Ignorant of the hot potato on which the House Intelligence Committee had been sitting, Congress recently passed and President Donald Trump signed a vast expansion of spying authorities -- an expansion that authorizes legislatively the domestic spying that judges were authorizing on everyone in the U.S. without individual suspicion of wrongdoing or probable cause of crime; an expansion that passed in the Senate with no votes to spare; an expansion that evades and avoids the Fourth Amendment; an expansion that the president signed into law the day before we all learned of the House Intelligence Committee memo.

The FISA expansion would never have passed the Senate had the House Intelligence Committee memo and the data on which it is based come to light seven days sooner than it did. Why should 22 members of a House committee keep their 500-plus congressional colleagues in the dark about domestic spying abuses while those colleagues were debating the very subject matter of domestic spying and voting to expand the power of those who have abused it?

The answer to this lies in the nature of the intelligence community today and the influence it has on elected officials in the government. By the judicious, personalized and secret revelation of data, both good and bad -- here is what we know about your enemies, and here is what we know about you -- the NSA shows its might to the legislators who supposedly regulate it. In reality, the NSA regulates them.

This is but one facet of the deep state -- the unseen parts of the government that are not authorized by the Constitution and that never change, no matter which party controls the legislative or executive branch. This time, they almost blew it. If just one conscientious senator had changed her or his vote on the FISA expansion -- had that senator known of the NSA and FBI abuses of FISA concealed by the House Intelligence Committee -- the expansion would have failed.

Nevertheless, the evidence on which the committee members sat is essentially a Republican-written summary of raw intelligence data. Earlier this week, the Democrats on the committee authored their version -- based, they say, on the same raw intelligence data as was used in writing the Republican version. But the House Intelligence Committee, made up of 13 Republicans and nine Democrats, voted to release only the Republican-written memo.

Late last week, when it became apparent that the Republican memo would soon be released, the Department of Justice publicly contradicted President Trump by advising the leadership of the House Intelligence Committee in very strong terms that the memo should not be released to the public.

It soon became apparent that, notwithstanding the DOJ admonition, no one in the DOJ had actually seen the memo. So FBI Director Chris Wray made a secret, hurried trip to the House Intelligence Committee's vault last Sunday afternoon to view the memo. When asked by the folks who showed it to him whether it contains secret or top-secret material, he couldn't or wouldn't say. But he apparently saw in the memo the name of the No. 2 person at the FBI, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as one of the abusers of spying authority. That triggered McCabe's summary departure from the FBI the next day, after a career of 30 years.

The abuse summarized in the Republican memo apparently spans the last year of the Obama administration and the first year of the Trump administration. If it comes through as advertised, it will show the deep state using the government's powers for petty or political or ideological reasons.

The use of raw intelligence data by the NSA or the FBI for political purposes or to manipulate those in government is as serious a threat to popular government -- to personal liberty in a free society -- as has ever occurred in America since Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which punished speech critical of the government.

The government works for us; we should not tolerate its treating us as children. When raw intelligence data is capable of differing interpretations and is relevant to a public dispute -- about, for example, whether the NSA and the FBI are trustworthy, whether FISA should even exist, whether spying on everyone all the time keeps us safe and whether the Constitution even permits this -- the raw data should be released to the American public.

Where is the personal courage on the House Intelligence Committee? Where is the patriotism? Where is the fidelity to the Constitution? The government exists by our consent. It derives its powers from us. We have a right to know what it has done in our names, who broke our trust, who knew about it, who looked the other way and why and by whom all this was intentionally hidden until after Congress voted to expand FISA.

Everyone in government takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. How many take it meaningfully and seriously?

Copyright 2018 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by Creators.com.


MEexpert , February 1, 2018 at 8:02 am GMT

Where is the personal courage on the House Intelligence Committee? Where is the patriotism? Where is the fidelity to the Constitution? The government exists by our consent. It derives its powers from us. We have a right to know what it has done in our names, who broke our trust, who knew about it, who looked the other way and why and by whom all this was intentionally hidden until after Congress voted to expand FISA.

The Judge is wrong. The government exists by Israel's/AIPAC's consent. The fidelity is to the state of Israel. No politician gives a hoot about what the people who vote for them think. I am sure, even if any house member or a senator knew of this memo, the bill would still have passed.

Everyone in government takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution ( State of Israel ). How many take it meaningfully and seriously?

The additions and bolds are mine. It appears that the judge doesn't understand how the US government is run these days. The US government is for Israel, of Israel, and by Israel . Every dishonorable house member and every dishonorable senator knows that. Pure and simple.

Let us see how the Judge's own FOX channel reports on this story.

anonymous Disclaimer , February 1, 2018 at 10:16 am GMT
He'll soon get back to his Russophobia, but Mr. Napolitano's chore today is to create cover for as much Establishment backside as possible by blaming the recent, further statutory enshrinement of our police state on the members of a single committee within the House of Representatives. (He leaves himself room to point his finger at unnamed others who knew about what has now been summarized in a memorandum supposedly soon to be released.) But he fails to address the flaws in this narrative.

1. Among other Establishment officials, "Robert Mueller, the no-nonsense special counsel investigating whether any Americans aided the Russian government in its now well-known interference in the 2016 American presidential election" (Andrew Napolitano, 12/7/17) helped conduct unlawful, mass surveillance in his FBI gig, and thus violated his "oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution." Right, "Judge"?

2. This article, foreshadowed in his published here last week, pounds on the farcical notion that only members of a single House committee have known, and have known only recently, about "[t]he abuse summarized in the Republican memo," that if "just one conscientious senator had changed her or his vote on the FISA expansion -- had that senator known of the NSA and FBI abuses of FISA concealed by the House Intelligence Committee -- the expansion would have failed." But Senator Wyden knew when Mr. Clapper was lying about governmental spying on every American in a public hearing years ago, Mr. Snowden pulled back the curtain for all to see, and Congress has since flopped. Right, "Judge"?

3. Building on his article of last week, Mr. Napolitano wants his readers to think that, daggum it, there's nothing to be done about this now, as though the tablets have been carved and sent back up the mountain for several years. But "one conscientious senator" could take the floor today to introduce a bill to repeal any of these previous or new FISA provisions. Right, "Judge"?

4. None of this law matters because all these people are above it. Right, "Judge"?

Michelle , February 2, 2018 at 7:29 pm GMT
I used to think that the 2 Parties just traded off every few elections and that the President, being only a figure head, was predetermined. Julian Assange, before the election, stated, very firmly, that the powers that be would never let Trump become President. I believed him. I still can't figure out how Trump slipped in under the radar.

[Jan 30, 2018] One of the mysteries of the Snowden affair was why none (almost none) of the 40,000 employees of the disgusting 4th Amendment-trampling NSA blew the whistle on what they likely would have known was massive illegal spying.

Jan 30, 2018 | off-guardian.org

George Cornell says January 24, 2018

One of the mysteries of the Snowden affair was why none (almost none) of the 40,000 employees of the disgusting 4th Amendment-trampling NSA blew the whistle on what they likely would have known was massive illegal spying. It seems logical to assume they used their own technology to screen applicants and I have it third hand that they screened each applicant or nomination, for any left wing activity, any boat-rocking history, any standing up to authority, emerging with a Stepford culture of fartcatching milquetoasts, who meekly and submissively did what they were told and nothing else.

I now ask the same question of the disgraceful Guardian, which is nearly unrecognizably distant from the aims of the family trust establishing it in the wake of Peterloo. Why have none of their columnist railed publicly against the perverse mutilation of a grand old establishment gad fly and formerly a beacon of integrity?

To read the Fraudian now, you have to discount nearly everything they say and decipher the tiresome code for what they really think. Unless you can be sustained by mindless gender-counting and lifestyle advice preceded by the things you 'must' do , delivered by yapping non-experts, bulwarked by doctrinaire moderatrices.

This was a paper to which a whistleblower, not long ago might choose to go. They would be mad to go there now after the Fraudian threw Snowden under the bus in their uninhibited headlong fanatical drum eating for the dreaded Hillary. The pant-suited one wants him home "to face the music". Nice. There were many lessons from Hillary's defeat and they have learned none of them.

We live in an era where lying to Congress can be done with impunity cf. Alexander, Clapper, Brennan et al. There was no consequence for them There could be a consequence for the Fraudian.

[Jan 25, 2018] William Binney About Released Secret FISA Memo: People Need To Go To Jail

Jan 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

RobinG , Next New Comment January 25, 2018 at 7:09 am GMT

Bill Binney discusses Dragnet Against TRUMP and ALL AMERICANS

William Binney About Released Secret FISA Memo: People Need To Go To Jail

[Jan 24, 2018] The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
This is really a "soft coup", a color revolution against Trump
Notable quotes:
"... It would have been unfortunate enough for Strzok and Page to have their adolescent-sounding texts merely exposed, revealing the reckless abandon of star-crossed lovers hiding (they thought) secrets from cuckolded spouses, office colleagues, and the rest of us. However, for the never-Trump plotters in the FBI, the official release of just a fraction (375) of almost 10,000 messages does incalculably more damage than that. ..."
"... We suddenly have documentary proof that key elements of the U.S. intelligence community were trying to short-circuit the U.S. democratic process. And that puts in a new and dark context the year-long promotion of Russia-gate. It now appears that it was not the Russians trying to rig the outcome of the U.S. election, but leading officials of the U.S. intelligence community, shadowy characters sometimes called the Deep State. ..."
"... More of the Strzok-Page texting dialogue is expected to be released. And the Department of Justice Inspector General reportedly has additional damaging texts from others on the team that Special Counsel Robert Mueller selected to help him investigate Russia-gate. ..."
"... But the main casualty is the FBI's 18-month campaign to sabotage candidate-and-now-President Donald Trump by using the Obama administration's Russia-gate intelligence "assessment," electronic surveillance of dubious legality, and a salacious dossier that could never pass the smell test, while at the same time using equally dubious techniques to immunize Hillary Clinton and her closest advisers from crimes that include lying to the FBI and endangering secrets ..."
"... Ironically, the Strzok-Page texts provide something that the Russia-gate investigation has been sorely lacking: first-hand evidence of both corrupt intent and action. After months of breathless searching for "evidence" of Russian-Trump collusion designed to put Trump in the White House, what now exists is actual evidence that senior officials of the Obama administration colluded to keep Trump out of the White House – proof of what old-time gumshoes used to call "means, motive and opportunity ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Besides this wildly improbable storyline, there were flat denials from WikiLeaks, which distributed the supposedly "hacked" Democratic emails, that the information came from Russia – and there was the curious inability of the National Security Agency to use its immense powers to supply any technical evidence to support the Russia-hack scenario. ..."
"... on Jan. 6, 2017, President Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released an evidence-free report that he said was compiled by "hand-picked" analysts from the CIA, FBI and NSA, offering an "assessment" that Russia and President Putin were behind the release of the Democratic emails in a plot to help Trump win the presidency. ..."
"... Despite the extraordinary gravity of the charge, even New York Times correspondent Scott Shane noted that proof was lacking. He wrote at the time: "What is missing from the [the Jan. 6] public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to 'trust us.'" ..."
"... Virtually all skepticism about the evidence-free "assessment" was banned. For months, the Times and other newspapers of record repeated the lie that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had concurred in the conclusion about the Russian "hack." Even when that falsehood was belatedly acknowledged , the major news outlets just shifted the phrasing slightly to say that U.S. intelligence agencies had reached the Russian "hack" conclusion. Shane's blunt initial recognition about the lack of proof disappeared from the mainstream media's approved narrative of Russia-gate. ..."
"... Doubts about the Russian "hack" or dissident suggestions that what we were witnessing was a "soft coup" were scoffed at by leading media commentators. Other warnings from veteran U.S. intelligence professionals about the weaknesses of the Russia-gate narrative and the danger of letting politicized intelligence overturn a constitutional election were also brushed aside in pursuit of the goal of removing Trump from the White House. ..."
"... Justified or not, Trump's feeling of vindication could hardly be more dangerous -- particularly at a time when the most urgent need is to drain some testosterone from the self-styled Stable-Genius-in-Chief and his martinet generals. ..."
"... On the home front, Trump, his wealthy friends, and like-thinkers in Congress may now feel they have an even wider carte blanche to visit untold misery on the poor, the widow, the stranger and other vulnerable humans. That was always an underlying danger of the Resistance's strategy to seize on whatever weapons were available – no matter how reckless or unfair – to "get Trump." ..."
"... Beyond that, Russia-gate has become so central to the Washington establishment's storyline that there appears to be no room for second-thoughts or turning back. The momentum is such that some Democrats and the media never-Trumpers can't stop stoking the smoke of Russia-gate and holding out hope against hope that it will somehow justify Trump's impeachment. ..."
"... Yet, the sordid process of using legal/investigative means to settle political scores further compromises the principle of the "rule of law" and integrity of journalism in the eyes of many Americans. After a year of Russia-gate, the "rule of law" and "pursuit of truth" appear to have been reduced to high-falutin' phrases for political score-setttling, a process besmirched by Republicans in earlier pursuits of Democrats and now appearing to be a bipartisan method for punishing political rivals regardless of the lack of evidence. ..."
"... In June and July 2017 Strzok was the top FBI official working on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but was taken off that job when the Justice Department IG learned of the Strzok-Page text-message exchange and told Mueller ..."
"... At this point, the $64 question is whether the various congressional oversight committees will remain ensconced in their customarily cozy role as "overlook" committees, or whether they will have the courage to attempt to carry out their Constitutional duty. The latter course would mean confronting a powerful Deep State and its large toolbox of well-practiced retaliatory techniques, including J. Edgar Hoover-style blackmail on steroids, enabled by electronic surveillance of just about everything and everyone. Yes, today's technology permits blanket collection, and "Collect Everything" has become the motto. ..."
"... Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, with almost four decades of membership in the House and Senate, openly warned incoming President Trump in January 2017 against criticizing the U.S. intelligence community because U.S. intelligence officials have "six ways from Sunday to get back at you" if you are "dumb" enough to take them on. ..."
"... If congressional investigators have been paying attention, they already know what former weapons inspector Scott Ritter shared with Veteran intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) colleagues this week; namely, that Fusion GPS's Glenn Simpson, who commissioned the Russia dossier using Democratic Party money, said he reached out to Steele after June 17, just three days before Steele's first report was published , drawing on seven sources. ..."
"... How, you might ask, could Strzok and associates undertake these extra-legal steps with such blithe disregard for the possible consequences should they be caught? The answer is easy; Mrs. Clinton was a shoo-in, remember? This was just extra insurance with no expectation of any "death benefit" ever coming into play -- save for Trump's electoral demise in November 2016. The attitude seemed to be that, if abuse of the FISA law should eventually be discovered -- there would be little interest in a serious investigation by the editors of The New York Times and other anti-Trump publications and whatever troubles remained could be handled by President Hillary Clinton. ..."
"... As you know Mr. McGovern the police state seldom loses. ..."
"... Compared to the criminal and corrupt US political system, the mafia is an honor society oriented on values. More and more evidence appears that the whole Russian Gate was precooked by the Obama and Clinton mafia together with crooks like Clapper, Brennan, Comey. Lynch and many of the top brass in the FBI and the DoJ. The installment of Bob Mueller who is hugely biased and a Comey body hired only Clinton supporters as his lawyers. But such a team shows how corrupt the US justice system has already become. ..."
"... Considering all the experience gleaned from 7+ decades of subverting and overthrowing governments around the world, the Deep State thugs must of thought securing the WH for their Killer Queen was a 'slam dunk.' ..."
"... The FBI answers to the CIA. This essay is absurd. ..."
Jan 24, 2018 | www.unz.com

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the third presidential debate in 2016, during which Clinton called Trump Vladimir Putin's "puppet.

Special Report: In the Watergate era, liberals warned about U.S. intelligence agencies manipulating U.S. politics, but now Trump-hatred has blinded many of them to this danger becoming real, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

Russia-gate is becoming FBI-gate, thanks to the official release of unguarded text messages between loose-lipped FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and his garrulous girlfriend, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. (Ten illustrative texts from their exchange appear at the end of this article.)

Despite his former job as chief of the FBI's counterintelligence section, Strzok had the naive notion that texting on FBI phones could not be traced. Strzok must have slept through "Surity 101." Or perhaps he was busy texting during that class. Girlfriend Page cannot be happy at being misled by his assurance that using office phones would be a secure way to conduct their affair(s).

It would have been unfortunate enough for Strzok and Page to have their adolescent-sounding texts merely exposed, revealing the reckless abandon of star-crossed lovers hiding (they thought) secrets from cuckolded spouses, office colleagues, and the rest of us. However, for the never-Trump plotters in the FBI, the official release of just a fraction (375) of almost 10,000 messages does incalculably more damage than that.

We suddenly have documentary proof that key elements of the U.S. intelligence community were trying to short-circuit the U.S. democratic process. And that puts in a new and dark context the year-long promotion of Russia-gate. It now appears that it was not the Russians trying to rig the outcome of the U.S. election, but leading officials of the U.S. intelligence community, shadowy characters sometimes called the Deep State.

More of the Strzok-Page texting dialogue is expected to be released. And the Department of Justice Inspector General reportedly has additional damaging texts from others on the team that Special Counsel Robert Mueller selected to help him investigate Russia-gate.

Besides forcing the removal of Strzok and Page, the text exposures also sounded the death knell for the career of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, in whose office some of the plotting took place and who has already announced his plans to retire soon.

But the main casualty is the FBI's 18-month campaign to sabotage candidate-and-now-President Donald Trump by using the Obama administration's Russia-gate intelligence "assessment," electronic surveillance of dubious legality, and a salacious dossier that could never pass the smell test, while at the same time using equally dubious techniques to immunize Hillary Clinton and her closest advisers from crimes that include lying to the FBI and endangering secrets.

Ironically, the Strzok-Page texts provide something that the Russia-gate investigation has been sorely lacking: first-hand evidence of both corrupt intent and action. After months of breathless searching for "evidence" of Russian-Trump collusion designed to put Trump in the White House, what now exists is actual evidence that senior officials of the Obama administration colluded to keep Trump out of the White House – proof of what old-time gumshoes used to call "means, motive and opportunity."

Even more unfortunately for Russia-gate enthusiasts, the FBI lovers' correspondence provides factual evidence exposing much of the made-up "Resistance" narrative – the contrived storyline that The New York Times and much of the rest of the U.S. mainstream media deemed fit to print with little skepticism and few if any caveats, a scenario about brilliantly devious Russians that not only lacks actual evidence – relying on unverified hearsay and rumor – but doesn't make sense on its face.

The Russia-gate narrative always hinged on the preposterous notion that Russian President Vladimir Putin foresaw years ago what no American political analyst considered even possible, the political ascendancy of Donald Trump. According to the narrative, the fortune-telling Putin then risked creating even worse tensions with a nuclear-armed America that would – by all odds – have been led by a vengeful President Hillary Clinton.

Besides this wildly improbable storyline, there were flat denials from WikiLeaks, which distributed the supposedly "hacked" Democratic emails, that the information came from Russia – and there was the curious inability of the National Security Agency to use its immense powers to supply any technical evidence to support the Russia-hack scenario.

The Trump Shock

But the shock of Trump's election and the decision of many never-Trumpers to cast their lot with the Resistance led to a situation in which any prudent skepticism or demand for evidence was swept aside.

So, on Jan. 6, 2017, President Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released an evidence-free report that he said was compiled by "hand-picked" analysts from the CIA, FBI and NSA, offering an "assessment" that Russia and President Putin were behind the release of the Democratic emails in a plot to help Trump win the presidency.

Despite the extraordinary gravity of the charge, even New York Times correspondent Scott Shane noted that proof was lacking. He wrote at the time: "What is missing from the [the Jan. 6] public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to 'trust us.'"

But the "assessment" served a useful purpose for the never-Trumpers: it applied an official imprimatur on the case for delegitimizing Trump's election and even raised the long-shot hope that the Electoral College might reverse the outcome and possibly install a compromise candidate, such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, in the White House. Though the Powell ploy fizzled, the hope of somehow removing Trump from office continued to bubble, fueled by the growing hysteria around Russia-gate.

Virtually all skepticism about the evidence-free "assessment" was banned. For months, the Times and other newspapers of record repeated the lie that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had concurred in the conclusion about the Russian "hack." Even when that falsehood was belatedly acknowledged , the major news outlets just shifted the phrasing slightly to say that U.S. intelligence agencies had reached the Russian "hack" conclusion. Shane's blunt initial recognition about the lack of proof disappeared from the mainstream media's approved narrative of Russia-gate.

Doubts about the Russian "hack" or dissident suggestions that what we were witnessing was a "soft coup" were scoffed at by leading media commentators. Other warnings from veteran U.S. intelligence professionals about the weaknesses of the Russia-gate narrative and the danger of letting politicized intelligence overturn a constitutional election were also brushed aside in pursuit of the goal of removing Trump from the White House.

It didn't even seem to matter when new Russia-gate disclosures conflicted with the original narrative that Putin had somehow set Trump up as a Manchurian candidate. All normal journalistic skepticism was jettisoned. It was as if the Russia-gate advocates started with the conclusion that Trump must go and then made the facts fit into that mold, but anyone who noted the violations of normal investigative procedures was dismissed as a "Trump enabler" or a "Moscow stooge."

The Text Evidence

But then came the FBI text messages, providing documentary evidence that key FBI officials involved in the Russia-gate investigation were indeed deeply biased and out to get Trump, adding hard proof to Trump's longstanding lament that he was the subject of a "witch hunt ."

Peter Strzok, who served as a Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, second in command of counterintelligence.

Justified or not, Trump's feeling of vindication could hardly be more dangerous -- particularly at a time when the most urgent need is to drain some testosterone from the self-styled Stable-Genius-in-Chief and his martinet generals.

On the home front, Trump, his wealthy friends, and like-thinkers in Congress may now feel they have an even wider carte blanche to visit untold misery on the poor, the widow, the stranger and other vulnerable humans. That was always an underlying danger of the Resistance's strategy to seize on whatever weapons were available – no matter how reckless or unfair – to "get Trump."

