NSA staff and private contractors have unfettered access to this information. I have a hard
time believing that not one of them has used that access to information for personal or political
gain. This system makes insider trading, industrial espionage, blackmail, and extortion an almost
inevitable outcome. --
The Guardian (from comments).
A new round of debates about the dominance of military industrial complex and the level of control
it exerts over the US civil society was caused by recent revelations about NSA activities in the USA.
It might well be the Rubicon was crossed around JFK assassination time. On August 17, 1975 Senator
Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without
mentioning the name of the NSA (Church
Committee - Wikipedia ):
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government
has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through
the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or
potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned
around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability
to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no
place to hide.
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the
technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to
impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort
to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within
the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there
to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess
this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that
abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
In other words expansionism and mission creep are immanent qualities, the second nature of large bureaucracies, and
unless there is countervailing force. In the absence of countervailing forces they tend to escape from civil control and form a state within a state.
In a way any state with powerful three-letter agencies stand with one leg in a tyranny, even if it
itself a democracy. And that fact was already known to everybody in 1975 (Church
Committee). Actually just after president
Kennedy assassination, which, no matter which version of events you adopt, in all cases indirectly pointed
out that three letter agencies jumped out of control of civil government. As one Guardian reader commented
"The pernicious thing is that it is in the nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular
to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight."
The nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond
reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven
impossible for civil authorities to control them. Recent stories about CIA spying on the US
Senate Intelligence Committee just prove this.
A statement issued Thursday morning by a C.I.A. spokesman said that John O. Brennan, the
agency’s director, had apologized to Ms. Feinstein and the committee’s ranking Republican,
Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and would set up an internal accountability board to review
the issue. The statement said that the board, which will be led by a former Democratic senator,
Evan Bayh of Indiana, could recommend “potential disciplinary measures” and “steps to address
But anger among lawmakers grew throughout the day. Leaving a nearly three-hour briefing about the
report in a Senate conference room, members of both parties called for the C.I.A. officers to be
held accountable, and some said they had lost confidence in Mr. Brennan’s leadership. “This is a
serious situation and there are serious violations,” said Mr. Chambliss, generally a staunch ally
of the intelligence community. He called for the C.I.A. employees to be “dealt with very
Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado and another member of the Intelligence Committee,
demanded Mr. Brennan’s resignation. “The C.I.A. unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking
into the Senate Intelligence Committee computers,” he said in a written statement. “This grave
misconduct not only is illegal but it violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of separation
You can't get a more solid proof of total surveillance... Please note that Brennan
continued his tenure as the head of CIA; attempts to depose him after the incident by some Senators
failed. That suggest who was the winner in this skirmish.
That also means that contrary to common perception intelligence agencies are political players
and as such are quite capable to defend their staffing and resource consumption levels, despite inefficient waist of resources
as typical for large bureaucracies. In other words they are no longer technocratic, but tend to
emerge as political bodies, the core of the "deep
a Political Coalition). The story of John Brennan the former head of CIA in Obama administration
tell volumes about such tendencies. During and after 2016 Presidential elections he emerged as a
powerful political broker, later aligning with Hillary Clinton in efforts to form a political
coalition capable of deposing President Trump.
We can admire the immortal foresight and moral courage of Secretary of State Henry Stimson's who closed the Cipher
Bureau in 1929. But this highly ethical, moral and courageous act deprived the US of the capacity
to read foreign diplomatic cables as world-wide threats grew. So it was quickly reversed.
In a way technology dictates the level of government surveillance in the society and in "Internet
society" it looks like this level is permanently set on "high". That does not mean that we can't
fight it. Yes, we can and one factor that played into the hands of defenders of personal privacy is
the you can't drink from a fire hose: as soon as you connect too much information it devalues
itself. Also methods of "injecting" false metadata into your profile are reality available. for
example for Internet browsing anybody with programmable keyboard can do that. That means that you
the set of sites you visited no longer can be considered authentic in "Post-Snowden" world. That
dooms effort to assign you a level of "loyalty" based on your browsing history, which is very
temping for three letter agencies to do. Recent failed attempt to create a site that claffies
some sites are "Russian propaganda" sites belong to this category (Washington
Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group.)
But such attempts were just shifted to another domain -- "leak prevention" training:
Part of the
“Unauthorized Disclosure” training includes watching a
Fox News clip on the crackdown on leaks and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ statement
announcing an increase in criminal leak investigations. A
student guide from the Insider Threat Awareness training includes the McCarthyesque request
that employees report on each other for “general suspicious behaviors,” including “Questionable
national loyalty” such as “Displaying questionable loyalty to US government or company” or
“Making anti-U.S. comments.” Never mind that the only oath government employees take is to the US
Constitution, not to any government official or the US government itself and certainly not to a
This also opens people to browsing blackmail.
In this sense post-snowmen world is inherently more difficult for three-letter agencies to navigate.
Technology changes can really change the society. And not always in a beneficial for the society way.
There is such thing as "blowback" in technologies. We can view recent NSA activities revealed by Snowden
as a classic example of such blowback connected with the spread of Internet and cloud based
technologies. In a way Internet begets surveillance. And you can do nothing about it. As
former Sun CEO Scott McNealy (born November 13, 1954) said "You have zero privacy
anyway. Getoverit." (see also Privacy is
Dead – Get Over It).
I think that the first attempt to create a comprehensive nation-wide intelligence network that monitors
sentiments of the citizens and hunt enemies of the state goes as far back as Napoleon and his famous
minister of police Joseph Fouché.
Or may be it even goes as far back as to
Byzantine Empire with its first in history organized network of spies. As for recording of mail
envelopes, we can even claim that this function for international mail (in a form of "black chambers")
is as old as states are. In the USA it started in full force in August 1919 when
J. Edgar Hoover became head
of the Bureau of Investigation's
new General Intelligence Division—also known as the Radical Division because its explicit
goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals.
Recording of all email envelopes started long before email was
invented and became established practice since the WWII for all regular mail entering or leaving the
country. It just got a new name now -- collection of metadata and the technology that allow
correlation of multiple sets of metadata exposing hidden "networks".
Recording metadata of phone calls and often the calls themselves first started before WWII and technology
was first polished on international calls, which for obvious reasons are of great interest to all governments.
As intelligence agencies were one of the first to deploy computers after WWII it would be naive to
assume that IBM/360 mainframes were not used to analyze collection of metadata of international calls
as early as in
Hoover and his chosen assistant, George Ruch monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent
to punish, arrest, or deport them. Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey; Rose Pastor Stokes
and Cyril Briggs; Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter,
whom Hoover nicknamed as "the most dangerous man in the United States". So those
radicals served a guinea pigs for polishing methods of collection of communications using electronic
means of surveillance.
So it would be a mistake
to assume that such activities started with 9/11 events and that Bush II was totally responsible
for converting the USA into national-security state. The technology was ready at least 15
years before 9/11 (explosive growth of internet in the USA started in 1996) and new methods of
collection of information that are technically available are always adopted and used by clandestine agencies. They tend to adopt technology
as soon as it is available, being, in a pervert way, classic "early adopters" of any communication
or computer technology.
And this happens not only in the USA, although the USA as the technological leader was
probably most profoundly
The creation and use of databases of personal information and the systematic records (archives) of
communications of citizens started simultaneously with NSA creation. The first targets were mail and
telegraph. Some of this experience came from specialists of Third Reich who were brought to the
country after the WWII. At the height of the Cold War
in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI. and Allen
Dulles at the CIA. aggressively recruited former Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,”
declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed
what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich. The agency hired one former
SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor
war crimes.” And in 1994, a lawyer with the CIA pressured prosecutors to drop an investigation into
an ex-spy outside Boston implicated in the Nazis’ massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania,
according to a government official (In Cold War, U.S.
Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis - NYTimes.com).
We don't know when it was extended on domestic calls, but from purely technical perspective this was
a trivial extension of already existing and polished capacity and probably abuse was stated
gradually as soon as power of computers allow that.
But what is true is that after 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act, the USA government got all the pre-conditions
necessary for installing a regime of aggressive total surveillance. Which actually was a hidden intent
and 9/11 was just a convenient pretext much like Tonkin incident in Vietnam war. And in this respect
Ed Snowden, whatever is his motivation (which might be
not as simple as most people assume), did the right thing, when he with the risk to his life informed
the US public and the world about those activities. You may approve those revelations, you may disapprove
them (and they did damage the USA as a state and devalue many methods which were extremely effective
before the revelations), but keeping them secret from the US public is a crime.
NSA technically is a data collection agency. While it has legitimate function to monitor information
that is crossing the national border as well as intercept communication of the US adversaries (which
is a very flexible category those days ;-), we need to understand that the abuse of this function is
inevitable. That actually the nature of the beast -- like any bureaucratic
organizations they tend to expand their sphere of activities and escape form control -- and in this
sense existence of powerful state intelligence agencies is incompatible with the democracy. In
this sense the appointment of
Allan Dulles (who paradoxically was appointed the director under
Eisenhower administration in 1952; Eisenhower warnings about the danger of military-industrial
complex notwithstanding) was really unfortunate.
But the capacities to do this
type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing
power of computers as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies
to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real "state
within the state" and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls
But the capacities to do this
type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing
power of computers and as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies
to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real "state
within the state" and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls
There is deep analogy between financial services and intelligence services. Both try to escape
from the control of democratic society. Both try to control the society instead of serve it. As they
operate with large and uncontrolled amount of money soon after their creation inevitably the "the
tail wagging the dog" (Merriam-Webster):
the tail wagging the dog —used to describe
a situation in which an important or powerful person, organization, etc., is being controlled by
someone or something that is much less important or powerful
At some point the permanent
unelected bureaucracy, became the shadow government instead of facilitating the decisions of elected
officials. This process proceeds quicker if a sociopath manage to slip to the role of the head of
such an organization. That's what the term "deep state" is about. Some authors such as
Douglas Horne view JFK assassination as a political coup d'état launched from the highest
levels of US leadership (JFK’s
War with the National Security Establishment Why Kennedy Was Assassinated). Here is a quote from
the foreword by Jacob G. Hornberger:
By the end of November 1961, profoundly dissatisfied with his own national security advisory
apparatus, President Kennedy had firmly pushed back against the national security establishment
(in this case the NSC, the State Department, and the CIA) by purging and/or reshuffling many of
the civilian hawks in his own administration into other positions, and by placing officials more
in line with his own views into key positions. [A change in the top leadership at the Pentagon
was to come later, in 1962.] Throughout 1961, the new President had painfully but quickly learned
to be quite skeptical of the advice he was receiving, pertaining to matters of war and peace,
from his hawkish advisors; and as 1961 progressed, John F. Kennedy repeatedly demonstrated what
the hawks in government (the majority) no doubt considered a disturbingly independent (and
increasingly all-too-predictable) frame of mind in regard to the national security
recommendations he was receiving from the “sacred cows” and “wise men” in Washington, D.C. As I
shall demonstrate in these essays, by the end of 1962, the national security establishment in
Washington D.C., which had quickly come to know JFK as a skeptic during
1961, had come to view him as a heretic; and by November of 1963, the
month he was assassinated, they no doubt considered him an apostate,
for he no longer supported most of the so-called “orthodox” views of the Cold War priesthood.
Increasingly alone in his foreign policy judgments as 1963 progressed, JFK was nevertheless
proceeding boldly to end our “Holy
War” against Communism, instead of trying to win
it. In retrospect it is clear that the national security establishment wanted to
win our own particular “jihad” of the
post-WW II era by turning the Cold War against the USSR into a “hot war,” so that we could
inflict punishing and fatal blows upon our Communist adversaries (and any other forces we equated
with them) on the battlefield. It was this desire for “hot war” by so
many within the establishment — their belief that conventional “proxy wars” with the Soviet Bloc
were an urgent necessity, and that nuclear war with the USSR was probably inevitable — to which
President Kennedy was so adamantly opposed. And it was JFK’s profound determination to avoid
nuclear war by miscalculation, and to eschew combat with conventional arms unless it was truly
necessary, that separated him from almost everyone else in his administration from 1961
throughout 1963, as events have shown us.
Total surveillance is not so much about terrorism. It's also and mainly about the control of
the society by unelected elite. Terrorism is a false pretext
-- a smoke screen, if you like. Let's state clearly -- the main goal of total surveillance was the same
since it was introduced in Nazi Germany: "Let them be afraid". It's the same as in former German Democratic Republic (with
its famous Stasi). In all cases it is to prevent any challenge to the ruling elite or in the
terminology of neoliberal "color revolutions" prevent "regime
change", unless it is initiated by more powerful foreign three letter agencies and
significantly higher level of financial resources (that's why three letter agencies of newly minted
xUSSR state in several cases were unable to prevent color revolutions of their territories).
In other words surveillance and intelligence agencies are part and parcel of the totalitarian state.
And Sheldon Volin actually created a term for such "pseudo-democratic" regime --
Unlike classic totalitarism it generally tend to avoid using violence to crush the
dissidents and opposition to the current elite. More "soft" subversive methods are enough. In this
sense the story of crushing "of "Occupy Wall Street" movement is a testament of their
State actors and well funded terrorist organization are a difficult nut to crack. Any
"custom" encrypted communication is far more difficult for intercepting party to decode, then
"standard" encryption methods. Some encryption methods virtually guarantee that it is
impossible without stealing the key. Even detecting the fact of communication for such parties
nowadays is very difficult as it can be hidden in some "carrier" transmission (steganography)
or split into multiple channels. Those who have access
to technology and to "know how" including the most recent exploits are well armed to
resist attempt to intercept their communication. That includes most powerful foreign states.
That means that NSA has great difficulties intercepting and decoding traffic
that is intended to be hidden from state actors. Modern encryption systems such
One-Time-Pad virtually guarantee
that you get the "insider information" of the pad used (typically from a mole) they are
impenetrable. Even regular encryption methods can be enhanced by additional step of compressing the
files transmitted (which by and large eliminates redundancy if done properly and do not leave "tell"
sign of the method encryption used) . Decoding is easier when standard algorithms with
possible backdoors are used but even in this case I have doubts
(Triple DEC). That's why attempts to compensate this deficiency are being developed and one
obvious path is intercepting regular citizen communication of foreign countries which are
considered to be unfriendly or adversarial to current the US foreign policy goals (which is the
expansion and maintenance of global the Us-led neoliberal empire).
But the situation with "open" traffic is completely different. Million of people
outside the USA use Facebook, Amazon, Gmail and similar platforms. Which makes them a low
hanging fruit and here NSA is the king of the hill. Government officials also sometimes use
regular email and social sites (see
Hillary Clinton email scandal).
So intelligence agencies were provided with an important opening (and it might well be that the
dramatic growth of Webmail has something to do with their interests)
At the same time the abundance of information, as Biney mentioned, creates another problem -- the problem
of "drinking from a fire hose" -- they tend to collect too much information and are swamped with the volume. Of cause correlation of open traffic
of "suspicious persons" can reveal some hidden information, but this is a pretty expensive
undertaking, because by definition (unless this is Hillary Clinton ;-) those persons are aware that they are watched,
trained to avoid surveillance (including electronic) and behave accordingly. for example
General Petraeus used an interesting method to communicate with his
biographer and mistress (The
Washington Post) :
They wrote their "intimate messages" as
draft e-mails in a shared Gmail account,
according to the AP, allowing them to see one anothers' messages while leaving a
much fainter data trail. When messages are sent and received, both accounts record the
transmission as well as such metadata as the IP addresses on either end, something the
two seemed to be seeking to avoid.
Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teen-agers
alike, to conceal their email traffic, one of the law enforcement officials said.
Rather than transmitting emails to the other's inbox, they composed at least some
messages and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder or in an
electronic "dropbox," the official said. Then the other person could log onto the
same account and read the draft emails there. This avoids creating an email trail
that is easier to trace.
With the power of modern computers,
decoys and steganography offer almost unlimited possibility to obscure the traffic.
Concern about the NSA assault on our privacy is no paranoid fantasy. In the
words of an agency PowerPoint slide released by Snowden, the goal is to "collect it all", "process
it all" and "know it all". The massive surveillance program is a clear violation of the Forth
amendment prohibiting "unreasonable searches" of "persons, houses, papers, and effects" without
- Gene Epstein. "In defence of Snowden",
review of "No Place to Hide" Barrons, Jan 5, 2015, p 17
UN Human Right Council Report (17 April 2013) innovations in technology not only have increased
the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity,
rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. They also simultaneously increased opportunities
for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications facilitating to transformation
of the state into National Security State, a form of corporatism characterized
by continued and encompassing all forms of electronic communication electronic surveillance of all citizens.
Now every Internet or smartphone users probably understand that since probably 2003 or even earlier that that he/she is watched 24
by 7, or as Soviet dissidents called it "Was placed under the [surveillance] dome". Some question that we need to ask ourselves
When the quantity of collected data turns into quality. At some point the amount of collected
information about the person, no matter how trivial, allows things that are drastically different
then simple monitoring of traffic for suspicious elements. It is essentially step up from STASI-style dossier mechanism on most
adult citizens of the USA (and not only USA). Accidentally STASI was created exactly the same year
as NSA, in 1950 and now some of their activities look more and more like identical twins.
And with the level on Internet communications many people have, such "per person" dossier quickly
reaches to the "critical mass" of facts
In a way
You really already
live in a virtual prison watched 24 by 7 by unknown to you guards. For example, just tracking metadata of all
the calls from your cell phone along with GPS information is almost equivalent hiring a private detective to watch
you. Add to this all your credit card records, Amazon orders and browsing records, your emails and SMS and you can beat capability of
a regular private "gum shoes" watching you, by a wide margin spending just cents of a
And this is only a start as I did not mention your own "self-revelation"
activities on social sites like Facebook. And if you add to this your web logs (which, by the way, record every
site you visited and every page you browsed) and your posts at Web forums (if any), photo sharing and
your files at cloud storage sites (if you participate)
along with the ability to store collected information for, say, 20 years or your lifetime electronically, and STASI efforts in
human surveillance looks like an expensive and amateurish overkill. Using Internet and
smartphone surveillance you can get much better
information on an individual for much less money/effort using modern technology alone, without any
gum shoes and/or informers.
Back in June, when the contents of Edward Snowden's cache of NSA documents were
just starting to be revealed and we learned about the NSA collecting phone
metadata of every American, many people -- including President Obama -- discounted
the seriousness of the NSA's actions by saying that it's just metadata.
Imagine you hired a detective to eavesdrop on someone. He might plant a bug in
their office. He might tap their phone. He might open their mail. The result would
be the details of that person's communications. That's the "data."
Now imagine you hired that same detective to surveil that person. The result
would be details of what he did: where he went, who he talked to, what he looked
at, what he purchased -- how he spent his day. That's all metadata.
When the government collects metadata on people, the government puts them under
surveillance. When the government collects metadata on the entire country, they
put everyone under surveillance. When Google does it, they do the same thing.
Metadata equals surveillance; it's that simple.
Metadata proved to be an extremely powerful way to reveals the person lifestyle and views.
Actually no less clearly then the direct interception
of the content of emails and phone calls. Systematic, total analysis of metadata of cell phone
calls was first used against Iraq insurgents as knowledge of Arabic language is not a strong point
of US military, or three letter agencies. And it proved to be a great success, as it allows to narrow the set of suspects
quickly and cheaply (the USA controlled all cell networks in the country). But later this initial
success was extended and became a universal surveillance tool within the USA, which is more powerful
then in Iraq as you can also analyze the content of messages such as emails or instant messages.
And as you add to phone calls Internet communications logs and metadata such as emails and web logs
and top it with credit card transactions, any person is actually like a bug under extremely powerful
and very cheap microscope.
Should you think twice about what are you sharing with others via your Web communications?
to some extent you should. Pointless relevation of information about yourself but also about your family and friends
is dangerious. The sad truth is that just by
the fact of using all those modern gargets and social networks you already is sharing a lot more personal
information than you intend to share... This self-exposure is actually a build-in feature
of sites such as Facebook. And taken as a whole for a considerable period of time your online activities
create a personal cloud of information about you. Which can along with the state be used by
criminals or other parties. It is not that NSA knows about you more then your
spouse, but it knows enough. And as you can see from the picture below is not a good thing. Look at the picture attentively,
it really deserves your uninterrupted attention:
Even if we assume that data collection is passive and never used, it is like a ticking
bomb or "skeleton in the closet" and as such is a powerful method of control of population. Not
the different from what was used by KGB in the USSR or STASI in East Germany. And probably
more effective as quick dissipation of Occupy Wall Street crowds had shown us.
So it does not really matter much what the data are collected for and what is the official justification
of such a collection. The mere fact of collection changes the situation to the worse, making the opposition
to the system practically impossible and personally costly. The net result is what is matter. And the net result definitely
resembles a move in the direction of a tyranny of the top 1%. As Senator Frank Church said in 1975:
"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to
it that this agency [the National Security 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.".
Today his words sound even more true then in 1975 when computers were still in their infancy and
mainframes dominated the computer landscape. With the proliferation of cheap electronic devices such
as PCs and laptops, tablets and cell phones this really became "the abyss from which there is
So the real, the key goal is not what is officially declared (Orwell style permanent war on terrorism).
It is control of population like in was in the USSR and Eastern Germany. In a way we are all Eastern
Germans now, but in a completely different sense then Kennedy meant when he proposed his famous
(Ich bin ein Berliner)
Convenience of access to information has a side effect that it makes collection of information about
you trivial and at the same time comprehensive. It is to keep the elite safe from common folks, not
all those lies about national security. It is all about the security of the elite.
The story of J. Edgar
Hoover suggests that "knowledge is power" and the top brass of intelligence agencies routinely
and consistently develops a pathological addiction to collecting "skeletons in the closet" for the
people in power. This is a part of more complex trend due to which intelligence agencies often
are called as "shadow government". Often such people actually derive pleasure from having power over
nation politicians due to knowing some secret and embarrassing information on them.It is
in this sense (and also die to capability to conduct clandestine operations) troika of NSA, CIA and
FBI represent real, although shadow government of the country. This is the danger Senator Church
warned us, but the horse probably left the barn at the time of assignation of President Kennedy.
Please note that none of presidents was able to fire
J. Edgar Hoover He died
in his position of the head of FBI. The ability to manipulate other, even very powerful people is
very tempting. As Kissinger used to say "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." A related questions
Whether NSA spied and "collected dirt" on members of Congress? Some information suggests
that they did:
Is executive branch interested in continuation of this practice? The answer is yes.
As Conor Friedersdorf noted on Feb 5, 2014 in
The Atlantic magazine "The phone dragnet gives the executive branch all the information
it needs to blackmail or discredit multiple legislators. It's a temptation to abuse."
Does NSA directly or indirectly has ties to the financial sector especially related to
the providing them with the information on the flow of funds of the foreign competitors ?
Times, Dec 18, 2013). As
"Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the
common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do
not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic
Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political
power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they
may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the
They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time
of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead. "
..."If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power
ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States.”
It the situation irreversible? In other words did 1984 dystopia materialized in slightly
different, slightly more gentle form? Probably yes. Cutting funds to three letter agencies would
be a small step in right direction. But the main value of 9/11 for the US establishment was that
it made such moves impossible. Also the elite as a whole is not interesting in dismantling the tool
that serve its interests so well even if it has some side effects on the elite members themselves
(looks at the discussion of surveillance over Trump and members of his team).
A related question is:
Is transformation of USA into USSA (United Secret Services of America) compete or just
started. The answer is that it is almost complete. This is just another confirmation of
The Iron Law of Oligarchy
All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism
(or may be even neofascism -- as it is, essentially, the merger of corporate and state interests) in the
US after 9/11. That's exactly what this "Internet-inspired" flavor of total surveillance due to modern
technical capabilities means. There is also distinct shadow of STASI in all those activities. And some
countries got into similar trap before, so nothing is new under the sun. As Reinhold Niebuhr noted:
"Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about
the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends."
There is actually little difference between total surveillance as practiced by NSA and what was practiced
by three letters agencies of Eastern block dictatorships such as STASI and KGB. The key goal in both
cases is protection and preservation of power of existing elite against the will of common people. So
this is more about oppression of 99.9% from top 0.1% then surveillance per see.
We should view Snowden revelations in a larger context. Much of what he revealed about militarization
of cyberspace was already known at the time when
Stuxnet worms were discovered in 2011. He just dot the i's and cross the t's , so speak. As a result
of his revelations, as
National Interest noted:
An increasing number of adversaries and even allies are coming to believe that the United
States is militarizing cyberspace — and that impression of hubris and irresponsibility is beginning
to have a real-world impact.