Beyond that, Russia-gate has become so central to the Washington establishment's storyline that there appears to be no room for second-thoughts or turning back. The momentum is such that some Democrats and the media never-Trumpers can't stop stoking the smoke of Russia-gate and holding out hope against hope that it will somehow justify Trump's impeachment.

Yet, the sordid process of using legal/investigative means to settle political scores further compromises the principle of the "rule of law" and integrity of journalism in the eyes of many Americans. After a year of Russia-gate, the "rule of law" and "pursuit of truth" appear to have been reduced to high-falutin' phrases for political score-setttling, a process besmirched by Republicans in earlier pursuits of Democrats and now appearing to be a bipartisan method for punishing political rivals regardless of the lack of evidence.

Strzok and Page

Peter Strzok (pronounced "struck") has an interesting pedigree with multiple tasks regarding both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. As the FBI's chief of counterespionage during the investigation into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's unauthorized use of a personal email server for classified information, Strzok reportedly changed the words "grossly negligent" (which could have triggered legal prosecution) to the far less serious "extremely careless" in FBI Director James Comey's depiction of Clinton's actions. This semantic shift cleared the way for Comey to conclude just 20 days before the Democratic National Convention began in July 2016, that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring charges against Mrs. Clinton.

Then, as Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, Strzok led the FBI's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election of 2016. It is a safe bet that he took a strong hand in hand-picking the FBI contingent of analysts that joined "hand-picked" counterparts from CIA and NSA in preparing the evidence-free, Jan. 6, 2017 assessment accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of interfering in the election of 2016. (Although accepted in Establishment groupthink as revealed truth, that poor excuse for analysis reflected the apogee of intelligence politicization -- rivaled only by the fraudulent intelligence on "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq 15 years ago.)

In June and July 2017 Strzok was the top FBI official working on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but was taken off that job when the Justice Department IG learned of the Strzok-Page text-message exchange and told Mueller.

There is no little irony in the fact that what did in the FBI sweathearts was their visceral disdain for Mr. Trump, their cheerleading-cum-kid-gloves treatment of Mrs. Clinton and her associates, their 1950-ish, James Clapperesque attitude toward Russians as "almost genetically driven" to evil, and their (Strzok/Page) elitist conviction that they know far better what is good for the country than regular American citizens, including those "deplorables" whom Clinton said made up half of Trump's supporters.

But Strzok/Page had no idea that their hubris, elitism and scheming would be revealed in so tangible a way. Worst of all for them, the very thing that Strzok, in particular, worked so hard to achieve -- the sabotaging of Trump and immunization of Mrs. Clinton and her closest advisers is now coming apart at the seams.

Congress: Oversee? or Overlook?

At this point, the $64 question is whether the various congressional oversight committees will remain ensconced in their customarily cozy role as "overlook" committees, or whether they will have the courage to attempt to carry out their Constitutional duty. The latter course would mean confronting a powerful Deep State and its large toolbox of well-practiced retaliatory techniques, including J. Edgar Hoover-style blackmail on steroids, enabled by electronic surveillance of just about everything and everyone. Yes, today's technology permits blanket collection, and "Collect Everything" has become the motto.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, with almost four decades of membership in the House and Senate, openly warned incoming President Trump in January 2017 against criticizing the U.S. intelligence community because U.S. intelligence officials have "six ways from Sunday to get back at you" if you are "dumb" enough to take them on.

Thanks to the almost 10,000 text messages between Strzok and Page, only a small fraction of which were given to Congress four weeks ago, there is now real evidentiary meat on the bones of the suspicions that there indeed was a "deep-state coup" to "correct" the outcome of the 2016 election. We now know that the supposedly apolitical FBI officials had huge political axes to grind. The Strzok-Page exchanges drip with disdain for Trump and those deemed his smelly deplorable supporters. In one text message, Strzok expressed visceral contempt for those working-class Trump voters, writing on Aug. 26, 2016, "Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support. it's scary real down here."

The texts even show Strzok warning of the need for an "insurance policy" to thwart Trump on the off-chance that his poll numbers closed in on those of Mrs. Clinton.

An Aug. 6, 2016 text message, for example, shows Page giving her knight in shining armor strong affirmation: "Maybe you're meant to stay where you are because you're meant to protect the country from that menace [Trump]." That text to Strzok includes a link to a David Brooks column in The New York Times, in which Brooks concludes with the clarion call: "There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you're not in revolt, you're in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame."

Another text message shows that other senior government officials – alarmed at the possibility of a Trump presidency – joined the discussion. In an apparent reference to an August 2016 meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Strzok wrote to Page on Aug. 15, 2016, "I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he [Trump] gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." Strzok added, "It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event that you die before you're 40."

Insurance Policy?

Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says he will ask Strzok to explain the "insurance policy" when he calls him to testify. What seems already clear is that the celebrated "Steele Dossier" was part of the "insurance," as was the evidence-less legend that Russia hacked the DNC's and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's emails and gave them to WikiLeaks .

If congressional investigators have been paying attention, they already know what former weapons inspector Scott Ritter shared with Veteran intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) colleagues this week; namely, that Fusion GPS's Glenn Simpson, who commissioned the Russia dossier using Democratic Party money, said he reached out to Steele after June 17, just three days before Steele's first report was published , drawing on seven sources.

"There is a snowball's chance in hell that this is raw intelligence gathered by Steele; rather he seems to have drawn on a single 'trusted intermediary' to gather unsubstantiated rumor already in existence."

Another VIPS colleague, Phil Giraldi, writing out of his own experience in private sector consulting, added: "The fact that you do not control your sources frequently means that they will feed you what they think you want to hear. Since they are only doing it for money, the more lurid the details the better, as it increases the apparent value of the information. The private security firm in turn, which is also doing it for the money, will pass on the stories and even embroider them to keep the client happy and to encourage him to come back for more. When I read the Steele dossier it looked awfully familiar to me, like the scores of similar reports I had seen which combined bullshit with enough credible information to make the whole product look respectable."

It is now widely known that the Democrats ponied up the "insurance premiums," so to speak, for former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele's "dossier" of lurid -- but largely unproven -- "intelligence" on Trump and the Russians. If, as many have concluded, the dossier was used to help justify a FISA warrant to snoop on the Trump campaign, those involved will be in deep kimchi, if congressional overseers do their job.

How, you might ask, could Strzok and associates undertake these extra-legal steps with such blithe disregard for the possible consequences should they be caught? The answer is easy; Mrs. Clinton was a shoo-in, remember? This was just extra insurance with no expectation of any "death benefit" ever coming into play -- save for Trump's electoral demise in November 2016. The attitude seemed to be that, if abuse of the FISA law should eventually be discovered -- there would be little interest in a serious investigation by the editors of The New York Times and other anti-Trump publications and whatever troubles remained could be handled by President Hillary Clinton.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, who chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee of Judiciary on Crime and Terrorism, joined Sen. Grassley in signing the letter referring Christopher Steele to the Justice Department to investigate what appear to be false statements about the dossier. In signing, Graham noted the "many stop signs the Department of Justice ignored in its use of the dossier." The signature of committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, however, was missing -- an early sign that a highly partisan battle royale is in the offing. On Tuesday, Feinstein unilaterally released a voluminous transcript of Glenn Simpson's earlier testimony and, as though on cue, Establishment pundits portrayed Steele as a good source and Fusion GPS's Glenn Simpson as a victim.

The Donnybrook is now underway; the outcome uncertain.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army and CIA intelligence analyst for 30 years; prepared and briefed the President's Daily Brief for Nixon, Ford, and Reagan; and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

... ... ...

SunBakedSuburb , January 15, 2018 at 9:30 pm GMT

Thanks for the article, Mr. McGovern. I sure wish this could be published where some liberal eyeballs could get a look at it. I would also be interested in your opinion on the strange stuff found in some of the John Podesta emails. Although I can understand why you may not want to swim in those murky waters.
niteranger , January 24, 2018 at 5:28 am GMT
The world is controlled by Corporate Fascist Military Industrial Intelligence Police States. They will pick the leaders of the world and no one will tell the differently. This FBI scandal goes through all the intelligence agencies and begins with Obama who basically runs the government in his "third term." This entire election was rigged by Dems starting with the exclusion of Sanders. Unfortunately, for the Dems their plan failed because Hillary was such a terrible candidate. If this is not brought out in the open we will never have a chance of getting a legitimate candidate again.

As you know Mr. McGovern the police state seldom loses.

anonymous Disclaimer , January 24, 2018 at 6:05 am GMT
An excellent, factual summary. (And, in light of the last two weeks, prescient.) This is true journalism, long gone from the rotten husks of what used to be known as the Press.

But the passages about Mr. Strzok helping to alter Mr. Comey's letter picked a scab: Why is there such widespread acceptance of the notion that Mrs. Clinton can not now be charged? I don't believe that Mr. McGovern shares that notion, other than seeing how immunizing people, etc., makes her prosecution more difficult. But many Americans on each "side" seem to see Mr. Comey's exercise of what was Mrs. Lynch's discretion to begin with as the equivalent of a Presidential pardon. In the meantime, applicable statutes of limitation run

The more sunlight, the better. But before getting your hopes up about any of this hullabaloo, or expecting any change in how the USG functions, go back and look for those pictures of Mr. Trump golfing with Mr. Clinton, the Clintons at his wedding(s), etc.

Ludwig Watzal , Website January 24, 2018 at 7:19 am GMT

Compared to the criminal and corrupt US political system, the mafia is an honor society oriented on values. More and more evidence appears that the whole Russian Gate was precooked by the Obama and Clinton mafia together with crooks like Clapper, Brennan, Comey. Lynch and many of the top brass in the FBI and the DoJ. The installment of Bob Mueller who is hugely biased and a Comey body hired only Clinton supporters as his lawyers. But such a team shows how corrupt the US justice system has already become.

The mainstream media are involved in this witch hunt against Trump from the very beginning. Perhaps some of its bog shots were even paid for fabricated political reporting. The NYT, the Post, CNN, MSNBC and all the other so-called opinion leaders spread fake news and kept the legend of "Russian collusion" going over a year, despite presenting not a single piece of evidence. Their task was to manipulate and brainwash the American public.

Just listen to this interview. One understands what was and still is going on in this crooked US political system.

The Alarmist , January 24, 2018 at 11:11 am GMT

" thanks to the official release of unguarded text messages between loose-lipped FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and his garrulous girlfriend, FBI lawyer Lisa Page."

Despite the efforts to destroy a significant part of the data trail. You know, in the good old days, evidence of the affair would be enough for their clearances to be revoked, and use of Government telecomms for such purposes would be grounds for firing. Don't know what Sessions is waiting for, but this bubba would like some red meat already. For that matter, he should have told Mueller where to put his subpeona. Sessions really is an empty suit.

bluedog , January 24, 2018 at 12:29 pm GMT
@niteranger

Well in reality it began with Bush the Stupid and his remark that the Constitution was only a GD piece of paper and promptly tore it up,and as long as we continue to have the best government "money can buy" nothing will change,anymore than it will change under Trump, as he switches from the war on terror to the war on competitors (Russia and China)and world domination and its resources..

Greg Bacon , Website January 24, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT

We suddenly have documentary proof that key elements of the U.S. intelligence community were trying to short-circuit the U.S. democratic process.

Considering all the experience gleaned from 7+ decades of subverting and overthrowing governments around the world, the Deep State thugs must of thought securing the WH for their Killer Queen was a 'slam dunk.' My believe is that Trump actually got around 70% of the vote, a number that overwhelmed their computerized vote fixing.

All the grief, misery and destruction we've visited upon nations around the world is now coming back to haunt Americans. Only part missing is the violent overthrow or assassination of a leader and don't put the Deep State thugs beyond that.

fnn , January 24, 2018 at 12:43 pm GMT

On the home front, Trump, his wealthy friends, and like-thinkers in Congress may now feel they have an even wider carte blanche to visit untold misery on the poor, the widow, the stranger and other vulnerable humans.

This looks like a disingenuous conflation of Trump (and his handful of presumably more or less dependable allies/minions) with the Ryan-Koch- US Chamber of Commerce GOP establishment. Despite what Jeff Flake says, he's not a dictator, so he has to make concessions to the donor class-controlled wing of the party. This stuff is so obvious I'm embarrassed as I type it out.

bluedog , January 24, 2018 at 12:43 pm GMT
@Wally

Keep right on sucking up that kool-aid,the economy has an up-tick because of government spending, which of course will add another $1.7 trillion (per David Stockman Reagan's budget directer) to the debt that you just wished onto your children,g children and their children (ain't you proud/) and lol if you believe those government figures on the unemployment stats than you must believe in the tooth fairy,and of course along with those bonuses comes the lay-offs, a thousand here a thousand there (on the Lay-off list) as the work is out sourced to other countries,meanwhile a few more billion goes to the military/industrial group.Ah yes utopia at last,well while it last that is .

n230099 , January 24, 2018 at 1:11 pm GMT

"It would have been unfortunate enough for Strzok and Page to have their adolescent-sounding texts merely exposed, revealing the reckless abandon of star-crossed lovers hiding (they thought) secrets from cuckolded spouses, office colleagues, and the rest of us."

True One of the first thoughts I had was that these were, at most, highschool level communications. To think this is 'high level' government in action is, at once, amusing and disturbing.

Jim Christian , January 24, 2018 at 1:49 pm GMT
@RobinG

Now, many companies are cutting corners by using "contract workers" on a temporary basis.

Concur all, but this especially. In the DC area starting with the internet boom and dot.com busts of the late 90s, Indians started coming in and all of a sudden, everyone in IT and computer technologies was being replaced with a contract. After spending years getting certs and continuously upgrading skills and certs, people were ruined with imported contractors. It started at FannyMae and Freddie Mac, the entire board and hierarchy there read like the New Delhi phone book for twenty years now. Between the Chins and Indians, there's been an enormous overclass installed and it's not going anywhere. Someone here recently wrote an article about it but it isn't recent. With the handwriting on the wall so long ago, I gave up chasing Microsoft certs and contracts and went back to analog phone systems and infrastructure and electrical, but I saw a lot of people that tried to follow the professional IT path ruined. Throw in the racial and sexual politics in the offices and the environment is pretty miserable anyway..

Pretty bad as is, but with AI coming about, whole classes of Democrat folks unconcerned with immigration will be replaced by Bots of all sorts, making the immigration hardships look like Disney World.

The Alarmist , January 24, 2018 at 2:29 pm GMT

"Strzok reportedly changed the words "grossly negligent" (which could have triggered legal prosecution) to the far less serious "extremely careless" in FBI Director James Comey's depiction of Clinton's actions. This semantic shift cleared the way for Comey to conclude just 20 days before the Democratic National Convention began in July 2016, that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring charges against Mrs. Clinton."

It's a thin line between "gross negligence" and "extreme carelessness." While "gross negligence" usually involves unintentional acts, they can border on intentional conduct by the very recklessness of the activity. A senior government moving vast amounts of classified data on unsecured networks can't begin to assert she didn't know the risks she was taking. Semantics here are irrelevant: The substance of the law is that HRC was grossly negligent.

As a seasoned lawyer, Comey would know that a prosecutor could very reasonably equate the two and charge on a violation of 18 USC 793 (Gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information) There are a couple paragraphs that could be applied, but (f) looks most likely. The mere act of storing classified data on a personal server could also be a violation of 18 USC 798 (Disclosure of classified information). Destroying the same data might also be charged as violations of the 2009 Federal Records Act, and there is plenty of reason to pursue the limb of Obstruction of Justice in light of the other serious charges that could reasonably be made.

In order to be credible, justice must be seen to be done. The longer Sessions and Trump let this charade go uninvestigated for fear that investigating it looks overtly political, the more political it actually becomes, and the less credible the rule of law in America becomes ("Laws and regulations are for the little people!)

Anonymous Disclaimer , January 24, 2018 at 2:47 pm GMT
The deep state coup was the appointment of Trump or it could have been Clinton. You have no choice when you vote. The work of retired spooks like McGovern is to convince you that you live in a Democracy where voting matters. There's no evidence that voting serves anyone other than appearances for the ruling elite.

The FBI is an inherently political organization. I would expect the FBI to tweet things like " that motherfucker is goin' down" or "fuck her" or "Orange son of a bitch, let's make some noise" or more racist "those nigger motherfuckers in the city" or "think you're anonymous on the internet lil'boy?" Those would be the tweets of the FBI that we all know and love.

anonymous Disclaimer , January 24, 2018 at 3:34 pm GMT
This interference into a presidential election by an agency such as the FBI raises the question of whether there's been manipulation of other previous elections. Were some of our previous presidents installed through machinations of an intelligence agency?
bluedog , January 24, 2018 at 4:26 pm GMT
@Wally

Sure they are these companies and corporations are saving millions upon millions due to Trump and the republicans, while throwing a few crumbs to the workers who are suppose to lick their hands, many who only make $10-$11 dollars per hour, and seeing they are bonuses the government will take more than their share, and down the road these same workers will be paying it back in spades ,after all someone has to fund the military/industrial racket

Anonymous Disclaimer , Website January 24, 2018 at 5:16 pm GMT
Trump needs to be impeached. The entire Government is a bad bit of fiction, why not use the symbolic figure head of empire to generate excitement in the mass of American sheep? To that end, throw up any accusation that will stick, make it sound like a Constitutional crisis but simple enough for the average begrudged redneck to understand. The FBI has an agenda, what part of the Government doesn't? The whole point of elections is to have different groups employ every tactic under the sun to manipulate said sheep. Let's get the impeachment show started.
Altai , January 24, 2018 at 6:02 pm GMT
This whole affair also totally destroys the G-Man mythos. From the outside Strzok looks the part. Yet both he and Page write texts like they're particularly dim 20 year old girls.

Strzok – God Hillary should win. 100,000,000-0.

Page– I don't know. But we'll get it back. We're America. We rock.

Page – He's not ever going to become president, right? Right?!

Strzok – OMG did you hear what Trump just said?

Page – Yep. Out to lunch with (redacted) We both hate everyone and everything.

Page – Just riffing on the hot mess that is our country.

Strzok– Donald just said "bad hombres"

This is the level of discourse (Of course this could just be a biased sample to humiliate Strzok but leave the really bad conspiring out of frame) he has with his mistress on an FBI phone as he plans dirty tricks on his own country?

chris , January 24, 2018 at 8:42 pm GMT
The sad part will be to see how they will all, one after the other, get away with everything they've done.

If any of them will even go to trial for anything other than some procedural point, they'll all make a deal with DC-Democratic prosecutors, Hollywood will make a film casting them as heroes and they'll all get a slap on the wrist, a la Petraeus.

The politicians will claim that they have to hide the truth so that the public will not loose their 'trust' in these institutions, they'll name some RINO as the 'compromise' candidate to lead these institutions and it'll be back to business as usual in the heart of the empire, as in all previous times, see James Bovard's article:

http://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/370122-another-software-upgrade-suppressing-evidence-is-fbi-standard-procedure

chris , January 24, 2018 at 9:01 pm GMT
my favoriete quote:

Page– I don't know. But we'll get it back. We're America. We rock.

Such vacuous shallowness, imagining themselves to be the heroes of some cheap Hollywood movie, not even suspecting how 2 dimensional, delusional, and sophomoric it all sounds (of course, it only sound moronic because we found out about it before the plan reach its planned conclusion).

After 14 years of non-stop wars and mass murder, we find out the empire is run by the cheerleading squad, motivating each other with high fives while trying to take 'democracy' down. Still, I suspect there were adults at table also who mad sure to say one step out of the spotlight.

Maple Curtain , January 24, 2018 at 9:12 pm GMT
"Page– I don't know. But we'll get it back. We're America. We rock."

"We're America. We Rock."

And there we have it folks, the type of REAL SERIOUS mature human beings with oodles of gravitas who infest the highest echelons of our bureaucracies.

They rock.

We're deplorable.

That little girl, Page, is stuck emotionally, in junior high. Trump is just not one of the cool kids and he needs to be ostracized.

... ... ...

Twodees Partain , January 24, 2018 at 9:37 pm GMT
@The Alarmist

"It's a thin line between "gross negligence" and "extreme carelessness." "

Not in the context of legal language. In fact, it's a great divide. "Extremely careless" is not a federal criminal charge, while "gross negligence" actually is. Never mind about the difference in degree when speaking of the two terms, one is a crime, and the other is merely grounds for an investigation.

Frankie P , January 24, 2018 at 10:16 pm GMT
@Ludwig Watzal

Excellent video, fantastic, in-depth analysis. Thank you.

Frankie P

'Quit digging'.

Anonymous Disclaimer , January 25, 2018 at 1:50 am GMT
The FBI answers to the CIA. This essay is absurd.

[Jan 24, 2018] Congress is treating Americans like children over FISA memo Judge Napolitano - YouTube

Jan 22, 2018 | www.youtube.com

FOX News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on how damaging the four-page FISA memo could really be to the U.S. government.


SusanBailey AmazingEstate , 1 day ago

They're not treating us like children. They're treating us like chumps. I don't think I'm the only American citizen who's tired of it. Impanel a grand jury and get to the bottom of the massive corruption going on in our country.

WhoToBelieve , 1 day ago

They're not protecting us, they're protecting themselves. They all have dirt that is threatened to be revealed.

TheWisendorf , 1 day ago

Next week we will be mad when we get the memo and find it blacked out every other sentence... That's why they need 19 days to go over 4 lousy pages, To make sure the people don't see anything that might make any sense.

Tonic Taz , 1 day ago

#ReleaseTheMemo #FisaMemo

TheWisendorf , 1 day ago

The memo is just a summary. The actual set of doc are up in the thousands, so no, Nunes or any of the Dems there can fake the memo.

mike dar , 1 day ago

treating Americans like children - more like treating Americans like subjects, vote cows without them having any authority. Americans don't have to give up their authority as employers of Congressmen, the Americans chose to be treated 'like children'.

DucksDeLucks , 1 day ago

The correct argument is not that universal spying on the public doesn't work, but that it's inconsistent with our way of life. Freedom isn't free and one of the costs is not having some of the options a dictator has to deal with adversaries.

[Jan 22, 2018] US Intelligence Could Well Have Wiretapped Trump by Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... Unable to come to terms with losing the 2016 election, Democrats are still pushing the 'Russiagate' probe and blocking the release of a memo describing surveillance abuses by the FBI, former Congressman Ron Paul told RT. ..."
"... I don't think anybody is seeking justice or seeking truth as much as they're seeking to get political advantage ..."
"... "I would be surprised if they haven't spied on him. They spy on everybody else. And they have spied on other members of the executive branch and other presidents." ..."
"... "The other day when they voted to get FISA even more power to spy on American people, the president couldn't be influenced by the fact that they used it against him. And I believe they did, and he believes that." ..."
"... "I've always maintained that government ought to be open and the people ought to have their privacy. But right now the people have no privacy and all our government does is work on secrecy and then it becomes competitive between the two parties, who get stuck with the worst deal by arguing, who's guilty of some crime," the politician explained. ..."
"... Paul also blasted the infamous 'Russian Dossier' compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and which the Democrats used in their attack on Trump, saying it ..."
"... "has no legitimacy being revealing [in terms of] of Trump being associated with Russia. From the people I know The story has been all made up, essentially." ..."
"... "I'm no fan of Trump. I'm not a supporter of his, but I think that has been carried way overboard. I think the Democrats can't stand the fact that they've lost the election, and they can't stand the fact that Trump is a little bit more independent minded than they like," he said. ..."
Jan 20, 2018 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Unable to come to terms with losing the 2016 election, Democrats are still pushing the 'Russiagate' probe and blocking the release of a memo describing surveillance abuses by the FBI, former Congressman Ron Paul told RT.

A top-secret intelligence memo, believed to reveal political bias at the highest levels of the FBI and the DOJ towards President Trump, may well be as significant as the Republicans say, Ron Paul told RT. But, he added, "there's still to many unknowns, especially, from my view point."

"Trump connection to the Russians, I think, has been way overblown, and I'd like to just get to the bottom of this the new information that's coming out, maybe this will reveal things and help us out," he said.

"Right now it's just a political fight," the former US Congressman said. "I think they're dealing with things a lot less important than the issue they ought to be talking about Right now, I don't think anybody is seeking justice or seeking truth as much as they're seeking to get political advantage."

Trump's claims that he was wiretapped by US intelligence agencies on the orders of the Obama administration may well turn out to be true, Paul said.

"I would be surprised if they haven't spied on him. They spy on everybody else. And they have spied on other members of the executive branch and other presidents."

However, he criticized Trump for doing nothing to prevent the Senate from voting in the expansion of warrantless surveillance of US citizens under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) earlier this week.

"The other day when they voted to get FISA even more power to spy on American people, the president couldn't be influenced by the fact that they used it against him. And I believe they did, and he believes that."

"I've always maintained that government ought to be open and the people ought to have their privacy. But right now the people have no privacy and all our government does is work on secrecy and then it becomes competitive between the two parties, who get stuck with the worst deal by arguing, who's guilty of some crime," the politician explained.

The fact that Democrats on the relevant committees have all voted against releasing the memo "might mean that Trump is probably right; there's probably a lot of stuff there that would exonerate him from any accusation they've been making," he said.

Paul also blasted the infamous 'Russian Dossier' compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and which the Democrats used in their attack on Trump, saying it

"has no legitimacy being revealing [in terms of] of Trump being associated with Russia. From the people I know The story has been all made up, essentially."

"I'm no fan of Trump. I'm not a supporter of his, but I think that has been carried way overboard. I think the Democrats can't stand the fact that they've lost the election, and they can't stand the fact that Trump is a little bit more independent minded than they like," he said.

This article was originally published by RT -

[Jan 22, 2018] Trump Jr. on FISA memo Media, Democrats working together to deceive Americans

Jan 22, 2018 | www.washingtonexaminer.com

Donald Trump Jr. called for the release of a memo that allegedly contains information about Obama administration surveillance abuses and suggested that Democrats are complicit with the media in misleading the public.

"It's the double standard that the people are fed by the Democrats in complicity with the media, that's why neither have any trust from the American people anymore," Trump said on Fox News Friday.

[Jan 22, 2018] If Trump is an authoritarian, why don t Democrats treat him like one? by Corey Robin

Highly recommended!
The is a single party of neoliberal oligarchy with two wings. Both are afraid of citizens and would like to sly on them.
Notable quotes:
"... Despite being in the minority, Democrats last week had enough Republican votes on their side to curb the president's ability, enhanced since 9/11, to spy on citizens and non-citizens alike. ..."
"... In the House, a majority of Democrats were willing to join a small minority of Republicans to do just that. But 55 Democrats – including the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi; the minority whip, Steny Hoyer; and other Democratic leaders of the opposition to Trump – refused. ..."
"... After the House voted for an extension of the president's power to spy, a group of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans attempted to filibuster the bill. The critical 60th vote to shut down the filibuster was a Democrat. ..."
"... This is despite the fact that the surveillance bill gives precisely the sorts of powers viewers of an Academy Award-winning film about the Stasi from not long so ago ..."
"... Pelosi: 'We Must Fight Even Harder Against Trump's Authoritarian Impulses Now That We've Voted to Enable Them' ..."
"... But in the same way that discourse of authoritarianism misses the democratic forest for the anti-democratic tweets, so does it focus more on the rhetoric of an abusive man than the infrastructure of an oppressive state, more on the erosion of norms than the material instruments of repression. ..."
Jan 20, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

You'd think that Democrats in Congress would jump at the opportunity to impose a constraint on Donald Trump's presidency – one that liberals and Democrats alike have characterized as authoritarian. Apparently, that's not the case.

Despite being in the minority, Democrats last week had enough Republican votes on their side to curb the president's ability, enhanced since 9/11, to spy on citizens and non-citizens alike.

In the House, a majority of Democrats were willing to join a small minority of Republicans to do just that. But 55 Democrats – including the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi; the minority whip, Steny Hoyer; and other Democratic leaders of the opposition to Trump – refused.

After the House voted for an extension of the president's power to spy, a group of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans attempted to filibuster the bill. The critical 60th vote to shut down the filibuster was a Democrat.

With the exception of Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept, a press that normally expresses great alarm over Trump's amassing and abuse of power has had relatively little to say about this vote (or this vote or this vote).

This is despite the fact that the surveillance bill gives precisely the sorts of powers viewers of an Academy Award-winning film about the Stasi from not long so ago would instantly recognize to a president whose view of the media a leading Republican recently compared to Stalin.

It was left to the Onion to offer the best (and near only) comment:

Pelosi: 'We Must Fight Even Harder Against Trump's Authoritarian Impulses Now That We've Voted to Enable Them'

Last week, I wrote in these pages how the discourse of Trump's authoritarianism ignores or minimizes the ways in which democratic citizens and institutions – the media, the courts, the opposition party, social movements – are opposing Trump, with seemingly little fear of intimidation.

But in the same way that discourse of authoritarianism misses the democratic forest for the anti-democratic tweets, so does it focus more on the rhetoric of an abusive man than the infrastructure of an oppressive state, more on the erosion of norms than the material instruments of repression.

[Jan 19, 2018] Our Potemkin Village - Antiwar.com Original

Jan 19, 2018 | original.antiwar.com

Our Potemkin Village

The empire is getting a bit tattered around the edges

by Justin Raimondo Posted on January 17, 2018 January 16, 2018 While the population of Hawaii dove under manhole covers, and #TheResistance screeched that The Orange Monster had finally done it and forced Kim Jong Un to nuke the island paradise, it took Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the levelheaded, and quite personable representative from that state, to issue a statement countermanding the "take cover" message sent out by the military earlier.

Rep. Gabbard did this within minutes, thus avoiding a major panic with potentially dangerous consequences, while the Authorities took nearly an hour to issue a retraction.

How did this happen? The Official Story is that "someone pushed the wrong button." As to the identity of this Someone, or the consequences that have befallen him or her, we hear nary a word.

This bizarre incident underscores the utter absurdity and darkness of the permanent state of emergency which we live under. For it turns out that there was no system in place capable of countermanding the emergency alert once it went out. A tacit understanding of the reality behind our military strategy: it's a suicide pact.

It also underscores the Potemkin Village aura of what is routinely referred to as our National Security Establishment: in this case, it amounted to some guy in Hawaii wearing flip flops and all too eager to go off duty and get back in the water after going through the unending drill he'd complete hundreds, probably thousands of times before.

So who was the culprit, and what happened to him? The Hawaii authorities refuse to identify him – because "he would be a pariah." Which is a military disciplinary system that has to be unique in all the world. The administrator in chief of the system, a Mr. Miyagi, explained it this way :

"Looking at the nature and cause of the error that led to those events, the deeper problem is not that someone made a mistake; it is that we made it too easy for a simple mistake to have very serious consequences. The system should have been more robust, and I will not let an individual pay for a systemic problem."

What about the individual architects of the system? You can be your bottom dollar none of them will bear any consequences for almost starting World War III. Gee, I recall an incident that occurred on September 11, 2001, in which the "defenses" we'd spent billions on simply did not function and thousands dies as a result – and not a single person was fired.

Inefficiency and outright incompetence are built into structures as large, unwieldy, and unresponsive as the American Empire, and this is what the concept of decadence really entails: the slipshod slips in, the shiny surfaces get to looking a little ramshackle, overconfidence and complacency infiltrate both leaders and led, and pretty soon you're the Austro-Hungarian Empire: big, garish, unsustainable, and basically ready to fall to pieces.

Which is not to say that the Empire is really on its last legs and will fall of its own weight – although that's entirely possible. Look at what happened to the Soviets. Yet the rulers – and inhabitants – of such empires always overestimate their strength and endurance: they live inside the bubble of their own hubris.

That popping sound you hear may augur more than anybody bargained for

A SPECIAL NOTE : My apologies for the abbreviated column, but this is being written on the fly as I get ready to travel to San Francisco to receive my fifth infusion of the anti-cancer drugs Keytruda and Alimta. I have to say I'm feeling a lot better since the treatments started, but I still have a ways to go: I'll keep you posted.

[Jan 16, 2018] Watch A Sitting Congresswoman Shred The MSM Narrative In Under A Minute

Jan 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Watch A Sitting Congresswoman Shred The MSM Narrative In Under A Minute

by Tyler Durden Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:34 155 SHARES

Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard appeared on multiple Sunday news shows a day after her state's false ICBM emergency alert sent the islands into a tense 40 minutes of panic before it was revealed to be a message sent in error, where she slammed the mainstream media's reporting on the North Korean nuclear threat, saying , "We've got to understand that North Korea is holding onto these nuclear weapons because they think it is their only protection from the United States coming in and doing to them what the United States has done to so many countries throughout history."

She further called for Trump to hold direct talks with Kim Jong Un in order to prevent the real thing from ever happening.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) Gabbard is an Army reserve officer who previously served two tours in the Middle East, including in Iraq. Image via the Ron Paul Institute

On Saturday Gabbard had immediately criticized President Trump for mishandling North Korea, taking to MSNBC to proclaim that "our leaders have failed us. Donald Trump is taking too long... he's not taking this [nuclear] threat seriously..." During Sunday interviews she elaborated on a plan of action, advising Trump to enter talks with Pyongyang which should "happen without preconditions" and that Trump should "sit across the table from Kim Jong Un" in order stamp out the climate of fear which contributed to the "unacceptable" alert issued on Saturday.

"We've got to get to the underlying issue here of why are the people of Hawaii and this country facing a nuclear threat coming from North Korea today, and what is this President doing urgently to eliminate that threat?" Gabbard said on CNN's State of the Union. She added that Pyongyang sees its nuclear weapons program as "the only deterrent against the U.S. coming in and overthrowing their regime there " after decades of the US exhibiting a pattern of regime change when dealing with rogue states, which she said makes setting up preconditions for talks a self-defeating step.

And concerning the potential for an "unintentional" nuclear war, Gabbard said, "It's not just the President making a decision to launch a nuclear weapon . It's these kinds of mistakes that we have seen happen in the past that bring us to this brink of nuclear war that could be unintentional."

The Hawaii lawmaker, who has garnered a lot of attention over her non-interventionist stance on Syria while angering establishment pundits for doing things like visiting Damascus last year on a fact-finding mission, left ABC's George Stephanopoulos visibly flustered during an interview on Sunday's "This Week" . She said:

We know that North Korea has these nuclear weapons because they see how the United States in Libya for example guaranteed Gadaffi - 'we're not going to go after you, you should get rid of your nuclear weapons.' He did, then we went and led an attack that toppled Gaddafi, launching Libya into chaos that we are still seeing the results of today. North Korea sees what we did in Iraq with Saddam Hussein, with those false reports of weapons of mass destruction. And now seeing in Iran how President Trump is decertifying a nuclear deal that prevented Iran from developing their nuclear weapons, threatening the very existence and the agreement that was made.

At this point an incredulous Stephanopoulos stopped the Congresswoman and asked, " Was it a mistake for the United States to take out Gaddafi and Hussein ?" Gabbard responded firmly with, "It was, absolutely." Apparently this was enough to end the interview as a presumably shocked Stephanopoulos had no response at that point.

For those unfamiliar, Gabbard is an Army reserve officer who previously served two tours in the Middle East, including in Iraq, and has been an outspoken critic of regime change and Washington's interventionist foreign policy.

[Jan 14, 2018] By default I block Google and its octopus of websites as third party sites on websites I visit.

Jan 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

CalDre , January 11, 2018 at 7:33 am GMT

To Moderators:

By default I block Google and its octopus of websites as third party sites on websites I visit. This list includes doubleclick.net, googlesyndication.com, google-analytics.com, googleusercontent.com, googleadservices.com, googlecode.com, gmail.com, gstatic.com, googletagmanager.com and, yes, googleapis.com.

When you do this you find that a lot of websites stop working, and proves how google (and its intelligence agency patrons) are able to egregiously violate your privacy and track you all over the internet (in addition to whatever tracking your or your friends' Android devices do).

Unfortunately this site uses googleapis.com for its comment submission. Why? There are countless ways to activate a "Reply" button without requiring Big Brother Google to monitor the event.

Please re-consider your reliance on Google to provide minor web features (new comment submission works with googleapis.com disabled but it is not possible to reply to another comment as the three options – Reply, Agree/Disagree/etc. and This Commenter links – are all non-functional without permitting Google spying).

[Jan 02, 2018] The Still-Missing Evidence of Russia-gate by Dennis J. Bernstein

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The central groupthink around Russia-gate is the still unproven claim that Russia hacked Democratic emails in 2016 and publicized them via WikiLeaks, a crucial issue that NSA experts say should be easy to prove if true, reports Dennis J. Bernstein. ..."
"... Binney: We at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) published an article on this in July. First of all, if any of the data went anywhere across the fiber optic world, the NSA would know. Just inside the United States, the NSA has over a hundred tap points on the fiber lines, taking in everything. ..."
"... The other data that came out from Guccifer 2.0, a download from the DNC, has been a charade. It was a download and not a transfer across the Web. The Web won't manage such a high speed. It could not have gotten across the Atlantic at that high speed. You would have to have high capacity lines dedicated to that in order to do it. They have been playing games with us. There is no factual evidence to back up any charge of hacking here. ..."
"... Bernstein: Let me come at this from the other side. Has the United States ever tried to hack into and undermine Russian operations in this way? ..."
"... Binney: Oh, sure. We do it as much as anybody else. In the Ukraine, for example, we sponsored regime change. When someone who was pro-Soviet was elected president, we orchestrated a coup to put our man in power. ..."
"... Did the US meddle in the Russian elections that brought Yeltsin to power? ..."
"... I believe they did. We try to leverage our power and influence elections around the world. ..."
"... Binney: Yes, to defend privacy but also to defend the Constitution. Right now, our government is violating the first, fourth and fifth amendments in various ways. Mueller did it, Comey did it, they were all involved in violating the Constitution. ..."
"... Bernstein: There seems to be a new McCarthyite operation around the Russia-gate investigation. It appears that it is an attempt to justify the idea that Clinton lost because the Russians undermined the election. ..."
"... Bernstein: It was initially put out that seventeen intelligence agencies found compelling evidence that the Russians hacked into our election. You're saying it was actually selected individuals from just three agencies. Is there anything to the revelations that FBI agents talked about taking action to prevent Trump from becoming president? ..."
"... Binney: It certainly does seem that it is leaning that way, that is was all a frame-up. It is a sad time in our history, to see the government working against itself internally ..."
"... Bernstein: What concerns do you have regarding the Russia-gate investigation and the McCarthyite tactics that are being employed? ..."
"... Binney: Ultimately, my main concern is that it could lead to actual war with Russia. We should definitely not be going down that path. We need to get out of all these wars. I am also concerned about what we are doing to our own democracy. We are trampling the fundamental principles contained in the Constitution. The only way to reverse all this is to start indicting people who are participating in and managing these activities that are clearly unconstitutional. ..."
Jan 02, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

The central groupthink around Russia-gate is the still unproven claim that Russia hacked Democratic emails in 2016 and publicized them via WikiLeaks, a crucial issue that NSA experts say should be easy to prove if true, reports Dennis J. Bernstein.

A changing-places moment brought about by Russia-gate is that liberals who are usually more skeptical of U.S. intelligence agencies, especially their evidence-free claims, now question the patriotism of Americans who insist that the intelligence community supply proof to support the dangerous claims about Russian 'hacking" of Democratic emails especially when some veteran U.S. government experts say the data would be easily available if the Russians indeed were guilty.

One of those experts is William Binney, a former high-level National Security Agency intelligence official who, after his 2001 retirement, blew the whistle on the extraordinary breadth of NSA surveillance programs. His outspoken criticism of the NSA during the George W. Bush administration made him the subject of FBI investigations that included a raid on his home in 2007.

Even before Edward Snowden's NSA whistleblowing, Binney publicly revealed that NSA had access to telecommunications companies' domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 trillion to 20 trillion communications. Snowden has said: "I have tremendous respect for Binney, who did everything he could according to the rules."

I spoke to Binney on Dec. 28 about Russia-gate and a host of topics having to do with spying and America's expanding national security state.

Dennis Bernstein: I would like you to begin by telling us a little about your background at the NSA and how you got there.

William Binney: I was in the United States Army from 1965 to 1969. They put me in the Army Security Agency, an affiliate of the NSA. They liked the work I was doing and they put me on a priority hire in 1970. I was in the NSA for 32 years, mostly working against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. I was solving what were called "wizard puzzles," and the NSA was sometimes referred to as the "Puzzle Palace." I had to solve code systems and work on cyber systems and data systems to be able to predict in advance the "intentions and capabilities of adversaries or potential adversaries."

Bernstein: At a certain point you ran amiss of your supervisors. What did you come to understand and try to tell people that got you in dutch with your higher-ups?

Binney: By 1998-1999, the "digital issue" was basically solved. This created a problem for the upper ranks because at the time they were lobbying Congress for $3.8 billion to continue working on what we had already accomplished. That lobby was started in 1989 for a separate program called Trailblazer, which failed miserably in 2005-2006. We had to brief Congress on how we were progressing and my information ran contrary to the efforts downtown to secure more funding. And so this caused a problem internally.

We learned from some of our staff members in Congress that several of the corporations that were getting contracts from the NSA were downtown lobbying against our program in Congress. This is the military industrial complex in action. That lobby was supported by the NSA management because they just wanted more money to build a bigger empire.

But Dick Cheney, who was behind all of this, wanted it because he grew up under Nixon, who always wanted to know what his political enemies were thinking and doing. This kind of approach of bulk acquisition of everything was possible after you removed certain segments of our software and they used it against the entire digital world. Cheney wanted to know who his political enemies were and get updates about them at any time.

Bernstein: Your expertise was in the Soviet Union and so you must know a lot about bugging. Do you believe that Russia hacked and undermined our last election? Can Trump thank Russia for the result?

Binney: We at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) published an article on this in July. First of all, if any of the data went anywhere across the fiber optic world, the NSA would know. Just inside the United States, the NSA has over a hundred tap points on the fiber lines, taking in everything. Mark Klein exposed some of this at the AT&T facility in San Francisco.

This is not for foreigners, by the way, this is for targeting US citizens. If they wanted only foreigners, all they would have to do was look at the transatlantic cables where they surface on the coast of the United States. But they are not there, they are distributed among the US population.

Bernstein: So if, in fact, the Russians were tapping into DNC headquarters, the NSA would absolutely know about it.

Binney: Yes, and they would also have trace routes on where they went specifically, in Russia or anywhere else. If you remember, about three or four years ago, the Chinese hacked into somewhere in the United States and our government came out and confirmed that it was the Chinese who did it, and it came from a specific military facility in Shanghai. The NSA had these trace route programs embedded by the hundreds across the US and all around the world.

The other data that came out from Guccifer 2.0, a download from the DNC, has been a charade. It was a download and not a transfer across the Web. The Web won't manage such a high speed. It could not have gotten across the Atlantic at that high speed. You would have to have high capacity lines dedicated to that in order to do it. They have been playing games with us. There is no factual evidence to back up any charge of hacking here.

Bernstein: So was this a leak by somebody at Democratic headquarters?

Binney: We don't know that for sure, either. All we know was that it was a local download. We can likely attribute it to a USB device that was physically passed along.

Bernstein: Let me come at this from the other side. Has the United States ever tried to hack into and undermine Russian operations in this way?

Binney: Oh, sure. We do it as much as anybody else. In the Ukraine, for example, we sponsored regime change. When someone who was pro-Soviet was elected president, we orchestrated a coup to put our man in power.

Then we invited the Ukraine into NATO. One of the agreements we made with the Russians when the Soviet Union fell apart was that the Ukraine would give them their nuclear weapons to manage and that we would not move NATO further east toward Russia. I think they made a big mistake when they asked Ukraine to join NATO. They should have asked Russia to join as well, making it all-inclusive. If you treat people as adversaries, they are going to act that way.

Bernstein: Did the US meddle in the Russian elections that brought Yeltsin to power?

Binney: I believe they did. We try to leverage our power and influence elections around the world.

Bernstein: What has your group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, been up to, and what has been the US government's response?

Binney: We have been discussing privacy and security with the European Union and with a number of European parliaments. Recently the Austrian supreme court ruled that the entire bulk acquisition system was unconstitutional. Everyone but the conservatives in the Austrian parliament voted that bill down, making Austria the first country there to do the right thing.