...The Snowden leaks have brought Stuxnet, the U.S.-Israeli program allegedly used to attack Iranian
computer systems, back into public debate — and reminded us that the real damage of the Snowden
revelations will be international.
...the perception that the United States has become a danger to the global internet is a cause
for concern. In their understandable anger at the considerable damage Snowden has done (in the
near term at the very least) to the operations of NSA and their allies, U.S. security officials should
not lose sight of this fact.
Snowden’s claims build on the Stuxnet revelations. In doing so, they reinforce an impression
of overbearing U.S. cyberpower (military and commercial) being used irresponsibly. That is strikingly
at odds with the U.S. self-image as a standard bearer of internet freedom and “borderless” exchange,
but it is a view that resonates around the world.
In fact the USA policies are stimulating economic and political rivals around the globe to organize
and present unified front against this new and dangerous form of total surveillance. As well as
implement similar domestic systems. In other words a new arm race started.
As methods and infrastructure of those activities are now revealed, the genie is out of the bottle
and can't be put back -- the US now should expect the same or worse treatment from other nations.
Which can be no less inventive, or even more inventive the USA specialists in this area. And in
this new arm race economically weaker nations actually has some leverage. Blowback, a CIA term for
unintended consequences of foreign, military, or clandestine policies, can be similar to the blowback
of politically organizing Islamic radicals to fight Soviets in Afghanistan in the past.
Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and vengeance, the punisher of pride and hubris, probably already
waits patiently for her meeting with the NSA brass.
Blowback can irreparably damage the ability of the United States to obtain crucial information
in foreign environments that are poorly understood in Washington. The cultural divide that exists
when operating away from home means that CIA and NSA frequently work overseas through a network of
liaison contacts. This in theory limits their activity, but it broadens their ability to collect
information that can only be plausibly obtained by a local organization with local capabilities.
Though nearly everyone also operates clandestinely outside the parameters of the established relationships
insofar as it is possible or expedient to do so, there is an awareness that being caught can
cause grave damage to the liaison relationship. Because being exposed is nearly always very
painful, such operations are normally limited to collection of critical information that the liaison
partner would be unwilling to reveal.
So while it might be comforting to claim that “everyone does it” at least some of the time,
and it may even be true that local spy agencies sometimes collaborated with NSA, the United States
has a great deal to lose by spying on its friends. This is particularly true as Washington,
uniquely, spies on everyone, all the time, even when there is no good reason for doing so.
Centralization of user activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn,
with email account mainly at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail along with many positive aspects has tremendous
negative side effects. The most significant is that it created a way too easy opportunity both for those
organizations as well as government agencies and large corporations to data mine email and Web communications
of millions of Americans critical about government (see
keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use those
services (and that includes a significant part of European population and Russia, who have Gmail, Facebook
or Yahoo accounts). The history of "total surveillance" suggests that it tends to be abused. It is also
huge, irreparable breach on trust in relation to allies. Closely resembles the situation in family when
wife or husband learn that the other hired detective to snoop on you.
The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the Soviet term for total surveillance was "to be
under the 'dome' ") and, especially, Stasi
(viewing the film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance")
are way too close. At the same time there is an important difference: while such regime does mean indirect
(and pretty effective) intimidation of dissidents, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data
are either few or non existent, which is a big difference with KGB or
Stasi practice. The latter aggressively
pursued those who got in their net trying either to convert them into informers or charge them with
the some suitable article of Criminal Code. In some cases that practice lead to suicides. So here we
can talk more properly talk about total surveillance an instrument of
Inverted Totalitarism, or totalitarism in velvet
We are talking about "passive total surveillance" and temporary (which might be several years or
your lifetime) storage of all intercepted data. But in a way, Senator McCartney was probably right about
"Communists sympathizers" and communist infiltration, he just was completely wrong about who they are
The famous The Police hit Every
Breath You Take should probably be the theme song for the NSA. As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us
in his famous speech:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence,
whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous
rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Snowden revelations are not something new. The only real revelation was how much of it was going
on domestically and gory details of such activities. Before 9/11 the NSA was basically prohibited from
operating domestically. Of course it violates those prohibitions, but there were no systematic internal,
all encompassing technical surveillance infrastructure in place. Now it is build and is deployed nation-wide.
And that's a big change, big difference. Due to "novel" interpretation of a few provisions in the Patriot
Act they created domestic dragnet which encompass most types of Internet communications. In addition
to intercepting more then 70% of Internet traffic they also enjoy direct access to major cloud providers.
Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by
its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression. And like in the USSR, it does
change people behavior on the Web. People start thinking about consequences and this page is one of
attempts to collect information that might help you to see "bigger picture".
The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is
that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered
in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after Snowden
The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution
is that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered
in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after
For example, no one in sound mind can now trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo,
Microsoft, etc. So attractiveness of Gmail, Hotmail and such are now different, then it was before.
And separation of mail accounts between "junk mail" account and important mail account is something
to think about. With the latter never in the cloud. In a way excessive using cloud services from a fashionable
trend now became kind of indication of a person stupidity.
In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication
of a person stupidity. There is no real justification of providing all your emails and address
book to strangers who can abuse this information without your knowledge.
At the same time it is stupid to dramatize the situation. Still, what is really striking is the grotesque
disproportionally of all this NSA surveillance "superdome" to the task of keeping the country safe from
foreign enemies (NSA statute is about watching foreign communications), begging obvious questions of
institutional sanity and competence. They turned all their super powerful collection mechanisms inside
the country and now they drink from a firehouse. That means that the results and possibilities of abuse
are pretty much predictable. Too many false positives create real danger of not to picking up weak signal.
So the other question is "Who the hell made these decisions?" That's a lot of taxpayers money and I
am not sure that they are well spend.
As for breach of privacy anyone with connected to Internet PC, the first thing to understand
that if somebody stores data in the cloud they should not expect any privacy, unless they encrypt them.
Expecting that your unencrypted data are private is a sign of personal stupidity, no more no less. If
somebody, who is keeping his address book in Google assumes that it remains private, that his own illusion.
That has nothing to do with the reality.
And it not that only NSA threatens our privacy. After all there are millions of PC users that have
computer(s) infected by spyware, which turns them into zombies, externally controlled monitoring devices.
And such software BTW can pick up and offload, or
encrypt for ransom all your data. I do not see much protest over this situation iether. Microsoft
greed and stupidity is one reason for this dismal situation, but essentially any OS is vulnerable if
enough money is invested in finding exploits. And NSA actually created a market for such exploits.
Now there are multiple "security firms" that do nothing then find "zero day" exploits and sell them
to the highest bidder (which is of course government agencies). Does not this reminds you 'war
In a way, any networked computer is an unsecure computer and should be treated as such.
See Privacy is
Dead – Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone that is outside some metal
box. That's two basic "laws of security" in the current environment.
But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but its interaction with self-profiling that
you provide via social sites. If you are too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar
site and engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity that simply means Privacy is Dead
– Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well in a humorous
form in the following
Amazon review of Orwell's
Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an
Now we know what would a perfect prototype of Bid Brother ;-). The song (Every
Breath You Take ) should probably be the theme song for the NSA. And not only NSA, but its counterparts
in other parts of the globe; I think, other things equal, citizens of some other countries would greatly
prefer NSA to their domestic counterparts.
Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA and other similar agencies to
build a dossier, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with him/her. And the number of
people caught up in this dragnet can be huge. The NSA say it needs all this data to help prevent another
terrorist attack like 9/11. They lie. In order to find the needle in the haystack, they argue, they
need access to the whole haystack. But one interesting side effect is that now they are drinking from
the fire hose, so to speak.
Another interesting side-effect of the Snowden disclosures that the term ‘metadata’ became a common
word in English language. With the growing understanding that metadata includes enough personal information
to built a detailed profile of a person without even listening into content of communications. This
technology was invented in Iraq war for fighting insurgents (were phone companies were controlled by
US) and now is applied at home. In fact, by just using electronic communications, you are sharing a
lot more personal information than you think. It's a reflection of a fact that it is very cheap to collect
and analyses information about your electronic communications. The digital revolution which led to an
explosion in cell phone and internet use, also led to an explosion of snooping after you by the governments.
We need to distinguish "total collection" of data from "total analysis" (or creation of dossiers
on everybody as was practiced by STASI and friends). Raw data contain both "signal" and "noise". Analysis
or data mining of those raw data is the process of extraction of useful signal from the noise. Of course
we should be so naive that to assume that "signal" is related to purely terrorist activities. As recently
published documents had shown, the NSA interests are much wider ;-). In bald terms, it sets out its
“Leverage unique key corporate partnerships to gain access to high-capacity international fiber-optic
cables, switches and/or routes throughout the world.”
Along with major fiber-optic cables in the US, the NSA has access to data gathered by close intelligence
partners such as Britain’s GCHQ.
Sometimes it appear to me that like Uncle Sam got "red disease" and now is trying to imitate "total
surveillance" mantra of KGB, STASI and similar agencies on a new technological level. And the key lesson
from Soviet experience is fully applicable to the current situation in the USA: when government consider
everybody as a potential enemy you better watch your back. And having a cyberstooge following your every
step more closely that it was possible for STASI spooks and informers is something you need to react
to. Reading your address book, mail, list of books that you bought or borrowed from the library, analyzing
your circuit of friends is what STASI was really good at. And it might well be that some unemployed
specialists have found a new territory to apply their substantial talents.
The Snowden documents show that the NSA runs these surveillance programs through “partnerships” with
major US telecom and internet companies. That means that if you are customer of those major telecom
and Internet companies you are like a bug under the microscope.
It is important to understand that metadata of your communications will always be exposed (it other
words you are always walking "naked" on the Internet) because those new surveillance capabilities are
immanent properties of Internet protocols, as we known it. There is no way to encrypt connection metadata:
this is technically impossible unless you owns a vast private VPN network (some large corporations do),
but even in this case I have doubts. Even snail-mail metadata are collected (and from 50th to 80th letters
were opened and selectively copied by CIA). Diplomatic mail might still be secure, but that's about
Like with any new development there are countervailing trends that after Snowden revelation went
in overdrive and can seriously affect NSA capabilities.
One is switching to encrypting communication with most websites such as YouTube. That prevent simple
harvesting of video that you watched from HTTP logs (but does not prevent harvesting -- it can be done
using other methods)
The second is usage of software like Tor, although I think all connection to Tor sites are closely
monitored by NSA.
The third is usage of your own cashing DNS proxy to limit number of DNS requests you make.
I also think that all those development might give steganography a huge boost.
The other areas of technology that might get huge boost due to Snowden revelations is "Browsing imitating
internet robots" technology which permit to drown NSA collection devices in spam -- fake accesses to
web sites that is very difficult to distinguish from real browsing, but that make all statistical metrics
applied to your Web traffic useless. For example top visited pages became completely bogus.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
As Lord Acton(1834–1902) noted long before NSA started collecting all Internet communications
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". The history of "total surveillance"
suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution that conducts: such an institution
tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow power, the element of "deep state".
The first grave consequence of total surveillance is that it tends to be abused. The history
of "total surveillance" suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution
that conducts: such an institution tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow
power, the element of "deep state".
And the ability to intercept electronic communications gives those who are in charge of such collection
tremendous political power. Please remember that
J. Edgar Hoover was director
of FBI very long time partially because he dug a lot of dirt on politicians of his time including both
Kennedys. According to President
Harry S Truman, Hoover
transformed the FBI into his private secret police force. He used the FBI to harass political dissenters
and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods.
Essentially for half of the century he and his organization were out of control "state within the state"
and nobody could do anything about it. Only after his death some measures were taken.
It's not that expanding bureaucracy per se is a problem. I doubt that those in the bureaucracy of
those agencies do not think about larger consequences for societies of their attempts to expand their
sphere of influence. It is much worse: they definitely knew about possible consequences, but go "full
forward' anyway preferring job promotions and expansion of their influence. Like bureaucrats often do,
they betrayed their nations like nomenklatura betrayed the people of the USSR (with a similar
fig leaf of nice slogans about freedom as a smoke screen for pretty nefarious activities).
In case of NSA, this data on you, or particular political or social movement (for example "Occupy
Wall Street") can be mined at any time, and what is even worse can be used to destroy any new political
movement. And please remember that NSA is a just part of military-industrial complex, an entity that
has some interesting political characteristics related to the term "the acquisition of unwarranted
influence" . As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his famous farewell speech (which introduced
the term "military-industrial complex"):
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence,
whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous
rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
People seldom understand that all three letter agencies are not just part of military industrial complex,
but are the key parts. While ability of weapon manufactures to buy or just simply control Congress members
matters, three-letter agencies is where "unwarranted influence" fully materialize. By definition they
are out of control and as any bureaucracy they want to grow. That was clear to Senator Frank Church
who stated on August 17, 1975 NBC's
Meet the Press:
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States
government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that
go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at
enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be
turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the
capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would
be no place to hide.
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the
technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to
impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to
combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within
the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there
to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess
this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that
abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
...let us be realistic and not fall for the usual story of this being a discrete event (all the
latest surveillance, that is).
This dates back to the founding of the Financial-Intelligence-Complex during and in the aftermath
of World War II, by the Wall Streeters for their super-rich bosses, the Rockefellers, Morgans, du
Ponts, Mellons, Harrimans (now Mortimers), etc.
The most important factor that needs to be taken into account is the total surveillance make organized
opposition to the regime impossible. So welcome to nicer, gentler, but no less totalitarian world of
1984 (aka "Back in USSR"). The key equation is very simple:
total surveillance = total control
That simple fact was well understood by various dictators and totalitarian regimes long ago, but
none of them has had even a tiny fraction of technical capabilities NSA has now. I think one
of the reason that Occupy movement completely dissipated so fast was that they were like
a bug under microscope of the government. And government want them to stop harassing Wall Street sharks
for their 2008 crisis misdeeds.
Another important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear that our
thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that all the content
we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw from public spaces like
producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing certain sites, buying certain
An important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear
that our thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that
all the content we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw
from public spaces like producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing
certain sites, buying certain books, etc.
In other words understanding that you are watched on 24 x 7 basis modifies behavior and makes self-censorship
your second nature exactly the same way as in any totalitarian state, but without any physical coercion.
Here is one telling comment from
Secret to Prism program Even bigger data seizure
Indeed: The intentions and motivations of the agencies in question; the degree of oversight
and so on; is almost irrelevant. To a certain extent, I am content to believe that the intentions
of the perpetrators is good; and that the oversight and abuse prevention systems that they have
in place are strong.
However, none of that matters if people self-censor; if people worry, not about what the
government of today will find objectionable, but what the government of tomorrow will not like.
In effect, we end up censoring ourselves from a hypothetical worst-case future government.
We will concentrate on technical side of the this operation, trying to understand how much information
can be stored about a regular "Joe Doer" based on technical capabilities that are available. Let's assume
that we deal with mostly "passive surveillance": collection and storage of vast amount of Internet traffic
on special computers using either mirrored ports on the key routers or special access to key providers
of cloud services.
We can probably assume that several layers of storage of those data exist:
Running buffer (contains all data for all users, probably just for a couple of weeks or
a month). By definition it contains "everything". All you activity, be it email, web browsing, instant
messaging of ftp transfers.
Temporary storage (which might be several years, but probably is between five and ten
years). Some of this permanent storage cloud provider users create themselves. A good example is
the Send folder they maintain on cloud email provider. This temporary storage might also include
all your Web logs and Web searches. Temporary storage of Weblogs are probably limited to metadata (proxy logs) because of large volume.
Permanent, which is invoked if you got under active surveillance or belong to some kind
of group, which is classified as treat to the state and as such is monitored. We can only guess what it involves and how much information is
stored in this case, but installation of some malware on your computer is not out of question. This
permanent storage includes but is not limited to
Your address book (several generations)
All you searches on major search engines
All your text email (not sure about graphic files)
Twits and SMS messages.
Phone conversations metadata.
Technology development creates new types of communications as well as new types of government surveillance
mechanisms (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities,
especially low cost of mass
surveillance (Wikipedia), unfortunately, bring us closer to the
Electronic police state
(Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. A
crucial element of such a state is that its data gathering, sorting and correlation on individual
citizens are continuous,
cover a large number of citizens and all foreigners, and those activities are seldom exposed.
Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" have several security
problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding
of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need
to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails.
You can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered.
This is a huge saving of computational efforts ;-).
Metadata for your phone calls. This metadata is extremely revealing; investigators
mining it might be able to infer whether we have an illness or an addiction, what our religious
affiliations and political activities are, and so on.
Actual content (mp3 file or similar format) of all your Skype phone calls (the saying
is that "there is no free lunch" has now a new meaning here ). This is less important as getting
those calls transcribed is a difficult undertaking.
Metadata of pages that you assessed (visited websites). For a considerable period of
time (over a year) those data in a standard
HTTP log format are extremely revealing as for your political and social views, as well as
well as general interests. Sophisticated log analysis programs are available (so called proxy
log analyzers). This reveals all your downloads, software that you are using and many, many other
things. Essentially now you like a bug under the microscope.
Your purchases on major Internet sites (Amazon, eBay) and all purchases using major credit
cards. This is even more revealing then you web activity, as you put money were your interests
are. Buy books that interest you, and so on. Also extremely revealing as for your political and
social views, as well as well as general interests.
All the content you put on social sites such as Facebook. Here people usually reveal quite
a bit about themselves. As many people have presence simultaneously in Google, Facebook and
LinkedIn, total information includes your education, current qualification and possibly resume.
Address book and calendar on sides such Gmail, Hotmail or
It puts you essentially in a situation of a bug under microscope on Big Brother. And please understand
that modern storage capabilities are such that it is easy to store several years of at least some of
your communications, especially emails.
The same is true about your
phone calls metadata,
credit card transactions and your activities on major shopping sites such as Amazon, and eBay. But here
you can do almost nothing. Still I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. Phones are
traditional target of government three letter agencies (WSJ)
since the WWII. Smartphones with GPS in addition to land line metadata also provide your current geo
location. Some point out that using basic phone slightly preferable to smartphone (both in a sense
of absence of geodata and the possibility to install spyware on it -- there is simply no RAM to do
anything sophisticated). But I do not think you can do much here
I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. And paying cash in the store
in not something that you should try to avoid because credit card returns you 1% of the cost of
the purchase. This 1% is actually a privacy tax ;-)
Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by
its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression and it changes people behavior
on the Web. In this sense, Senator McCartney was probably right about "Communists sympathizers" and
"KGB infiltration", he just was completely wrong about who they are ;-).
The centralization of searches on Google (and to a lesser extent on Bing -- the latter is
standard with new Windows installation) are also serious threats
to your privacy. Here diversification between three or more search engines might help a bit.
But limited your time behind the computer is probably more efficient. Generally here I do not think much can be done. Growth of
popularity of Duckduckgo suggests that people are
vary of Google monopolizing the search, but it is unclear how big are the advantages. You can also save
searches as many searches are recurrent and generally you can benefit from using your personal Web proxy
with private cashing DNS server. This way to can "shrink" your radar picture, but that's about it.
If you are conserved with you "search" profile, you can replay some searches to distort it. In any
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
of the US citizens and residents, so storing one gigabyte of information for each citizen requires just
400 petabytes. Which is clearly within the current capabilities of storage technology. For comparison
In July 2012 it was revealed that
CERN amassed about 200 petabytes
of data from the more than 800 trillion collisions
In August 2012, Facebook's
Hadoop clusters include the largest single
HDFS cluster known, with more than
100 PB physical disk space in a single HDFS filesystem
By some estimates, storage capabilities of the US government are around 5 zeta bytes.
The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the term was "to be under the "kolpak" (dome) ")
and, especially, Stasi (viewing the
film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance") are way
too close. And psychological effects of anticipating that you are under total surveillance are well
depicted in the final of the film The Conversation (1974)
directed by famous Francis Ford Coppola
At the same time there is an important difference: while both regimes creates implicit intimidation
and squash dissent, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data are either few or non existent.
Which is a big difference with KGB or
Stasi practice, which aggressively pursued those dissidents who got in their net, trying either
to convert them into informers, or prosecute them using the existing articles of Criminal Code. In some
cases that led to suicides. So here we can talk more about
Inverted Totalitarism, a velvet gloves mode
of suppressing of dissent.
Still it is now dramatically more clear then before that centralization of email accounts and user
activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, with email accounts mainly
at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail is far from being a positive development. Along with many positive
aspects has tremendous negative side effects. Essentially it turns users into spies on themselves in
a way that would be a dream by Stasi. The most significant is that it created an easy opportunities
to data mine email databases both for those organizations as well as various government agencies and,
possibly (in a limited way for special payment) by large corporations.
Those tendencies probably should be at least resisted, but we do not have means to reverse them.
Attempts to data mine email and Web communications of millions of Americans critical about government
control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use
those services (and that includes a significant part of European population and xUSSR area, who often
use Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo accounts) means that the country became a National Security State. With
all relevant consequences of such a transformation.
And interest in content of your "cloud based" email is not limited to the government:
A sweeping Wall Street Journal investigation in 2010 found that the biggest U.S.
websites have technologies tracking people who visit their pages, sometimes upwards of 100 tools
per site. One intrusive string of code even recorded users’ keystrokes and transmitted them
to a data-gathering firm for analysis.
“A digital dossier over time is built up about you by that site or third-party service or
data brokers,” says Adam Thierer, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center’s Technology
Policy Program at George Mason University. “They collect these data profiles and utilize them to
sell you or market you better services or goods.”
This is what powers the free Internet we know and love; users pay nothing or next to nothing
for services — and give up pieces of personal information for advertisers in exchange. If you search
for a Mini Cooper on one website, you’re likely to see ads elsewhere for lightweight, fuel-efficient
cars. Companies robotically categorize users with descriptions such as “urban upscale” to “rural
NASCAR” to tailor the advertising experience, says Jim Harper of the libertarian Cato Institute.
“They’ll use ZIP codes and census data to figure out what their lifestyle profile is.”
Most of the site you visit those days was found via search engine, often Google. But Google is interested
in more then search terms you use and sometimes plays with you a nasty trick: "Google may choose
That means that any time it wishes Google can spy on your Web activity:
"When Google uses a URL redirector, if you click on a URL from a search result, information
about the click is sent to Google."
Few people check the URL before clicking on Google search results, so in a way this is perfect spying
But there is another powerful spying tool in Google arsenal -- Google toolbar, and I am not sure
that all those trick were not reused in Google browser. Google Toolbar sends all user clicks to
Google, if advanced mode is enabled (and many people do enable it because they want to have spelling
correction available which, conveniently for Google, belongs to the set of advanced features).
This way you voluntarily subscribe to a 24x7 monitoring of your web activity using spyware that is installed
on your computer with your consent. For the same reason recent smartphones fashion looks greatly misguided.
It is better to use regular phone, then smartphone, and the last thing you probably want on your smartphone
is Android OS or iOS, or windows 8 OS. In some deep way unlocked Nokia 1280 looks now much more attractive
(and is way cheaper ;-).
Google Toolbar in advanced mode is another common snooping tool about your activities. It
send each URL you visit to Google and you can be sure that from Google several three letter agencies
get this information as well. After all Google has links to them from the very beginning:
As soon as they realize that they are watched, people start thinking about consequences and this
article is a pretty telling (albeit slightly paranoid ;-) illustration of the effect. The key mechanism
here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people preemptively
change their behavior, if they know or suspect that they got "under the dome" of government surveillance,
that all their emails are intercepted, all web site visits recorded, anything they buy on Amazon, etc
is registered in giant database outside of their control.
The angle under which will we try to cover the story is: the situation is such and such, now
what? What are the most appropriate actions and strategy of behavior of people who are concerned
about their privacy and no longer trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft,
etc ( and those who trust those providers should probably stop reading at this point). It is impossible
to close all those accounts. But some can and should be closed; for example POP3 mail can replace web
mail for all "important" mail; this way you avoid "cloud storage" of all your important correspondence.
It is impossible not to use search engines, but you can chose which search language to use. It is impractical
not to use smartphone and for Android phone you can't avoid registration -- that's the only way to get
updates from Google, but you can root the phone, remove some snooping components and use Firefox instead
of Chrome. But not it is clear that if mobile web browsing and checking email on your phone is not your
thing you are better off with a very simple phone such as Nokia 1280.
The first and the most obvious "change we can believe in" is that we need to change our attitude
toward cloud services and especially cloud services from large providers. Now the most reasonable assumption
is that most national cloud providers including major retailers are in bed with the government three
letter agencies. So you need to be careful what you browse for on Amazon, similarly to what you write
from Gmail and Hotmail.