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

Bernstein: Is it your goal to defend people's privacy and their right to communicate privately?

Binney: Yes, to defend privacy but also to defend the Constitution. Right now, our government is violating the first, fourth and fifth amendments in various ways. Mueller did it, Comey did it, they were all involved in violating the Constitution.

Back in the 1990's, the idea was to make our analysts effective so that they could see threats coming before they happened and alert people to take action so that lives would be saved. What happens now is that people go out and kill someone and then the NSA and the FBI go on a forensics mission. Intelligence is supposed to tell you in advance when a crime is coming so that you can do something to avert it. They have lost that perspective.

Bernstein: They now have access to every single one of our electronic conversations, is that right? The human mind has a hard time imagining how you could contain, move and study all that information.

Binney: Basically, it is achievable because most of the processing is done by machine so it doesn't cost human energy.

Bernstein: There seems to be a new McCarthyite operation around the Russia-gate investigation. It appears that it is an attempt to justify the idea that Clinton lost because the Russians undermined the election.

Binney: I have seen no evidence at all from anybody, including the intelligence community. If you look at the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) report, they state on the first page that "We have high confidence that the Russians did this." But when you get toward the end of the report, they basically confess that "our judgment does not imply that we have evidence to back it up."

Bernstein: It was initially put out that seventeen intelligence agencies found compelling evidence that the Russians hacked into our election. You're saying it was actually selected individuals from just three agencies. Is there anything to the revelations that FBI agents talked about taking action to prevent Trump from becoming president?

Binney: It certainly does seem that it is leaning that way, that is was all a frame-up. It is a sad time in our history, to see the government working against itself internally.

Bernstein: I take it you are not a big supporter of Trump.

Binney: Well, I voted for him. I couldn't vote for a warmonger like Clinton. She wanted to see our planes shooting down Russian planes in Syria. She advocated for destabilizing Libya, for getting rid of Assad in Syria, she was a strong backer of the war in Iraq.

Bernstein: What concerns do you have regarding the Russia-gate investigation and the McCarthyite tactics that are being employed?

Binney: Ultimately, my main concern is that it could lead to actual war with Russia. We should definitely not be going down that path. We need to get out of all these wars. I am also concerned about what we are doing to our own democracy. We are trampling the fundamental principles contained in the Constitution. The only way to reverse all this is to start indicting people who are participating in and managing these activities that are clearly unconstitutional.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .

[Dec 28, 2017] How CrowdStrike placed malware in DNC hacked servers by Alex Christoforou

Highly recommended!
If this is true, then this is definitely a sophisticated false flag operation. Was malware Alperovich people injected specifically designed to implicate Russians? In other words Crowdstrike=Fancy Bear
Images removed. For full content please thee the original source
One interesting corollary of this analysis is that installing Crowdstrike software is like inviting a wolf to guard your chicken. If they are so dishonest you take enormous risks. That might be true for some other heavily advertized "intrusion prevention" toolkits. So those criminals who use mistyped popular addresses or buy Google searches to drive lemmings to their site and then flash the screen that they detected a virus on your computer a, please call provided number and for a small amount of money your virus will be removed get a new more sinister life.
I suspected many of such firms (for example ISS which was bought by IBM in 2006) to be scams long ago.
Notable quotes:
"... They found that generally, in a lot of cases, malware developers didn't care to hide the compile times and that while implausible timestamps are used, it's rare that these use dates in the future. It's possible, but unlikely that one sample would have a postdated timestamp to coincide with their visit by mere chance but seems extremely unlikely to happen with two or more samples. Considering the dates of CrowdStrike's activities at the DNC coincide with the compile dates of two out of the three pieces of malware discovered and attributed to APT-28 (the other compiled approximately 2 weeks prior to their visit), the big question is: Did CrowdStrike plant some (or all) of the APT-28 malware? ..."
"... The IP address, according to those articles, was disabled in June 2015, eleven months before the DNC emails were acquired – meaning those IP addresses, in reality, had no involvement in the alleged hacking of the DNC. ..."
"... The fact that two out of three of the Fancy Bear malware samples identified were compiled on dates within the apparent five day period CrowdStrike were apparently at the DNC seems incredibly unlikely to have occurred by mere chance. ..."
"... That all three malware samples were compiled within ten days either side of their visit – makes it clear just how questionable the Fancy Bear malware discoveries were. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | theduran.com

Of course the DNC did not want to the FBI to investigate its "hacked servers". The plan was well underway to excuse Hillary's pathetic election defeat to Trump, and CrowdStrike would help out by planting evidence to pin on those evil "Russian hackers." Some would call this entire DNC server hack an "insurance policy."

... ... ...

[Dec 28, 2017] From Snowden To Russia-gate - The CIA And The Media

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The promotion of the alleged Russian election hacking in certain media may have grown from the successful attempts of U.S. intelligence services to limit the publication of the NSA files obtained by Edward Snowden. ..."
"... In May 2013 Edward Snowden fled to Hongkong and handed internal documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) to four journalists, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian and separately to Barton Gellman who worked for the Washington Post . ..."
"... In July 2013 the Guardian was forced by the British government to destroy its copy of the Snowden archive. ..."
"... In August 2013 Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for some $250 million. In 2012 Bezos, the founder, largest share holder and CEO of Amazon, had already a cooperation with the CIA. Together they invested in a Canadian quantum computing company. In March 2013 Amazon signed a $600 million deal to provide computing services for the CIA. ..."
"... The motivation for the Bezos and Omidyar to do this is not clear. Bezos is estimated to own a shameful $90 billion. The Washington Post buy is chump-change for him. Omidyar has a net worth of some $9.3 billion. But the use of billionaires to mask what are in fact intelligence operations is not new. The Ford Foundation has for decades been a CIA front , George Soros' Open Society foundation is one of the premier "regime change" operations, well versed in instigating "color revolutions" ..."
"... It would have been reasonable if the cooperation between those billionaires and the intelligence agencies had stopped after the NSA leaks were secured. But it seems that strong cooperation of the Bezos and Omidyar outlets with the CIA and others continue. ..."
"... The Washington Post , which has a much bigger reach, is the prime outlet for "Russia-gate", the false claims by parts of the U.S. intelligence community and the Clinton campaign, that Russia attempted to influence U.S. elections or even "colluded" with Trump. ..."
"... The revelation that the sole Russiagate "evidence" was the so-called Steele Dossier - i.e. opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign - which was used by the intelligence community to not only begin the public assertions of Trump's perfidy but to then initiate FISA approved surveillance on the Trump campaign, that is truly astonishing. Instructive then that the NY Times, Washington Post, etc have yet to acknowledge these facts to their readers, and instead have effectively doubled down on the story, insisting that the Russiagate allegations are established fact and constitute "objective reality." That suggests this fake news story will continue indefinitely. ..."
"... What we see here is these bastions of establishment thinking in the USA promoting "objective reality" as partisan - i.e. there is a Clinton reality versus a Trump reality, or a Russian reality versus a "Western" reality, facts and documentation be damned. This divorce from objectivity is a symptom of the overall decline of American institutions, an indicate a future hard, rather than soft, landing near the end of the road. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The promotion of the alleged Russian election hacking in certain media may have grown from the successful attempts of U.S. intelligence services to limit the publication of the NSA files obtained by Edward Snowden.

In May 2013 Edward Snowden fled to Hongkong and handed internal documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) to four journalists, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian and separately to Barton Gellman who worked for the Washington Post . Some of those documents were published by Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian , others by Barton Gellman in the Washington Post . Several other international news site published additional material though the mass of NSA papers that Snowden allegedly acquired never saw public daylight.

In July 2013 the Guardian was forced by the British government to destroy its copy of the Snowden archive.

In August 2013 Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for some $250 million. In 2012 Bezos, the founder, largest share holder and CEO of Amazon, had already a cooperation with the CIA. Together they invested in a Canadian quantum computing company. In March 2013 Amazon signed a $600 million deal to provide computing services for the CIA.

In October 2013 Pierre Omidyar, the owner of Ebay, founded First Look Media and hired Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. The total planned investment was said to be $250 million. It took up to February 2014 until the new organization launched its first site, the Intercept . Only a few NSA stories appeared on it. The Intercept is a rather mediocre site. Its management is said to be chaotic . It publishes few stories of interests and one might ask if it ever was meant to be a serious outlet. Omidyar has worked, together with the U.S. government, to force regime change onto Ukraine. He had strong ties with the Obama administration.

Snowden had copies of some 20,000 to 58,000 NSA files . Only 1,182 have been published . Bezos and Omidyar obviously helped the NSA to keep more than 95% of the Snowden archive away from the public. The Snowden papers were practically privatized into trusted hands of Silicon Valley billionaires with ties to the various secret services and the Obama administration.

The motivation for the Bezos and Omidyar to do this is not clear. Bezos is estimated to own a shameful $90 billion. The Washington Post buy is chump-change for him. Omidyar has a net worth of some $9.3 billion. But the use of billionaires to mask what are in fact intelligence operations is not new. The Ford Foundation has for decades been a CIA front , George Soros' Open Society foundation is one of the premier "regime change" operations, well versed in instigating "color revolutions".

It would have been reasonable if the cooperation between those billionaires and the intelligence agencies had stopped after the NSA leaks were secured. But it seems that strong cooperation of the Bezos and Omidyar outlets with the CIA and others continue.

The Intercept burned a intelligence leaker, Realty Winner, who had trusted its journalists to keep her protected. It smeared the President of Syria as neo-nazi based on an (intentional?) mistranslation of one of his speeches. It additionally hired a Syrian supporter of the CIA's "regime change by Jihadis" in Syria. Despite its pretense of "fearless, adversarial journalism" it hardly deviates from U.S. policies.

The Washington Post , which has a much bigger reach, is the prime outlet for "Russia-gate", the false claims by parts of the U.S. intelligence community and the Clinton campaign, that Russia attempted to influence U.S. elections or even "colluded" with Trump.

Just today it provides two stories and one op-ed that lack any factual evidence for the anti-Russian claims made in them.

In Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options the writers insinuate that some anonymous writer who published a few pieces on Counterpunch and elsewhere was part of a Russian operation. They provide zero evidence to back that claim up. Whatever that writer wrote (see list at end) was run of the mill stuff that had little to do with the U.S. election. The piece then dives into various cyber-operations against Russia that the Obama and Trump administration have discussed.

A second story in the paper today is based on "a classified GRU report obtained by The Washington Post." It claims that the Russian military intelligence service GRU started a social media operation one day after the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was illegally removed from his office in a U.S. regime change operation . What the story lists as alleged GRU puppet postings reads like normal internet talk of people opposed to the fascist regime change in Kiev. The Washington Post leaves completely unexplained who handed it an alleged GRU report from 2014, who classified it and how, if at all, it verified its veracity. To me the piece and the assertions therein have a strong odor of bovine excrement.

An op-ed in the very same Washington Post has a similar smell. It is written by the intelligence flunkies Michael Morell and Mike Rogers. Morell had hoped to become CIA boss under a President Hillary Clinton. The op-ed (which includes a serious misunderstanding of "deterrence") asserts that Russia never stopped its cyberattacks on the United States :

Russia's information operations tactics since the election are more numerous than can be listed here . But to get a sense of the breadth of Russian activity, consider the messaging spread by Kremlin-oriented accounts on Twitter, which cybersecurity and disinformation experts have tracked as part of the German Marshall Fund's Alliance for Securing Democracy.

The author link to this page which claims to list Twitter hashtags that are currently used by Russian influence agents. Apparently the top issue Russia's influence agents currently promote is "#merrychristmas".


bigger

When the authors claim Russian operations are "more numerous than can be listed here" they practically admit that they have not even one plausible operation they could cite. Its simply obfuscation to justify their call for more political and military measures against Russia. This again to distract from the real reasons Clinton lost the election and to introduce a new Cold War for the benefit of weapon producers and U.S. influence in Europe.

Cont. reading: From Snowden To Russia-gate - The CIA And The Media

11:53 AM | Comments (137)

G , Dec 26, 2017 12:10:03 PM | 1

If what you allege is true about Greenwald and the Intercept, then why hasn't Snowden spoken out about it yet? Surely he would have said something about the Intercept and Greenwald keeping important stories buried by now. Yet, as far as I can tell, he has a good relationship with Greenwald. I find it hard to believe hat a man who literally gave up everything he had in life to leak important docs would remain silent for so long about a publishing cover up. I don't really like the Intercept and I think your analysis of its content is accurate, but I do find it hard to believe that the NSA docs were "bought" back by the CIA.
Ort , Dec 26, 2017 1:41:21 PM | 16
@G | 1

If what you allege is true about Greenwald and the Intercept, then why hasn't Snowden spoken out about it yet?
_____________________________________________________

My understanding is that early on, Snowden placed his trove of documents in the exclusive care of Glenn Greenwald and his associates. Although Snowden has since become a public figure in his own right, and his opinions on state-security events and issues are solicited, as far as I know Snowden has no direct responsibility for managing the material he downloaded.

I haven't followed Snowden closely enough to know how familiar he may be with the contents of the reported "20,000 to 58,000 NSA files" turned over to GG/Omidyar. Snowden presumably took pains to acquire items of interest in his cache as he accumulated classified material, but even if he has extraordinary powers of recall he may not remember precisely what remains unreleased.

FWIW, I was troubled from the first by one of the mainstays of GG's defense, or rationale, when it became clear that he was the principal, and perhaps sole, executive "curator" of the Snowden material. In order to reassure and placate nervous "patriots"-- and GG calls himself a "patriot"-- he repeatedly emphasized that great care was being taken to vet the leaked information before releasing it.

GG's role as whistleblower Snowden's enabler and facilitator was generally hailed uncritically by progressive-liberals and civil-liberties advocates, to a point where public statements that should've raised skeptical doubts and questions were generally passively accepted by complacent admirers.

Specifically, my crap detectors signaled "red alert" early on, when Greenwald (still affiliated with "The Guardian", IIRC) took great pains to announce that his team was working closely with the US/UK governments to vet and screen Snowden's material before releasing any of it; GG repeatedly asserted that he was reviewing the material with the relevant state-security agencies to ensure that none of the released material would compromise or jeopardize government operatives and/or national security.

WTF? Bad enough that Greenwald was requiring the world to exclusively trust his judgment in deciding what should be released and what shouldn't. He was also making it clear that he wasn't exactly committed to disclosing "the worst" of the material "though the heavens fall".

In effect, as GG was telling the world that he could be trusted to manage the leaked information responsibly, he was also telling the world that it simply had to trust his judgment in this crucial role.

To me, there was clearly a subliminal message for both Western authorities and the public: don't worry, we're conscientious, patriotic leak-masters. We're not going to irresponsibly disclose anything too radical, or politically/socially destabilizing.

GG and the Omidyar Group have set themselves up as an independent "brand" in the new field of whistleblower/hacker impresario and leak-broker.

Like only buying NFL-approved merchandise, or fox-approved eggs, the public is being encouraged to only buy (into) Intercept-approved Snowden Leaks™. It's a going concern, which lends itself much more to the "modified limited hangout" approach than freely tossing all the biggest eggs out of the basket.

GG found an opportunity to augment his rising career as a self-made investigative journalist and civil-liberties advocate. Now he's sitting pretty, the celebrity point man for a lucrative modified limited hangout enterprise. What is wrong with this picture?

Bart Hansen , Dec 26, 2017 1:51:59 PM | 17
#1: I suspect that Snowden needs Glenn and Laura as liaisons to the outside world.
G , Dec 26, 2017 2:05:23 PM | 18
@16 I just see no evidence of that aside from fitting the narrative of people who are convinced of a cover up in leaked docs. Moreover, there is no way Russia would continue to offer Snowden asylum if he was gov agent. I'm sure Russian intelligence did a very thorough background check on him.

@17 that's simply not true. He regularly tweets, gives online talks and publishes on his own. He has not used either Poitras or Greenwald as a means of communication for years. And he has never dropped a single hint of being disappointed or frustrated with how documents and info was published.

It just seems so implausible given the total lack of any sign of Snowden's dissatisfaction.

jayc , Dec 26, 2017 2:31:15 PM | 22
The revelation that the sole Russiagate "evidence" was the so-called Steele Dossier - i.e. opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign - which was used by the intelligence community to not only begin the public assertions of Trump's perfidy but to then initiate FISA approved surveillance on the Trump campaign, that is truly astonishing. Instructive then that the NY Times, Washington Post, etc have yet to acknowledge these facts to their readers, and instead have effectively doubled down on the story, insisting that the Russiagate allegations are established fact and constitute "objective reality." That suggests this fake news story will continue indefinitely.

What we see here is these bastions of establishment thinking in the USA promoting "objective reality" as partisan - i.e. there is a Clinton reality versus a Trump reality, or a Russian reality versus a "Western" reality, facts and documentation be damned. This divorce from objectivity is a symptom of the overall decline of American institutions, an indicate a future hard, rather than soft, landing near the end of the road.

Jen , Dec 26, 2017 2:50:16 PM | 25
G @ 1 and 18: My understanding is that Edward Snowden has been advised (warned?) by the Russian government or his lawyer in Moscow not to reveal any more than he has said so far. The asylum Moscow has offered him may be dependent on his keeping discreet. That may include not saying much about The Intercept, in case his communications are followed by the NSA or any other of the various US intel agencies which could lead to their tracking his physical movements in Russia and enable any US-connected agent or agency (including one based in Russia) to trace him, arrest him or kill him, and cover up and frame the seizure or murder in such a way as to place suspicion or blame on the Russian government or on local criminal elements in Russia.

I believe that Snowden does have a job in Russia and possibly this job does not permit him the time to say any more than what he currently tweets or says online.

There is nothing in MoA's article to suggest that Glenn Greenwald is deliberately burying stories in The Intercept. B has said that its management is chaotic which could suggest among other things that Greenwald himself is dissatisfied with its current operation.

G , Dec 26, 2017 2:57:40 PM | 26
@21 I'm not disputing that moneyed interests might have been leaned on by the CIA to stop publishing sensitive info. What I'm disputing is the idea that people like Greenwald have deliberately with-held information that is in the public interest. I doubt that, regardless of the strength of the Intercept as a publication.

@25 What interest would the Russian gov have in helping protect NSA? I assume Russia loves the idea of the US Intel agencies being embarrassed. Snowden speaks his mind about plenty of domestic and international events in US. I have never seen him act like he's being censored.

Jen , Dec 26, 2017 3:46:44 PM | 31
G @ 25: Moscow would have no interest in helping protect the NSA or any other US intel agency. The Russians would have advised Snowden not to say more than he has said so far, not because they are interested in helping the NSA but because they can only protect him as long as he is discreet and does not try to say or publish any more that would jeopardise his safety or give Washington an excuse to pressure Moscow to extradite him back to the US. That would include placing more sanctions on Russia until Snowden is given up.

There is the possibility also that Snowden trusts (or trusted) Greenwald to know what to do with the NSA documents. Perhaps that trust was naively placed - we do not know.

Red Ryder , Dec 26, 2017 3:48:47 PM | 33
b, a big exposition of facts, rich in links to more facts.

This is important material for all to understand.

Snowden is "the squirrel over there!" A distraction turned into a hope.
Compared to Assange, who is being slow-martyred in captivity, Snowden is a boy playing with gadgets.

Why did not Snowden make certain a copy of his theft went to Wikileaks? That would have been insurance.
Since he did not, it all could be just a distraction.

What is known about the Snowden affair is we received proof of what we knew. Not much else. For those who didn't know, they received news.
And ever since, the shape of things from the Deep State/Shadow Government/IC has been lies and warmongering against American freedoms and world cooperation among nations.

Fascism is corporate + the police state. The US government is a pure fascist tyranny that also protects the Empire and Global Hegemony.

We connect the dots and it's always the same picture. It was this way in the 60s,70s,80s,90s, 00s, and this forlorn decade.
Fascism more bold each decade. Billionaires and millionaires have always been in the mix.

[Dec 28, 2017] When GG acquired apparently exclusive stewardship of the Snowden trove, one of my first thoughts was, "If there's anything in Snowden's documents that contradict or cast doubt upon the official 9/11 narrative, Glenn will be careful to put it on the bottom of the pile and keep it there." I still believe this

Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

@ WJ | 110

119

Sorry I can't help with your questions, but I concur with your hunches about the creation of Intercept.

Your reference to Intercept being set up "to block the inquiry into or exposure of special access Intel operations during or prior to 9/11 which would blow up entirely the official narrative of that epochal event" touches a nerve.

I was a regular reader and commenter at Glenn Greenwald's (GG) "Unclaimed Territory" blog, which was absorbed into the progressive-liberal lite Salon site. I even had a few brief but cordial e-mail exchanges with GG, since I diligently sent him (requested) private e-mail alerts to grammatical and syntactic errors in his prolific posts.

I sympathized with GG's early attempts to deal fairly with aggressive 9/11 Truthers monopolizing the comments; he personally moderated, and participated in, his comments threads. At first, GG's stance was "agnostic" towards 9/11 "Truther" theories, but he reasonably insisted that 9/11-related comments not be allowed to hijack every discussion.

But GG himself was not much of a 9/11 skeptic, and I soured on GG when he proved to be what I call a "Trutherphobe".

Before long, he became openly censorious and began removing both comments and commenters who insisted on mentioning 9/11, even if the 9/11 reference was germane to the topic. (Not me; I knew better than to push his buttons.) Also, GG adopted, or independently reached, what I call the "Chomsky Bubble" stance-- essentially, a sophisticated rationalization that amounts to "nothing to see here, move along."

Eventually, despite his efforts to seem nominally open-minded towards 9/11 skeptics, it became clear that to GG, pursuing 9/11 truth was both a distraction and a nuisance. 9/11 truth is simply not part of GG's agenda.

When GG acquired apparently exclusive stewardship of the Snowden trove, one of my first thoughts was, "If there's anything in Snowden's documents that contradict or cast doubt upon the official 9/11 narrative, Glenn will be careful to put it on the bottom of the pile and keep it there." I still believe this.

It's too late to blithely conclude "In short...", but all this to say that if you're correct, GG is just the person to put in charge of a modified limited hangout operation that, in part, suppresses 9/11 inquiry and truth.