In a way, excessive usage of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became kind of indication
of a person stupidity. It is important to understand that for anybody more or less competent with
computers (or willing to learn), anything Facebook or Gmail or Hotmail can offer, regular
small ISP account with Cpanel can offer with less risk for your privacy for, say, $5 a month or less.
And your privacy definitely cost more then $60 a year.
In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication
of a person stupidity. For anybody more or less competent with computers (or willing to learn),
anything Facebook or Gmail can offer, regular ISP account with Cpanel can offer too with less
risk for your privacy.
At the same time it is also stupid to over-dramatize the situation and isolate yourself by abandoning
Internet communications and restricting usage of cell-phone. The reasonable hypothesis is that today’s
surveillance is a side effect of new technological developments and it is a new fact of life. It is
just a new level of information gathering, which has been going on since the Byzantine Empire. And it
is still limited by technological capabilities of sifting through mass of communications. But at the
same time, quantity does at one point turns into quality, so the danger is real and as such could providers
are suspect by definition. In no way they are new level of technological development. In sense they
are one step forward, two sets back.
Also being engages in foreign wars has an interesting side effect that technologies invented come
home and used against citizens (naked
capitalism). That's actually the origin of indiscriminant collection of metadata used now.
But at the same time we need to understand that there are millions of PC users that have computer(s)
infected by spyware, which can make your computer a zombie. And world did not perished due to that.
Still the key lesson is unmistakable: from now on, any networked computer is an unsecure computer
that can't be trusted really confidential information, unless it is isolated by firewall and proxy.
And if we assume that it is unsecured computer, them it should be treated it as such. The first step
is that all confidential data should be deleted and moved to removable storage. In case you need to
work with it as much as possible should be done on non-networked computers, limiting the exposure of
your data to bare minimum. And the less powerful computer you use for processing you confidential data,
the best; the less powerful OS you use, the best (what about using Windows 98 or DOS for those who can
still remember it ? ;-). From now on "retro-computing" movement now is inherently linked with the issues
of security and privacy and might get a new life.
This retro-computing idea might create a new life for abandoned computers that are in excess in almost
every family ;-) See
Privacy is Dead
– Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone, which should be as simple as
possible. Not all people really benefit from browsing the Web from their smartphones. If you are really
paranoid you can think storing you cell phone at home in a metal box ;-).
In other words there are two new "laws of computer security":
secure computer is non-networked computer
secure cell-phone is a cell-hone in a metal box or without a battery.
But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but voluntarily self-profiling that you provide
via social sites. If you are way too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar site and
engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity you put yourselves voluntarily
under surveillance. So not only
Privacy is Dead
– Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well
in a humorous form in the following
Amazon review of Orwell's
Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an
BTW just after Prism program was revealed in June 2013,
Nineteen Eighty-Four became a bestseller on Amazon. As of June 15, 2013 it was #87 in Fiction. If
you never have a chance to read it, please do it now. and again, if you think that this revelation of
Prism program is a big news, you probably are mistaken. Many people understood that as soon new technical
capabilities of surveillance are available they are instantly put to use. As John H. Summers noted in
his review (The
Deciders - New York Times) of John Mill "Power
...official secrecy steadily expanded its reach.
"For the first time in American history, men in authority are talking about an 'emergency'
without a foreseeable end,"
Mills wrote in a sentence that remains as powerful and unsettling as it was 50 years ago.
"Such men as these are crackpot realists: in the name of realism they have constructed
a paranoid reality all their own."
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
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
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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)
Of course not every company proceeds to step 3 -- being basically an arm of the government
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.
The most constructive approach to NSA is to view is a large government bureaucracy that expanded
to the extent that quantity turned into quality.
bureaucracy is a political coalition with the primary goal of preserving and enhancing of its own
power, no matter what are official declarations. And if breaching your privacy helps they will do it.
Which is what Bush government did after 9/11. The question is how much bureaucratic bloat resulting
in classic dynamics of organizational self-aggrandizement and expansionism happened in NSA. We don't
know how much we got in exchange for undermining internet security and US constitution. But we do know
the intelligence establishment happily appropriated billions of dollars, had grown by thousand of employees
and got substantial "face lift" and additional power within the executive branch of government. To the
extent that something it looks like a shadow government. And now they will fight tooth-and nail to protect
the fruits of a decade long bureaucratic expansion. Now it is an Intelligence Church and like any religious
organization they do not need fact to support their doctrine and influence.
Typically there is an infighting and many factions within any large hierarchical organization, some
with and some without factual awareness of the rest. Basically any hierarchical institution corporate,
religious, military will abuse available resources for internal political infighting. And with NSA "big
data" push this is either happening or just waiting to happen. This is a danger of any warrantless wiretapping
program: it naturally convert itself into a saga of eroding checks and disappearing balance. And this
already happened in the past, so in a way it is just act two of the same drama (WhoWhatWhy):
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.
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
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
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
Similarly we should naturally expect that the notion of "terrorist" is flexible and in certain cases
can be equal to "any opponent of regime". While I sympathize NYT readers reaction to this incident (see
below), I think it is somewhat naive. They forget that they are living
under neoliberal regime which like any rule of top
0.01% is afraid of and does not trust its own citizens. So massive surveillance program is a self-preservation
measure which allow to crush or subvert the opposition at early stages. This is the same situation as
existed with Soviet nomenklatura, with the only difference that Soviet nomenklatura was more modest
pushing the USSR as a beacon of progress and bright hope of all mankind ;-). As
Ron Paul noted:
Many of us are not so surprised.
Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it
would pave the way for massive US government surveillance—not targeting terrorists but rather
aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide
government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least
four wars ago.
We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the
status quo even when the “crisis” has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once
lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA
authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand
over our personal information to the government?
And while revealed sources of NSA
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 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
... ... ...
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
So while the document does not list Amazon, but I would keep fingers crossed.
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:
Is the only way to have reasonable privacy with computer is to be physically disconnected
with the network?
Is limiting the usage of large providers like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft and usage of small
ISP for your email and personal Web pages makes you any more secure? After all it is much easier
to collect data from large providers then from hundreds of smaller providers. At the same time your
data are allowing via big routers in major telecom companies no matter whether you are using large
or small ISP.
Should you switch from Webmail back top POP3 account and deliver at the least most important
mail to your PC instead of keeping it stored on the web servers ? Please note that FBI developed
the computer programs "Magic
Lantern" and CIPAV, which they
can remotely install on a computer system (for example, using Microsoft Windows updates program),
in order to monitor a person's computer activity. But here you probably need a court order to install
Is Facebook and similar social sites provides any real value to you and your family? Is
your visibility of the Web is more important to you then your privacy, because two are generally
incompatible. Is all this vanity fair activity worth possible negative consequences (including stalking
of minors by criminals) that you and your family can face?
Should some group of specialists, for example psychiatrists resort back to handwriting on
paper and/or now write client notes in code as an attempt to reassert some level of confidentiality?
Note the PGP is not a panacea; it can be safely used only on non-network connected computers due
to existence of programs like
which can retrieve private keys directly from your computer. But transferring files via "air link"
is very inconvenient.
There are also some minor questions about efficiency of "total surveillance approach". Among them:
More people die daily from (1) car accidents and (2) gang violence in one day then people who
died due to 9-11 accident. Should not billions or dollars spent by NSA be utilized by different agencies
for preventing death toll mentioned above?
Even if NSA algorithms are incredibly clever they can't avoid producing large number of false
positives. The question arise how many innocent people are monitored as the result of this externality.
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
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
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,
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.”
There are limits of this "powerful analytical software" as it currently used. As we mentioned above, even if NSA
algorithms are incredibly clever they can't avoid producing large number of false positives. After two
year investigation into the post 9/11 intelligence agencies, the Washington Post came to conclusion
that they are collecting more information than anyone can comprehend ("drinking from a firehose" or
"drowning is a sea of data"):
Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billions
e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into
70 separate databases"
First of all there is a classic problem of "signal vs. noise" (infoglut) in any large scale data
collection and presence of noise in the channel makes signal much more difficult to detect.
Analysts who make sense of document and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying
share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year -- a volume so large
that many are routinely ignored
The enormity of the database exacerbate the problem. That's why NSA is hunting for email on cloud
providers, where they are already filtered from spam, and processing required is much less then
for emails intercepted from the wire data. Still even with the direct access to user accounts, the volume of
data, especially graphic (pictures) and video data, is really huge and that stress the limits of processing
capabilities and storage.
Existence of Snowden saga when a single analyst was able to penetrate the system and extract considerable
amount information with impunity suggests that the whole Agency is mess, probably like is
typical for any large organization with a lot of incompetents or, worse, careerists and psychopaths at
the helm (see Toxic Managers). Which is typical for government agencies and large corporations.
Still the level of logs collection
and internal monitoring in NSA proved to be surprisingly weak, as there are indirect signs that the agency does not
even know what reports Snowden get into his hands. In any case we, unless this is a very clever inside
operation, we need to assume that Edward Snowden stole thousands of documents, abused his sysadmin position
in the NSA, and was never caught. Here is one relevant comment from
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.
On the other hand government agencies were never good in making huge and complex software projects
work. And large software projects are a very difficult undertaking in any case. Even in industry 50%
of software projects fail, and anybody who works in the industry knows, that the more complex the project
is the higher are chances that it will be mismanaged and its functionality crippled due to architectural
defects ("a camel is a horse designed by a committee"). It is given that such project will be
over budget. Possibly several times over...
But if money is not a problem such system will eventually be completed ("with enough thrust pigs
can fly"). Still there’s no particular reason to think that corruption (major work was probably
outsourced) and incompetence (on higher management levels and, especially on architectural level as
in "camel is a horse designed by a committee") don't affect the design and functionality of
projects. Now when this activity come under fire some adjustments might be especially badly thought out
and potentially cripple the existing functionality.
As J. Kirk Wiebe, a NSA insider, noted
"The way the government was going about those digital data flows was poor formed, uninformed.
There seen to be more of a desire to contract out and capture money flow then there was a [desire}
to actually perform the mission".
See the interview of a trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers to USA TODAY ( J.
Kirk Wiebe remarks starts at 2:06 and the second half of it continues from 6:10):
In military organizations the problem is seldom with the talent (or lack of thereof) of individual
contributors. The problem is with the bureaucracy that is very effective in preventing people from exercising
their talents at the service of their country. Such system is deformed in such a way that it hamstrings
the men who are serving in it. As a results, more often then not the talents are squandered or misused
by patching holes created by incompetence of higher-up or or just pushed aside in the interdepartmental
In a way, incompetence can be defined as the inability to avoid mistakes which, in a "normal"
course of project development could and should be avoided. And that's the nature of military bureaucracy
with its multiple layer of command and compete lack of accountability on higher levels.
In addition, despite the respectable name of the organization many members of technical staff are
amateurs. They never managed to sharpen their technical skills, while at the same time acquiring the
skills necessary to survive the bureaucracy. Many do not have basic academic education and are self-taught
hackers and/or "grow on the job". Typically people at higher level of hierarchy, are simply not experts
in software engineering, but more like typical corporate "PowerPoint" warriors. They can be very shred
managers and accomplished political fighters, but that's it.
This is the same situation that exists in security departments of large multinationals, so we can
extrapolate from that. The word of Admiral Nelson "If the enemy would know what officer corps will confront
them, it will be trembling, like I am". Here is Bill Gross apt recollection of his service as naval
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:
The easy part of this is the "total surveillance of electronic communications" project: to
store the "envelope" of each phone message, email, credit card transaction, etc. Analyze and correlated
the set of this envelopes to discover daily activity patterns, their change over time, social circle,
etc. That collection will contain some junk, but generally completely gives up your social circle
and your interests. Such records are pretty compact so the lifespan of your communications stored
is at least five and probably for more then ten years. So assumption of a lifespan storage is the
most realistic one. You can introduce some noise into some of those collection channels (for example,
by using a robot visiting certain sites such as Sport Illustrated, and Washington Post will distort
the picture of your Internet activities) but it is much more difficult to introduce noise into phone
call records and emails.
Several other nations have access to the metadata for the USA originated phone calls (for
providers they serve) via outsourcers of phone billing, such as Israel's Amdocs, the largest phone-billing
services company in the world:
The difficult part is the analysis of the messages body. For example:
Automatic transcribing of phone messages is a very difficult problem. Even the slightest
noise is deadly as we can see from the experience with Dragon (let's say that NSA solved the problem
of adapting to a new voice which Dragon can't solve). Dragon 12 running of dual core 3.8GHz PC
demonstrates the difficulties very well. Even a small amount of noise kills the quality of automatic
Analysis of email body for certain keywords easily can be perform automatically, but to
understand the context of usage of "trigger" words is extremely difficult. This task is still
on the cutting edge of modern computer science. From the public document that exists (see
control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) I have impression that they
try to overreach (which is standard bureaucratic tendency in such cases). That means that such
an extraction might produces too many false positives, and needs to be manually correlated with
Recognition of faces from street and security cameras is even more difficult problem.
Data mining of blogs is difficult for a different reason: not only detecting who is
who requires getting IP from particular provider (this is an easy part), just the total volume
is enormous. Many people create dozens of messages a day. There is a special category of graphomans,
that specialize on participating in various forums and those are people who have high change to
trigger "blind" keyword search. The USA government can afford to have, say, several zetabytes
of storage capacity in NSA-controlled datacenters, but its capabilities are still limited. It
can't replicate all the Internet over time. Videos are especially problematic and are more difficult
to analyze then text or HTML, or XML documents. Even low quality voice (with reverberation for
example) is very difficult to analyze automatically.
Video streams are huge and probably impossible to store. In a way the fact that most
modern computer have face camera is not only creating problem for NSA, it actually create the
problem for Internet as a whole ;-). Indiscriminate interception and storage are out of question:
lovers of "here is what my dog is doing" clips are able to saturate all available storage in no
So even with huge amount of subcontractors that can chase mostly "big fish". Although one open question
is why with all those treasure trove of data organized crime is so hard to defeat. Having dataset like
this should generally expose all the members of any gang. Or, say, network of blue collar insider traders.
So in an indirect way the fact that organized crime not only exists and in some cities even flourish
can suggest one of two things:
NSA generally limits availability of those "integrated" data sets to terrorism networks, political
protest, foreign organizations and "suspicious nationals" activities. It is difficult and inefficient
"to cover the whole field" although spying after activities of a foreign corporation can be more
lucrative them spying after a member of terrorist networks ;-). Some sources mention the current
capabilities as around 100K-200K people who can be "electronically followed" simultaneously. It is
reasonably to expect high level of secrecy and that means that data are not shared unless absolutely
The presentation claims Prism was introduced to overcome what the NSA regarded as shortcomings
of Fisa warrants in tracking suspected foreign terrorists. It noted that the US has a "home-field
advantage" due to housing much of the internet's architecture. But the presentation claimed "Fisa
constraints restricted our home-field advantage" because Fisa required individual warrants and
confirmations that both the sender and receiver of a communication were outside the US. "Fisa
was broken because it provided privacy protections to people who were not entitled to them," the
presentation claimed. "
It took a Fisa court order to collect on foreigners overseas who were communicating with other
foreigners overseas simply because the government was collecting off a wire in the United States.
There were too many email accounts to be practical to seek Fisas for all."
... ... ...
A senior administration official said in a statement: "The Guardian and Washington Post articles
refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act. This law does not allow the targeting of any US citizen or of any person located within the
"The program is subject to oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Executive
Branch, and Congress. It involves extensive procedures, specifically approved by the court, to
ensure that only non-US persons outside the US are targeted, and that minimize the acquisition,
retention and dissemination of incidentally acquired information about US persons.
Methods based on "beyond the envelope" analysis are not efficient against reasonably sophisticated
opponents, who understand the fact that the communication will be intercepted and possibly
(superficially) analyzed. In a typical "bullet-armor" competition, that opens new impetus for
"bad guys" inventing new and improving old steganography methods. As with interception of talk between
Soviet fighter pilots and their command posts had shown, usage of slang makes the voice data almost
inpenetratable. Another example would be calling Goldman Sacks "a vampire squid", which implies that
your counterpart read
Matt Taibby article or related financial blogs, or to call Facebook "lichiko" which implies knowing
Russian. Person without this context can't make a connection. With such substitutions you need a
huge amount of ( rapidly shifting ) cultural context to understand the meaning of even simple phases.
This context is missing on the other side of the pond. And even specialists can represent certain
problems. For example Jargon
File (and more) is needed to understand the talk of hackers. Fenia,
the language of the thieves is Russia was so distinct from ordinary Russian that it almost qualifies
as a separate language which makes it foreign for outsiders. The same it true about criminal subculture
in other countries (see
Police and criminal
Storage of actual data involves certain technical difficulties and first on all physical limitations
of available storage. We probably can talk about several thousand
Petabytes that government can
store. In comparison:
Google processed about
24 petabytes of data per day in 2009
AT&T transfers about
30 petabytes of data through its networks each day
The Internet Archive
contains about 10 petabytes in cultural material as of October 2012
In August 2011, IBM was reported to have built the largest storage array ever, with a capacity
of 120 petabytes
In July 2012 it was revealed that
CERN amassed about 200
petabytes of data from the more than 800 trillion collisions
In August 2012, Facebook's
Hadoop clusters include the largest single
HDFS cluster known, with more
than 100 PB physical disk space in a single HDFS filesystem
In May 2013, Microsoft
announce that as part of their migration of Hotmail accounts to the new Outlook.com email system,
they'd migrated over 150 Petabytes of user data in six weeks.
There is also a question of complexity of analysis:
We can assume that simple things are extracted correctly. But more complex things might be
not. There is no question that a map of your phone calls, your Amazon and eBay purchases, credit
card transactions and other straightforward things can be recreated "exactly". Also can be recreated
data that can tell approximately where you were and what you was doings on any particular day. The
map of your phone contacts (people who called you and people who you call) and your emails gives
a pretty good estimate of your social circle. With multiple data sources any individual posting
in blogs can be identified with 90% or better accuracy, no matter what nicknames he/she uses
and whether he/she avoids registration and provide truthful information during it. So in a way there
is no need to do something complex as simple methods provide treasure trove of data.
There are also “junk in, junk out” issues including spam in email, telemarketers calling
your land line, there are always "strange" sites you accidentally visit during your browsing. While
they can be filtered, signal can be filtered with them (why bad guys can not disguise themselves
as telemarketers or porno sites owners?) and then system became useless against bad guys. If not
that noise subtly corrupts the data, noise and data can be really undistinguishable. BTW closed source
security-related software will always be somewhat more problematical then open source, since algorithms
used may be far from perfect and are result more of a "trading horses" between power groups involved
in development, then honest scientific research. Open source software such as CPU emulators can be
used as steganography engine that requires particular processor on the other side for recreation
of the message. And you can chose some really exotic CPU like Knuth Mix.
Errors in algorithms and bugs in those programs can bite some people in a different way then branding
them as "terrorists". Such people have no way of knowing why all of a sudden, for example, they
are paying a more for insurance, why their credit score is so low no matter what they do, etc. In no
way government in the only one who are using the mass of data collected via Google / Facebook / Yahoo
/ Microsoft / Verizon / Optonline / AT&T / Comcast, etc. It also can lead to certain subtle types of
bias if not error. And there are always problems of intentional misuse of data sets having extremely
intimate knowledge about you.
Corporate corruption can lead to those data that are shared with the government can also be shared
for money with private actors. Inept use of this unconstitutionally obtained data is a threat to all
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
Obama claims that the government is aware about this danger and tried not to overstep, but he is
an interested party in this discussion. In a way government is pushed in this area by the new technologies
that open tremendous opportunities for collecting data and making some correlations.
That's why even if you are doing nothing wrong, it is still important to know your enemy, as well
as avoid getting into some traps. One typical trap is excessive centralization of your email on social
sites, including using a single Webmail provider. It is much safer to have mail delivery to your computer
via POP3 and to use Thunderbird or other email client. If your computer is a laptop, you achieve, say,
80% of portability that Web-based email providers like Google Gmail offers. That does not mean that
you should close your Gmail or Yahoo account. More important is separating email accounts into "important"
and "everything else". "Junk mail" can be stored on Web-based email providers without any problems.
Personal emails is completely another matter.
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"
of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex
job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails. You can access
Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. Your address
book is a bonus ;-). This is huge saving of computational efforts.
"... More generally, I think AI gets far too much of the billing in authoritarian apocalypse forecasts. Cheap, ubiquitous cameras, microphones, and location trackers are the real issue. If the state can track everyone's movements and conversations, then it can build a better Stasi even with crude, simple ai. ..."
The theory behind this is one of strength reinforcing strength – the strengths of
ubiquitous data gathering and analysis reinforcing the strengths of authoritarian repression to
create an unstoppable juggernaut of nearly perfectly efficient oppression. Yet there is another
story to be told – of weakness reinforcing weakness. Authoritarian states were always
particularly prone to the deficiencies identified in James Scott's Seeing Like a State
– the desire to make citizens and their doings legible to the state, by
standardizing and categorizing them, and reorganizing collective life in simplified ways, for
example by remaking cities so that they were not organic structures that emerged from the
doings of their citizens, but instead grand chessboards
with ordered squares and boulevards, reducing all complexities to a
square of planed wood . The grand state bureaucracies that were built to carry out these
operations were responsible for multitudes of horrors, but also for the crumbling of the
Stalinist state into a Brezhnevian desuetude, where everyone pretended to be carrying on as
normal because everyone else was carrying on too. The deficiencies of state action, and its
need to reduce the world into something simpler that it could comprehend and act upon created a
kind of feedback loop, in which imperfections of vision and action repeatedly reinforced each
So what might a similar analysis say about the marriage of authoritarianism and machine
learning? Something like the following, I think. There are two notable problems with machine
learning. One – that while it can do many extraordinary things, it is not nearly as
universally effective as the mythology suggests. The other is that it can serve as a magnifier
for already existing biases in the data. The patterns that it identifies may be the product of
the problematic data that goes in, which is (to the extent that it is accurate) often the
product of biased social processes. When this data is then used to make decisions that may
plausibly reinforce those processes (by singling e.g. particular groups that are regarded as
problematic out for particular police attention, leading them to be more liable to be arrested
and so on), the bias may feed upon itself.
This is a substantial problem in democratic societies, but it is a problem where there are
at least some counteracting tendencies. The great advantage of democracy is its openness to
contrary opinions and divergent perspectives . This opens up democracy to a specific set of
destabilizing attacks but it also means that there are countervailing tendencies to
self-reinforcing biases. When there are groups that are victimized by such biases, they may
mobilize against it (although they will find it harder to mobilize against algorithms than
overt discrimination). When there are obvious inefficiencies or social, political or economic
problems that result from biases, then there will be ways for people to point out these
inefficiencies or problems.
These correction tendencies will be weaker in authoritarian societies; in extreme versions
of authoritarianism, they may barely even exist. Groups that are discriminated against will
have no obvious recourse. Major mistakes may go uncorrected: they may be nearly invisible to a
state whose data is polluted both by the means employed to observe and classify it, and the
policies implemented on the basis of this data. A plausible feedback loop would see bias
leading to error leading to further bias, and no ready ways to correct it. This of course, will
be likely to be reinforced by the ordinary politics of authoritarianism, and the typical
reluctance to correct leaders, even when their policies are leading to disaster. The flawed
ideology of the leader (We must all study Comrade Xi thought to discover the truth!) and of the
algorithm (machine learning is magic!) may reinforce each other in highly unfortunate ways.
In short, there is a very plausible set of mechanisms under which machine learning and
related techniques may turn out to be a disaster for authoritarianism, reinforcing its
weaknesses rather than its strengths, by increasing its tendency to bad decision making, and
reducing further the possibility of negative feedback that could help correct against errors.
This disaster would unfold in two ways. The first will involve enormous human costs:
self-reinforcing bias will likely increase discrimination against out-groups, of the sort that
we are seeing against the Uighur today. The second will involve more ordinary self-ramifying
errors, that may lead to widespread planning disasters, which will differ from those described
in Scott's account of High Modernism in that they are not as immediately visible, but that may
also be more pernicious, and more damaging to the political health and viability of the regime
for just that reason.
So in short, this conjecture would suggest that the conjunction of AI and authoritarianism
(has someone coined the term 'aithoritarianism' yet? I'd really prefer not to take the blame),
will have more or less the opposite effects of what people expect. It will not be Singapore
writ large, and perhaps more brutal. Instead, it will be both more radically monstrous and more
Like all monotheoretic accounts, you should treat this post with some skepticism –
political reality is always more complex and muddier than any abstraction. There are surely
other effects (another, particularly interesting one for big countries such as China, is to
relax the assumption that the state is a monolith, and to think about the intersection between
machine learning and warring bureaucratic factions within the center, and between the center
and periphery).Yet I think that it is plausible that it at least maps one significant set of
causal relationships, that may push (in combination with, or against, other structural forces)
towards very different outcomes than the conventional wisdom imagines. Comments, elaborations,
qualifications and disagreements welcome.