[Dec 28, 2017] Was Snowden a double agent or not

Notable quotes:
"... I have always been flabbergasted about the naivety of the general public in regards to the abilities, capabilities and determination of the so called 'establishment' - aka Plutocracy, when it comes to the choice of means to achieve their psychopathic goals. What is out of reach, or undoable to those that willingly accept the death of millions of innocent people in the ME and the world over? ..."
"... The utter destruction of sovereign Nations that don't fall in line? Organizing coup d'etats like local fundraisers for soup kitchens? Looking at the track record of the American establishment, nothing, absolutely nothing is ever off the table. ..."
"... I'm always wary of talk about limited hangouts. A case can usually be made that such talk is itself intended for the same purpose - to lull the recipient into despair and passivity. ..."
"... And it WAS a secret weapon. It took a long time for this to become obvious. We see the media all along has been completely mediocre, but since it has long given wall-to-wall coverage, it never had to get very good in order to send the daily propaganda message. Come the Internet, everyone sees how sloppy the media's work is. But does this raise the quality of the media lies? It seems not - the opposite in fact, the readers get far smarter than the writers. ..."
"... The greatest trick the Devil pulled was not convincing the world he didn't exist, it was convincing the world that evil was clever, when in fact it's very mediocre. Evil performs badly. It will continue to perform badly. It can be resisted and overcome. This takes time. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Dec 26, 2017 8:34:55 PM | 57

Snowden went to established journalists because he wanted the story to get out. He also wanted them to be cautious and conservative, to redact whatever seemed damaging to operations or his country.

In my opinion, what the journalists did worked. And Snowden destroyed his own access to the materials.

My guess - purely a guess - is that Snowden was, and remains, quite satisfied with what happened and what got published. He never wanted operational FACTS to get out so much as he wanted the SCALE of what the US was doing to get out. In this matter, I'd call his entire effort a tremendous success.

Snowden's face and story went around the world and shook things up. Paradigms came crashing down. In my own personal case, the Snowden material showed me the scale of US adventurism, and the vast audacity of its criminality. It made it clear, in philosophical terms rather than evidentiary terms, that 9/11 could easily be an inside job. It took a change in the paradigms of the scale of corruption to open up that possibility for me. I'm sure it's done similar things for millions of people. Snowden was one of the few events I can think of that actually played out in the mainstream before anyone figured out how to shut it down - and the genie was out of the bottle.

We don't know what we've lost by not having the missing pages released. But I find it hard to think they could change paradigms any more than has already happened. There's a diminishing return here. Wikileaks publishes troves of material, but what paradigms get changed unless it plays in the mainstream? Manning with the video of the mercs shooting the civilians was the last time this happened, I think.

When it comes to seeing what's behind the curtain - which is precisely what the information war is about - the words and the details of the stories matter far less than the way that people's thinking gets changed.

~~

At Christmas I socialized with ordinary people. I learned that they believe the Russians interfered in the US election, and planted Trump. Bummer, but on the other hand, I could talk to everyone about the NSA getting my Facebook feed or my phone data, and there's full agreement, or at least no disagreement.

Snowden went into the culture. Russiagate is still playing out, and we don't yet know who will be the big loser in the belief system of the culture. I'm still willing to bet it's the mainstream media.

~~

Putin has said that Snowden didn't reveal anything that Russian intelligence didn't already know. Russia didn't want to harbor Snowden, but the US State Department forced the issue by revoking his passport while he was in the air terminal in Russia. The current asylum granted is for a 3-year period. I see no reason to make any change in this. It will be reviewed when it expires, and if Snowden is still a stateless political refugee, which seems very likely, than I imagine it will be renewed. Russia is a nation of laws.

Russia has little to do with Snowden. And even less to do with the US elections. Russia doesn't want confrontation, between anyone. Russia wants a world of no conflict, and every action it takes pursues this end. Russia will easily forego a cheap victory in order to gain a valuable cessation of hostilities. I believe Putin when he says that who won the US election was of no great importance to Russia - they would deal with whomever was there.

It's always important to understand that Russia is not playing a zero-sum game, nor is she playing to "win" against any other nation in geopolitics. Russia wins when other nations stop fighting. The lat thing she wants to do is interfere with the internal order of other countries. But she is rooting for the orderliness of each country.

~~

Sorry such a long comment.

karlof1 , Dec 26, 2017 9:31:54 PM | 63
Grieved @57--

Thanks for your nice long comment and its excellent observations. And Happy Holidays since I haven't wished them on you yet this year!

For me, Snowden's revelations were nothing new as I had already learned about Project Echelon , which by the end of the 1980s was global girding and mostly intent on industrial espionage as this summary at the link informs:

"The ECHELON program was created in the late 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War, and was formally established in 1971.[5][6]

"By the end of the 20th century, the system referred to as "ECHELON" had allegedly evolved beyond its military and diplomatic origins, to also become ' a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications' (mass surveillance and industrial espionage)."

Indeed, the extent of Echelon was available to the public--sort of--but there were very few publications about it, although that changed as the internet grew during the 1990s. So for me, Snowden's actions becoming headline news was more important than the content of his revelations as the slumbering public got slapped upside its collective head.

Another historical factoid of interest is FDR's meeting with media CEOs a few days prior to 7 Dec 1941, of which no transcript exists to my knowledge, although what was said can be inferred by subsequent actions by all the actors involved--there was no, zero, deviation from the official government line about the Day of Infamy, which was a prelude to media portrayal on 911.

Fundamentally, the bottom line is whenever interests between national governments diverge from those of their public, governments will lie every time--those two sets of policy HRC admitted she had for public versus private consumption. Although it's too soon to be certain, it appears that the leadership of Russia and China have learned the difficult lesson that the best policy is for the national government to be in sync with the interests of its citizenry, thus the philosophical adoption of Win/Win versus the Outlaw US Empire's Zero Sum game, which forms the basis for our ongoing Hybrid Third World War.

nottheonly1 , Dec 26, 2017 9:32:22 PM | 64
Pe entities at work that are not under the control of the Russian secret services. Here is a link to an article on RT.de about US Special Forces at the Russian Border
All we can do is assume.

@karlof1 #37

My favorite pet peeve is Bernays. Even those who are aware of his deplorable actions, seldom grasp just how devastating his selling out of the human psyche to corporations and the NSA/CIA really turned out to be. The man hated the masses and short of calling them 'useless eaters', he saw them solely as means to corporate profits.
His legacy is a citizen without any other rights than that to "go shopping".

Go Ask Alice tells us the latest story about how much the surveillance has advanced. The article is about some content provider with unknown identity. The core message though is about the NSA/FBI/CIA going after anybody that comments on the internet, provided certain keywords are triggered. While that has been known since Snowden, the masses suffer from short term memory loss. Any dissent to the establishment is noted. This proves that there is no more rule of common law and nothing resembling a democracy by a far shot. A Plutocratic dictatorship determined to destroy anybody that poses a threat to its existence.

Red Ryder , Dec 26, 2017 10:43:54 PM | 69
@66
"What would be the most sinister scenario in regards to Snowden and the NSA leak?"

That General Hayden gets his wish and kills Snowden. That's the most sinister.

If you meant, intrigue, double agent or useful idiot sort of thing, well, Snowden had no intention of running to China and definitely not to Russia.
The Intel Agencies would have loved if he ran straight to Moscow. But it didn't happen. So,we sort of know he wasn't "used". He was "allowed" because they had it covered when he handed off the purloined data.

What sort of encrypted communication did he use on that trip to Hong Kong? They knew what he was doing.
They tried for it to be an out-and-out treason case. Remember that they insisted the Chinese in Beijing had it all?
They they tried to generate the same with Russia and Putin when he landed in Moscow.

I find him to be a useful tool for everyone who wants something out of his adventure. People who think he's a hero have their hero. People who want him dead probably have some contract out on him. And others want him to be returned and prosecuted like Timothy McVeigh and executed.

Grieved indicated above @57, Snowden was in our culture now. He's an asterisk. Compare him to Daniel Ellsberg. You cannot. Ellsberg forced the country against the war machine, forced the NYTimes to grow a set of balls and publish the Papers, and he won against the Deep State who tried to destroy him. All the while he stood like a man of courage and didn't scurry around and lateral the papers off. They got published. He faced down the system and won a huge First Amendment battle.

I chalk up the differences as Snowden is a kid with a keyboard. Assange and Ellsberg are men. The latter really matter. Snowden is a very light symbol, at best. He embarrassed NSA and only exists today because of Putin and Russian values.

I guess Vietnam was the great Evil, and surveillance just doesn't match up against what that charnel house of napalm, carpet bombing, white phosphorus, Agent Orange and Agent Blue, Phoenix Program assassinations became.

Ellsberg was a true hero. I named my first son after him.

Penelope , Dec 26, 2017 11:46:12 PM | 76
The original 3 TV Networks were started by Intelligence figures. When the Church Committee documented that all 3 were controlled by the Rockefellers, Senator Nelson Rockefeller was able to limit the GPO printing of the report to less than 100 copies.
Time Warner was govt & military intelligence controlled since its founding in 1923 by Henry Luce, a Yale Skull & Bones guy from an intelligence family. His father was a spy in China pretending to be a missionary.

The German journalist Udo Ulfkotte wrote a book, Bought Journalists, in which he reported that every significant European journalist functions as a CIA asset.

It became even worse during the Clinton regime when six mega-media companies were permitted to acquire 90% of the US print, TV, radio, and entertainment media, a concentration that destroyed diversity and independence. Today the media throughout the Western world serves as a Propaganda Ministry for Washington. The Western media is Washington's Ministry of Truth.

At the top it isn't the case that the CIA controls the media; rather that the board of directors is named by the banksters and mega-rich. Like all the mega-corps, they are thoroughly controlled by the Usurpers. The CIA has always been their private police force for intell & enforcement at home and abroad.

To rule a world requires control of military force, of money, information, energy, and the elimination of private property. Everything else is distraction. Probably the end of net neutrality is important. The coming global digital money is catastrophic. Agenda 21 is the global dictatorship, and is already decreasing private property-- among other things. https://geopolitics.co/2015/04/09/the-true-purpose-of-agenda-21/ I recommend the video within it.

Grieved , Dec 27, 2017 1:08:11 AM | 77
@73 Mark - I cannot understand why Snowden doesn't have another copy to give to Wikileaks.

This is a crucial point. Edward Snowden chose not to possess the files after he had handed them off to the journalists. He wiped out his copy when they started to publish them. This was a deliberate choice, and part of an entire ethical view that Snowden held of the situation he was in, and the situation he had created.

If you can't understand why he held this view, then you have to ask him, or study his words. But rest assured that he didn't simply "fail" to have a backup copy in case his journalists chickened out or sold out their commitment. He was a geek. He wasn't a journalist. He wanted sensible journalists to handle the lifetime scoop that he was holding. In my view, he made an incredibly good choice.

Put yourself in his shoes. The path he had already walked just to get those files to those real-world journalists in Hong Kong was already a thousand times longer than anything that could possibly lie in front of him. All this talk about assets - like you can keep this kind of thing going: the man lived a lifetime in a few short years and did the best thing he could ever have conceived of.

He earned the space to delete the files and sit back for a while and watch things happen. He said he wanted the public to know, and the public to discuss - if he was wrong, so be it, but it was for the public to discuss, he always said.

Everything I've written here may not be true. But if it is true, then on the basis of this narrative of events, no one has any right to ask anything more of Snowden. He was the messenger who put his body in the circuit to complete the signal. We all gained. He gained nothing, except satisfaction of mission accomplished.

For me that's where his story ends. Greenwald, Intercept, oligarchs, slavery - these are all another story, and one that I'm focused on. But I choose to honor Snowden for the bravery of what he seems to have done, and if true that achievement scored so high that no amount of falling short can diminish it.

Peter AU 1 , Dec 27, 2017 1:38:17 AM | 79
78

Snowden confirmed the NSA files held by shadow brokers as genuine. How many years after destroying his copies? Snowden worked in US intelligence, perhaps just as a geek, but I don't see him destroying the only weapon he has against them.

psychohistorian , Dec 27, 2017 2:04:04 AM | 80
@ Grieved with recent support for Snowden

I agree and thank you for your words.

I haven't read here any discussion of the movie, SNOWDEN, produced by Oliver Stone. I saw it when it first came out. Is it on Netflix or other outlets yet? As movies go it fell short of a documentary. That said, it provides yet another potential thin-edge-of-a-wedge thought for the zombies that live among us.

The neurofeedback treatment that I am up to 132 session of has healed many people like Edward Snowden (with his reported epilepsy) and I hope he gets such soon in his life; us old folks are harder to heal. One of neurofeedback earliest successes was a woman with epilepsy who after being healed went out and got a drivers license.....can't find the source but this was 30-40 years ago

I consider Snowden to be a true American patriot. The American values that I was taught are in stark contrast to those exhibited by the God of Mammon cabal in control today. I don't believe that we are a bad species but sorely misdirected by something that can be "easily" changed. Look at the progress we have made as a species. Why do we let ourselves be limited in our development by centuries old conventions about who controls the tools of finance? How many wars would there be if money was a public utility?

Wake up zombies! It is time to change the world.

Thominus , Dec 27, 2017 2:52:00 AM | 81
What more revelations of Snowden's archive could possibly make any difference? It is already basically understood that the NSA, its contractors, and 5 eyes agencies "collect it all" illegally, with no meaningful oversight, to the degree that social media became their accomplice and extension, that they abuse this power and the constitution proudly and with impunity for any purposes and justifications they see fit, and so on, and the vast majority of citizens cower, or delude themselves with some comforting trust that it won't be used against them.

It has only proven that nothing will snap the majority ignorance from its coma.
No one with any voice - even those involved seem able to comprehend how vastly and deeply this will effect the free will of people, culture, and society - for that matter how it already has progressed to do so.

In the wake of the retroactive telcom immunity (which by definition is an admission of blatant criminality and conspiracy by and between both government and telcom corporations) The Snowden revalations couldn't have been more explicit, signifiacnt, or urgent. The people did nothing. Those minor percentage of us who bother to read and understand what is happening can chatter and pontificate all we want, because the ignorant majority hasn't the interest or energy to question the status quo. (they absoloutely have not the attention span to read a single Greenwald article) So really I can understand why there is no point releaseing the rest.

Snowden was the one upholding his oath to the constitution, against whose who systematically violated it, and he is called a traitor.

As far as RussiaGate being some sort of distraction from this - no more than a distraction from any other meaningful information that SHOULD be on people's minds.

brabantian , Dec 27, 2017 4:11:38 AM | 83
Regrettably, Moon of Alabama has not spotted what all major government intelligence agencies have known for a couple of years now ... European intel agency report - 'Edward Snowden & Glenn Greenwald are CIA frauds'
...
[copy of a Veterans Today nonsense piece deleted - b.]
V. Arnold , Dec 27, 2017 4:14:20 AM | 84
Peter AU 1 | Dec 27, 2017 1:38:17 AM | 80

Snowden didn't "destroy" anything. He gave it all to Greenwald in Hong Kong.
That way, nobody could coerce or otherwise intimidate him; as there were no files in his possesion.
Snowden himself clearly stated this fact.
That he landed in Russia is entirely the fault of the U.S. government (such as it is) by cancelling Snowden's passport enroute; this becomes ancient history in today's world...

Oh mercy; this is getting just too weird and woo, woo, for this one; later will be greater...

Posted by: V. Arnold , Dec 27, 2017 4:16:44 AM | 85

Oh mercy; this is getting just too weird and woo, woo, for this one; later will be greater...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 27, 2017 4:16:44 AM | 85 /div

V. Arnold , Dec 27, 2017 6:20:14 AM | 86
So, it seems Pierre Omidyar sold out Greenwald; that's just peachy...
john , Dec 27, 2017 6:40:27 AM | 87
the Snowden('snowed in') saga is yet to be written, or perhaps, like much verity, will NEVER be written. eluding the intelligence hounds for a couple of weeks while shooting a nice HD video with a couple of prominent journalists never passed my smell test...

,,,

...and what might seem a minor quibble with Grieved's:

Manning with the video of the mercs shooting the civilians was the last time this happened, I think

those weren't mercs, dude, they were US Army.

John , Dec 27, 2017 9:50:53 AM | 90
Re#56 - Grieved

I agree that the Snowden info was the paradym changer that showed to me in unmistakable imagery,
that my country was an outlaw nation hellbent on economic empire and had shifted from liberty to total
Control mechanisms.

The Snowden info together with the missing 28 pages from the 911 committee findings sent me on a
truth mission; reading everything from "CIA Rouges Killed JFK, Russ Baker's book on the Bush
family, to Fahrenheit 911.

This former Neocon keeps trying to wash himself in the pure waters of the truth but cannot wash clean his guilt
for once voting for and defending such trash.

So I continue reading sites like MOA and others seeking the truth and speaking out to those in my life.

john , Dec 27, 2017 10:11:12 AM | 91
John says:

I agree that the Snowden info was the paradym changer that showed to me in unmistakable imagery,
that my country was an outlaw nation hellbent on economic empire and had shifted from liberty to total
Control mechanisms

"Earth-shattering!" Bah! Humbug!

Penelope , Dec 27, 2017 11:09:22 AM | 95
Brabantian @ 83, Yes, the huge amount of publicity given Snowden was an obvious tip-off that he is a hoax. All other whistleblowers get no publicity at all. Plus, everything that Snowden "disclosed" was already known. Perhaps he's out there to give credibility to lies as yet untold. Already his "asylum" promotes the fiction of East vs West opposition. It is a play and we are the audience, stuck in Plato's cave.
wendy davis , Dec 27, 2017 12:00:01 PM | 98
'Snowden says he took no secret files to russia', NYSlimes 10/13

He argued that he had helped American national security by prompting a badly needed public debate about the scope of the intelligence effort. "The secret continuance of these programs represents a far greater danger than their disclosure," he said. He added that he had been more concerned that Americans had not been told about the N.S.A.'s reach than he was about any specific surveillance operation.

" So long as there's broad support amongst a people, it can be argued there's a level of legitimacy even to the most invasive and morally wrong program, as it was an informed and willing decision," he said . "However, programs that are implemented in secret, out of public oversight, lack that legitimacy, and that's a problem. It also represents a dangerous normalization of 'governing in the dark,' where decisions with enormous public impact occur without any public input."
Pffffft.

Zo, will congress renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Section 702 when they're back in town?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-he-took-no-secret-files-to-russia.html

WJ , Dec 27, 2017 2:11:30 PM | 110
There's a lot going on in this post and comment thread. I have no strong opinion about the disputed status/role of either Snowden or Greenwald that are being discussed above, but I do think it very likely that the Intercept was originally started as what is often referred to (I believe following the Nixon tapes) as a "limited hangout" operation.

It was intended to "expose" certain truths the CIA/NSA knew were already implied by earlier revealed and published documents and by this means was to distract the public (as if) and journalists (all three of them) from probing more deeply into the history, scope, and current operations of these and related programs. I would not be surprised if it turned out somehow that the real objective of this was to block the inquiry into or exposure of special access Intel operations during or prior to 9/11 which would blow up entirely the official narrative of that epochal event.

But I would like to bring up one fact that bears on the ongoing discussion of Snowden and Greenwald but has not been mentioned yet (I believe) in this thread. That is the NSA's reported identification of (I believe) at least two other possible leakers or whistleblowers simultaneous with or just after Snowden. I recall there being several reports about the arrest or possible detainment of one possible leaker in particular whose identity has never (to my knowledge) come to light. Does anybody remember better than I do this intriguing but often forgot facet of the NSA / Snowden affair?

The existence, identity, and (unknown?) fate of this possible NSA leaker bears on the questions being asked above about Snowden and Greenwald in obvious ways. If there really was such a leaker or potential leaker who had at the time not yet been apprehended by the NSA, then it is at least certainly possible that Snowden's own leaks were co-opted (willingly or not) by the CIA/NSA to render the revelations of the other not-yet-identified leaker anticlimactic and redundant. In this way, it is possible that Snowden's leaks, as filtered through Greenwald, the Guardian, and the Post, were themselves a kind of limited hangout operation.

Note what they produced: Obama admitted a discussion was needed, Clapper was dutifully brought before Congress, lied to them, and was not punished at all for it, and some peripheral laws were tweaked (and then untweaked) to give the impression that something had been discovered, discussed, and addressed, with the hope that now everybody would stop thinking too much about the NSA etc. This is exactly what happened, and it's exactly what limited hangouts are designed to do.

I would be interested in hearing more information from others here about those one or two other unidentified NSA leakers. What ever happened with that story? Was the identity of both leakers ever revealed?

nottheonly1 , Dec 27, 2017 5:57:15 PM | 123
@Red Ryder #69
...

As many other here stated, what WAS revealed, to was already known to a large degree. What WAS revealed, did not stir up the public sentiment beyond a ripple. It is the absence of any whatsoever consequence to his revelations that does not make sense. For the first part, of his living here in Hawai'i and subcontractor work for the NSA via Booz Allen Hamilton, reads like a cheap version of a spy b-picture. Compared to the surrounding circumstances of Daniel Ellsberg, Snowden's story appeared to be staged - if only to me. The more became known, the less did people pay attention to Libya and Syria. The distractive value of the unfolding Snowden whistle blowing was enormous.

...

nottheonly1 , Dec 27, 2017 6:30:36 PM | 125
@Red Ryder #69
...

I have always been flabbergasted about the naivety of the general public in regards to the abilities, capabilities and determination of the so called 'establishment' - aka Plutocracy, when it comes to the choice of means to achieve their psychopathic goals. What is out of reach, or undoable to those that willingly accept the death of millions of innocent people in the ME and the world over?

The utter destruction of sovereign Nations that don't fall in line? Organizing coup d'etats like local fundraisers for soup kitchens? Looking at the track record of the American establishment, nothing, absolutely nothing is ever off the table.

A staged NSA leak story that turns out to become more inconceivable and more suspicious by the day. And it matters not. Not more than Assange spending his days in an Ecuadorian exile until the plot line demands to change.

Therefore, the most sinister scenario includes a wholly staged Snowden storyline, with the participation of Russia. This is not to say that this is the way it is, but not discounting the possibility that it could be. On more than one occasion, Russian behavior, be it either reactionary, or proactive has been inconclusive. A fool who would think that it is all just theater on the expense of millions of innocent people and humanity as a whole.

No one has ever been able to predict the future in detail. Mankind is left to make sense of the present and with constant misinformation and distraction, that appears to be impossible.

Thanks to You and the other knowledgeable commenters.

All the best for 2018.

fast freddy , Dec 27, 2017 6:44:05 PM | 126
There is a good case that both Snowjob and Assange are Limited Hangouts. Each has exposed little beyond that which was already known. Neither offers any criticism of Israel's occupation of Palestine and the Yinon Plan.

What they have done is to get the worlds' citizenry to understand that domestic surveillance is a normal condition which should be expected and accepted.

Grieved , Dec 27, 2017 7:45:07 PM | 132
@126 What they have done is to get the worlds' citizenry to understand that domestic surveillance is a normal condition which should be expected and accepted.

This could also be stated as, "What they have done is to get the worlds' citizenry to understand that domestic surveillance is a normal condition which should be expected and guarded against ."

I think the world has changed since Snowden. Within the IT community, the sense of security and its requirements has been changed. What's missing so far is a discernible response. Wait a few more short years, until Chinese computing oustrips western encryption by an order of magnitude, and sooner than that when Russian hardware and software made for the consumer market is invulnerable to NSA technology. There's no sense trying to protect oneself from NSA at present because it will only draw attention. But when the Russian kit is on the market, let's just see who in the west buys it. I predict large sales.

dh , Dec 27, 2017 7:52:50 PM | 133
@132 Didn't Kaspersky just get banned in the US?
Grieved , Dec 27, 2017 8:13:41 PM | 137
I'm always wary of talk about limited hangouts. A case can usually be made that such talk is itself intended for the same purpose - to lull the recipient into despair and passivity.

When we say that we've all been gamed by theater, it's another way of saying not to fight back. But the Devil doesn't get it all his way all the time. And the rulers of the Earth always have to work through agents, and they are so frigging human that plans often go slightly, or greatly, awry.

We see more botched conspiracy action than seems credible. So a case can be made that the carelessness itself is part of the subliminal message that resistance is futile. But is it really intentional, or is it simply making the best of a bad job? Was Kennedy really gunned down in daylight as a message to all of us that we'd better not resist, because the power was total? Or was it just the way the state criminals think, that the way to kill a president is the same playbook that always worked before, and still they botched the hit with all kinds of missed shots and clumsy actions? Their secret weapon was media complicity - this allowed a multitude of sins, and without it we'd have known 50 years ago who killed Kennedy.

And it WAS a secret weapon. It took a long time for this to become obvious. We see the media all along has been completely mediocre, but since it has long given wall-to-wall coverage, it never had to get very good in order to send the daily propaganda message. Come the Internet, everyone sees how sloppy the media's work is. But does this raise the quality of the media lies? It seems not - the opposite in fact, the readers get far smarter than the writers.

The greatest trick the Devil pulled was not convincing the world he didn't exist, it was convincing the world that evil was clever, when in fact it's very mediocre. Evil performs badly. It will continue to perform badly. It can be resisted and overcome. This takes time.

I always enjoy the words of fictional Lazarus Long: "Of course the game is rigged. But don't let that stop you playing. If you don't play, you can't win."

David Park , Dec 27, 2017 9:39:05 PM | 138
Here is my little experience with the surveillance state: I am a user of the Mathematica computer program developed and sold by Wolfram Research Inc. They have a web site for users to exchange information called Wolfram Community. It is mostly about asking and answering questions about the use of Mathematica or sharing Mathematica tricks. About a year ago a series of about half a dozen ads for programmers appeared which were clearly link to expanding the surveillance state. Here is one of them:

Programming Ad

I replied by quoting the U.S. Constitution 4th Amendment and saying "Yes it was relevant to the advertisement."

Within 10 minutes my reply was deleted. I received an email from Wolfram Research saying: "We work very hard to foster positive environment on Wolfram Community and cannot allow any discussions outside the Wolfram Community guidelines. This means discussions that stray way beyond Wolfram Technologies topics."

So what is positive about advertisements on a community forum for the surveillance state and what is negative about the 4th Amendment? And the advertisements had little direct relevance to Mathematica. But I suppose they had their reasons.

[Dec 24, 2017] Evidence of Google blacklisting of left and progressive sites continues to mount - World Socialist Web Site

Notable quotes:
"... Psychology Today ..."
"... The WSWS will continue to expose and fight Google's program of political censorship, but we need the help of our readers. Please share this article by email and social media, ..."
"... donate to the WSWS ..."
"... sign up for email updates ..."
"... The author also recommends: ..."
Dec 24, 2017 | www.wsws.org

Evidence of Google blacklisting of left and progressive sites continues to mount

By Andre Damon
8 August 2017

A growing number of leading left-wing websites have confirmed that their search traffic from Google has plunged in recent months, adding to evidence that Google, under the cover of a fraudulent campaign against fake news, is implementing a program of systematic and widespread censorship.

Truthout, a not-for-profit news website that focuses on political, social, and ecological developments from a left progressive standpoint, had its readership plunge by 35 percent since April. The Real News , a nonprofit video news and documentary service, has had its search traffic fall by 37 percent. Another site, Common Dreams , last week told the WSWS that its search traffic had fallen by up to 50 percent.

As extreme as these sudden drops in search traffic are, they do not equal the nearly 70 percent drop in traffic from Google seen by the WSWS.

"This is political censorship of the worst sort; it's just an excuse to suppress political viewpoints," said Robert Epstein, a former editor in chief of Psychology Today and noted expert on Google.

Epstein said that at this point, the question was whether the WSWS had been flagged specifically by human evaluators employed by the search giant, or whether those evaluators had influenced the Google Search engine to demote left-wing sites. "What you don't know is whether this was the human evaluators who are demoting you, or whether it was the new algorithm they are training," Epstein said.

Richard Stallman, the world-renowned technology pioneer and a leader of the free software movement, said he had read the WSWS's coverage on Google's censorship of left-wing sites. He warned about the immense control exercised by Google over the Internet, saying, "For people's main way of finding articles about a topic to be run by a giant corporation creates an obvious potential for abuse."

According to data from the search optimization tool SEMRush, search traffic to Mr. Stallman's personal website, Stallman.org, fell by 24 percent, while traffic to gnu.org, operated by the Free Software Foundation, fell 19 percent.

Eric Maas, a search engine optimization consultant working in the San Francisco Bay area, said his team has surveyed a wide range of alternative news sites affected by changes in Google's algorithms since April. "While the update may be targeting specific site functions, there is evidence that this update is promoting only large mainstream news organizations. What I find problematic with this is that it appears that some sites have been targeted and others have not."

The massive drop in search traffic to the WSWS and other left-wing sites followed the implementation of changes in Google's search evaluation protocols. In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the company's vice president for engineering, stated that Google's update of its search engine would block access to "offensive" sites, while working to surface more "authoritative content."

In a set of guidelines issued to Google evaluators in March, the company instructed its search evaluators to flag pages returning "conspiracy theories" or "upsetting" content unless "the query clearly indicates the user is seeking an alternative viewpoint."

The WSWS will continue to expose and fight Google's program of political censorship, but we need the help of our readers. Please share this article by email and social media, donate to the WSWS , and sign up for email updates .

The author also recommends:

Google blocked every one of the WSWS's 45 top search terms
[4 August 2017]

Google's new search protocol is restricting access to 13 leading socialist, progressive and anti-war web sites
[2 August 2017]

New Google algorithm restricts access to left-wing, progressive web sites
[27 July 2017]

[Dec 24, 2017] Next Phase in Forcing Biometric Tracking on Consumers by Don Quijones

Notable quotes:
"... representations ..."
"... By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street . ..."
"... By Don Quijones ..."
"... in vitro gametogenesis ..."
Dec 24, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Lambert here: Let's remember that these are not biometrics, but representations of biometrics, with varying degrees of granularity and quality. And not all metrics uniquely identify a person over their life-time; Yves points out that her gait has changed multiple times over her adult life.

By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street .

In 2018, banks in Mexico will face new regulations that will oblige them to collect biometric data (finger prints and iris scans) on all of their customers. Whenever a customer asks for a new home or car loan, cashes in a paycheck, applies for a credit card or opens a new savings account, the bank in question will have to request the customer's digital fingerprints and then match those fingerprints with data against information in the database of the National Electoral Institute.

Foreign-owned subsidiaries of global banks like BBVA and Citi are thrilled with the initiative arguing that it will help them combat identity theft. Most high street lenders in Mexico have already agreed to help build a single biometric database, says Marcos Martínez, president of Mexico's Banking Association (ABM).

The ultimate goal is to develop a unique identification system that will work alongside the government's national ID scheme, which is in the final stages of development. According to the former Secretary of Finance and Public Credit (and now presidential candidate for the governing PRI party), José Antonio Meade, by the summer of 2018 all Mexicans will have a single biometric identification number.

These developments are moving fast and quietly. And as is the case with biometric programs being tried and tested all over the world right now, from the uncharted backwaters of long-forgotten war zones to the bustling metropolises of the West or East, no one is being consulted along the way.

Most national passports these days include biometric data. Driver licenses in the US (which serve as de facto ID cards) already have them or soon will. Meanwhile, millions -- perhaps soon billions -- of people have volunteered their digital fingerprints to log into their smartphones and other digital devices. In other words, we're already giving away our most private data to work, communicate, cross borders or get on planes.

China has taken biometrics to a whole new level, using facial recognition technology to validate identities in virtually all forms of transaction, including the use of toilet paper in public bathrooms.

What sets the biometrics program in Mexico apart from what is happening in most other countries is that it is the country's financial regulators and private banks -- and not the government -- that are requiring this, though the government is not far behind. The development of a single biometrics database to be used by banks and other financial institutions raises serious questions about financial security as well as data privacy.

"Biometrics are tricky," Woodrow Hartzog, an Associate Professor of Law at Samford University told WIRED. "They can be great because they are really secure. It's hard to fake someone's ear, eye, gait, or other things that make an individual uniquely identifiable. But if a biometric is compromised, you're done. You can't get another ear."

Unfortunately, as recent data leaks have shown, most databases remain incredibly porous. In this year's hack of the U.S. consumer credit bureau Equifax , the personal data that was stolen included names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, mortgage data, and payment history data, including to utilities, wireless service providers, and the like.

This, in itself, is highly compromising data that can be of huge value in the wrong hands. But imagine what could have happened if the database had included U.S. consumers' most personal data of all -- the biological traits that make them unique?

If the United States' biggest consumer credit bureau can be hacked and key data on 143 million US consumers stolen with such apparent ease, what are the chances that a similar or even worse fate could befall Mexico's newly created biometrics data bank? It's not like Mexico is short of enterprising criminals with lots of liquid funds to hire gifted, mercenary hackers -- or pull off an inside job.

Hackers are already engineering ways to spoof biometric authentication. Researchers were able to break into Apple's Touch ID system with just a small piece of Play Doh.

The scariest thing about this mad rush by corporations, banks, credit card companies, governments and (yes!) some consumers to embrace biometrics is not the speed at which it's happening, which is scary enough, but the complete lack of public debate taking place about the thorny issues it throws up. Those include the threat it poses to privacy and anonymity, the fact that use of data about your body parts is largely unregulated (and many companies want to keep it that way), or the deceptively public nature of biometrics.

"A password is inherently private," says Alvaro Bedoya, Professor of Law at Georgetown University. "The whole point of a password is that you don't tell anyone about it. A credit card is inherently private in the sense that you only have one credit card."

Biometrics, on the other hand, are inherently public, he argues. "I do know what your ear looks like, if I meet you, and I can take a high resolution photo of it from afar," says Bedoya. "I know what your fingerprint looks like if we have a drink and you leave your fingerprints on the pint glass." And that makes them easy to hack. Or track.

But this juggernaut has now been put in motion, and it's unlikely to be stopped because the biggest benefits will be enjoyed by the governments, banks, and corporations that are busily rolling out these schemes for their own purposes. By Don Quijones .

Mark P. , December 24, 2017 at 7:37 am

Or consider DNA sampling-based biometric credentialization and put it together with possibilities of the technology of in vitro gametogenesis , which is coming down the line

'Disruptive reproductive technologies' by Cohen, Daly, Adashi
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/79fd/eca33b683e49e4bdeb898ec46ddd178a1f5b.pdf

'Babies From Skin Cells? Prospect Is Unsettling to Some Experts'
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/health/ivg-reproductive-technology.html

christine , December 24, 2017 at 7:52 am

Well, this isn't quite as frightening in Mexico as in other places because a large portion of the population doesn't even have bank accounts. The government tried to get them to open them and if they did, most of them were closed within a year. People don't trust banks. Much of Mexico, and not just the poor campesinos, pays in cash. I live here and my transactions are almost all in cash no official tracks, even my rent to my wealthy landlord. Many businesses/people, will not accept credit or debit cards. They don't have Smartphones either in many cases. San Miguel de Allende is putting in smart parking meters (ha, ha, ha..good luck with that) and they are having to figure out how employees who need to go downtown to Centro are going to manage without Smartphones. Mexico is more unruly for the rulers to manage than other more "civilized" places. I like it a lot for this and many other reasons.

SpringTexan , December 24, 2017 at 8:16 am

Thanks for the perspective, Christine. You are making me want to move to Mexico. :-)

QuarterBack , December 24, 2017 at 9:32 am

There is a systematic factor that is accelerating the demands on identification and authentication that is a byproduct from the double-edged sword of advancements in communications and information technology. From the earliest days of the printing press and the telegraph, these technologies have made it increasingly more possible to conduct business with people that you have never, and may never, meet. Computers and the Internet have affected a state change in commerce where it is now practical to interact with a counterparty that is not human at all.

The Internet is accelerating a 'disintermediation of everything' that will only increase the demand and importance of technologies to service identification and authentication.. identification is naming who (and now including what) is a actor in a process, and authentication is how that identification can be verified and trusted.

These concepts are not new. Early civilizations had this problem with messages carried from afar, and thence invented penned signatures, wax seals, passwords, and cyphers. Our modern Internet age has accelerated the speed and weight of reliance on theses transactions. Modern commerce has brought about technologies like biometrics and captchas.

Note that captchas are needed to address the new state change of commerce where is is necessary to discern between a human and robot. Biometrics are much more flawed and vulnerable than he marketplace comprehends, but the need for reliable machine identification and authentication is dangerously, potentially catastrophically, behind the curve. It is not hard to imagine the terrible ramifications of fly-by-wire systems responding to unauthorized control input. It is also now possible to convincingly fake human narratives, audio, and even visual representations of humans and physical events and surroundings. The level of fictional reality that can be used to control the herd, will make "fake news" look like a children's story.

oh , December 24, 2017 at 9:43 am

A few years ago I went into a USBank branch where I have an account to get a document notorized. The person who notarized my signature asked me for the fingerprint of my index finger. I felt it was unnecessay but I agreed. From that time on I've been going to the local credit union to get any document notarized.

I wonder who made these policies at USBank? Quite an invasion of one's privacy IMHO.

johnnygl , December 24, 2017 at 10:56 am

Another creepy thing usbank does is self-insures, with regard to health insurance. They collect employee premiums, and barely ever have to pay claims because they have hefty deductibles, co-insurance, and narrow networks. They had the horrible obama-care style plans BEFORE the HCA even got off the ground. And the bank gets to profit from them!

Anon , December 24, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Every employer with more than a certain amount of insurance-eligible employees (i.e. large and many medium-sized corporations) self-insures.

chuck roast , December 24, 2017 at 9:58 am

I called Fidelity a while back to clear up some financial business, and the fellow asked me if I wanted to participate in their voice recognition program whereby I would no longer need passwords. After I repacked my exploded head, I informed the poor soul that I considered the tenor of my voice to be of no concern to any corporation and to never ask me that question again.
We're doomed doomed.

MtnLife , December 24, 2017 at 10:04 am

I just met a woman whose entire car (IIRC it was a CRV) was controlled by biometrics. Her thumb unlocks her doors and trunk as well as starting the car. She said she got it because her significant other wouldn't let her drive his vehicle so she made it so he couldn't drive hers. Ridiculous if you ask me. No other people can drive the car or even go get something out of it for her because there is no key . No backup way to do anything outside of the dealership.

Lord Koos , December 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

A very bad idea if there is an emergency

Jean , December 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Or she needs valet or attended parking lot parking. How do mechanics test drive the vehicle? Oh yeah, she's now stuck at the expensive Honda dealer that'll have a special override code instead of a cheaper local garage–which by the way can be used for maintenance without invalidating the warranty.

jsn , December 24, 2017 at 5:16 pm

I'll wager all the dealer has to do to access the car is plug in a usb cable and hit a few keys. They can likely hack in remotely and probably would if the woman called with the need. I'll bet that access is "really secure" too.

paddlingwithoutboats , December 24, 2017 at 10:06 am

"The scariest thing about this mad rush by corporations, banks, credit card companies, governments and (yes!) some consumers to embrace biometrics is not the speed at which it's happening, which is scary enough, but the complete lack of public debate taking place about the thorny issues it throws up. Those include the threat it poses to privacy and anonymity, the fact that use of data about your body parts is largely unregulated (and many companies want to keep it that way), or the deceptively public nature of biometrics."

Which leads to what happens when there is a mass hack and data catastrophe of these forms of personal identification? Well, it would be so easy to implement a more/more strategy of everyone must have implants now that their birth identifiers are hacked. Line 'em up for a li'l surgery and on we go.

Jake , December 24, 2017 at 10:48 am

Signatures? How are they considered as , public or private?

Joel , December 24, 2017 at 10:48 am

The phrase I don't see mentioned here is "two factor authentication." If the fingerprint is part of two factor authentication, there is no security issue.

That is, if the fingerprint requires a password for confirmation, the same way that an ATM card requires a password, then it's simply an extra layer of security on top of the password. Used that way, it is far more secure than passwords alone.

The real concern is yet more surveillance.

grayslady , December 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

Yesterday, I watched again Citizen Four . It's a movie I think everyone should watch once a year in order to remember that personal freedom is right up there with economic well-being in importance. Biometrics is a terrifying concept that brings far fewer benefits than risks.

Joel , December 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Whenever I am about to complain about customs and immigration and security hassles at an airport I think of all the hostility Laura Poitras and other brave activists have had to endure.

Jean , December 24, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Is there some reason that people cannot copyright their personal data?

[Dec 22, 2017] Facebook Handing Over More Info To US Government This Is What Facebook Was Designed To Do Zero Hedge

Dec 22, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Every year, Facebook gets tens of thousands of requests for data from governments worldwide , including search warrants, subpoenas, or calls to restrict certain kinds of content. And, according to a new report, those requests are increasing at an alarming rate.

According to QZ.com , in the United States, the requests rose by 26% from the last six months of 2016 to the first six months of 2017, while globally, requests increased by about 21%. Since 2013, when the company first started providing data on government requests, the US number has been steadily rising - it has roughly tripled in a period of four years.

This is alarming many and causing a concern about privacy. Joe Joseph, from the Daily Sheeple , isn't sugarcoating the reality of Facebook either. "Duh. This is exactly what Facebook was designed to do," says Joseph.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MExnMcgiMk0

"You have to remember that Zuckerberg had "seed money" and that seed money came from CIA front companies that put a lot of resources into this and basically think about it as like, sowing seeds; if you will. They knew that Facebook was gonna bear fruit.

I don't think they realized just how big it would become. But I can tell you that they get so much information and intel from social media: I don't think that it would go away even if we wanted it to ."

The government keeps requesting the information, and Facebook continues to comply with the government's demands.

In the first six months of 2013, it granted the government - which includes the police - 79% of requests ("some data was produced" in these cases, the company says); in the first six months of 2017, that share rose to 85%. "We continue to carefully scrutinize each request we receive for account data -- whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere -- to make sure it is legally sufficient," Chris Sonderby, the company's general counsel, wrote in a post . "If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary."

But Joseph thinks Facebook is just trying to pacify the easily manipulated sheeple of society.

"This is pretty troubling when you think about what you put out there, what they collect, and Facebook only being one of the many avenues that they have," Joseph says.

"The United States is collecting your data. Whether you like it or not. They are scooping up everything. And they're taking it and they're storing it in their facility at Bluffdale, Utah which has the capacity at this time to store every communication on the face of this earth for the next one hundred years."

"It's unbelievable," Joseph continues. "This is stuff that is unacceptable to me, but I'm sure, to a lot of you. And these companies have really gone too far they can reconstruct your life and make anyone they want a patsy ."