Ben 11.25.19 at 6:32 pm (no link)
This seems to equivocate between two meanings of bias. Bias might mean a flaw that leads to
empirically incorrect judgements and so to bad decisions, and it's true that that type of
bias could destabilize an authoritarian state. But what we usually worry about with machine
learning is that the system will find very real, but deeply unjust, patterns in the data, and
reinforce those pattern. If there's a particular ethnic group that really does produce a
disproportionate number of dissidents, and an algorithm leads to even-more-excessive
repression of that group -- I'm not sure why an authoritarian state would see a stability
threat in that tendency.
More generally, I think AI gets far too much of the billing in authoritarian
apocalypse forecasts. Cheap, ubiquitous cameras, microphones, and location trackers are the
real issue. If the state can track everyone's movements and conversations, then it can build
a better Stasi even with crude, simple ai.
I'd just like to point out (re: the tweet in the original post) that the "Uighur
face-matching AI" idea is bullshit invented by scaremongers, with no basis in fact and
traceable to a shoddy reddit thread. The Chinese government is not using facial recognition
to identify Uighur, and the facial recognition fears about the Chinese government are vastly
Australia's border control facial recognition software is far more advanced than
China's, as is the UK's, and facial recognition is actually pretty common in democracies. See
e.g. the iPhone.
The main areas in which China uses facial recognition are in verifying ID for some high
cost functions (like buying high speed rail tickets), and it's quite easy to avoid these
functions by joining a queue and paying a human. The real intrusiveness of the Chinese
security state is in its constant bag searches and very human-centric abuses of power in
everyday life in connection with "security". Whether you get stopped and searched depends a
lot on very arbitrary and error prone judgments by bored security staff at railway stations,
in public squares, and on buses, not some evil intrusive state technology.
Conversely, the UK is a world leader in installing and using CCTV cameras, and has been
for a long time. Furthermore, these CCTV cameras are a huge boon to law-abiding citizens,
since they act as both excellent forms of crime prevention (I have had this experience
myself) and for finding serious criminals. The people responsible for the death of those 39
Vietnamese labourers in the ice truck were caught because of CCTV; so was the guy who
murdered that woman on the street in Melbourne a few years ago.
Finally to address another point that's already been raised (sadly): China no longer
harvests organs, and the 2019 report that says it does is a sham. The social credit system is
also largely a myth, and nobody from China even seems to know wtf it is.
If you're going to talk about how state's work, and the relative merits of autocratic vs.
democratic states and their interaction with technology, it's a really good idea to get the
basic facts right first.
Nathanael 11.26.19 at 6:10 am (no link)
I'll add that John Quiggin's point that Xi has already lost control of the provinces is
correct -- but it DOES threaten his position as dictator. Once the provincial governors know
they can act with impunity, it is absolutely standard for the next step to be getting rid of
that annoying guy who is pretending to be dictator. It may take a few years but Xi now has
dozens of powerful insiders who know that he's a weakling. They'll bide their time but when
he crosses too many of them they'll take him out. And if China doesn't shut down coal, he's
going to look like a weakling internationally too, in a couple of years. This will create a
new group of ambitious insiders with a different reason to take him out.
Xi broke the "technocratic consensus" which was present after Deng, of central committee
members who strove for competence and fact-based decision-making. That was a surprisingly
effective type of junta government which led to lots of thinkpieces about whether
authoritarian China would beat the democratic west. But it succumbed to the succession
problem, like all authoritarian systems; Xi made himself Premier-for-life and the country is
now exhibiting all the usual failures of authoritarian countries.
Hidari 11.26.19 at 9:08 am (no link)
@11 Yes it's strange that allegations of Chinese use of facial recognition software is
gaining so much traction at a time when the Trump regime is deliberately ratcheting up
tensions with China to pursue nakedly imperial goals, when the objective facts of Israeli use
of similar software, which the Israelis boast about (
) doesn't cause so much interest, at a time when the Trump regime has simple decreed that the
Israeli invasion/colonisation of Palestine is 'legal under international law'.
One of life's little mysteries I guess.
If we must talk about China could we at least bring it back to areas where we are
responsible and where, therefore, we can do something about it?
Publishing here my afterword for "2030, A New Vision for Europe", the manifesto for
European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, who died this summer. The manifesto
was developed by Christian D'Cunha, who works in the EDPS office, based on his many
conversations with Giovanni.
"A cage went in search of a bird"
Franz Kafka certainly knew how to write a story. The eight-word aphorism he jotted down in a
notebook a century ago reveals so much about our world today. Surveillance goes in search of
subjects. Use-cases go in search of profit. Walled gardens go in search of tame customers.
Data-extractive monopolies go in search of whole countries, of democracy itself, to envelop and
re-shape, to cage and control. The cage of surveillance technology stalks the world, looking
for birds to trap and monetise. And it cannot stop itself. The surveillance cage is the
original autonomous vehicle, driven by financial algorithms it doesn't control. So when we
describe our data-driven world as 'Kafka-esque', we are speaking a deeper truth than we even
Giovanni knew this. He knew that data is power and that the radical concentration of power
in a tiny number of companies is not a technocratic concern for specialists but an existential
issue for our species. Giovanni's manifesto, Privacy 2030: A Vision for Europe, goes far beyond
data protection. It connects the dots to show how data-maximisation exploits power asymmetries
to drive global inequality. It spells out how relentless data-processing actually drives
climate change. Giovanni's manifesto calls for us to connect the dots in how we respond, to
start from the understanding that sociopathic data-extraction and mindless computation are the
acts of a machine that needs to be radically reprogrammed.
... ... ...
In October 2018, the Vatican's Papal Nuncio to the European Union wrote to
Giovanni to support the work of the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and
Privacy Commissioners. He said technology is a precious resource when it's working for
everyone, but that technology alone cannot set the direction of human progress. You don't have
to be a Catholic to insist that we ditch cute, reductionist mind-games like the 'trolley
problem' to decide who wins and who loses, and insist that technology ethics are instead
grounded in respect for people. And you shouldn't have to sound radical to insist that tech
business models must serve and be accountable to us, not the other way around.
The manifesto and its Ten-Point Plan for Sustainable Privacy show there is another digital
path forward. Not the oppressive brittleness of China's state sovereignty model, and not the
colonialist extraction of Silicon Valley. There is a European Union version of the Internet
that starts with the society we as citizens want to live in, and then figures out how to get
there. It recognises that just as we don't live our lives to serve corporate interests, nor
must we sacrifice our private and public spaces to serve the state. Because in any future we
actively want to live in, autonomy is for humans, not machines.
The European vision of our digital future will take the work of many of our lifetimes to
achieve. That eight-word story doesn't have an ending we can yet see. The surveillance cage
cannot help but try to trap birds. That's its programming. That's just what it does. But the
cage isn't the technology; the cage is our flawed and narrow assumptions about what technology
notGoodenough 11.19.19 at 11:02 am (no link)
Gareth Wilson @ 1
With respect, nowhere in the post has it been implied that iris scanners are required for
refugee camps, so you would appear to be disagreeing with a position that hasn´t been
I won´t speak for the OP, but I think it is not a particularly controversial idea
that technology can facilitate things (for good or ill), and so it would seem not
unreasonable that there should be at least some consideration of potential ethical and social
ramifications during the process of implementation.
For example, most people using modern technology generate information about themselves
(the websites they visit, who they follow on the twitters, who is facebook friends, etc.).
What should be that person´s right to privacy and control over their information? I
don´t think it requires the most active imagination to think of ways this could be
exploited (and indeed, one might be able to find examples even now), and leaving these things
unregulated does rather open that possibility.
While people may disagree whether or not it is problematic for companies to undertake
commodification our electronic information (and to what extent, if any, this should be
regulated), I would hope you agree that the conversation is worth having?
"... America was feared by many intellectuals, both in the United States and Britain of the 1940s and 1950s, and their fears were not unwarranted. ..."
"... Big, brawny America – its power establishment – very much was inclined towards dominating the world after WWII. The whole tone of the American press and speeches of major political figures in the period was actually quite frightening. Any highly intelligent, sensitive type would be concerned by it. ..."
"... America wanted a monopoly on nuclear weapons, so that it would be in an unassailable position as it built its imperial apparatus after WWII, the time effectively it "took over" as world imperial power with so many potential competitors flattened. ..."
"... Later, the Pentagon actually planned things like an all-out first strike on the Soviets – it did that more once as well as doing so later for China – so there were indeed plenty of dark intentions in Washington. ..."
"... Spies and ex-spies often put disinformation into their books. Sometimes officials even insist they do so. ..."
The motives for so many Western spies serving the Soviet Union – and in the 1940s and
1950s the Soviets had the best "humint" on earth – were rather idealistic. This was
largely true for the Cambridge Circle in Britain. They were concerned that America was going
to "lord it over" the Russians and everyone else.
America was feared by many intellectuals, both in the United States and Britain of the
1940s and 1950s, and their fears were not unwarranted.
Big, brawny America – its power establishment – very much was inclined
towards dominating the world after WWII. The whole tone of the American press and speeches of
major political figures in the period was actually quite frightening. Any highly intelligent,
sensitive type would be concerned by it.
You certainly did not have to be a communist to feel that way, but being one assisted with
access to important Soviet contacts. They sought you out.
America wanted a monopoly on nuclear weapons, so that it would be in an unassailable
position as it built its imperial apparatus after WWII, the time effectively it "took over"
as world imperial power with so many potential competitors flattened.
It made little secret of its desire to keep such a monopoly, so brilliant people like
Oppenheimer would be well aware of something they might well regard as ominous.
Later, the Pentagon actually planned things like an all-out first strike on the
Soviets – it did that more once as well as doing so later for China – so there
were indeed plenty of dark intentions in Washington.
A hugely important general like MacArthur was unblinkingly ready in 1950 to use atomic
weapons in the Korean War to destroy North Korea's connections with China.
I read several major biographies of Oppenheimer, and there is little to nothing concerning
Soviet intelligence work. When I came across the Sudoplatov book with its straightforward
declaration of Oppenheimer's assistance, it was difficult to know how to weigh the claim.
Spies and ex-spies often put disinformation into their books. Sometimes officials even
insist they do so.
Judging by what is suggested here, if Oppenheimer did help, it was in subtle ways like
letting Klaus Fuchs, a fellow scientist and a rather distinguished one (but a Soviet spy),
look at certain papers. But the scientific community always has some considerable tendency to
share information, a tendency having nothing to do with spying.
In general, it should be understood, that Oppenheimer, despite all his brilliance, was a
rather disturbed man all his life. Quite early on, as just one example, he attempted to
poison someone he did not like. Only pure luck prevented the man's eating a lethally-laced
apple. There were other disturbing behaviors too.
"... Finally, the Thought Police were also inspired by the human struggle for self-honesty and the pressure to conform. "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe," Rudyard Kipling once observed. ..."
"... The struggle to remain true to one's self was also felt by Orwell, who wrote about "the smelly little orthodoxies" that contend for the human soul. Orwell prided himself with a "power of facing unpleasant facts" -- something of a rarity in humans -- even though it often hurt him in British society. ..."
"... In a sense, 1984 is largely a book about the human capacity to maintain a grip on the truth in the face of propaganda and power. ..."
"... The new Thought Police may be less sinister than the ThinkPol in 1984 , but the next generation will have to decide if seeking conformity of thought or language through public shaming is healthy or suffocating. FEE's Dan Sanchez recently observed that many people today feel like they're "walking on eggshells" and live in fear of making a verbal mistake that could draw condemnation. ..."
"... When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi , East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what's frightening is that the organization had almost double that in informants, including children. And it wasn't just children reporting on parents; sometimes it was the other way around." ..."
"... Movies like the Matrix actually helped people to question everything. What is real and not. Who is the enemy, and can we be sure. And when Conspiracy theories become fact, people learn. The problem is in later generations who get indoctrinated at school and college to not think, not question. Rational examination is forbidden. ..."
There are a lot of unpleasant things in George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 . Spying screens. Torture and propaganda. Victory
Gin and Victory Coffee always sounded particularly dreadful. And there is Winston Smith's varicose ulcer,
apparently a symbol of his humanity (or something),
which always seems to be "throbbing." Gross.
None of this sounds very enjoyable, but it's not the worst thing in 1984 . To me, the most terrifying part was that you couldn't
keep Big Brother out of your head.
Unlike other 20th-century totalitarians, the authoritarians in 1984 aren't that interested in controlling behavior or speech.
They do, of course, but it's only as a means to an end. Their real goal is to control the gray matter between the ears.
"When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will," O'Brien (the bad guy) tells the protagonist Winston Smith
near the end of the book.
We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture
his inner mind, we reshape him.
Big Brother's tool for doing this is the Thought Police, aka the ThinkPol, who are assigned to root out and punish unapproved
thoughts. We see how this works when Winston's neighbor Parsons, an obnoxious Party sycophant, is reported to the Thought Police
by his own child, who heard him commit a thought crime while talking in his sleep.
"It was my little daughter," Parsons tells Winston when asked who it was who denounced him.
"She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a
nipper of seven, eh?"
Who Are These Thought Police?
We don't know a lot about the Thought Police, and some of what we think we know may actually not be true since some of what Winston
learns comes from the Inner Party, and they lie.
What we know is this: The Thought Police are secret police of
Oceania -- the fictional land
of 1984 that probably consists of the UK, the Americas, and parts of Africa -- who use surveillance and informants to monitor the
thoughts of citizens. The Thought Police also use psychological warfare and false-flag operations to entrap free thinkers or nonconformists.
Those who stray from Party orthodoxy are punished but not killed. The Thought Police don't want to kill nonconformists so much
as break them. This happens in Room 101 of the Ministry of Love, where prisoners are re-educated through degradation and torture.
(Funny sidebar: the name Room 101
apparently was inspired by a conference room at the BBC in which Orwell was forced to endure tediously long meetings.)
The Origins of the Thought Police
Orwell didn't create the Thought Police out of thin air. They were inspired to at least some degree by
his experiences in
the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), a complicated and
confusing affair. What you really need to know is that there were no good guys, and it ended with left-leaning anarchists and Republicans
in Spain crushed by their Communist overlords, which helped the fascists win.
Orwell, an idealistic 33-year-old socialist when the conflict started, supported the anarchists and loyalists fighting for the
left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, which received most of its support from the Soviet Union and Josef Stalin. (That might sound
bad, but keep in mind that the Nazis were on the other side.) Orwell described the atmosphere in Barcelona in December 1936 when
everything seemed to be going well for his side.
The anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing ... It was the first time
that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle,
he wrote in Homage to Catalonia.
[E]very wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle ... every shop and café had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized.
That all changed pretty fast. Stalin, a rather paranoid fellow, was bent on making Republican Spain loyal to him . Factions and
leaders perceived as loyal to his exiled Communist rival, Leon
Trotsky , were liquidated. Loyal Communists found themselves denounced as fascists. Nonconformists and "uncontrollables" were
Orwell never forgot the
purges or the steady stream of lies and propaganda churned out from Communist papers during the conflict. (To be fair, their Nationalist
opponents also used propaganda
and lies .) Stalin's NKVD was not exactly like the Thought Police
-- the NKVD showed less patience with its victims --
but they certainly helped inspire Orwell's secret police.
The Thought Police were not all propaganda and torture, though. They also stem from Orwell's ideas on truth. During his time in
Spain, he saw how power could corrupt truth, and he shared these reflections in his work
George Orwell: My Country Right or Left, 1940-1943 .
...I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary
lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed.
I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the
heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional
superstructures over events that had never happened.
In short, Orwell's brush with totalitarianism left him
worried that "the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world."
This scared him. A lot. He actually wrote, "This kind of thing is frightening to me."
Finally, the Thought Police were also inspired by the human struggle for self-honesty and the pressure to conform. "The individual
has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe," Rudyard Kipling once observed.
The struggle to remain true to one's self was also felt by Orwell, who
wrote about "the smelly little orthodoxies" that contend for the human soul. Orwell prided himself with a "power of facing unpleasant
facts" -- something of a rarity in humans -- even though it often hurt him in British society.
In a sense, 1984 is largely a book about the human capacity to maintain a grip on the truth in the face of propaganda and power.
It might be tempting to dismiss Orwell's book as a figment of dystopian literature. Unfortunately, that's not as easy as it sounds.
Modern history shows he was onto something.
When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi, East Germany's secret police, had a full-time
staff of 91,000.
When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that
the Stasi , East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff
of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what's frightening is that the organization had almost double that in informants,
including children. And it wasn't just children reporting on parents;
it was the other way around.
Nor did the use of state spies to prosecute thoughtcrimes end with the fall of the Soviet Union. Believe it or not, it's still
happening today. The New York Times recently ran
a report featuring one Peng
Wei, a 21-year-old Chinese chemistry major. He is one of the thousands of "student information officers" China uses to root out professors
who show signs of disloyalty to President Xi Jinping or the Communist Party.
The New Thought Police?
The First Amendment of the US Constitution, fortunately, largely protects Americans from the creepy authoritarian systems found
in 1984 , East Germany, and China; but the rise of "cancel culture" shows the pressure to conform to all sorts of orthodoxies (smelly
or not) remains strong.
The new Thought Police may be less sinister than the ThinkPol in 1984 , but the next generation will have to decide if seeking
conformity of thought or language through public shaming is healthy or suffocating. FEE's Dan Sanchez
that many people today feel like they're "walking on eggshells" and live in fear of making a verbal mistake that could draw condemnation.
That's a lot of pressure, especially for people still learning the acceptable boundaries of a new moral code that is constantly
evolving. Most people, if the pressure is sufficient, will eventually say "2+2=5" just to escape punishment. That's exactly what
Winston Smith does at the end of 1984 , after all. Yet Orwell also leaves readers with a glimmer of hope.
"Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad," Orwell wrote.
"There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad."
In other words, the world may be mad, but that doesn't mean you have to be.
" When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi, East Germany's secret police, had a full-time
staff of 91,000.
When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that
the Stasi , East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff
of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what's frightening is that the organization had almost double that in
including children. And it wasn't just children reporting on parents;
it was the other way around."
Confidential informants should be illegal.
How many people are employed by the various Federal intelligence agencies, of which there are 17 the last time I heard. Hundreds
of thousands of Federal employees, protected by strong government employee unions.
When this shitshow goes live, it will only take a small team to shut off the water that is necessary to keep the NSA servers
cool in Utah.
Movies like the Matrix actually helped people to question everything. What is real and not. Who is the enemy, and can we be sure. And when Conspiracy theories become fact, people learn. The problem is in later generations who get indoctrinated at school and college to not think, not question.
"... "The border has become a rights-free zone for Americans who have to travel," Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement given to Boland at the time. "The founders never could have imagined that the government would be able to sift through your entire digital life, from pictures to emails and even where you've been, just because you decide to take a vacation or travel for work." ..."
At last a victory for citizens. For nearly 20 years, the federal government has used and
abused the memory of the 9/11 attacks to expand its law enforcement authorities at the nation's
airports, even if that has meant broaching one of our most sacrosanct constitutional freedoms:
the right against illegal search and seizure, otherwise known as the 4th Amendment.
On Tuesday, a federal court in Boston ruled that the
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can no longer
detain Americans coming back over the border to search their laptops, cell phones and other
electronic devices, without cause. One would think this is a no-brainer, but the number of
these incidents has actually escalated to over 33,000 last year -- nearly four times as many as
the previous three years,
according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
The ruling came in a lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan , filed by the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and ACLU of
Massachusetts, on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without
individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.
International travelers returning to the United States have reported numerous cases of
abusive searches in recent months. While searching through the phone of Zainab Merchant, a
plaintiff in the Alasaad case, a border agent knowingly rifled through privileged
attorney-client communications. An immigration officer at Boston Logan Airport
reportedly searched an incoming Harvard freshman's cell phone and laptop, reprimanded the
student for friends' social media postings expressing views critical of the U.S. government,
and denied the student entry into the country following the search.
According to EFF, border officers "must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of illegal
contraband before they can search a traveler's device."
TAC's Barbara Boland reported on this over the summer . The number of electronic devices
accessed in 2018 was six times the number in 2012, suggesting that this is not only a
post-9/11 issue, but that somewhere along the line the Trump Administration signaled to these
agencies, which are all under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security, that it was
gloves-off at the border -- even for American citizens. Lest you think this is just an
extension of the president's tough illegal immigration policies, be warned, many of the folks
targeted were typical international visitors and U.S. citizens -- think students, journalists,
academics, doctors -- and not travelers to this country for the first time. And they were
treated like they were coming into the Third World. From Boland:
One person detailed to Amnesty
International how she was selected for secondary screening at the border, locked in a
cramped, narrow concrete cell, and subjected to an invasive body search. Her requests for a
lawyer and medical treatment were denied. The supervisor told her she would be held
When she told him that she is an American citizen, he replied: "The Fourth Amendment
doesn't apply here. We can hold you for as long as we want to."
She was released after four hours.
Journalist Seth Harp wrote a similarly
disturbing story about what happened when he was singled out for a "secondary screening" at
the Austin Airport in Texas. CBP agents pried him for information about what he was writing,
his sources, his reporting as a war correspondent, and his discussions with his editors.
"The border has become a rights-free zone for Americans who have to travel," Senator Ron
Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement given to Boland at the time. "The founders never could
have imagined that the government would be able to sift through your entire digital life, from
pictures to emails and even where you've been, just because you decide to take a vacation or
travel for work."
Let's hope that Tuesday's order fixes that -- though it might take a Supreme Court ruling to
put an end to it for good.
I've seen this movie before. After a lot of legal wrangling, Google will admit they they
might have bent the rules a bit and will have to pay a few billion in fines which they will
proceed to claim back on their next tax form. They will ensure, however, that they do not
admit doing something illegal in court and so no executives will go to the slammer to stop
this happening again. Google will also promise to delete that data.
Meanwhile, a copy of all these files will have gone to a set of their servers in a country
that the US legal system cannot access where it will be analyzed further. Perhaps Google
techs will be able to access it in California on a secured line. Non Disclosure Agreements
will ensure that nobody talks about this work.
You know what will be the next big headline with Google and health services? It will be
the discovery that Google has secretly purchased access to people's DNA from Ancestry or
23andMe and now they will link your DNA with all those health records. Can't tell me that
they are not negotiating for it.
Thanks for that petal. Looks like it is going to be 23andMe and not Ancestry. Want a fun
fact that I have just discovered? And I quote-
Sergey Brin, president of technology and a co-founder of Google is the husband of
23andMe Co-founder Anne Wojcicki. He previously invested around $10 million of his own money
in 23andMe's convertible debt financing, which was converted into Series B preferred stock as
part of 23andMe's Series B round.
Oh yes, was aware of that for quite a while now. The companies have been attached at the
hip from the beginning. Pillow talk? They are no longer together(Brin and Wojcicki). She was
linked with ARod for awhile haha. Interesting group of characters involved.
My one regret was using 23andme, but I have to say it helped me so much it tempers the
fact that I know parts of my "unidentifiable" genome is flying around out there somewhere. I
think using gmail is more of a risk in reality. There is a lot more regulation risk
pertaining to DNA data already on the books. Not saying it would stop them.
I was already degoogled before this Ascension news, but I just told my friends that I will
not email them if they have a gmail address. A total boycott of google from me.
I work in healthcare IT, and I can certainly attest to the fact that insurance companies
are keenly interested in acquiring clinical data. The term of art for this is "chart
chasing", and right now it is pretty much a manual process wherein the patient data is
gathered by insurance company workers or their subcontractors reaching out to medical
facilities for the patient data residing in file cabinets or computers.
It should come as no surprise that healthcare IT companies see a business opportunity in
making this work more efficiently for payers – to suck in data at a rate that is orders
of magnitude faster than currently possible. And you can be certain they are working on this
What Google may or may be up to with patient data is another issue entirely.
Under HIPAA, a covered entity may acquire access to patient data under a so-called
"purpose of use" that include Treatment, Payment or Operations.
The purpose of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to introduce restrictions on the allowable
uses and disclosures of protected health information, stipulating when, with whom, and
under what circumstances, health information could be shared. Another important purpose of
the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to give patients access to their health data on request. The
purpose of the HIPAA Security Rule is mainly to ensure electronic health data is
appropriately secured, access to electronic health data is controlled, and an auditable
trail of PHI activity is maintained.
If Google is developing software to analyze data on behalf of Ascension, that's one thing.
They should not have access to the data itself. It's an important distinction. And I don't
trust Google to do the right thing.