[Dec 18, 2017] Gaius Publius: Explosive WikiLeaks Release Exposes Massive, Aggressive CIA Cyber Spying, Hacking Capability

Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump is deep in the world of spooks now, the world of spies, agents and operatives. He and his inner circle have a nest of friends, but an even larger, more varied nest of enemies. As John Sevigny writes below, his enemies include not only the intel and counter-intel people, but also "Republican lawmakers, journalists, the Clintons, the Bush family, Barack Obama, the ACLU, every living Democrat and even Rand Paul." ..."
"... A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of 'Year Zero', the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed 'Vault 7.' WikiLeaks said that 'Year Zero' revealed details of the CIA's "global covert hacking program," including "weaponized exploits" used against company products including " Apple's iPhone , Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs , which are turned into covert microphones." ..."
"... According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect "audio and message traffic before encryption is applied." ..."
"... "CIA turned every Microsoft Windows PC in the world into spyware. Can activate backdoors on demand, including via Windows update "[.] ..."
"... Do you still trust Windows Update? ..."
"... As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. ..."
"... "Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told the Huffington Post that Hastings's crash looked consistent with a car cyber attack.'" Full and fascinating article here . ..."
"... Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive. ..."
"... Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force - its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities. ..."
"... By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified. ..."
"... I learned this when I was in my 20s. The Catholic Church was funding my early critique of American foreign aid as being imperialist. I asked whether they thought I should go into politics. They said, "No, you'd never make it". And I said, "Why?" and they said, "Well, nobody has a police record or any other dirt on you." I asked what they meant. They said, "Unless they have something over you to blackmail you with, you're not going to be able to get campaign funding. Because they believe that you might do something surprising," in other words, something they haven't asked you to do. So basically throughout politics, on both sides of the spectrum, voters have candidates who are funded by backers who have enough over them that they can always blackmail. ..."
"... The campaign to frame up and discredit Trump and his associates is characteristic of how a police state routinely operates. A national security apparatus that vacuums up all our communications and stores them for later retrieval has been utilized by political operatives to go after their enemies – and not even the President of the United States is immune. This is something that one might expect to occur in, say, Turkey, or China: that it is happening here, to the cheers of much of the media and the Democratic party, is beyond frightening. ..."
"... 4th impressions – I went looking for the "juicy bits" of interest to me – SOHO routers, small routers – sadly its just a table documenting routers sold around the world, and whether these guys have put the firmware in their Stash Repository. Original firmware, not hacked one. But the repository isn't in the vault dump, AFAIK. ..."
"... The WikiLeaks docs show that CIA has developed means to use all personal digital device microphones and cameras even when they are "off," and to send all of your files and personal data to themselves, and to send your private messages to themselves before they are encrypted. They have installed these spyware in the released version of Windows 10, and can easily install them on all common systems and devices. ..."
"... So we have a zillion ways to spy and hack and deceive and assassinate, but no control. I think this is what the military refers to as "being overtaken by events." ..."
"... My godfather was in the CIA in the late sixties and early seventies, and he said that outside of the President's pet projects there was no way to sift through and bring important information to decision makers before it made the Washington Post (he is aware of the irony) and hit the President's breakfast table. ..."
"... To what extent do these hacks represent the CIA operating within the US? To what extent is that illegal? With the democrats worshipping the IC, will anyone in an official position dare to speak out? ..."
"... Schumer said that as he understands, intelligence officials are "very upset with how [Trump] has treated them and talked about them ..."
"... The CIA's internal security is crap, too. Really a lot of people should be fired over that, as well as over Snowden's release. We didn't hear of it happening in the NSA, though I'm not sure we would have. Given Gaius's description of Trump's situation, it seems unlikely it will happen this time, either. One of my hopes for a Trump administration, as long as we're stuck with it, was a thorough cleanout of the upper echelons in the IC. It's obviously long overdue, and Obama wasn't up to it. But I used the past tense because I don't think it's going to happen. Trump seems more interested in sucking up to them, presumably so they won't kill him or his family. That being one of their options. ..."
"... "The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability ." [My emphasis]. It seems to characterize an organization that operates outside of any control and oversight – and one that is intentionally structuring itself that way. That worries me. ..."
"... It's a dangerous world out there and only our brave IC can protect us from it. Come on. Stop blaming the victim and place the blame where it belongs–our IC and MIC. I say stop feeding the beast with your loyalty to a government that has ceased to be yours. ..."
"... "These CIA revelations in conjunction with those of the NSA paints a pretty dark future for privacy and freedom. Edward Snowden made us aware of the NSA's program XKEYSCORE and PRISM which are utilized to monitor and bulk collect information from virtually any electronic device on the planet and put it into a searchable database. Now Wikileaks has published what appears to be additional Big Brother techniques used by a competing agency. Say what you want about the method of discovery, but Pandora's box has been opened." ..."
Mar 09, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
March 9, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. The first release of the Wikileaks Vault 7 trove has curiously gone from being a MSM lead story yesterday to a handwave today. On the one hand, anyone who was half awake during the Edward Snowden revelations knows that the NSA is in full spectrum surveillance and data storage mode, and members of the Five Eyes back-scratch each other to evade pesky domestic curbs on snooping. So the idea that the CIA (and presumably the NSA) found a way to circumvent encryption tools on smartphones, or are trying to figure out how to control cars remotely, should hardly come as a surprise.

However, at a minimum, reminding the generally complacent public that they are being spied on any time they use the Web, and increasingly the times in between, makes the officialdom Not Happy.

And if this Wikileaks claim is even halfway true, its Vault 7 publication is a big deal:

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

This is an indictment of the model of having the intelligence services rely heavily on outside contractors. It is far more difficult to control information when you have multiple organizations involved. In addition, neolibearlism posits that workers are free agents who have no loyalties save to their own bottom lines (or for oddballs, their own sense of ethics). Let us not forget that Snowden planned his career job moves , which included a stint at NSA contractor Dell, before executing his information haul at a Booz Allen site that he had targeted.

Admittedly, there are no doubt many individuals who are very dedicated to the agencies for which they work and aspire to spend most it not all of their woking lives there. But I would assume that they are a minority.

The reason outsiders can attempt to pooh-pooh the Wikileaks release is that the organization redacted sensitive information like the names of targets and attack machines. The CIA staffers who have access to the full versions of these documents as well as other major components in the hacking toolkit will be the ones who can judge how large and serious the breach really is. 1 And their incentives are to minimize it no matter what.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

CIA org chart from the WikiLeaks cache (click to enlarge). "The organizational chart corresponds to the material published by WikiLeaks so far. Since the organizational structure of the CIA below the level of Directorates is not public, the placement of the EDG [Engineering Development Group]and its branches is reconstructed from information contained in the documents released so far. It is intended to be used as a rough outline of the internal organization; please be aware that the reconstructed org chart is incomplete and that internal reorganizations occur frequently."

* * *

"O brave new world, that has such people in it."

Bottom line first. As you read what's below, consider:

Now the story.

WikiLeaks just dropped a huge cache of documents (the first of several promised releases), leaked from a person or people associated with the CIA in one or more capacities (examples, employee, contractor), which shows an agency out-of-control in its spying and hacking overreach. Read through to the end. If you're like me, you'll be stunned, not just about what they can do, but that they would want to do it, in some cases in direct violation of President Obama's orders. This story is bigger than anything you can imagine.

Consider this piece just an introduction, to make sure the story stays on your radar as it unfolds - and to help you identify those media figures who will try to minimize or bury it. (Unless I missed it, on MSNBC last night, for example, the first mention of this story was not Chris Hayes, not Maddow, but the Lawrence O'Donnell show, and then only to support his guest's "Russia gave us Trump" narrative. If anything, this leak suggests a much muddier picture, which I'll explore in a later piece.)

So I'll start with just a taste, a few of its many revelations, to give you, without too much time spent, the scope of the problem. Then I'll add some longer bullet-point detail, to indicate just how much of American life this revelation touches.

While the cache of documents has been vetted and redacted , it hasn't been fully explored for implications. I'll follow this story as bits and piece are added from the crowd sourced research done on the cache of information. If you wish to play along at home, the WikiLeaks torrent file is here . The torrent's passphrase is here . WikiLeaks press release is here (also reproduced below). Their FAQ is here .

Note that this release covers the years 2013–2016. As WikiLeaks says in its FAQ, "The series is the largest intelligence publication in history."

Preface - Trump and Our "Brave New World"

But first, this preface, consisting of one idea only. Donald Trump is deep in the world of spooks now, the world of spies, agents and operatives. He and his inner circle have a nest of friends, but an even larger, more varied nest of enemies. As John Sevigny writes below, his enemies include not only the intel and counter-intel people, but also "Republican lawmakers, journalists, the Clintons, the Bush family, Barack Obama, the ACLU, every living Democrat and even Rand Paul." Plus Vladimir Putin, whose relationship with Trump is just "business," an alliance of convenience, if you will.

I have zero sympathy for Donald Trump. But his world is now our world, and with both of his feet firmly planted in spook world, ours are too. He's in it to his neck, in fact, and what happens in that world will affect every one of us. He's so impossibly erratic, so impossibly unfit for his office, that everyone on the list above wants to remove him. Many of them are allied, but if they are, it's also only for convenience.

How do spooks remove the inconvenient and unfit? I leave that to your imagination;they have their ways. Whatever method they choose, however, it must be one without fingerprints - or more accurately, without their fingerprints - on it.

Which suggests two more questions. One, who will help them do it, take him down? Clearly, anyone and everyone on the list. Second, how do you bring down the president, using extra-electoral, extra-constitutional means, without bringing down the Republic? I have no answer for that.

Here's a brief look at "spook world" (my phrase, not the author's) from " The Fox Hunt " by John Sevigny:

Several times in my life – as a journalist and rambling, independent photographer - I've ended up rubbing shoulders with spooks. Long before that was a racist term, it was a catch-all to describe intelligence community people, counter intel types, and everyone working for or against them. I don't have any special insight into the current situation with Donald Trump and his battle with the IC as the intelligence community calls itself, but I can offer a few first hand observations about the labyrinth of shadows, light, reflections, paranoia, perceptions and misperceptions through which he finds himself wandering, blindly. More baffling and scary is the thought he may have no idea his ankles are already bound together in a cluster of quadruple gordian knots, the likes of which very few people ever escape.

Criminal underworlds, of which the Trump administration is just one, are terrifying and confusing places. They become far more complicated once they've been penetrated by authorities and faux-authorities who often represent competing interests, but are nearly always in it for themselves.

One big complication - and I've written about this before - is that you never know who's working for whom . Another problem is that the hierarchy of handlers, informants, assets and sources is never defined. People who believe, for example, they are CIA assets are really just being used by people who are perhaps not in the CIA at all but depend on controlling the dupe in question. It is very simple - and I have seen this happen - for the subject of an international investigation to claim that he is part of that operation. [emphasis added]

Which leads Sevigny to this observation about Trump, which I partially quoted above: "Donald Trump may be crazy, stupid, evil or all three but he knows the knives are being sharpened and there are now too many blades for him to count. The intel people are against him, as are the counter intel people. His phone conversations were almost certainly recorded by one organization or another, legal or quasi legal. His enemies include Republican lawmakers, journalists, the Clintons, the Bush family, Barack Obama, the ACLU, every living Democrat and even Rand Paul. Putin is not on his side - that's a business matter and not an alliance."

Again, this is not to defend Trump, or even to generate sympathy for him - I personally have none. It's to characterize where he is, and we are, at in this pivotal moment. Pivotal not for what they're doing, the broad intelligence community. But pivotal for what we're finding out, the extent and blatancy of the violations.

All of this creates an incredibly complex story, with only a tenth or less being covered by anything like the mainstream press. For example, the Trump-Putin tale is much more likely to be part of a much broader "international mobster" story, whose participants include not only Trump and Putin, but Wall Street (think HSBC) and major international banks, sovereign wealth funds, major hedge funds, venture capital (vulture capital) firms, international drug and other trafficking cartels, corrupt dictators and presidents around the world and much of the highest reaches of the "Davos crowd."

Much of the highest reaches of the .01 percent, in other words, all served, supported and "curated" by the various, often competing elements of the first-world military and intelligence communities. What a stew of competing and aligned interests, of marriages and divorces of convenience, all for the common currencies of money and power, all of them dealing in death .

What this new WikiLeaks revelation shows us is what just one arm of that community, the CIA, has been up to. Again, the breadth of the spying and hacking capability is beyond imagination. This is where we've come to as a nation.

What the CIA Is Up To - A Brief Sample

Now about those CIA spooks and their surprising capabilities. A number of other outlets have written up the story, but this from Zero Hedge has managed to capture the essence as well as the breadth in not too many words (emphasis mine throughout):

WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever release of confidential documents on the CIA It includes more than 8,000 documents as part of 'Vault 7', a series of leaks on the agency, which have allegedly emerged from the CIA's Center For Cyber Intelligence in Langley , and which can be seen on the org chart below, which Wikileaks also released : [org chart reproduced above]

A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of 'Year Zero', the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed 'Vault 7.' WikiLeaks said that 'Year Zero' revealed details of the CIA's "global covert hacking program," including "weaponized exploits" used against company products including " Apple's iPhone , Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs , which are turned into covert microphones."

WikiLeaks tweeted the leak, which it claims came from a network inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.

Among the more notable disclosures which, if confirmed, " would rock the technology world ", the CIA had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect "audio and message traffic before encryption is applied."

With respect to hacked devices like you smart phone, smart TV and computer, consider the concept of putting these devices in "fake-off" mode:

Among the various techniques profiled by WikiLeaks is "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs , transforming them into covert microphones. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode , so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.

As Kim Dotcom chimed in on Twitter, "CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones" and added "CIA turned every Microsoft Windows PC in the world into spyware. Can activate backdoors on demand, including via Windows update "[.]

Do you still trust Windows Update?

About "Russia did it"

Adding to the "Russia did it" story, note this:

Another profound revelation is that the CIA can engage in "false flag" cyberattacks which portray Russia as the assailant . Discussing the CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group, Wikileaks' source notes that it "collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.["]

As Kim Dotcom summarizes this finding, " CIA uses techniques to make cyber attacks look like they originated from enemy state ."

This doesn't prove that Russia didn't do it ("it" meaning actually hacking the presidency for Trump, as opposed to providing much influence in that direction), but again, we're in spook world, with all the phrase implies. The CIA can clearly put anyone's fingerprints on any weapon they wish, and I can't imagine they're alone in that capability.

Hacking Presidential Devices?

If I were a president, I'd be concerned about this, from the WikiLeaks " Analysis " portion of the Press Release (emphasis added):

"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments [that the intelligence community would reveal to device manufacturers whatever vulnerabilities it discovered]. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive [across devices and device types] and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.

As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in "Year Zero" [that it] is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts . The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities ("zero days") possessed by the CIA[,] but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.

Does or did the CIA do this (hack presidential devices), or is it just capable of it? The second paragraph implies the latter. That's a discussion for another day, but I can say now that both Lawrence Wilkerson, aide to Colin Powell and a non-partisan (though an admitted Republican) expert in these matters, and William Binney, one of the triumvirate of major pre-Snowden leakers, think emphatically yes. (See Wilkerson's comments here . See Binney's comments here .)

Whether or not you believe Wilkerson and Binney, do you doubt that if our intelligence people can do something, they would balk at the deed itself, in this world of "collect it all "? If nothing else, imagine the power this kind of bugging would confer on those who do it.

The Breadth of the CIA Cyber-Hacking Scheme

But there is so much more in this Wikileaks release than suggested by the brief summary above. Here's a bullet-point overview of what we've learned so far, again via Zero Hedge:

Key Highlights from the Vault 7 release so far:

Also this scary possibility:

Journalist Michael Hastings, who in 2010 destroyed the career of General Stanley McChrystal and was hated by the military for it, was killed in 2013 in an inexplicably out-of-control car. This isn't to suggest the CIA, specifically, caused his death. It's to ask that, if these capabilities existed in 2013, what would prevent their use by elements of the military, which is, after all a death-delivery organization?

And lest you consider this last speculation just crazy talk, Richard Clarke (that Richard Clarke ) agrees: "Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told the Huffington Post that Hastings's crash looked consistent with a car cyber attack.'" Full and fascinating article here .

WiliLeaks Press Release

Here's what WikiLeaks itself says about this first document cache (again, emphasis mine):

Press Release

Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election .

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force - its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.

By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.

In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public , including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of "Year Zero" goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one ("Year Zero") already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

Be sure to click through for the Analysis, Examples and FAQ sections as well.

"O brave new world," someone once wrote . Indeed. Brave new world, that only the brave can live in.

____

1 Mind you, the leakers may have had a comprehensive enough view to be making an accurate call. But the real point is there are no actors who will be allowed to make an independent assessment.

34 0 42 1 0 This entry was posted in Banana republic , Guest Post , Legal , Politics , Surveillance state , Technology and innovation on March 9, 2017 by Yves Smith .
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Subscribe to Post Comments 64 comments Code Name D , March 9, 2017 at 2:38 am

That's all I needed.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/10/fbi-chief-given-dossier-by-john-mccain-alleging-secret-trump-russia-contacts

Senator John McCain passed documents to the FBI director, James Comey, last month alleging secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and that Russian intelligence had personally compromising material on the president-elect himself.

The material, which has been seen by the Guardian, is a series of reports on Trump's relationship with Moscow. They were drawn up by a former western counter-intelligence official, now working as a private consultant. BuzzFeed on Tuesday published the documents, which it said were "unverified and potentially unverifiable".

The Guardian has not been able to confirm the veracity of the documents' contents,

Emphases mine. I had been sitting on this link trying to make sense of this part. Clearly, the Trump Whitehouse has some major leaks, which the MSM is exploiting. But the start of this article suggests that para-intelligence (is that a word? Eh, it is now) was the source of the allegedly damaging info.

This is no longer about the deep-state, but a rouge state, possibly guns for higher, each having fealty to specific political interests. The CIA arsenal wasn't leaked. It was delivered.

salvo , March 9, 2017 at 3:13 am

hmm.. as far as I can see, noone seems to care here in Germany anymore about being spied on by our US friends, apart from a few alternative sources which are being accused of spreading fake news, of being anti-american, russian trolls, the matter is widely ignored

visitor , March 9, 2017 at 3:40 am

I have read a few articles about the Vault 7 leak that typically raise a few alarms I would like to comment on.

1) The fact that the

CIA had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services

does not mean that it has broken encryption, just that it has a way to install a program at a lower level, close to the operating system, that will read messages before they are encrypted and sent by the messaging app, or just after they have been decrypted by it.

As a side note: banks have now largely introduced two-factor authentication when accessing online services. One enters username (or account number) and password; the bank site returns a code; the user must then enter this code into a smartphone app or a tiny specialized device, which computes and returns a value out of it; the user enters this last value into the entry form as a throw-away additional password, and gains access to the bank website.

I have always refused to use such methods on a smartphone and insist on getting the specialized "single-use password computer", precisely because the smartphone platform can be subverted.

2) The fact that

"Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), [ ] infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones.

is possible largely because smart TVs are designed by their manufacturers to serve as spying devices. "Weeping Angel" is not some kind of virus that turns normal devices into zombies, but a tool to take control of existing zombie devices.

The fact that smart TVs from Vizio , Samsung or LG constitute an outrageous intrusion into the privacy of their owners has been a known topic for years already.

3) The

CIA [ ] also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks

is not a "scary possibility" either; various demonstrations of such feats on Tesla , Nissan , or Chrysler vehicles have been demonstrated in the past few years.

And the consequences have already been suggested (killing people by disabling their car controls on the highway for instance).

My take on this is that we should seriously look askance not just at the shenanigans of the CIA, but at the entire "innovative technology" that is imposed upon (computerized cars) or joyfully adopted by (smartphones) consumers. Of course, most NC readers are aware of the pitfalls already, but alas not the majority of the population.

4) Finally this:

He's so impossibly erratic, so impossibly unfit for his office,

Trump is arguably unfit for office, does not have a clue about many things (such as foreign relations), but by taxing him of being "erratic" Gaius Publius shows that he still does not "get" the Donald.

Trump has a completely different modus operandi than career politicians, formed by his experience as a real-estate mogul and media star. His world has been one where one makes outrageous offers to try anchoring the negotiation before reducing one's claims - even significantly, or abruptly exiting just before an agreement to strike a deal with another party that has been lured to concessions through negotiations with the first one. NC once included a video of Trump doing an interactive A/B testing of his slogans during a campaign meeting; while changing one's slogans on the spot might seem "erratic", it is actually a very systematic market probing technique.

So stop asserting that Trump is "unpredictable" or "irrational"; this is underestimating him (a dangerous fault), as he is very consistent, though in an uncommon fashion amongst political pundits.

Yves Smith Post author , March 9, 2017 at 5:53 am

While I agree that it's worth pointing out that the CIA has not broken any of the major encryption tools, even Snowden regards being able to circumvent them as worse, since people using encryption are presumably those who feel particularly at risk and will get a false sense of security and say things or keep data on their devices that they never never would if they thought they were insecure.

Re Gaius on Trump, I agree the lady doth protest too much. But I said repeatedly that Trump would not want to be President if he understood the job. It is not like being the CEO of a private company. Trump has vastly more control over his smaller terrain in his past life than he does as President.

And Trump is no longer campaigning. No more a/b testing.

The fact is that he still does not have effective control of the Executive branch. He has lots of open positions in the political appointee slots (largely due to not having even submitted candidates!) plus has rebellion in some organizations (like folks in the EPA storing data outside the agency to prevent its destruction).

You cannot pretend that Trump's former MO is working at all well for him. And he isn't showing an ability to adapt or learn (not surprising at his age). For instance, he should have figured out by now that DC is run by lawyers, yet his team has hardly any on it. This is continuing to be a source of major self inflicted wounds.

His erraticness may be keeping his opponents off base, but it is also keeping him from advancing any of his goals.

visitor , March 9, 2017 at 6:59 am

I believe we are in agreement.

Yes, not breaking encryption is devious, as it gives a false sense of security - this is precisely why I refuse to use those supposedly secure e-banking login apps on smartphones whose system software can be subverted, and prefer those non-connected, non-reprogrammable, special-purpose password generating devices.

As for Trump being incompetent for his job, and his skills in wheeling-dealing do not carrying over usefully to conducting high political offices, that much is clear. But he is not "erratic", rather he is out of place and out of his depth.

RBHoughton , March 9, 2017 at 9:00 pm

I am writing this in the shower with a paper bag over my head and my iPhone in the microwave.

I have for years had a password-protected document on computer with all my important numbers and passwords. I have today deleted that document and reverted to a paper record.

Ivy , March 9, 2017 at 10:09 am

Please tell readers more about the following for our benefit:

"single-use password computer"

visitor , March 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

That is an example of the sort of thing I am talking about.

PhilM , March 9, 2017 at 11:35 am

I think he means a machine dedicated to high-security operations like anything financial or bill-pay. Something that is not exposed to email or web-browsing operations that happen on a casual-use computer that can easily compromise. That's not a bad way to go; it's cheaper in terms of time than the labor-intensive approaches I use, but those are a hobby more than anything else. It depends on how much you have at stake if they get your bank account or brokerage service password.

I take a few basic security measures, which would not impress the IT crowd I hang out with elsewhere, but at least would not make me a laughingstock. I run Linux and use only open-source software; run ad-blockers and script blockers; confine risky operations, which means any non-corporate or non-mainstream website to a virtual machine that is reset after each use; use separate browsers with different cookie storage policies and different accounts for different purposes. I keep a well-maintained pfSense router with a proxy server and an intrusion detection system, allowing me to segregate my secure network, home servers, guest networks, audiovisual streaming and entertainment devices, and IoT devices each on their own VLANs with appropriate ACLs between them. No device on the more-secured network is allowed out to any port without permission, and similar rules are there for the IoT devices, and the VoIP tools.