As a patient, I would advise anyone who is worried about their data being shared with
third parties to contact their doctor and ask them about their policy with respect to release
of their data. You may find that the facility is releasing your information as they have an
"opt-out" policy. If so, demand that your data not be shared without your explicit
Google tried their hand at healthcare about 10 years ago with their failed Google Health
project. They staffed the team with people who had no background in healthcare, but were
otherwise the best and the brightest.
Incidentally, Microsoft's Healthvault project only faired somewhat better. MS shutdown the
project this month.
Finally, as someone who has worked in healthcare interoperability I disagree strongly that
digitizing health data has been a one-sided disaster. On the contrary, giving clinicians
access to health information about patients across different settings of care has in fact
improved the quality of care and saved lives. I'm proud of my work in helping make this
I should also note that making de-identified healtchare data available for
population-based analytics is also a good thing. It's not always about squeezing more $$$ out
Thanks for the post. The Affordable Care Act was an IT mess too. Perhaps Obama should have
paid more attention during those meetings with what he called his "propeller heads" instead
of playing with his Blackberry. But Al "streamlining government" Gore comes in for some blame
too. These days we seem to barely regulate anything (except consumers trying to bring in
drugs from overseas).
Some of us used to defend Google around here but that's long gone. Bezos has talked about
trying to get involved in health care as well. Perhaps Google felt they had to beat him to
November 12, 2019 by Yves Smith The Wall Street Journal has
broken an important story on
Google's foray into the medical arena . Without notifying patients or doctors, much the
less obtaining their consent, the search giant has obtained the medical records of "tens of
millions of people" in 21 states, all patients of Ascension, a St. Louis-based chain of 2600
Moreover, you can see that the effort is aggressive, with the aim of generating patient
medical histories, linking individuals to family members, and making staffing and treatment
suggestions .as well as identifying opportunities for upcoding and other ways to milk
... ... ...
However, Journal readers (at least as far as I read, and I got pretty far
into the hundreds of comments) were without exception very upset about the prospect of Google
having access to their medical data. Given that Big Tech is in the crosshairs of more than a
few Congresscritters, one can hope that Google and Ascension officials will soon have to
A few examples:
NO. I use Google AdWords They provide the data that they need in order to sell us .
No, I don't trust Google with my information. They will set their systems to
disadvantage patients, they will jerk partners around & and they will take away info
people rely on in order to raise their prices -- examples galore.
Who will Google sell this information to? If they can't sell it in some form they
wouldn't bother with it. Google at it's core has no ethics beyond how to get money –
to heck with who gets hurts.
This is not comforting. Rest assured this most personal information will be accessed by
people you do not want anywhere near your personal information at some time. What would it
take for Google or any other company or government employee to allow unauthorized people to
your information? Probably not very much. And even a subpoena, how tough is that to obtain
with the flimsiest of pretexts, especially with government employees not accountable for
perjury, even to a FISA court? I would not give my doctor any information if it goes into a
computer; I would rather pay cash and have no records other than the ones I would keep on
They are also often designed by relatively small players, so not only are they kludgy, but
they are seldom compatible across health care organizations.
So you can see why there would be demand for a health care information system that is
actually about health care. But given that Ascension has explicit upcoding and upselling
motives, will that really result, or will this just be a less terrible, more portable version
of the current EHRs?
Oh, and if you believe Google, this won't just be about EHRs and helping organizations
Ascension pull in more revenues (which translates into making health care an even bigger
percentage of GDP), but bring techno hocus pocus to medicine. We quoted this section
Google in this case is using the data in part to design new software, underpinned by
advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, that zeroes in on individual patients
to suggest changes to their care.
Notice that this is vaporware: Google hopes to do all of this but it remains to be seen what
it can do. And it's not clear that even with data on so many patients that it could develop
decent AI for medical purposes. Bias in studies is already a big problem with medical research.
One problem is that some populations are very much under-represented. Women are under-treated
for heart disease in part because doctors see men as being at more risk, which is reinforced by
studied being done mainly on men. Similarly, women have more trouble with hip replacements than
men do because the studies were done on men but women are not small men. They load their hips
My intent here is not to summarize Snowden's entire interview. I want to focus on some
points he made that I found especially revealing, pertinent, and insightful.
Without further ado, here are 12 points I took from this interview:
1. People who reach the highest levels of government do so by being risk-averse. Their
goal is never to screw-up in a major way. This mentality breeds cautiousness, mediocrity, and
buck-passing. (I saw the same in my 20 years in the U.S. military.)
2. The American people are no longer partners of government. We are subjects. Our rights
are routinely violated even as we become accustomed (or largely oblivious) to a form of
3. Intelligence agencies in the U.S. used 9/11 to enlarge their power. They argued that
9/11 happened because there were "too many restrictions" on them. This led to the PATRIOT Act
and unconstitutional global mass surveillance, disguised as the price of being kept "safe"
from terrorism. Simultaneously, America's 17 intelligence agencies wanted most of all not to
be blamed for 9/11. They wanted to ensure the buck stopped nowhere. This was a goal they
4. Every persuasive lie has a kernel of truth. Terrorism does exist - that's the kernel of
truth. Illegal mass surveillance, facilitated by nearly unlimited government power, in the
cause of "keeping us safe" is the persuasive lie.
5. The government uses classification
("Top Secret" and so on) primarily to hide things from the American people, who have no "need
to know" in the view of government officials. Secrecy becomes a cloak for illegality.
Government becomes unaccountable; the people don't know, therefore we are powerless to rein
in government excesses or to prosecute for abuses of power.
6. Fear is the
mind-killer (my expression here, quoting Frank Herbert's Dune ). Snowden spoke much about
the use of fear by the government, using expressions like "they'll be blood on your hands"
and "think of the children." Fear is the way to cloud people's minds. As Snowden put it, you
lose the ability to act because you are afraid.
7. What is true patriotism? For Snowden, it's about a constant effort to do good for the
people. It's not loyalty to government. Loyalty, Snowden notes, is only good in the service
of something good.
8. National security and public safety are not synonymous. In fact, in the name of
national security, our rights are being violated. We are "sweeping up the broken glass of our
lost rights" in today's world of global mass surveillance, Snowden noted.
9. We live naked before power. Companies like Facebook and Google, together with the U.S.
government, know everything about us; we know little about them. It's supposed to be the
reverse (at least in a democracy).
10. "The system is built on lies." James Clapper, the director of national intelligence,
lies under oath before Congress. And there are no consequences. He goes unpunished.
11. We own less and less of our own data. Data increasingly belongs to corporations and
the government. It's become a commodity. Which means we are the commodity. We are being
exploited and manipulated, we are being sold, and it's all legal, because the powerful make
the policies and the laws, and they are unaccountable to the people.
12. Don't wait for a hero to save you. What matters is heroic decisions. You are never
more than one decision away from making the world a better place.
In 2013, Edward Snowden made a heroic decision to reveal illegal mass surveillance by the
U.S. government, among other governmental crimes. He has made the world a better place, but as
he himself knows, the fight has only just begun against turnkey tyranny.
Sorry folks. In time you will see that Snowden was, is, and always will be CIA (black
hat). The whistle blowing was a CIA attempt to shut down the NSA (white hat) leaving no one
to watch over the black hats whilst they conduct thier drug running and regime changing, and
MK ultra operations. Ask Kennedy. Oh wait CIA and daddy Bush blew his head off.
Snowden, in my opinion, is a limited hangout. Not necessarily aware of it, he could just
be a convenient dupe.
If there's this much surveillance, how in the Hell did he exfiltrate that much data AND be
able to leave the country? Why did it take so long to track him down and revoke his passport?
It makes no sense. Why didn't he go to Wikileaks, who has a proven and reliable track record
but instead went to MSM?
I think he is probably genuine in his beliefs, but still see him as a limited hangout.
He has made the world a better place
How? Uncle Scam still has all it's capabilities. That big *** data center in Utah.
Nothing's changed except we were told about it- again. Remember Drake, Wiebe and Binney
spilled the beans in 2004.
"Intelligence agencies in the U.S. used 9/11 to enlarge their power. "
And their power was supposed to be limited to foreign actors. The skinny, jug-eared, gay
guy and his acolytes thought up sinister illegal ways to extend that power to private US
citizens and the gay guy's political enemies.
Most of these problems were predicted centuries ago when the founders feared a standing
army that could be turned against the people. Now we have standing armies, and civilian
paramilitaries in every county and big city, local cops, city cops, state police. We have
ATF, FBI, CIA, NSA, IRS, and dozens of other armed alphabet soup agencies.
With We THE People are gonna regain our country again and many people will die again, and
with luck all the traitors will hang by the neck until dead.
The elites who think it is their birthright to lord over us need to be reminded that they
serve us. All the communist democrats are in need of reminders and quick drop at the end of a
It's heartening to know Snowden is a martial alumni..
And speaking of tyranny, we came across a gem, a most enlightening gem thus..
"If you take me down, I'll come after you with everything I've got It will become my
"These are the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to newspaper publisher Arnon
Mozes in a recording that has become central evidence in a corruption case against Netanyahu,
as revealed Saturday by Channel 13 journalist Raviv Drucker.."
So why have we brought this to your attention?
So you may understand that Liberty is not for the lily livered. If Jefferson and Co had
been squeamish, Americans would still be serfs..
If MLK had been squeamish, negros would not be free today, to be in position to advocate
And if Cesar Chavez had adopted cowardice, then Latinos would have no mojo to
And if Hugo Chavez had not given his life to Venezuela, it's doubtful that Maduro would
have had a leg to stand on..
And yet, Lula is imprisoned..just like Nelson Mandela, for the best years of his
My friends, mortality eventually ends, that's a certainty..what you do with yours, is
consequential, for good or ill..
When the depraved hurl threats, it means they're afraid, and in that event, increase the
artillery barrage of truth..cheers...
The digital world has become disturbingly invasive and the source of the data the
governments uses against us.
Get off of social media, limit net time, encrypt communications, leave our mobile devices
at home and use cash.
Anything that leaves a digital footprint is being tracked.
The loss of our privacy is the loss of our freedom.
To return democracy to the people we need to do the following:
-Term limits of 8 years at any one level of government for the politicians, diplomats,
bureaucrats and senior civil servants. If our legislators know they will spend the majority
of their working lives in the private sector they will not pass laws that solely benefit the
-Recall legislation to hold our legislators accountable.
-Balance budget laws that require referendums to amend or repeal.
-Zero tax increase laws that require referendums to amend or repeal.
We need to return democracy to the people and we do that by demanding change at the
These days , The Shang Dynasty's moral decay quickly comes to mind, as outlined in
The Art of War : lies, deceit and diffusion were the norm; unaccountable leaders
immersed themselves in debauchery, orgies and lavish self-profiting (today's
Epsteinism in full-swing); brutally-enforced high taxes & wage thefts levied on
citizens; government's increased violence against state residents, particularly those brave
enough to resist widespread tyranny; escalated harmful interference in the country's
agricultural operations; and knee-jerked, violent responses with heavy-handed, inhuman
punishments (like SWAT teams blowing away innocents -- women & children -- over minor,
inconsequential infractions), especially violation of peoples' guaranteed civil liberties, as
well as their sovereign dignities and property rights, under the guise of ridiculously
concocted "boogeymen" nonsense.
He has tasked a prosecutor to look into Obama officials and other officials who sparked the Russia collusion investigation into
Trump after a report showed no collusion. New reports on that investigation described it as "criminal" in nature.
"It turned out I was right. By the way," Trump told Wead in excerpts provided to Secrets.
"In fact, what I said was peanuts compared to what they did. They were spying on my campaign. They got caught and they said,
'Oh we were not spying. It was actually an investigation.' Can you imagine an administration investigating its political opponents?"
said the president.
In the book, Trump said that the Russia investigation undercut his presidency.
" Anybody else would be unable to function under the kind of pressure and distraction I had. They couldn't get anything done.
No other president should ever have to go through this. But understand, there was no collusion. They would have had to make something
up," he said.
The attempt to circumvent democracy and ensure Hillary's victory in the elections with falsified Russian collusion allegations
along with a constant communist media bombardment to discredit Trump, absolutely constitutes treason. What you need to understand
is that socialist progressives serve a different god - lucifer - and a different nation - Israel; that they do not have your best
interests at heart is a given.
Everything they do is to undermine traditional morality and the moral fabric that holds civilization together. Ordo Ab Cao.
A very disappointing interview. I person that has no doubts about 9/11 doers not reserve our respect. He also might be a
fake defector much like Oswald was. As simple as that. Snowden version of history is deeply wrong. He actually talk as a
second rate journalist, not as a security specialist. If he thinks that bashing Russia and Putin will save him from being
framed as a Russian agent, he is an idiot. It he things that 9/11 official story holds and can't be questioned he is iether a
naive idiot or a Deep State stooge.
And repeating banalities about security risks in modern society do not bring you too far iether. That a very short summary of
this two and a half hour narcissistic monolog, which for some reason is called interview.
In his interview Snowden mainly repeat things that became banalities and that you can learn for any other book on total
What if this was yet another false flag operation? It looks like he was just certified Microsoft engineer, he was not Unix guy.
He views 9/11 disqualify his from providing the explanation of how the USA was converted into national security state.
His view of Putin are probably result of indoctrination in CIA and NSA, but that also means that he is not a deep thinker.
Also it is strange after spending in the country several years and did not lean more about Russia and did not even try to learn the
BTW while his escape from the USA and attempt to provide materials did managed to focus attention of the
public on total severance regime, almost nothing of Snowden materials were published. Almost everything died in the hand of selected
journalists... Guardian published small fragments of one PRISM document. That's it. He is no Manning.
Snowden puts too much efforts in trying to justify his actions and at the end that became annoying and suspicious in its own
"... "patriotism isn't about the loyalty to government. Patriotism isn't a loyalty to anything. Patriotism is constant effort to do good for the people of your country" ..."
"... "I'd be working on umm economic takeover of Guatemala for example" Lol CIA's bread and butter ..."
"... While I'm not saying Snowden is wrong, it's important to realize that this is "his side of the story." ..."
"... Honestly don't know how so many can be shocked by these claims. Did you really think that your government sweetheart is trying to protect you? They collectively have an agenda to keep people asleep. ..."
"... Snowden is a D.S. Cutout. Period. Disinfo Personified. He didn't get out of Hong Kong W/O HELP ..."
"... Is anybody else kinda thrown off by how condescending and patronizing Snowden is towards Joe? ..."
"... I can't believe NSA and CIA hired someone that talks that much... ..."
"... So every politician I disagree with is a dictator or fascist. Seems someone hasn't learned much ..."
"... It was the Russian government that took him in, the alternative would be rotting in a dark off shore CIA prison. I would not bite the hand that saved me. Snowden is a good guy but i think he needs to learn gratitude. ..."
"... If this video is trending, this mean Snowden is a puppet to the NWO. NO WAY THEY WILL ALLOW A VIDEO LIKE THIS TO EVER TREND IN YOUTUBE OR ANY WHERE. ..."
"... there were numerous people warned not to fly/go to wtc on 911. Willie Brown, Salmon Rushdie, Israeli citizens, apparently the French knew as well... But Snowden says they didn't know ..."
"... With all do respect to snowden , 9 11 was an inside job The whole event was controlled. Controlled demolition , controlled airlines to launch them in to the towers. All orchestrated by elements of the CIA , FBI , and NSA ..."
What I really got out of this episode is
realization that companies and the government can now track where I have been on a particular
date at a particular time forever. Its crazy what a time we live in.
Imagine kids born in
2006 or so until they expire. They government or companies can pull up data of their entire
life timeline at any point in their lives. Example where were they on 2/15/2010 at 2:15 PM.
Someone born in 1965 can only recall memories of their pass experiences that only they know
or the people around can remember whereas now days and beyond, they can pull that information
out depending on how specific the query you want to obtain. This is not including all the
other data such as relationship they have had, where they had lived, where they had eaten,
what they had buy, etc...
38:00 . CIA and FBI competing
for clout . I'm sorry I know this is serious but just imagined them as
annoying social media acc trying to get the most likes. But seriously, thanks Joe, you let
your guest talk and it was so incredibly insightful!!
When this Edward Snowden thing first happened, the first thing I
thought was wow this is a very very smart man but not smart enough to realize how stupid
people are and how powerful mainstream media is when it comes to the general public's
The general public doesn't realize that the mainstream news has nowhere near
5million views in 3 days but if it's not talked about on main stream news for a week or if
the president does not acknowledge something then it does not exist. That's the truth.
Snowden tries to advertise his book the whole time Rogan asks him a simple question..
Okay, I get it you go into details in the book... Just answer the question. "Oh yeah, let me
give you a fast version....". 1 hr later - He still hasn't answered.
Joe Rogan is one patient
ass man. Thanks for having such interesting and awesome content on your podcast! :)
"> My obsevation is that if I was in charge of keeping our "They Live" clandestine
alien government's secret, then I wouldn't allow that information wrote down on paper in a
room with a computer even in it , let alone have it in a computer document.
Not many people
should even be aware of the information and When they are they stick to analogue pens and
paper other than when they are reverse engineering anything, When specialist use
hardware/software it is in TOTAL contained environment .
And that dudes is how ya keeps a
secret . Oh and the moon he is wrong with that and you can use the same reasoning, what did
they do for example with all of the film tape recordings of all the footage of Apollo
landing. Yes they taped over it, all of it. If you have ever seen moon landing footage it's a
recording of a recording to hide multitudes of oversights. x
We need to stand up to this somehow. Just think of the chilling effect on anyone who might
want to do a public service but fears exposure of some detail in their private life or their
explorations or communications which could be used to silence or embarrass them.
I can barely keep my eyes open with Snowden. You'd think to yourself, how come such a
sleepy personality individual be so dangerous to the government elite?
Well, the proof is in
what he's saying and it is the truth that 9/11 was a mass conspiracy aimed to change America
and ruin The Will of The American people. I was his age when all this crap went down and I
believed all of it like he and many of my generation did because we didn't have the Alex
Jones of the world waking us up to this sick reality which is our government is treasonous
against its own people.
He was given the same speech training as Obama. Same cadence, same pauses, same use of
"uhh", "right" and "Look...". The repeating of certain words quickly before finishing the
main point is particularly noticeable, i.e. "th- the.." "th- that", "whe- when..."
I feel like lack of communication is so the reason for a lot occupational struggles as
well as in the government structures. It makes me sad to see that sharing and informing is
just so hard for some people. And that negative energy rubs of on everyone else and I feel
like it's a huge spiraling butterfly affect.
But I'm glad to see someone talking about the
issues with our society so intensely and so carefully and so factually and I honestly love
it. I feel included because of this video and for that, I am great full!
While I'm not saying Snowden is wrong, it's important to realize that this is "his side of
the story." This is why fair trials are important.. He complains about the D.C. circuit and
perhaps for good reason; I say fine, bring him to the 8th circuit and let's put all the cards
on the table.
Honestly don't know how so many can be shocked by these claims. Did you really think that
your government sweetheart is trying to protect you? They collectively have an agenda to keep
To keep them in their routines so that they don't ask questions. Also throw
them a bone every now and then so that they feel as if they are getting rewarded while we
extort them, spy on them and use them and then throw them away.
"The public is not partnered with government. The public does not hold the leash to
government. We are subject to them. Subordinate to government" " National security does not
equal to public safety. National security is the safety of the state"
Is anybody else kinda thrown off by how condescending and patronizing Snowden is
towards Joe? He seems to be throwing low key shade/jabs about his preconceived notions about
Joe based off his avatar.
I mean he could have spoken on his initial impression as a little
anecdotal segway into how this interview came to fruition, but he seems arrogant to me. Like
he feels the average layman is beneath him or of lessor intellectualism. Great interview
nonetheless, but I just think Snowden comes off a little uppity (for lack of a better
It was the Russian government that took him in, the alternative would be rotting in a dark
off shore CIA prison. I would not bite the hand that saved me. Snowden is a good guy but i
think he needs to learn gratitude.
Ed, you made one mistake: Americans are not "afraid"! US citizens did NOT vote for DT out
of fear. They voted out of CONCERN. The average American? Goes to McD's once a month (they're
lovin' it), buys their daughter an ice cream at Dairy Queen (or equivalent ice cream place in
town), anticipates when is the most convenient day to schedule an oil change, etc. "Fear",
These are nonsensical words the other side likes to spew. Americans
are c-o-n-c-e-r-n-e-d about their country. The British (and I speak on behalf of all
Americans, British, and so forth - thank you, thank you) opted out of the EU because of
CONCERN for their future. Not fear. You're a smart guy Ed, and this interview is very
telling, (and we the people think you're gonna get your ass assassinated for speaking so
freely like this), and although I only had the patience to sit through the first hour, this
is a good video, and a memorable interview.
But just understand -- aside from North Koreans and
maybe a Syrian here and there, citizens are not afraid. We are instead courageous. We CARE
about the now. We care about the future. We support those that care as well. We're concerned,
kiddo. Not fearful. Boris, Donald, Orban, that green-faced Putin opponent Alexei Navalny guy,
Nigel, Milo, Geert, PJW, Brigitte Bardot, August Sabbe, Romas Kalanta, Joan of Arc (and
countless others) - at risk of their safety / public standing / status quo / whatever - CARE.
Those are the leaders (ASS KICKERS) that we support and vote for. We are members of the human
race. We are not afraid.
#1 if people didn't realize this was going on before 2013, then I don't know where your
brain was. #2 this guy may correct, but he's an opportunist.
He's spent a lot of time putting
this story together. How can he say there are no bodies laying around when Obama was sending
up drones that fired missles at cell phones? I worked in the telecom industry starting in the
90s... I was tracking calls on 9/11. I knew who was calling who, and the FBI didn't ask
permission to see where the calls were going or coming from.
He's had John McAfee, Rhonda Patrick, Mike Tyson, Graham Hancock, Neil Degrasse Tyson,
Lance Armstrong, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Jay Leno, Anthony Bourdain, David Goggins, Ron
White, Jordan Peterson, Everlast, Immortal Technique, Bernie Sanders, Ben Shapiro, George
St.Pierre, Elon Musk, Alex Jones, and now Edward Snowden. Just to name a few.
Right now, Chile, my home country, is going through a very difficult and delicate
process of civil unrest that has been met with relentless repression at the hands of a
government that works in favor of private interests and has been confirmed to commit several
and systematic human rights violations, including torture, murder, rape, state terrorism, and
the list goes on. Listening to this podcast right now really puts in perspective the extent
to wich a State can manipulate, hide and forge information in order to limit civil rights
with the excuse of protecting the people.
We NEED guys like Snowden to come forth and show
governments around the world that any measures taken to protect order and national interests
should always be second to the well-being, civil and human rights of the people that
constitute the very foundation of what a country is.
People from the US are lucky to have
true patriots like Snowden, willing to go against the rotten systems so deeply ingrained in
their institutional complexes in order to uphold the ideals that gave birth to their country
in the first place. We need help, and we need clarity. If y'all can, please get informed and
divulge what you learn about our situation right now. Get people talking and get people
No government that - literally- fires against its people should be left unchecked.
Information is a tool, the greatest one we've got in this day and age, and we the people are
more capable than ever of using it in our advantage.
At 14:15 , he says he went to
journalists with the information and gave them conditions on how that information could be
published. Was this a trust or legal based transaction? If it was trust, would Snowden still
be as confident in doing it that way in today's media climate?
So James Clapper just straight-up lied to Congress under oath and there were no
repercussions, yet they did their best to hunt down Ed Snowden and treat him like a dirty
dog? What is wrong with this picture? Besides everything, I mean.
The scary thing is, is that while Snowden is telling us what happened in the past, the
government is actively abusing powers while looking for new ways to violate our rights. We
need to really look at ourselves as citizens and make sure the people we vote for are
actually serving the public no matter what party or tak they're on.
With all do respect to snowden , 9 11 was an inside job The whole event was controlled.
Controlled demolition , controlled airlines to launch them in to the towers. All orchestrated
by elements of the CIA , FBI , and NSA
"... All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world. ..."
"... That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security." ..."
"... The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap. ..."
"... There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land. ..."
The chaos arising from U.S. interventionism in Syria provides an excellent opportunity to explore the interventionist mind.
Consider the terminology being employed by interventionists: President Trump's actions in Syria have left a "power vacuum," one
that Russia and Iran are now filling. The United States will no longer have "influence" in the region. "Allies" will no longer be
able to trust the U.S. to come to their assistance. Trump's actions have threatened "national security." It is now possible that
ISIS will reformulate and threaten to take over lands and even regimes in the Middle East.
This verbiage is classic empire-speak. It is the language of the interventionist and the imperialist.