The hardware to do all of that costs at least $700, but the real expense is in the time to learn the systems properly. Of course if you use Linux, you could save that on software in a year if you are too cheap to send a contribution to the developers.

It's not perfect, because I still have computers turned on :) , but I feel a bit safer this way.

That said, absolutely nothing that I have here would last 30 milliseconds against anything the "hats" could use, if they wanted in. It would be over before it began. If I had anything to hide, really, I would have something to fear; so guess I'm OK.

jrs , March 9, 2017 at 2:36 pm

open source software often has a lot of bugs to be exploioted. Wouldn't it be easier to just do banking in person?

visitor , March 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Banks discourage that by

a) charging extortionate fees for "in-person" operations at the counter;

b) closing subsidiaries, thus making it tedious and time-consuming to visit a branch to perform banking operations in person;

c) eliminating the possibility to perform some or even all usual operations in any other form than online (see the advent of "Internet only" banks).

In theoretical terms, all this is called "nudging".

cfraenkel , March 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

They're key fobs handed to you by your IT dept. The code displayed changes every couple of minutes. The plus is there's nothing sent over the air. The minus is the fobs are subject to theft, and are only good for connecting to 'home'. And since they have a cost, and need to be physically handed to you, they're not good fit for most two factor login applications (ie logging into your bank account).

see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_SecurID

meme , March 9, 2017 at 3:53 am

I watched (fast forwarded through, really) Morning Joe yesterday to see what they would have to say about Wikileaks. The show mostly revolved around the health care bill and Trump's lying and tweeting about Obama wiretapping him. They gave Tim Kaine plenty of time to discuss his recent trip to London talking to "some of our allies there" saying that they are concerned that "all the intelligence agencies" say the Rooskies "cyber hacked" our election, and since it looks like we aren't doing anything when we are attacked, they KNOW we won't do anything when they are attacked. (more red baiting)

The only two mentions I saw was about Wikileaks were, first, a question asked of David Cohen, ex Deputy Director of the CIA, who refused to confirm the Wikileaks were authentic, saying whatever tools and techniques the CIA had were used against foreign persons overseas, so there is no reason to worry that your TV is looking at you. And second, Senator Tom Cotton, who didn't want to comment on the contents of Wikileaks, only saying that the CIA is a foreign intelligence service, collecting evidence on foreign targets to keep our country safe, and it does not do intelligence work domestically.

So that appears to be their story, the CIA doesn't spy on us, and they are sticking with it, probably hoping the whole Wikileaks thing just cycles out of the news.

Direction , March 9, 2017 at 4:23 am

Thanks for mentioning Hastings. His death has always been more than suspicious.

skippy , March 9, 2017 at 5:46 am

Elite risk management reduction tool goes walkabout inverting its potential ..

disheveled . love it when a plan comes together ..

james wordsworth , March 9, 2017 at 5:50 am

The unwillingness of the main stream media (so far) to really cover the Wikileaks reveal is perhaps the bigger story. This should be ongoing front page stuff .. but it is not.

As for using ZeroHedge as a source for anything, can we give that a rest. That site has become a cesspool of insanity. It used to have some good stuff. Now it is just unreadable. SAD

And yes I know the hypocrisy of slamming ZH and the MSM at the same time we live in interesting times.

Yves Smith Post author , March 9, 2017 at 7:52 am

Your remarks on ZH are an ad hominem attack and therefore a violation of site policies. The onus is on you to say what ZH got wrong and not engage in an ungrounded smear. The mainstream media often cites ZH.

NC more than just about any other finance site is loath to link to ZH precisely because it is off base or hyperventilating a not acceptably high percent of the time, and is generally wrong about the Fed (as in governance and how money works). We don't want to encourage readers to see it as reliable. However, it is good on trader gossip and mining Bloomberg data.

And I read through its summary of the Wikileaks material as used by Gaius and there was nothing wrong with it. It was careful about attributing certain claims to Wikileaks as opposed to depicting them as true.

3urypteris , March 9, 2017 at 12:14 pm

My rules for reading ZH:
1- Skip every article with no picture
2- Skip every article where the picture is a graph
3- Skip every article where the picture is of a single person's face
4- Skip every afticle where the picture is a cartoon
5- Skip every article about gold, BitCoin, or high-frequency trading
6- Skip all the "Guest Posts"
7- ALWAYS click through to the source
8- NEVER read the comments

It is in my opinion a very high noise-to-signal source, but there is some there there.

sunny129 , March 9, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Finding the TRUTH is NOT that easy.

Discerning a 'news from noise' is NEVER that easy b/c it is an art, developed by years of shifting through ever increasing 'DATA information' load. This again has to be filtered and tested against one's own 'critical' thinking or reasoning! You have to give ZH, deserved credit, when they are right!

There is no longer a Black or white there, even at ZH! But it is one of the few, willing to challenge the main stream narrative 'kool aid'

TheCatSaid , March 9, 2017 at 6:14 am

In addition to the "para-intelligence" community (hat tip Code named D) there are multiple enterprises with unique areas of expertise that interface closely with the CIA The long-exposed operations, which include entrapment and blackmailing of key actors to guarantee complicity, "loyalty" and/or sealed lips, infect businesses, NGOs, law enforcement agencies, judges, politicians, and other government agencies. Equal opportunity employment for those with strong stomachs and a weak moral compass.

Romancing The Loan , March 9, 2017 at 8:43 am

Yes I can't remember where I read it but it was a tale passed around supposedly by an FBI guy that had, along with his colleagues, the job of vetting candidates for political office. They'd do their background research and pass on either a thick or thin folder full of all the compromising dirt on each potential appointee. Over time he said he was perturbed to notice a persistent pattern where the thickest folders were always the ones who got in.

nobody , March 9, 2017 at 10:10 am

Michael Hudson :

I learned this when I was in my 20s. The Catholic Church was funding my early critique of American foreign aid as being imperialist. I asked whether they thought I should go into politics. They said, "No, you'd never make it". And I said, "Why?" and they said, "Well, nobody has a police record or any other dirt on you." I asked what they meant. They said, "Unless they have something over you to blackmail you with, you're not going to be able to get campaign funding. Because they believe that you might do something surprising," in other words, something they haven't asked you to do. So basically throughout politics, on both sides of the spectrum, voters have candidates who are funded by backers who have enough over them that they can always blackmail.

craazyboy , March 9, 2017 at 8:20 am

I find the notion that my consumer electronics may be CIA microphones somewhat irritating, but my imagination quickly runs off to far worse scenarios. (although the popular phase, "You're tax dollars at work." keeps running thru my head like a earworm. And whenever I hear "conservatives" speak of their desire for "small government", usually when topics of health care, Medicare and social security come up, I can only manage a snort of incredulousness anymore)

One being malware penetrating our nuke power plants and shutting down the cooling system. Then the reactor slowly overheats over the next 3 days, goes critical, and blows the surrounding area to high heaven. We have plants all around the coast of the country and also around the Great Lakes Region – our largest fresh water store in a drought threatened future.

Then the same happening in our offensive nuke missile systems.

Some other inconvenient truths – the stuxnet virus has been redesigned. Kaspersky – premier anti malware software maker – had a variant on their corporate network for months before finally discovering it. What chance have we?

In China, hacking is becoming a consumer service industry. There are companies building high power data centers with a host of hacking tools. Anyone, including high school script kiddies, can rent time to use the sophisticated hacking tools, web search bots, and whatever, all hosted on powerful servers with high speed internet bandwidth.

Being a bit "spooked" by all this, I began to worry about my humble home computer and decided to research whatever products I could get to at least ward off annoying vandalism. Among other things, I did sign up for a VPN service. I'm looking at the control app for my VPN connection here and I see that with a simple checkbox mouse click I can make my IP address appear to be located in my choice of 40 some countries around the world. Romania is on the list!

flora , March 9, 2017 at 11:11 am

"my consumer electronics may be CIA microphones "

I haven't tested this, so can't confirm it works, but it sounds reasonable.
http://www.komando.com/tips/390304/secure-your-webcam-and-microphone-from-hackers

craazyboy , March 9, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Actually, I very much doubt that does work. The mic "pickup" would feed its analog output to a DAC (digital to analog converter) which would convert the signal to digital. This then goes to something similar to a virtual com port in the operating system. Here is where a malware program would pick it up and either create a audio file to be sent to an internet address, or stream it directly there.

The article is just plugging in a microphone at the output jack. The malware got the data long before it goes thru another DAC and analog amp to get to the speakers or output jack.

craazyboy , March 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm

s/b "plugging in a earbud at the output jack". They're confusing me too.

flora , March 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

ah. thanks for vetting.

Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 2:53 pm

It's actually a input/output jack or, if you will, a mic/headphone jack.

Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm

It depends on how it is hooked up internally. Old fashioned amateur radio headphones would disable the speakers when plugged in because the physical insertion of the plug pushed open the connection to the speakers. The jack that you plug the ear buds into might do the same, disconnecting the path between the built-in microphone and the ADC (actually it is an ADC not a DAC). The only way to know is to take it apart and see how it is connected.

Pat , March 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

The CIA is not allowed to operate in the US is also the panacea for the public. And some are buying it. Along with everyone knows they can do this is fueling the NOTHING to see here keep walking weak practically non existent coverage.

Eureka Springs , March 9, 2017 at 8:31 am

At what point do people quit negotiating in terrorism and errorism? For this is what the police, the very State itself has long been. Far beyond being illegitimate, illegal, immoral, this is a clear and ever present danger to not just it's own people, but the rule of law itself. Blanket statements like we all know this just makes the dangerously absurd normal I'll never understand that part of human nature. But hey, the TSA literally just keeps probing further each and every year. Bend over!

Trump may not be the one for the task but we the people desperately need people 'unfit', for it is the many fit who brought us to this point. His unfit nature is as refreshing on these matters in its chaotic honest disbelief as Snowden and Wiki revelations. Refreshing because it's all we've got. One doesn't have to like Trump to still see missed opportunity so many should be telling him he could be the greatest pres ever if (for two examples) he fought tirelessly for single payer and to bring down this police state rather than the EPA or public education.

This cannot stand on so many levels. Not only is the fourth amendment rendered utterly void, but even if it weren't it falls far short of the protections we deserve.

No enemy could possibly be as bad as who we are and what we allow/do among ourselves. If an election can be hacked (not saying it was by Russia).. as these and other files prove anything can and will be hacked then our system is to blame, not someone else.

What amazes me is that the spooks haven't manufactured proof needed to take Trump out of office Bonfire of The Vanities style. I'd like to think the people have moved beyond the point they would believe manufactured evidence but the Russia thing proves otherwise.

These people foment world war while probing our every move and we do nothing!

If we wait for someone fit nothing will ever change because we wait for the police/media/oligarch state to tell us who is fit.

Anon , March 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm

being "unfit" does not automatically make someone a savior.

Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

But being fit by the standards of our ruling class, the "real owners" as Carlin called them is, in my book, an automatic proof that they are up to no good. Trump is not my cup of tea as a president but no one we have had in a while wasn't clearly compromised by those who fund them. Did you ever wonder why we have never had a president or even a powerful member of congress that was not totally in the tank for that little country on the Eastern Mediterranean? Or the Gulf Monarchies? Do you think that is by accident? Do you think money isn't involved? Talk about hacked elections! We should be so lucky as to have ONLY Russians attempting to affect our elections. Money is what hacks US elections and never forget that. To me it is laughable to discuss hacking the elections without discussing the real way our "democracy" is subverted–money not document leaks or voting machine hacks. It's money.

Why isn't Saudi Arabia on Trump's list? Iran that has never been involved in a terrorist act on US soil is but not Saudi Arabia? How many 911 hijackers came from Iran? If anything saves Trump from destruction by the real owners of our democracy it is his devotion to the aforementioned countries.

Allegorio , March 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm

The point again is not to remove him from office but to control him. With Trump's past you better believe the surveillance state has more than enough to remove him from office. Notice the change in his rhetoric since inauguration? More and more he is towing the establishment Republican line. Of course this depends on whether you believe Trump is a break with the past or just the best liar out there. A very unpopular establishment would be clever in promoting their agent by pretending to be against him.

Anyone who still believes that the US is a democratic republic and not a mafia state needs to stick their heads deeper into the sands. When will the low information voters and police forces on whom a real revolution depends realize this is anyone's guess. The day is getting closer especially for the younger generation. The meme among the masses is that government has always been corrupt and that this is nothing new. I do believe the level of immorality among the credentialed classes is indeed very new and has become the new normal. Generations of every man for himself capitalist philosophy undermining any sense of morality or community has finally done its work.

HBE , March 9, 2017 at 8:47 am

Go take a jaunt over to huffpo, at the time of this post there was not a single mention of vault 7 on the front page. Just a long series of anti trump administration articles.

Glad to know for sure who the true warmongers were all along.

Arizona Slim , March 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

We need another Church Commission.

Eureka Springs , March 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

No.. The Church commission was a sweep it under the rug operation. It got us FISA courts. More carte blanche secrecy, not less. The commission nor the rest of the system didn't even hold violators of the time accountable.

We have files like Vault 7. Commissions rarely get in secret what we have right here before our eyes.

Arizona Slim , March 9, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Well, how about a Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Foppe , March 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Cute but the ANC lost the war by acceding to WTO entry (which "forbade" distributive politics, land/resource redistribution, nationalizations, etc.).

River , March 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

Need Langley surrounded and fired upon by tanks at this point.

Err on the side of caution.

DJG , March 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

River: Interesting historic parallel? I believe that the Ottomans got rid of the Janissaries that way, after the Janissaries had become a state within a state, by using cannons on their HQ

From Wiki entry, Janissaries:

The corps was abolished by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 in the Auspicious Incident in which 6,000 or more were executed.[8]

polecat , March 9, 2017 at 12:53 pm

"Nuke it from orbit it's the only way to be sure . "

knowbuddhau , March 9, 2017 at 9:01 am

Took less than a minute to download the 513.33MB file. The passphrase is what JFK said he'd like to do to CIA: SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds.

"The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer." Henry Kissinger, 1975.

Stormcrow , March 9, 2017 at 9:35 am

Here is Raimondo's take:
Spygate
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/03/07/spygate-americas-political-police-vs-donald-j-trump/

The campaign to frame up and discredit Trump and his associates is characteristic of how a police state routinely operates. A national security apparatus that vacuums up all our communications and stores them for later retrieval has been utilized by political operatives to go after their enemies – and not even the President of the United States is immune. This is something that one might expect to occur in, say, Turkey, or China: that it is happening here, to the cheers of much of the media and the Democratic party, is beyond frightening.

The irony is that the existence of this dangerous apparatus – which civil libertarians have warned could and probably would be used for political purposes – has been hailed by Trump and his team as a necessary and proper function of government. Indeed, Trump has called for the execution of the person who revealed the existence of this sinister engine of oppression – Edward Snowden. Absent Snowden's revelations, we would still be in the dark as to the existence and vast scope of the NSA's surveillance.

And now the monster Trump embraced in the name of "national security" has come back to bite him.

We hear all the time that what's needed is an open and impartial "investigation" of Trump's alleged "ties" to Russia. This is dangerous nonsense: does every wild-eyed accusation from embittered losers deserve a congressional committee armed with subpoena power bent on conducting an inquisition? Certainly not.

What must be investigated is the incubation of a clandestine political police force inside the national security apparatus, one that has been unleashed against Trump – and could be deployed against anyone.

This isn't about Donald Trump. It's about preserving what's left of our old republic.

Perhapps overstated but well worth pondering.

SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds. , March 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

Yeah I downloaded it the day it came out and spent an hour or so looking at it last night. First impressions – "heyyy this is like a Hackers Guide – the sort I used in the 80s, or DerEngel's Cable Modem Hacking" of the 00s.

2nd impressions – wow it really gives foundational stuff – like "Enable Debug on PolarSSL".

3rd impressions – "I could spend hours going thru this happily ".

4th impressions – I went looking for the "juicy bits" of interest to me – SOHO routers, small routers – sadly its just a table documenting routers sold around the world, and whether these guys have put the firmware in their Stash Repository. Original firmware, not hacked one. But the repository isn't in the vault dump, AFAIK.

Its quite fascinating. But trying to find the "juicy stuff" is going to be tedious. One can spend hours and hours going thru it. To speed up going thru it, I'm going to need some tech sites to say "where to go".

flora , March 9, 2017 at 11:21 am

It seems clear that Wikileaks has not and will not release actual ongoing method "how-to" info or hacking scripts. They are releasing the "whats", not the tech level detailed "hows". This seems like a sane approach to releasing the data. The release appears to be for political discussion, not for spreading the hacking tools. So I wouldn't look for "juicy bits" about detailed methodology. Just my guess.

That said, love what you're doing digging into this stuff. I look forward to a more detailed report in future. Thanks.

Sam F , March 9, 2017 at 10:10 am

Yves, I think that you much underestimate the extremity of these exposed violations of the security of freedom of expression, and of the security of private records. The WikiLeaks docs show that CIA has developed means to use all personal digital device microphones and cameras even when they are "off," and to send all of your files and personal data to themselves, and to send your private messages to themselves before they are encrypted. They have installed these spyware in the released version of Windows 10, and can easily install them on all common systems and devices.

This goes far beyond the kind of snooping that required specialized devices installed near the target, which could be controlled by warrant process. There is no control over this extreme spying. It is totalitarianism now.

This is probably the most extreme violation of the rights of citizens by a government in all of history. It is far worse than the "turnkey tyranny" against which Snowden warned, on the interception of private messages. It is tyranny itself, the death of democracy.

Outis Philalithopoulos , March 9, 2017 at 10:58 am

Your first sentence is a bit difficult to understand. If you read Yves' remarks introducing the post, she says that the revelations are "a big deal" "if the Wikileaks claim is even halfway true," while coming down hard on the MSM and others for "pooh-pooh[ing]" the story. Did you want her to add more exclamation points?

susan the other , March 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

So we have a zillion ways to spy and hack and deceive and assassinate, but no control. I think this is what the military refers to as "being overtaken by events."

It's easy to gather information; not so easy to analyze it, and somehow impossible to act on it in good faith. With all this ability to know stuff and surveil people the big question is, Why does everything seem so beyond our ability to control it?

We should know well in advance that banks will fail catastrophically; that we will indeed have sea level rise; that resources will run out; that water will be undrinkable; that people will be impossible to manipulate when panic hits – but what do we do? We play dirty tricks, spy on each other like voyeurs, and ignore the inevitable. Like the Stasi, we clearly know what happened, what is happening and what is going to happen. But we have no control.

NotTimothyGeithner , March 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

My godfather was in the CIA in the late sixties and early seventies, and he said that outside of the President's pet projects there was no way to sift through and bring important information to decision makers before it made the Washington Post (he is aware of the irony) and hit the President's breakfast table.

Arizona Slim , March 9, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Do you mean to say that the CIA leaked like a sieve? That's my understanding of your post.

Old Jake , March 9, 2017 at 6:05 pm

AS, I would interpret it as saying that there was so much coming in it was like trying to classify snowflakes in a snowstorm. They could pick a few subject areas to look at closely but the rest just went into the files.

Leaking like a sieve is also likely, but perhaps not the main point.

Andrew , March 9, 2017 at 11:14 am

The archive appears to have been circulated among government hackers and contractors in a authorized manner

There, that looks the more likely framing considering CIA & DNI on behalf of the whole US IC seemingly fostered wide dissimilation of these tools, information. Demonstration of media control an added plus.

Cheers Yves

Stormcrow , March 9, 2017 at 11:20 am

The Empire Strikes Back

WikiLeaks Has Joined the Trump Administration
Max Boot
Foreign Policy magazine

https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/08/wikileaks-has-joined-the-trump-administration/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New+Campaign&utm_term=%2AEditors+Picks

I guess we can only expect more of this.

Todd Pierce , on the other hand, nails it. (From his Facebook page.)
The East German Stasi could only dream of the sort of surveillance the NSA and CIA do now, with just as nefarious of purposes.

lyman alpha blob , March 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

Perhaps the scare quotes around "international mobster" aren't really necessary.

In all this talk about the various factions aligned with and against Trump, that's one I haven't heard brought up by anybody. With all the cement poured in Trump's name over the years, it would be naive to think his businesses had not brushed up against organized crime at some point. Question is, whose side are they on?

JTMcPhee , March 9, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Like all the other players, the "side" they are on is them-effing-selves. And isn't that the whole problem with our misbegotten species, writ large?

Then there's this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1Hzds9aGdA Maybe these people will be around and still eating after us urban insects and rodents are long gone? Or will our rulers decide no one should survive if they don't?

Skip Intro , March 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm

To what extent do these hacks represent the CIA operating within the US? To what extent is that illegal? With the democrats worshipping the IC, will anyone in an official position dare to speak out?

tegnost , March 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Well we know chuckie won't speak out..

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/312605-schumer-trump-being-really-dumb-by-going-after-intelligence-community

FTA "Schumer said that as he understands, intelligence officials are "very upset with how [Trump] has treated them and talked about them.""

Oregoncharles , March 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

I've long thought that the reason Snowden was pursued so passionately was that he exposed the biggest, most embarrassing secret: that the National "Security" Agency's INTERNAL security was crap.

And here it is: "Wikileaks claims that the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal "

The CIA's internal security is crap, too. Really a lot of people should be fired over that, as well as over Snowden's release. We didn't hear of it happening in the NSA, though I'm not sure we would have. Given Gaius's description of Trump's situation, it seems unlikely it will happen this time, either. One of my hopes for a Trump administration, as long as we're stuck with it, was a thorough cleanout of the upper echelons in the IC. It's obviously long overdue, and Obama wasn't up to it. But I used the past tense because I don't think it's going to happen. Trump seems more interested in sucking up to them, presumably so they won't kill him or his family. That being one of their options.

Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Ah, that's the beauty of contracting it out. No one gets fired. Did anyone get fired because of Snowden? It was officially a contractor problem and since there are only a small number of contractors capable of doing the work, well you know. We can't get new ones.

tiebie66 , March 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

What I find by far the most distressing is this: "The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability ." [My emphasis]. It seems to cha