Amidst all the interventionist chaos in the Middle East, it is important to keep in mind one critically important fact: None of
it will mean a violent takeover of the U.S. government or an invasion and conquest of the United States. The federal government will
go on. American life will go on. There will be no army of Muslims, terrorists, Syrians, ISISians, Russians, Chinese, drug dealers,
or illegal immigrants coming to get us and take over the reins of the IRS.
Why is that an important point? Because it shows that no matter what happens in Syria or the rest of the Middle East, life will
continue here in the United States. Even if Russia gets to continue controlling Syria, that's not going to result in a conquest of
the United States. The same holds true if ISIS, say, takes over Iraq. Or if Turkey ends up killing lots of Kurds. Or if Syria ends
up protecting the Kurds. Or if Iran continues to be controlled by a theocratic state. Or if the Russians retake control over Ukraine.
It was no different than when North Vietnam ended up winning the Vietnamese civil war. The dominoes did not fall onto the United
States and make America Red. It also makes no difference if Egypt continues to be controlled by a brutal military dictatorship. Or
that Cuba, North Korea, and China are controlled by communist regimes. Or that Russia is controlled by an authoritarian regime. Or
that Myanmar (Burma) is controlled by a totalitarian military regime. America and the federal government will continue standing.
America was founded as a limited government republic, one that did not send its military forces around the world to slay monsters.
That's not to say that bad things didn't happen around the world. Bad things have always happened around the world. Dictatorships.
Famines. Wars. Civil wars. Revolutions. Empires. Torture. Extra-judicial executions. Tyranny. Oppression. The policy of the United
States was that it would not go abroad to fix or clear up those types of things.
All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire,
pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world.
That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners,"
and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security."
That's when U.S. forces began invading and occupying other countries, waging wars of aggression against them, intervening in foreign
wars, revolutions, and civil wars, initiating coups, destroying democratic regimes, establishing an empire of domestic and foreign
military bases, and bombing, shooting, killing, assassinating, spying on, maiming, torturing, kidnapping, injuring, and destroying
people in countries all over the world.
The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans.
That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and
dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck
to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap.
The shift toward empire and interventionism has brought about the destruction of American liberty and privacy here at home. That's
what the assassinations, secret surveillance, torture, and indefinite detentions of American citizens are all about -- to supposedly
protect us from the dangers produced by U.S. imperialism and interventionism abroad. One might call it waging perpetual war for freedom
and peace, both here and abroad.
There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial
complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism.
A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist
foreign policy to our land.
"... The main take away for me came towards the end where Snowden outlines the special legal conditions and laws that the US government enforces to control presentation of evidence in these cases. These same 'servant' thugs who are stepping into the now 3rd-world UK court system and pulling the strings on Australia's Assange. The same crew that Snowden worked with and blew the whistle on (apparently). ..."
"... Snowden makes great bravado about being willing to go back to the USA and face the music -- if only he could say in court why he did it (something the legal Act prohibits apparently). In this, and a few other matters of history, I find him less than genuine. Is/was he a plant? .... I'm still out with the jury on that. ..."
Indeed Orwell's "1984" referred to the UK as "Airstrip One" and this Brexit fiasco surely
proves that Outside Influences not only run the Judiciary when necessary, but also plant
poison on doorknobs when it suits them.
The ever servile Australian government to the empire du jour does nothing to honor their
passport pledge. We would have to assume it qualifies as Orwell's "Airstrip Two"
Nearly three hours of mostly Snowden rambling on. I stayed with it to the end. A few items
of interest but mostly just noise. I found him initially somewhat suspicious -- by the end I
was more neutral. However, what a display of American arrogance and ingratitude. The Russian
government has saved his bacon and has given him refuge with great freedoms he would not have
in the USA -- or Airstrip One ... or, HK, or any South American backyard colony. And yet he
makes no attempt to thank them and even virtually panders to the American anti-Russian meme.
He has even dabbled in Russian opposition politics via local newspaper comments. What an
ungrateful guest! (Or still an agent @ work?) I would entirely understand the Russians
putting him on a plane back to the USA tomorrow. Ungrateful little character, imo. And says a
lot about the way Americans treat the external world from inside their little fishbowl.
Simply a doormat for convenience.
The main take away for me came towards the end where Snowden outlines the special legal
conditions and laws that the US government enforces to control presentation of evidence in
these cases. These same 'servant' thugs who are stepping into the now 3rd-world UK court
system and pulling the strings on Australia's Assange. The same crew that Snowden worked with
and blew the whistle on (apparently).
Snowden makes great bravado about being willing to go back to the USA and face the music
-- if only he could say in court why he did it (something the legal Act prohibits
apparently). In this, and a few other matters of history, I find him less than genuine.
Is/was he a plant? .... I'm still out with the jury on that.
"... "The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever." ..."
"... "Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up," he said. "It's moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data." ..."
"... In its vast Utah Data Center constructed earlier this decade, the National Security Agency has the capacity to store virtually unlimited amounts of digital data it hoovers up daily. This is what Gus Hunt was talking about. The biggest problem is how to make that data useful for the government's purposes -- that is, how to find the needle in the haystack of data. ..."
"... " Your entire life is in storage somewhere -- and the government will be able to search it at will, quickly." ..."
"... 'Somewhere' has an address. Add in the data stored by FB/Amazon/Google, and a nearly complete picture of you as an individual, your thoughts, fears, hopes, etc is online and can be quantified. https://www.theatlantic.com... ..."
"... I sincerely hope that the NSA, looking at my life, will find itself sufficiently entertained that it will put up with my boring comments. I would hate to be responsible for someone its bowels to be put to sleep at an inopportune moment and have a serious national crisis occur as a result ..."
"... The hubris is that tech is all powerful, because we have experienced a rapid growth in the ability to produce and access information, but it is not bringing wisdom or any beer governance. ..."
Speaking before a crowd of tech geeks at GigaOM's Structure:Data conference in New York City, CTO Ira "Gus" Hunt said that
the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos -- and that the agency wants all of it.
"The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future
point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to
collect everything and hang on to it forever."
Hunt's comments come two days after Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA has committed to a massive, $600 million, 10-year
deal with Amazon for cloud computing services. The agency has not commented on that report, but Hunt's speech, which included
multiple references to cloud computing, indicates that it does indeed have interest in storage and analysis capabilities on a
"It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information," Hunt said. After that
mark is reached, Hunt said, the agency would also like to be able to save and analyze all of the digital breadcrumbs people don't
even know they are creating.
"You're already a walking sensor platform," he said, nothing that mobiles, smartphones and iPads come with cameras, accelerometers,
light detectors and geolocation capabilities.
"You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that
mobile device is turned off," he said. "You know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should."
Hunt also spoke of mobile apps that will be able to control pacemakers -- even involuntarily -- and joked about a "dystopian"
future where self-driving cars force people to go to the grocery store to pick up milk for their spouses.
Hunt's speech barely touched on privacy concerns. But he did acknowledge that they exist.
"Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up," he said. "It's moving faster I would argue
than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data."
Note well: "It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information."
In its vast Utah Data Center constructed earlier this decade, the National Security Agency has the capacity to store virtually
unlimited amounts of digital data it hoovers up daily. This is what Gus Hunt was talking about. The biggest problem is how to make
that data useful for the government's purposes -- that is, how to find the needle in the haystack of data.
" Your entire life is in storage somewhere -- and the government will be able to search it at will, quickly."
'Somewhere' has an address. Add in the data stored by FB/Amazon/Google, and a nearly complete picture of you as an individual,
your thoughts, fears, hopes, etc is online and can be quantified.
I sincerely hope that the NSA, looking at my life, will find itself sufficiently entertained that it will put up with my boring
comments. I would hate to be responsible for someone its bowels to be put to sleep at an inopportune moment and have a serious
national crisis occur as a result
Or, optionally, you refuse to participate by maintaining a minimal online presence or communicating in person. Also, this sure
is all snazzy, but it's happening in a nation which is facing serious material and structural issues.
The hubris is that tech
is all powerful, because we have experienced a rapid growth in the ability to produce and access information, but it is not bringing
wisdom or any beer governance. The material systems which underlie the technical ones, such as infrastructure, food production,
and so on, can't be "quantized" in a supercomputer. If anything, reliance on tech really moves us closer to real collapse.
In reality, these auto-delete tools accomplish little for users, even as they generate
positive PR for Google. Experts say that by the time three months rolls around, Google has
already extracted nearly all the potential value from users' data, and from an advertising
data becomes practically worthless when it's more than a few months old . "Anything up to
one month is extremely valuable," says David Dweck, the head of paid search at digital ad firm
"Anything beyond one month, we probably weren't going to target you anyway." Dweck says
that in the digital ad industry, recent activity is essential.
If you start searching on Google for real estate or looking up housing values, for
instance, Google might lump you into a "prospective home buyers" category for advertisers. That
information becomes instantly valuable to realtors, appraisers, and lenders for ad targeting,
and it could remain valuable for a while as other companies, such as painters or appliance
brands, try to follow up on your home buying.
Still, it's unusual for advertisers to target users based on their activity from months
earlier, Dweck says.
(arstechnica.com) 34Ars Technica reports: The threat isn't just theoretical. Whitehat hackers
at Germany's Security Research Labs developed eight apps -- four Alexa "skills" and four Google
Home "actions" -- that all passed Amazon or Google security-vetting processes. The skills or
actions posed as simple apps for checking horoscopes, with the exception of one, which
masqueraded as a random-number generator. Behind the scenes, these "smart spies," as the
researchers call them,
surreptitiously eavesdropped on users and phished for their passwords ...
The apps gave the impression they were no longer running when they, in fact, silently waited for the next phase of the
attack .... The apps quietly logged all conversations within earshot of the device and sent
a copy to a developer-designated server. The phishing apps follow a slightly different path by
responding with an error message that claims the skill or action isn't available in that user's
country. They then go silent to give the impression the app is no longer running. After about a
minute, the apps use a voice that mimics the ones used by Alexa and Google home to falsely
claim a device update is available and prompts the user for a password for it to be
In response, both companies removed the apps and said they are changing their approval
processes to prevent skills and actions from having similar capabilities in the future.
(theverge.com) 41BeauHD on Friday October 11,
2019 @07:20PM from the can't-act-like-I'm-surprised dept. A new study from Princeton
University shows internet-connected TVs, which allow people to stream Netflix and Hulu,
are loaded with data-hungry trackers . "If you use a device such as Roku and Amazon Fire
TV, there are numerous companies that can build up a fairly comprehensive picture of what
you're watching," Arvind Narayanan, associate professor of computer science at Princeton, wrote
in an email to The Verge. "There's very little oversight or awareness of their practices,
including where that data is being sold." From the report: To understand how much
surveillance is taking place on smart TVs, Narayanan and his co-author Hooman Mohajeri
Moghaddam built a bot that automatically installed thousands of channels on their Roku and
Amazon Fire TVs. It then mimicked human behavior by browsing and watching videos. As soon as it
ran into an ad, it would track what data was being collected behind the scenes. Some of the
information, like device type, city, and state, is hardly unique to one user. But other data,
like the device serial number, Wi-Fi network, and advertising ID, could be used to pinpoint an
individual. "This gives them a more complete picture of who you are," said Moghaddam. He noted
that some channels even sent unencrypted email addresses and video titles to the
In total, the study found trackers on 69 percent of Roku channels and 89 percent of
Amazon Fire channels. "Some of these are well known, such as Google, while many others are
relatively obscure companies that most of us have never heard of," Narayanan said. Google's ad
service DoubleClick was found on 97 percent of Roku channels. "Like other publishers, smart TV
app developers can use Google's ad services to show ads against their content, and we've helped
design industry guidelines for this that enable a privacy-safe experience for users," a Google
spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Verge. "Depending on the user's preferences,
the developer may share data with Google that's similar to data used for ads in mobile apps or
on the web." "Better privacy controls would certainly help, but they are ultimately
band-aids," Narayanan said. "The business model of targeted advertising on TVs is incompatible
with privacy, and we need to confront that reality. To maximize revenue, platforms based on ad
targeting will likely turn to data mining and algorithmic personalization/persuasion to keep
people glued to the screen as long as possible."
Another study from Northeastern University and the Imperial College of London
found that other smart-home devices are also collecting reams of data that is being sent to
third parties like advertisers and major tech companies.
"... It's a major unanticipated consequence of the digital "revolution." It has gotten us stuck looking backward at events, obsessively replaying them, while working overtime to spin them favorably for one team or the other, at the expense of actually living in real time and dealing with reality as it unspools with us. If life were a ballgame, we'd only be watching jumbotron replays while failing to pay attention to the action on the field. ..."
"... The stupendous failure of the Mueller Investigation only revealed what can happen when extraordinary bad faith, dishonesty, and incompetence are brought to this project of reinventing "truth" -- of who did what and why -- while it provoked a counter-industry of detecting its gross falsifications. ..."
"... Perhaps you can see why unleashing the CIA, NSA, and the FBI on political enemies by Mr. Obama and his cohorts has become such a disaster. When that scheme blew up, the intel community went to the mattresses, as the saying goes in Mafia legend and lore. The "company" found itself at existential risk. Of course, the CIA has long been accused of following an agenda of its own simply because it had the means to do it. It had the manpower, the money, and the equipment to run whatever operations it felt like running, and a history of going its own way out of sheer institutional arrogance, of knowing better than the crackers and clowns elected by the hoi-polloi. The secrecy inherent in its charter was a green light for limitless mischief and some of the agency's directors showed open contempt for the occupants of the White House. Think: Allen Dulles and William Casey. And lately, Mr. Brennan. ..."
Here's one big reason that America is driving itself batshit crazy : the explosion of computerized records, emails, inter-office
memos, Twitter trails, Facebook memorabilia, iPhone videos, YouTubes, recorded conversations, and the vast alternative universe of
storage capacity for all this stuff makes it seem possible to constantly go back and reconstruct reality. All it has really done
is amplified the potential for political mischief to suicide level.
It's a major unanticipated consequence of the digital "revolution." It has gotten us stuck looking backward at events, obsessively
replaying them, while working overtime to spin them favorably for one team or the other, at the expense of actually living in real
time and dealing with reality as it unspools with us. If life were a ballgame, we'd only be watching jumbotron replays while failing
to pay attention to the action on the field.
Before all this, history was left largely to historians, who curated it from a range of views for carefully considered introduction
to the stream of human culture, and managed this process at a pace that allowed a polity to get on with its business at hand in the
here-and-now -- instead of incessantly and recursively reviewing events that have already happened 24/7. The more electronic media
has evolved, the more it lends itself to manipulation, propaganda, and falsification of whatever happened five minutes, or five hours,
or five weeks ago.
This is exactly why and how the losing team in the 2016 election has worked so hard to change that bit of history. The stupendous
failure of the Mueller Investigation only revealed what can happen when extraordinary bad faith, dishonesty, and incompetence are
brought to this project of reinventing "truth" -- of who did what and why -- while it provoked a counter-industry of detecting its
This dynamic has long been systematically studied and applied by institutions like the so-called "intelligence community," and
has gotten so out-of-hand that its main mission these days appears to be the maximum gaslighting of the nation -- for the purpose
of its own desperate self-defense. The "Whistleblower" episode is the latest turn in dishonestly manipulated records, but the most
interesting feature of it is that the release of the actual transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone call did not affect the "narrative"
precooked between the CIA and Adam Schiff's House Intel Committee. They just blundered on with the story and when major parts of
the replay didn't add up, they retreated to secret sessions in the basement of the US capitol.
Perhaps you can see why unleashing the CIA, NSA, and the FBI on political enemies by Mr. Obama and his cohorts has become
such a disaster. When that scheme blew up, the intel community went to the mattresses, as the saying goes in Mafia legend and lore.
The "company" found itself at existential risk. Of course, the CIA has long been accused of following an agenda of its own simply
because it had the means to do it. It had the manpower, the money, and the equipment to run whatever operations it felt like running,
and a history of going its own way out of sheer institutional arrogance, of knowing better than the crackers and clowns elected by
the hoi-polloi. The secrecy inherent in its charter was a green light for limitless mischief and some of the agency's directors showed
open contempt for the occupants of the White House. Think: Allen Dulles and William Casey. And lately, Mr. Brennan.
The recently-spawned NSA has mainly added the capacity to turn everything that happens into replay material, since it is suspected
of recording every phone call, every email, every financial transaction, every closed-circuit screen capture, and anything else its
computers can snare for storage in its Utah Data Storage Center. Now you know why the actions of Edward Snowden were so significant.
He did what he did because he was moral enough to know the face of malevolence when he saw it. That he survives in exile is a miracle.
As for the FBI, only an exceptional species of ineptitude explains the trouble they got themselves into with the RussiaGate fiasco.
The unbelievable election loss of Mrs. Clinton screwed the pooch for them, and the desperate acts that followed only made things
worse. The incompetence and mendacity on display was only matched by Mr. Mueller and his lawyers, who were supposed to be the FBI's
cleanup crew and only left a bigger mess -- all of it cataloged in digital records.
Now, persons throughout all these agencies are waiting for the hammer to fall. If they are prosecuted, the process will entail
yet another monumental excursion into the replaying of those digital records. It could go on for years. So, the final act in the
collapse of the USA will be the government choking itself to death on replayed narratives from its own server farms.
In the meantime, events are actually tending in a direction that will eventually deprive the nation of the means to continue most
of its accustomed activities including credible elections, food distribution, a reliable electric grid, and perhaps even self-defense.
"... This is the direction in which the world is going at the present time, and the trend lies deep in the political, social and economic foundations of the contemporary world situation. ..."
"... Specifically the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on Liberal capitalist communities by the necessity to prepare for total war with the U.S.S.R. and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and the most publicized. But danger lies also in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours. ..."
"... Two of the principal super states will obviously be the Anglo-American world and Eurasia. If these two great blocks line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents and will not dramatize themselves on the scene of history as Communists. Thus they will have to find a new name for themselves. The name suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the U.S.A. the phrase "Americanism" or "hundred per cent Americanism" is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as anyone could wish. ..."
"... Pretty much explains the SDP and NuLabourInc and his name sake Blair and our political landscape of the last 50 years, don't you think? ..."
"... Also pay attention to the 'parody phrase. ' ..."
Because i feel that some agenda is at play. I'm not going to accuse you of trolling, or even a bit of gas lighting, but
it seems like a slide into classic red scaring and recasting of Eric Blair
By way of explaining my emotion and since you mention Warburg, here is an example of Orwellian post humous attribution.
He never said "imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever."
'from a post-publication press release directed by publisher Fredric Warburg toward readers who "had misinterpreted [Orwell's]
aim, taking the novel as a criticism of the current British Labour Party, or of contemporary socialism in general." The quotation
from the press release was "soon given the status of a last statement or deathbed appeal, given that Orwell was hospitalized
at the time and dead six months later."
You can read more at georgeorwellnovels.com, which provides a great deal of context on this press release, which runs, in
full, as follows:
It has been suggested by some of the reviewers of Nineteen Eighty-Four that it is the author's view that this, or something
like this, is what will happen inside the next forty years in the Western world. This is not correct. I think that, allowing
for the book being after all a parody, something like Nineteen Eighty-Four could happen. This is the direction in which
the world is going at the present time, and the trend lies deep in the political, social and economic foundations of the contemporary
Specifically the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on Liberal capitalist communities by the necessity
to prepare for total war with the U.S.S.R. and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and
the most publicized. But danger lies also in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours.
The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: Don't let it happen. It depends on you.
George Orwell assumes that if such societies as he describes in Nineteen Eighty-Four come into being there will be several
super states. This is fully dealt with in the relevant chapters of Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is also discussed from a different
angle by James Burnham in The Managerial Revolution. These super states will naturally be in opposition to each other or (a
novel point) will pretend to be much more in opposition than in fact they are.
Two of the principal super states will obviously be the Anglo-American world and Eurasia. If these two great blocks
line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents and will not dramatize
themselves on the scene of history as Communists. Thus they will have to find a new name for themselves. The name suggested
in Nineteen Eighty-Four is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the U.S.A. the phrase "Americanism"
or "hundred per cent Americanism" is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as anyone could wish.
If there is a failure of nerve and the Labour party breaks down in its attempt to deal with the hard problems with which
it will be faced, tougher types than the present Labour leaders will inevitably take over, drawn probably from the ranks of
the Left, but not sharing the Liberal aspirations of those now in power. Members of the present British government, from Mr.
Attlee and Sir Stafford Cripps down to Aneurin Bevan will never willingly sell the pass to the enemy, and in general the older
men, nurtured in a Liberal tradition, are safe, but the younger generation is suspect and the seeds of totalitarian thought
are probably widespread among them. It is invidious to mention names, but everyone could without difficulty think for himself
of prominent English and American personalities whom the cap would fit.' http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/george-orwells-final-warning.html
-- -- -- -
Pretty much explains the SDP and NuLabourInc and his name sake Blair and our political landscape of the last 50 years, don't
Also pay attention to the 'parody phrase. '
As i wrote earlier, perhaps Blair of Eton ultimately saw how clearly hist talents had been misused by the 'totalitarians' before
I understand that some of his works are still censored and others never published. As are his state employment in propaganda
on which he probably based his 'parody' on.
The Iron Heel is a dystopian novel by American writer Jack London, first published in
1908. Generally considered to be "the earliest of the modern dystopian" fiction, it
chronicles the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States.
In The Iron Heel, Jack London's socialist views are explicitly on display. A forerunner of
soft science fiction novels and stories of the 1960s and '70s, the book stresses future changes
in society and politics while paying much less attention to technological changes.
The novel is based on the fictional "Everhard Manuscript" written by Avis Everhard... The
Manuscript itself covers the years 1912 through 1932 in which the Oligarchy (or "Iron Heel") arose in the United
States. In Asia, Japan conquered East Asia and created its own empire, India gained independence,
and Europe became socialist. Canada, Mexico, and Cuba formed their own Oligarchies and were
aligned with the U.S. (London remains silent as to the fates of South America, Africa, and the
In North America, the Oligarchy maintains power for three centuries until the Revolution
succeeds and ushers in the Brotherhood of Man. During the years of the novel, the First Revolt is
described and preparations for the Second Revolt are discussed. From the perspective of Everhard,
the imminent Second Revolt is sure to succeed but from Meredith's frame story , the reader knows that Ernest
Everhard's hopes would go unfulfilled until centuries after his death.
The Oligarchy is the largest monopoly of trusts (or robber barons ) who manage to
squeeze out the middle class by bankrupting most small to mid-sized business as
well as reducing all farmers to effective serfdom . This Oligarchy maintains power through a
"labor caste " and the
Mercenaries . Laborers in
essential industries like steel and rail are elevated and given decent wages, housing, and
education. Indeed, the tragic turn in the novel (and Jack London's core warning to his
contemporaries) is the treachery of these favored unions which break with the other unions and
side with the Oligarchy. Further, a second, military caste is formed: the Mercenaries. The Mercenaries are
officially the army of the US but are in fact in the employ of the Oligarchs.
Jack London ambitiously predicted a breakdown of the US republic starting a few years past
1908, but various events have caused his predicted future to diverge from actual history. Most
crucially, though London placed quite accurately the time when international tensions will reach
their peak (1913 in "The Iron Heel", 1914 in actual history ), he (like many others at
the time) predicted that when this moment came, labor solidarity would prevent a war that would
include the US, Germany and other nations.
The Iron Heel is cited by George Orwell 's biographer Michael Shelden as having influenced
Orwell's most famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four .
 Orwell himself
described London as having made "a very remarkable prophecy of the rise of Fascism ", in the book and believed that
London's understanding of the primitive had made him a better prophet "than many better-informed
and more logical thinkers."  ( The Iron Heel - Wikipedia )
As writer or thinker, Jack London can't touch George Orwell, but he's nearly the Brit's
equal when it comes to describing society's bottom. To both, being a writer is as much a
physical as an intellectual endeavor. Wading into everything, they braved all discomforts and
dangers. This attitude has become very rare, and not just among writers. Trapped in intensely
mediated lives, we all think we know more as we experience less and less.
At age 14, London worked in a salmon cannery. At 16, he was an oyster pirate. At 17, he was
a sailor on a sealing schooner that reached Japan. At 18, London crossed the country as a hobo
and, near Buffalo, was jailed for 30 days for vagrancy. At 21, he prospected for gold in the
Klondike. London was also a newsboy, longshoreman, roustabout, window washer, jute mill grunt,
carpet cleaner and electrician, so he had many incidents, mishaps and ordeals to draw from, and
countless characters to portray.
London's The Road chronicles his hobo and prison misadventure. Condemned to hard labor, the
teenager nearly starved, "While we got plenty of water, we did not get enough of the bread. A
ration of bread was about the size of one's two fists, and three rations a day were given to
each prisoner. There was one good thing, I must say, about the water -- it was hot. In the
morning it was called 'coffee,' at noon it was dignified as 'soup,' and at night it masqueraded
as 'tea.' But it was the same old water all the time."
London quickly worked his way up the clink's hierarchy, to become one of 13 enforcers for
the guards. This experience alone should have taught him that in all situations, not just dire
ones, each man will prioritize his own interest and survival, and that there's no solidarity
among the "downtrodden" or whatever. Orwell's Animal Farm is a parable about this. Since man is
an egoist, power lust lurks everywhere.
During the Russo-Japanese War a decade later, London would approvingly quote a letter from
Japanese socialists to their Russian comrades, but this pacific gesture was nothing compared to
the nationalistic fervor engulfing both countries. Like racism, nationalism is but self love.
Though clearly madness if overblown, it's unextinguishable.
Jailed, London the future socialist stood by as his gang disciplined a naïf, "I
remember a handsome young mulatto of about twenty who got the insane idea into his head that he
should stand for his rights. And he did have the right of it, too; but that didn't help him
any. He lived on the topmost gallery. Eight hall-men took the conceit out of him in just about
a minute and a half -- for that was the length of time required to travel along his gallery to
the end and down five flights of steel stairs. He travelled the whole distance on every portion
of his anatomy except his feet, and the eight hall-men were not idle. The mulatto struck the
pavement where I was standing watching it all. He regained his feet and stood upright for a
moment. In that moment he threw his arms wide apart and omitted an awful scream of terror and
pain and heartbreak. At the same instant, as in a transformation scene, the shreds of his stout
prison clothes fell from him, leaving him wholly naked and streaming blood from every portion
of the surface of his body. Then he collapsed in a heap, unconscious. He had learned his
lesson, and every convict within those walls who heard him scream had learned a lesson. So had
I learned mine. It is not a nice thing to see a man's heart broken in a minute and a half."
Jailed, you immediately recover your racial consciousness, but London apparently missed
this. In any case, a lesser writer or man wouldn't confess to such complicity with power.
Elsewhere, London admits to much hustling and lying, and even claims these practices made him a
writer, "I have often thought that to this training of my tramp days is due much of my success
as a story-writer. In order to get the food whereby I lived, I was compelled to tell tales that
rang true [ ] Also, I quite believe it was my tramp-apprenticeship that made a realist out of
me. Realism constitutes the only goods one can exchange at the kitchen door for grub."
Informed by hard-earned, bitter experience, London's accounts resonate and convince, even
when outlandish, for they are essentially true about the human condition.
London on a fellow prisoner, "He was a huge, illiterate brute, an
ex-Chesapeake-Bay-oyster-pirate, an 'ex-con' who had done five years in Sing Sing, and a
general all-around stupidly carnivorous beast. He used to trap sparrows that flew into our hall
through the open bars. When he made a capture, he hurried away with it into his cell, where I
have seen him crunching bones and spitting out feathers as he bolted it raw."
Though London often uses "beast" or "beastly" to describe how humans are treated, this
fellow appears to be congenitally bestial, with his all-around stupidity. As for the other
prisoners, "Our hall was a common stews, filled with the ruck and the filth, the scum and
dregs, of society -- hereditary inefficients, degenerates, wrecks, lunatics, addled
intelligences, epileptics, monsters, weaklings, in short, a very nightmare of humanity." Though
many are wrecked, others are born deficient, addled or weak, but in our retarded days, morons
must be smart in other ways, and raging monsters are merely oppressed into mayhem or
ORDER IT NOW
But of course, society does oppress, then and now. Remember that an 18-year-old London was
sentenced to 30 days of hard labor for merely being in a strange city without a hotel
reservation. Another inmate was doing 60 for eating from a trash can, "He had strayed out to
the circus ground, and, being hungry, had made his way to the barrel that contained the refuse
from the table of the circus people. 'And it was good bread,' he often assured me; 'and the
meat was out of sight.' A policeman had seen him and arrested him, and there he was." Well, at
least Americans are no longer locked up for dumpster diving, so there's progress for you, but
then many must still feed from the garbage, with that number rapidly rising.
Though London was a worldwide celebrity at his death in 1916, his fame faded so fast that
Orwell could comment in 1944, "Jack London is one of those border-line writers whose works
might be forgotten altogether unless somebody takes the trouble to revive them."
London's most enduring book may turn out to be The People of the Abyss, his 1903
investigation into the abjectly impoverished of London's East End.
Dressed accordingly, London joined its homeless to see how they survived. With a 58-year-old
carter and a 65-year-old carpenter, London wandered the cold streets, "From the slimy,
spittle-drenched, sidewalk, they were picking up bits of orange peel, apple skin, and grape
stems, and, they were eating them. The pits of greengage plums they cracked between their teeth
for the kernels inside. They picked up stray bits of bread the size of peas, apple cores so
black and dirty one would not take them to be apple cores, and these things these two men took
into their mouths, and chewed them, and swallowed them; and this, between six and seven o'clock
in the evening of August 20, year of our Lord 1902, in the heart of the greatest, wealthiest,
and most powerful empire the world has ever seen."
Having mingled with many homeless in cities across America, I can attest that the food
situation is not as bad in that unraveling empire, but the squalor is just as appalling, if not
worse. A Wall Street Journal headline, "California's Biggest Cities Confront a 'Defecation
Crisis'." There's no need to import public shitting from shitholes, since there's already
plenty of it, homegrown and well-fertilized with smirkingly cynical policies.
Trump, "We can't let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves
by allowing what's happening," but he's only talking about the unsightliness of it all, not its
root cause, which is a deliberately wrecked economy that, over decades, has fabulously enriched
his and our masters. This, too, is a controlled demolition.
Ensconced in some leafy suburb, you might be missing this beastly, raving, zonked out and
shitty transformation. Jack London, though, never recoiled from society's diarrhea. My favorite
passage of The People of the Abyss is his account of bathing, so to speak, in a workhouse:
We stripped our clothes, wrapping them up in our coats and buckling our belts about them,
and deposited them in a heaped rack and on the floor -- a beautiful scheme for the spread of
vermin. Then, two by two, we entered the bathroom. There were two ordinary tubs, and this I
know: the two men preceding had washed in that water, we washed in the same water, and it was
not changed for the two men that followed us. This I know; but I am also certain that the
twenty-two of us washed in the same water.
I did no more than make a show of splashing some of this dubious liquid at myself, while I
hastily brushed it off with a towel wet from the bodies of other men. My equanimity was not
restored by seeing the back of one poor wretch a mass of blood from attacks of vermin and
If other men had to endure that, why shouldn't London, especially since he was trying to
understand these wretches?
Many moons, suns and saturns ago, I taught a writing course at UPenn, and for one
assignment, I asked students to take the subway to a strange stop, get off, walk around and
observe, but don't do it in the dark, I did warn them. Frightened, one girl couldn't get off,
so simply wrote about her very first ride. At least she got a taste of an entirely alien world
beyond campus. Considering that her parents had to cough up over 60 grands annually to consign
her to the Ivy League, they'd probably want to murder me for subjecting their precious to such
Cocooned, Americans are oblivious to their own destruction. Screwed, they're fixated by
London insisted a worldwide class revolution was the answer. A century and several gory
nightmares later, there are those who still cling to this faith, but only in the West. In the
East, even the most ignorant know the survival of his identity and dignity is conterminous with
his nation's. Orwell understood this well. It is the biggest crime to wreck anyone's heritage
in a flash.
In each society, you can begin to right the ship by prosecuting the biggest criminals, with
existing laws, but first, you must have the clarity and courage to identify them.
In the US, at least, this shouldn't be too complicated, for their crimes are mostly out in
the open, and their enforcers appear nightly in your living room, not unlike 1984. As you
watch, they cheerfully lie, silence witnesses, mass murder, squander your last cent and
dismantle, brick by brick, the house your forefathers built and died defending. Even if all
they saw was its basement, it was still their everything.
London is one of those authors whom aesthetes despise, but who- against all odds- stubbornly
refuse to go away. When he wrote about "serious" topics, London was a failure (Burning
Daylight, Martin Eden, ); on the other hand, when he wrote about animals, primitives,
mentally impaired, (white) underclass & quasi-fascist-Darwinian fantasies (most stories
& short novels) -he was an unavoidable writer, one that will be read long after most
canonized authors are just a footnote.
By the way, he was extremely popular even in Czarist Russia, something along the lines of
American vitalism & energy.
Jack London's "The Iron Heel" is another of his fictional stories about the working classes
and in the book he attacks capitalism and promotes socialism while presenting the story of
the US turned into an oligarchy in 1913 (the book was written in 1907). What's interesting
about "The Iron Heel" is that by 1900 it must have been quite obvious as to how the world's
more powerful nations were planning on parceling up the world, and London makes reference to
this in his novel about the future military campaigns that will take place in the book's
dystopian future, and his fiction was not far wrong from what actually transpired in WW1 and
After Jack London gained fame he did not work alone, he hired aspiring writers to
"fill-in" his fiction, much like famous painters painting large commissions would hire
subordinates to "fill-in" their canvas after the outline was drawn. The plot and subplots
would come from London, but his underlings would write the stories. At this point in time I
can't remember the names but as I recall a few famous authors got their start working for
London was also cursed with the writer's nemesis, he was an alcoholic, and his
autobiographical novel "John Barleycorn" treats the "demon drink" as one of the world's great
ills. The book being published in 1913, it is noteworthy that the eighteenth amendment
banning alcohol was passed by congress a few years later in 1919, so it could be that London
was at least a minor fulcrum in giving a push to the moral crusade against alcohol being sold
in the US.
Much of Jack London's work is classic like his short story fiction placed in Alaska, "To
Start a Fire" about a man exposed to the elements and slowly freezing to death, or his
fictional tales about being a constable sailing a schooner chasing pirates off the coast of
California. Also unique and thrilling is the short story "A Piece of Steak" about an aging
boxer hoping to win one last fight. These were tough and gritty stories about men at their
extremity, and not tales for children.
London wrote a good tale and he understood human nature, and perhaps that's what motivated
him to become an alcoholic socialist.
Kaldian I enjoyed much of London's works. Although I read many of his books when
young,and I don't remember them too much, they helped inspire me to head north in the very
backyard of Burning Daylight, a best seller in it's day. His portrayal of characters of the
North seem quite believable and his description of the land and it's peculiar traits are also
accurate. The short story 'All Gold Canyon' is spot on for how a prospector prospects.
I read the Jack London Reader (for sale in Chicken, ak) a few years ago and enjoyed it
immensely as I did the Sea Wolf.
Martin Eden is a depressing read. I have only read Animal Farm so I really can't compare.
Depends how much one 'likes' to get disgruntled.
Cocooned, Americans are oblivious to their own destruction. Screwed, they're fixated by
Funny, all I ever read on the Internet these days are articles about America's
destruction. This article's another one. Yet according to some pouty guy on the other side of
the planet, we're oblivious.
And Pornhub is #32 according to Alexa. That's really high, but 31 websites precede it.
I've never visited Pornhub, and I'd bet neither have 9 out of 10 Americans. Eliminate kids
under 10, adults over 80, most women, and all those without Internet access, and you're left
with a core of certain primetime lusty guys who are comfortable with pornography. Couldn't be
more than 10%.
It'd be wonderful if we could have a single calendar day, say October 21, when everyone
declares a moratorium on blithely shitting on America. Or is this part of the Jewish strategy
to keep us divided and unhappy?
"London was also a newsboy, longshoreman, roustabout, window washer, jute mill grunt, carpet
cleaner and electrician" and – not least – SPORTSWRITER!John Griffith Chaney
packed a lot of experience into his short forty year span on this wretched earth but his
stint on the Oakland Herald & later sports writing – especially about surfing
– are some of his best & consistent with his own fiery enjoyment of active outdoor
sports. Perhaps best summed up in his aphorism:"I would rather be ashes than dust." London
was not known for being a soccer fan but nonetheless, he would probably still be pleased to
know that there is in his hometown today a very large & thriving Jack London Youth Soccer
League. Anybody's guess how long it will be before the Woke Folk in town try to shut it down
for being named after a 'white supremacist'.
Eric Arthur Blair had a similarly short stay in this world – only seven more years than
London – but didn't much share his enthusiasm for the sporting life. Orwell was quite
candid in his rejection of the world's favorite past time, explaining in an essay: "I loathed
the game, and since I could see no pleasure or usefulness in it, it was very difficult for me
to show courage at it. Football, it seemed to me, is not really played for the pleasure of
kicking a ball about, but is a species of fighting." Orwell was even more pointed in a London
Tribune op-ed during his early newspaper days, commenting on a recent series of matches
between a Russian & English clubs, " the games cult did not start till the later part of
the last century. Dr Arnold, generally regarded as the founder of the modern public school,
looked on games as simply a waste of time. Then, chiefly in England and the United States,
games were built up into a heavily-financed activity, capable of attracting vast crowds and
rousing savage passions, and the infection spread from country to country. It is the most
violently combative sports, football and boxing, that have spread the widest. There cannot be
much doubt that the whole thing is bound up with the rise of nationalism -- that is, with the
lunatic modern habit of identifying oneself with large power units and seeing everything in
terms of competitive prestige."
"Orwell understood this well. It is the biggest crime to wreck anyone's heritage in a
Or beat their national team. Go Golden Dragons!
When I read about a woman dying from a rooster attack, or people falling to their death to
take selfies, or the growing number of hikers who venture out into semi- wilderness with
their cell phones but not adequate water, I always think of London's "To Build a Fire."
If London observed man's diminished capacity to measure and survive nature in his era,
what would he make of any airport or street today? Like the parasite creature in "Alien",
phones are stuck to every face encountered. Most people are not "present" in any sense when
in the public sphere now, let alone taking note of the world around them.
Great essay. I made it a point to visit Jack London's ranch on a California visit. The ranch
was a huge unfulfilled project with the sad burnt out ruins of his dream house reminding us
of his grand plans. The condition of his grown-over untended grave startled me. I find it
interesting that many men of that time viewed socialism as a panacea; however, the intellect,
ambition and energy of a man like Jack London would never have survived the ideology he
you see the "Trotsky" miniseries on Netflix? It was in Russian with English subtitles, but I
enjoyed reading them all and found it riveting. It appeared to be historically accurate to
someone like me who knows little of Russian history. Trotsky (born Lev Bronstein) was a
Ukrainian Jew who cared little for how many Russians he killed. I guess Ukies hated Russians
even back then.
In each society, you can begin to right the ship by prosecuting the biggest criminals,
with existing laws, but first, you must have the clarity and courage to identify them.
This is why I don't get your disgust at President Trump. He has the will and the position
to do just as you recommend and he would do it if the ruling class weren't trying to cut him
off at the knees 24-7. Trump is the people's first successful attempt to drive the destroyers
from the forum. I fear for coming generations if he doesn't.
I wish the author would have done an analysis of London's "Iron Heel." I just read it for
the first time, and what he was writing about 100 years ago on the dominance of the
"oligarchs", i.e., the "iron heel" rings as true today as it did back then.
Curious also how he died so suddenly. There is a YouTube video of him at his ranch looking
as healthy as can be only a couple of days before he mysteriously died.
An empire exploits and abuses all natives, including those of its host nation. Just think of
how they must send these natives to foreign lands, not just to kill, but die. It's better to
be a house slave than a field one, however, so many far flung subjects of the empire will try
to sneak into the house. It's also safer there, generally. Except for rare instances, as in
9/11, the empire won't blow up natives inside its borders.
25, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. I suspect many
readers already employ some of the recommendations for how to keep tech from taking too much
By Justin Podur, a Toronto-based writer and a writing fellow at Globetrotter , a project of the
Independent Media Institute. You can find him on his website at podur.org and on Twitter @justinpodur . He teaches at York University in the
Faculty of Environmental Studies. He is the author of the novel Siegebreakers . Produced by Globetrotter , a
project of the Independent Media Institute
Zuboff believes the tech giants have created a new form of capitalism. The surveillance
capitalist "wants your bloodstream and your bed, your breakfast conversation, your commute,
your run, your refrigerator, your parking space, your living room."
In the old propaganda system, media audiences were not the consumers but the products, sold
to the real consumers, the advertisers. In surveillance capitalism, you are neither the
consumer nor the product, simply raw material. The tech giants don't need your consumption, or
even your attention: they make their money by selling products that predict your behavior based
on the trails of data that you throw off as you go about your daily business online (and,
increasingly -- with ubiquitous surveillance devices in the environment -- offline as
And once your behavior can be predicted, it can be changed. You are being hacked, Zuboff
says, as the surveillance capitalists "nudge, tune, herd, manipulate, and modify behavior in
specific directions by executing actions as subtle as inserting a specific phrase into your
Facebook news feed, timing the appearance of a BUY button on your phone, or shutting down your
car engine when an insurance payment is late."
Each new nudge-able behavior becomes a free asset for the taking, as opportunities are found
to make money by controlling you. For example, insurance companies offer discounted premiums if
you install a surveillance device in your car to monitor your good driving behavior. Once it's
in there, in Zuboff's words, "the insurance company can set specific parameters for driving
behavior. These can include anything from fastening the seat belt to rate of speed, idling
times, braking and cornering, aggressive acceleration, harsh braking, excessive hours on the
road, driving out of state, and entering a restricted area." Amazon's employees, called
"athletes," wear monitored devices to push them to higher levels of productivity. We fear
being replaced by robots: surveillance capitalists make us into the robots.
The stakes are as high as the level of control is microscopic. A new form of power, which
Zuboff calls "instrumentarian," has arisen. Instrumentarian power would have you cede your
privacy, your behavior, your free will, all to the profit imperatives of the tech giants. To
maintain your individuality, Zuboff suggests, you are forced to "hide in your own life," trying
to use encryption and privacy technology to get around the surveillance. But the story of
WhatsApp suggests that they can find you if you try to use technology to hide: intended as an
encrypted and secure platform for people to chat with one another in privacy, WhatsApp is now
one of Facebook's flagship products. It's also the platform on which lynchings are organized in
India and on which the fascist Jair Bolsonaro's election was coordinated in Brazil.
As you consciously try to minimize surveillance capitalism's control on your individual
mind and life, a philosophical framework would come in handy. Computer scientist Cal
Newport has set out such a framework in his book Digital Minimalism . Newport argues that social media
tools delivered through smartphones can add value to a person's life, but not if used as
directed. He asks readers to think carefully about exactly what value they are getting from
engagement with these tools, and how we can get that value without the huge costs in time,
energy, and emotion that we are currently paying. You can probably get the full value of
Facebook from 20-40 minutes per week, he writes. All the other hours per day that you are
spending are a voluntary gift of your attention and eyeballs to Facebook, which has figured out
how to turn that attention into profit.
How to Defend Yourself Against Big Tech Manipulation
In the face of the old propaganda system, Noam Chomsky advocated a course of "intellectual
self-defense." In the face of the new, supercharged, surveillance capitalist version, I'm
advocating a course of "social self-defense." With help from Zuboff and Newport, here are four
steps you can take to defend yourself against social media manipulation.
1. Join the Attention Resistance. If you are using social media tools like Twitter,
Facebook, and Instagram, and hoping to retain your autonomy, Newport writes, "it's crucial to
understand that this is not a casual decision. You're instead waging a David and Goliath battle
against institutions that are both impossibly rich and intent on using this wealth to stop you
from winning." You will have to become a member of what Newport calls the attention resistance,
"who combine high-tech tools with disciplined operating procedures to conduct surgical strikes
on popular attention economy services -- dropping in to extract value, and then slipping away
before the attention traps set by these companies can spring shut." Long live the
2. Minimize the Role of Devices in Your Life. Newport's tactical advice in this
section is sound, and I won't rehash it all, but here are a few key points: remove social media
from your phone and access it on a computer; "dumb down" your smartphone; try embracing "slow"
media; turn watching Netflix into a social, not an individual activity.
3. Get Into Real Life. One way to "hide in your own life," as Zuboff suggests, is to
embrace Newport's suggestions to take up "high-quality" leisure activities to crowd out the
"low-quality" leisure that swiping and clicking on your phone represents. Don't use your phone
until you've lost the dexterity to use your hands, like the medical students who now lack the dexterity
to stitch patients . Do things that involve your hands. Go for walks; embrace conversation,
which is a "high-bandwidth" activity and the only real way to maintain friendships (and yes,
phone and video calling do count as conversations, though in-person is better).
4. Fight for a Better Digital World. Using your new practice interacting with real
human beings in real life, join groups who are trying to get surveillance capitalism under
control. The struggle to assert collective rights to privacy, to communication and information,
will have to take a collective form. Perhaps it will be a struggle for regulation, to break up
the tech monopolies and assert legal and democratic controls. Perhaps the communications
infrastructure of societies shouldn't be in private hands at all, but should be nationalized
(there was a time when economists believed that certain infrastructures were "natural
monopolies" that should be government-owned and run).
Newport emphasizes social and civic activity in crowding out mindless phone use, and warns
not to be turned off by normal group dynamics: "It's easy to get caught up in the annoyances or
difficulties inherent in any gathering of individuals struggling to work toward a common goal.
These obstacles provide a convenient excuse to avoid leaving the comfort of family and close
friends, but it's worth pushing past these concerns." I know that I'm not the only activist who
has gotten caught up in the "inherent annoyances and difficulties" of offline activism (i.e.,
endless meetings, dysfunctional group dynamics). And in those dark moments when we think of
isolation as an alternative, our phones are there to offer us the lowest forms of socializing
and the lowest simulations of activism, clicking "like" (which Newport advises us to never do)
and retweeting, or "desperately checking for retweets of a clever quip." Don't do that stuff --
instead, join a real group and interact with people in real life.
There was a time decades ago when I was frustrated as an activist with groups who spent a
lot of time talking and not enough time doing things (action being defined then mainly as
street protests, or sometimes occupying things). I'm old enough to remember the criticism of
"preaching to the choir," back when there was apparently a metaphorical equivalent of a choir
who would sing together every week. These days, getting together and talking about politics in
person, even just with like-minded people, would already be subversive. Let's talk. Because to
work, the new tools of social self-defense must still be complemented by the old intellectual
self-defense methods: talking and thinking with others, wide and critical reading, and taking
conscious social action according to your principles.
One or two suggestions. Take a look at your mobile and start deleting all those apps that
you do not use. Not so much for getting space back on your mobile but you can never be sure
just what those apps are doing on your mobile or who they are reporting their findings too.
If you don't need them, why are they there? Did they come pre-installed?
Another one. If you can get away with not using any of Google's offerings, perhaps it might
be an idea to consider using a Huawei mobile. They are cheaper and appear to be as good as
most mobiles but there is a point to consider. Will a Huawei mobile spy on you the same way
that an Apple or an Android will? Absolutely! But they will not be in much of a position to
monetize you as much as the later two companies will.
Today's smart phone operating system (e.g. Android) is a crucial, strategic interface to
today's human being. It's the point at which many of us connect to society at large.
It's like there's a toll-both outside your front door, and in order to enter and operate
in society, you must first pay the toll every day, each and every time you participate.
I often wonder what it would take to write, via open-source project, a smart-phone
operating system that would have a decent user interface, make and take phone calls, and have
a few other basic functions, like web browser support, contacts management, calculator, so
Canonical – the company that supports the Ubuntu derivative of Linux – tried
this a while back. They wrote all the software, and then abandoned the project. They gave up
because not enough people wanted to use it.
We may be approaching the time to re-visit that decision.
Would you want your phone to be running code that works for you, and defends your
Count me as well. The problem is walking the software into a phone, the hardware. The
project would inevitably wind up with lots of DIY projects. With something like this, I'd
have to run Ubuntu on my windows laptop, then install it into my project . A pain but
I thought Android was open source except for the google apps and the google store –
which both technically are not part of the OS. You could build a new "distribution", which is
a whole lot easier than writing a whole new OS from scratch, but it is the apps that do most
of the information gathering.
An Android phone has Google software embedded into the OS. Some Google apps can be
deleted, but others can only be "disabled". And then there are the "system background
services" that cannot be turned off and send info to Google intermittently.
I use a Motorola Play (smartphone) with every possible app turned off. The phone is either
off or in "airplane mode". I only carry it on my person if I think I'll absolutely need it;
otherwise it's stays at home or in the car. Most of my communication is text (SMS) or
The reason to use a laptop more than your phone is the availability of more robust defense
apps to keep one's activity in the "dark". (Excepting, of course, the NSA.)
Since installing Linux Mint (variation of Ubuntu) on my laptop I'm all in for a Linux
smart phone. People are still working on the project and I think at some point it could
happen. I use an iphone and have almost everything turned off or deleted, but I do use some
apps, such as podcasts, a guitar tuner, maps, etc. I never use the phone for social
People who are using Windows 10 really should check out Linux Mint, it's super easy to set
up a dual boot on a Windows machine, or just try it live from a USB stick to see how you like
it. I found the transition to Linux fairly easy, and I'm very happy with it.
Something called Kali Linux is available to run on Android phones but it appears to mostly
be used for forensics and security testing, I don't know much about it.
It's most cars. (Since plate readers are everywhere).
Basically if I wanted a trackless system, I wouldn't use a credit card, a car, public
transport, or a cell phone. I can't walk in a public place without being under video
surveillance either. It's going to be impossible to roll back the clock on our entrenched
surveillance system. You have to get people to ask the question:
What has all of this extra surveillance done for public safety?
The answer is next to nothing. Ask someone for direct examples of it. I can't think of
How about not using social media? It still amazes me how many anti-corporate
anti-establishment types will meet on a Facebook page.
Its like protesting against Starbucks by meeting up at a Starbucks.
It wasn't that long ago that people got by just fine with no social media, the fact that so
many feel they cant live without it is pretty depressing.
You don't fight the beast by feeding it.
It's tough. There's a Transition Town initiative starting up in
the village, and they so far handle all their contacts through Facebook. Facebook
seems to decline to talk to me unless I join. So I'll have to scramble to keep in touch
face-to-face. (And they're findable on the events page at the library web site. So there is
some good in them.)
We need a Consumer Protection Agency warning (much like the Surgeon General's warning on
Tabacco products) placed in/on all advertisement that makes use of big data research to take
advantage of people's innate weaknesses to get them to buy something.
It could read something like this:
CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY'S WARNING: This Advertisement was developed using "big data" and
possibly even your own personal data to strongly persuade you to purchase something you may
not otherwise desire to purchase.
It couldn't be that hard to regulate and implement.
It couldn't be that hard to regulate and implement? Who are you kidding? Every electoral
candidate forced to issue a disclaimer before opening their mouth, every company and
corporation admitting you may not need or want their products?
If they ever agreed to anything like your suggestion, it would become something like
We use the most advanced and cutting edge technology to ensure your needs are fulfilled.
which they would of course argue means exactly the same, just without the subversive
How about having businesses (anybody else also) pay you for using your personal data
Seems we have the system backwards and the advertisers/businesses/politicians love it!
They profit and we are like automatons!!
How about (horror of horrors!) not using that spying device called a "smart" phone? I
don't carry one and I will not unless/until I'm absolutely forced to. Nor do I have a
twitter, FB or any other social media account. I guess I should feel somehow left out –
but I don't.
I find it rather amazing how so many people have been brainwashed into thinking they must
be "connected" at all times. If you volunteer to be spied on, don't complain about being
I assume that there is some info. on me "out there" since most of my relatives do have FB
accounts. I also assume I'm being tracked by someone/something just about anywhere I go on
the 'net. I just don't voluntarily give it up & (hopefully) maintain a minimal
(I seem to remember that Vox article – may have been linked here in NC)
Other things that can be done (to minimize): turn off the GPS on your smart phone, and
prevent sharing that information with as many apps as possible (phone will still collect,
from towers and what not) but preventing the sharing and logging helps. Also, use duckduckgo
search engine (not google), which does not log and monetize your searches.
Big Tech 'Nudges' Our Behavior for Its Own Greed: Here's a 4-Step Social Media Self-Defense
Avoid "Butt-Book" like the idiotic scam that it is; anybody can access "mailing lists with
many hundreds or thousands of interesting and important topics; sign up and you can be heard
over and over again; you will never need the permission of some "butt-book" moron to speak
"... CIA decided under Dulles that they were the only ones capable of leading this country, mainly because they wanted it ran their way and no other. Don't take my word for it though, read Arthur B. Darling's "THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, AN INSTRUMENT OF GOVERNMENT TO 1950 copy right 1990 Penn State Press. (This work was classified for quite a long while.) ..."
"... So the first thing that works in CIA et al's favor is politicians who have been in DC long enough to be worn down and thoroughly compromised by blackmail of one sort or another and there fore vulnerable. ..."
It has been my contention that Biden's powerful backers from the
military-industrial-intelligence-media complex are fully aware of his mental state, and that
is precisely why they want him to be president. Why? He would only be a figure-head
president. He would be given a suggested running mate as well as a list of candidates for
cabinet and other appointed positions (as Obama was given) and Biden would follow that in
making appointments. Policies of his administration would be consistent with the interests of
the military-industrial-intelligence-media complex.
robert e williamson jr , September 20, 2019 at 15:19
Kids this is exactly what the intelligence community wants, someone who they can claim
needs to be told what to do or be kept discreetly out of the loop, so currently Joe maybe the
chosen one just as Bill Barr is reported to have told Slick Willy.
We end up where we are at the moment because our security state apparatus is ran by the
intelligence community who do not really want a strong intelligent, clear minded president
who can actually think for himself. Ask Barrack Obama!
For years I've used this analogy, crude as it maybe, that when the newly elected president
is called on for his national security briefing it is always a tense encounter because this
"Newby" is about to have a come to Jesus meeting with this most abusive of all government
entities. The intelligence community. He is "shown the way"he will act because if he doesn't
this community who has relieved him of one his go -- -s will come and relieve him of the
This started as a joke on my part, I'm now convinced it reflects reality.
At some point many here will understand that since around the time of the murder of JFK ,
CIA has framed things in this manner.
CIA decided under Dulles that they were the only ones capable of leading this country,
mainly because they wanted it ran their way and no other. Don't take my word for it though,
read Arthur B. Darling's "THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, AN INSTRUMENT OF GOVERNMENT TO
1950 copy right 1990 Penn State Press. (This work was classified for quite a long
Doing so will help make your mind more flexible , jeesh what a slog to get through it.
So the first thing that works in CIA et al's favor is politicians who have been in DC
long enough to be worn down and thoroughly compromised by blackmail of one sort or another
and there fore vulnerable.
I figured if Caitlin could say "dog balls " which I think was a great analogy I could say
Time to sit down Joe.
Thanks again to Consortium News for their great efforts at informing the masses.
World War II ended nearly three generations ago, and few of its adult survivors still walk
the earth. From one perspective the true facts of that conflict and whether or not they
actually contradict our traditional beliefs might appear rather irrelevant. Tearing down the
statues of some long-dead historical figures and replacing them with the statues of others
hardly seems of much practical value.
But if we gradually conclude that the story that all of us have been told during our entire
lifetimes is substantially false and perhaps largely inverted, the implications for our
understanding of the world are enormous. Most of the surprising material presented here is
hardly hidden or kept under lock-and-key. Nearly all the books are easily available at Amazon
or even freely readable on the Internet, many of the authors have received critical and
scholarly acclaim, and in some cases their works have sold in the millions.
Yet this important material has been almost entirely ignored or dismissed by the popular
media that shapes the common beliefs of our society. So we must necessarily begin to wonder
what other massive falsehoods may have been similarly promoted by that media, perhaps involving
incidents of the recent past or even the present day. And those latter events do have enormous
practical significance. As I pointed out several years ago in my original American Pravda article :
Aside from the evidence of our own senses, almost everything we know about the past or the
news of today comes from bits of ink on paper or colored pixels on a screen, and fortunately
over the last decade or two the growth of the Internet has vastly widened the range of
information available to us in that latter category. Even if the overwhelming majority of the
unorthodox claims provided by such non-traditional web-based sources is incorrect, at least
there now exists the possibility of extracting vital nuggets of truth from vast mountains of
We must also recognize that many of the fundamental ideas that dominate our present-day
world were founded upon a particular understanding of that wartime history, and if there seems
good reason to believe that narrative is substantially false, perhaps we should begin
questioning the framework of beliefs erected upon it.
ORDER IT NOW
George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War during the 1930s and discovered that the true
facts in Spain were radically different from what he had been led to believe by the British
media of his day. In 1948 these past experiences together with the rapidly congealing "official
history" of the Second World War may have been uppermost in his mind when he published his
classic novel 1984, which famously declared that "Who controls the past controls the future;
who controls the present controls the past."
Great article, thank you. The WWII legend is sacrosanct because it is the founding myth of
the empire that replaced our republic, just as the Founders predicted would be the result of
choosing sides in foreign conflicts. Is seems credible to think that FDR enabled Churchill's
blood lust because encouraging the seriously weakened British empire to finish committing
suicide by engaging in another ground war in Europe would clear the way for the US to finally
replace the hated mother country as the world's great power- just as another faction of the
Founders dreamed. The motto on our National Seal "Novus Ordo Seclorum" is quoted from
Virgil's Eclogues, where it is the prophecy of the Cumaean Sybil that Rome was destined to
rule the world.
Historian Murray Rothbard best described the impact of the war in this obituary he wrote
for fellow popular historian Harry Elmer Barnes, "Our entry into World War II was the crucial
act in foisting a permanent militarization upon the economy and society, in bringing to the
country a permanent garrison state, an overweening military-industrial complex, a permanent
system of conscription. It was the crucial act in expanding the United States from a republic
into an Empire, and in spreading that Empire throughout the world, replacing the sagging
British Empire in the process. It was the crucial act in creating a Mixed Economy run by Big
Government, a system of State-Monopoly-Capitalism run by the central government in
collaboration with Big Business and Big Unionism. It was the crucial act in elevating
Presidential power, particularly in foreign affairs, to the role of single most despotic
person in the history of the world. And, finally, World War II is the last war-myth left, the
myth that the Old Left clings to in pure desperation: the myth that here, at least, was a
good war, here was a war in which America was in the right. World War II is the war thrown
into our faces by the war-making Establishment, as it tries, in each war that we face, to
wrap itself in the mantle of good and righteous World War II."
For those who lack the time to read these books, or even this great essay, here is a
13-minute video summary. For those shocked by this information, return and read this entire
essay, then the books if you still fail to understand that history has been distorted.
"Although Saddam Hussein clearly had no connection to the attacks, his status as a
possible regional rival to Israel had established him as their top target, and they soon
began beating the drums for war, with America finally launching its disastrous invasion in
I agree that replacing a progressive Arab leader with an Anglo-American puppet government
was an important factor, but the return of Iraqi oil fields to Anglo-American control was the
main objective. Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Total, and British Petroleum are now the biggest
producers of Iraqi oil.:
Nonetheless I read it years ago, and it confirmed my suspicion that Lillian Gish,
pioneering film actress, was on a blacklist of some sort, and indeed she was. And this was
years before her name was removed from a college building here in Ohio. It is short, not hard
to read, less a full biography of Flynn than an interesting look at that filthy period in US
history when non-interventionists were slimed as "isolationists" and had their reputations
ruined. Or at least dinged quite a bit.
From an Amazon review:
This book inspires the broadening of the America First discussion, making references to
Lillian Gish, who proved she was blacklisted , Charlie Chaplin, whose The Great
Dictator was itself attacked as propaganda, and the charges of anti-Semitism from some
names not already researched, like Brooklyn Dodgers' president Larry MacPhail, S. H. Hauk,
Laura Ingalls, and Wilhelm Kunze of the German-American Bund (but still no Walt Disney
I went to Cambridge University in 1966 to study history. Two things I recall very distinctly:
the powerful impression Taylor's books made on me; and the very subtle but unmistakable
deprecation my tutors and lecturers applied to him and his work.
Taylor was certainly very talented, they said, but prone to "bees in his bonnet";
over-enthusiastic; sometimes unreliable.
Looking back, I can see how very effective this treatment was. As a rebellious and
iconoclastic 18-year-old, if I had been told that Taylor was wicked and wrong and I must
ignore his books, I would have hurried to study them deeply. But since I was cleverly
informed that he was just mildly eccentric and prone to unjustified speculation, I neglected
him in order to concentrate on the many other writers we had to read.
Most of the surprising material presented here is hardly hidden or kept under
lock-and-key. Nearly all the books are easily available at Amazon or even freely readable
on the Internet, many of the authors have received critical and scholarly acclaim, and in
some cases their works have sold in the millions. Yet this important material has been
almost entirely ignored or dismissed by the popular media that shapes the common beliefs of
our society. So we must necessarily begin to wonder what other massive falsehoods may have
been similarly promoted by that media, perhaps involving incidents of the recent past or
even the present day. And those latter events do have enormous practical significance.
Being the Guardian, of course, their prescription is that people should make a more
sincere effort to support the Reporters of Truth, such as the Guardian. In their retrograde
Left vs Right world, it's still up to the 'goodthinkers' to preserve our liberties from the
Boris Johnsons and Donald Trumps of the world. Never in a million years would they entertain
the possibility that Johnsons and Trumps come about because the Establishment–most
certainly including its MSM lackeys–is corrupt to its core.
As the Washington Post has it, "Democracy Dies in Darkness" -- neglecting to add, "We
supply the Darkness."
So now, instead of now [erroneously] believing, as we were all , er, "taught", that the
allies were the good guys of WW2, and that the Japs and Germans were the bad guys, we are now
supposed to believe the exact opposite, right, Mr Unz ? Jap and German governments now"good"-
WW2 allies governments now "bad"?
Reality fact: before, during and after WW2 and all the way up to this present
moment in time, the US, Soviet, French , Polish, Brit [etc. etc. ad infinitum] governments
lied; the German government lied, the Jap government lied. They ALL lied [and lie]!
Reality fact: It [lying] is what all governments everywhere all do – , all of
Reality fact: It's what they _must_ do to maintain power over their slave
populations [ see the Bernays quote below].
Regarding the fundamental nature of all governments, past, present, or future – this
"just" in :
"Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and
counterfeiting [via central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very
cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be "reformed","improved", nor "limited" in
scope, simply because of their innate criminal nature." onebornfree
" The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the
masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen
mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our
country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested,
largely by men we have never heard of." Edward Bernays http://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/pdf/Bernays_Propaganda_in_english_.pdf
"The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their
power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must
be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of
the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan." ~ Adolf Hitler
"My first rule- I don't believe anything the government tells me- nothing!- ZERO!" George
Thank God we American's were pillars morality. LOL
Hitler proudly told his comrades just how closely he followed the progress of the
American eugenics movement. "I have studied with great interest," he told a fellow Nazi,
"the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose
progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock."
Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant calling his
race-based eugenics book, The Passing of the Great Race his "bible."
I don't see how he could have handled it better. He was polite and well-spoken, never
flustered or defensive, and the talking heads tumbled over one another in their eagerness to
be properly judgmental, to talk over him and recite their own talking points, and ended up
looking like buffoons. He will be a tough nut to crack, and so far the American regime has
done nothing to convince ordinary people that he is a cowardly traitor. Putting him on
television only makes him look more heroic.
And a US "talking" head, in reply to Snowdon's belief that he would not get a fair trial in
the USA (a US human rights issue, is that not, Mr.Snowdon?) says that criminals and alleged
criminals do not customarily get to determine the terms of their trial: they broke the law
and they face the consequences "
Guilty before proven innocent?
Presumption of innocence: an international human right under the UN Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, Article 11.
Nor, to the best of my recollection, did it have an Abu Ghraib. The United States actually
has a pretty shitty human-rights record if you consider it from the viewpoint of how it treas
others than Americans, and – going further back – only white Americans. The west
always tries to factor in the Holodomor, too, how Russia deliberately starved the Ukrainians
to death, as an example of their horrible human rights record.
I cringed at that one too. But I forgive Edward, because I think he was trying to make a
tactical debating point, namely:
I am not a Russia stooge, I have my criticisms of the Russian regime yada yada, and I
agree with you talking heads that their human rights record is not well received in the West.
And yet they scored a human-rights trifecta when they let me in, when not one single
"democracy" would defend me or give me asylum.
In other words, he would concede, for argumentation purposes, that Russia is bad, only to
stick it to them that Russia did well by him and scored propaganda points against the West.
It's a particular debating tactic, whose Latin name I cannot recall.
Unfortunately, Edward never got to finish his point, because those bitches cut him off
before he could even get to the punchline.
In the interview, timed to coincide with the release of his book titled Permanent Record,
Snowden said he and Mills, who later moved to him in Russia, married two years ago at a private
ceremony ... ... ... One of world's most beautiful countries
According to Snowden, people in the West often have no information about the beauty of
Russian nature and hospitality of Russians.
"I've been to St. Petersburg, I've been to Sochi. I love travelling and I still do, even
though I can't cross borders now," he said.
"One of the things that is lost in all the problematic politics of the Russian government is
the fact this is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The people are friendly. The
people are warm," he continued. "And when I came here I did not understand any of this. I was
terrified of this place because, of course, they were the great fortress of the enemy, which is
the way a CIA agent looks at Russia."
According to Snowden, "What people don't realize about Russia is that basically you can get
all the same things you can get in the United States." "The only thing they don't have in
Russia is Taco Bell," he added.
He said it was never his plan to reside in Russia, but, "with time, with open eyes you can
see that our presumptions of a place are almost always different from the reality."
According to Snowden, his book was intended not only to inform reader of his life in the US
and Russia, but also to draw attention to serious challenges the modern society is now
"We have moved into a time where people care much more deeply about feelings than they do
about facts. And this is a dangerous moment for democracy, because people believe that once
we have achieved and established a free and open society it will remain that way, it will
always be there. But the reality is: things can backslide very quickly," Snowden said when
asked how dangerous, in his opinion, Trump's rise to power was.
The whistleblower believes that people should be informed of infringements on their freedom
and of acute problems, such as climate change or advanced mass surveillance technologies used
by various governments.
"We need people to recognize these problems, to understand these problems and then to be
willing to give something up to change that problem," he said. "But it's not enough to believe
in something. You have to be ready to stand for something if you want it to change. And so that
is what I hope this book will help people come to decide for themselves: are you ready to this
In June 2013, Snowden leaked classified information to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura
Poitras, which revealed global surveillance programs run by US and British intelligence
agencies. He explained the move by saying that he wanted to tell the world the truth because he
believed such large-scale surveillance on innocent citizens was unacceptable and the public
needed to know about it.
The Guardian and The Washington Post published the first documents concerning the US
intelligence agencies' spying on Internet users on June 6, 2013. According to the documents,
major phone companies, including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint Nextel, handed records of their
customers' phone conversations over to the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
who also had direct access to the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Skype,
YouTube, Paltalk, AOL and Apple. In addition, Snowden's revelations showed that a secret
program named PRISM was aimed at collecting audio and video recordings, photos, emails and
information about users' connections to various websites.
After leaking classified information, Snowden flew to Hong Kong and then to Moscow, arriving
in Russia on June 23, 2013. He applied for political asylum to more than 20 countries while
staying in the transit zone at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. On July 16, he applied for a
temporary asylum in Russia, accepting Moscow's condition to refrain from activities aimed
against the US.
The NSA and the Pentagon claim that Snowden stole about 1.7 mln classified documents
concerning the activities of US intelligence services and US military operations. He is charged
with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information
and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an
unauthorized person. He is facing up to ten years in prison on each charge.
This article raises serious questions about
Snowden's authenticity. Although the level of damage he has done make suggestion that he is apart of CIA operation
against NSA much less plausible. He did some damage by publicizing operations like Prism. No question about it.
And it is diffuclt to treat Snowden like another variation of Lee Harvey Oswald defection
to the USSR.
But it is true that several steps that he took after supposed exfiltration of the documents were highly suspicious: As author pointed out WaPo
and Guardian are essentially intelligence agencies controlled outlets, so there is no chance that publication can't be completely blocked.
Another good point is that in any large corporation there is system of logs and they suppoedly are analysed, althout the level
of qualification in doing so varies greatly.
And if reports are created automatically that not not mean that they are ver read. Another valid point is that even if you are system administrator, you have
great powers over all your users. But at the same time your power is compartmentalized: you have access only to few selected computer that constitute the set of servers you manage.
And you usually access then via special jumpserver, which logs everything you do. In no way you have access to any server and any
database in the organization; you
might not even know that some servers exist. Actually access to critical databases is very tightly controlled.
The author also pointed to an interesting question about difficulties of exfiltration of data on encrypted Windows computers. I
think that copy to the UCB drive from encrypted drive to SD or USB drive might still be permitted for sysadmins, as it might be required for some operations.
But SD accepted might be special, issued by NSA, not retai and they should be accounted for. Still the point that Yvonne Lorenzo raised is very interesting: how you bypass existing protections on you computer to copy information
of SD card ?
On another issue, why did Snowden provide his files to known house organs of Intelligence Agencies, specifically the Washington
Post and The Guardian, and not give them to Wikileaks?
"... How many reading my words work at a large entity, not necessarily government, let us say a Fortune 1000 or higher? Do you have the ability to copy data unimpeded onto any external device? Can you surf the Internet at will? Or is everything you do on the computer network under constant, real-time scrutiny? ..."
"... Edward Snowden would have us believe that the Eye of Sauron didn't notice he was looking at gigabytes of data unrelated to his job function and using his computer to copy the data to external devices over a lengthy period of time. Are his supporters alleging he is so clever he could disappear from the "Eye of Sauron's" view and be unnoticed? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you in Crimea. ZeroHedge reported " IRS Agent Charged In Leak Of Michael Cohen Transactions To Michael Avenatti ." ..."
"... However, don't believe it takes nine months to identify such an unauthorized intrusion. Don't think every keystroke isn't monitored in real-time. So my question is: would the NSA, which has much more sensitive data (especially compromising information on the governing class) than tax returns and financial transactions have inferior capabilities than the IRS as to maintaining data security? Are we to believe the NSA lacks a "digital trail" when it comes to classified documents? ..."
"... On another issue, why did Snowden provide his files to known house organs of Intelligence Agencies, specifically the Washington Post and The Guardian, and not give them to Wikileaks to allow a publicly available searchable database? ..."
"... While other outlets -- such as the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post and the New York Times -- also possess much (though not all) of the archive, the Intercept was the only outlet with the (full) archive that had continued to publish documents, albeit at a remarkably slow pace, in recent years. In total, fewer than 10 percent of the Snowden documents have been published since 2013. Thus, the closing of the publication's Snowden archive will likely mean the end of any future publications, unless Greenwald's promise of finding "the right partner that has the funds to robustly publish" is fulfilled ..."
"... Do you believe Putin's intelligence agencies don't communicate to him how Washington "organized crime" really operates, as Whitney Webb has disclosed, now on the pages of Unz.com ? What difference does any compromised President make to the policies and goals of the occupational government of the United States (obvious to any reader of this and similar websites)? ..."
"... Why is an alleged humanitarian such a Russophobe? ..."
"... Has Snowden ever challenged the September 11 narrative, ludicrous as it is, and him being an "engineer?" ..."
"... STO equals Special Technical Operations It's highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these. ..."
"... ECI = Exceptionally Controlled Information. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these ECI controlled networks). VRK = Very Restricted Knowledge. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these VRK controlled networks. ..."
"... So what they did, is they took a few documents and they downgraded [he classification level of the documents] – just a few – and gave them to them to placate this basic whitewash investigation. ..."
"... Journalist Margie Burns asked some good questions back in June that have not yet been answered. She wondered about the 29-year old Snowden who had been a U.S. Army Special Forces recruit, a covert CIA operative, and an NSA employee in various capacities, all in just a few, short years. Burns asked "How, exactly, did Snowden get his series of NSA jobs? Did he apply through regular channels? Was it through someone he knew? Who recommended him? Who were his references for a string of six-figure, high-level security jobs? Are there any safeguards in place so that red flags go up when a subcontractor jumps from job to job, especially in high-level clearance positions?" ..."
"... In December, whistleblower Sibel Edmonds broke the news that Omidyar's Paypal Corporation was implicated in the as-yet-unreleased NSA documents from Snowden. Moreover, Edmonds had allegedly been contacted by an NSA official who alleged that "a deal was made in early June, 2013 between the journalists involved in this recent NSA scandal and U.S. government officials, which was then sealed by secrecy and nondisclosure agreements by all parties involved." ..."
"... No, no one is accusing Wikileaks of conspiring with Russia, just Robert Mueller. I really appreciate Snowden calling Julian Assange a liar, for he has consistently denied there was a "state actor." ..."
"... "Terrorism is a real problem" Snowden said. Is it credible that Snowden, who presented himself as donating funds to Ron Paul, has never read any alternative news sites? Is it credible that Snowden believes that terrorists and this would include the good "moderate terrorists" in Syria are armed and act on their own initiative, and is ignorant of the role of the governments of America, Israel, and Saudi Arabia in using them to achieve their ends as proxy armies? ..."
"... Does Snowden then think this report, " America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group" is false? Does that mindset make Snowden a champion for liberty or a tool for more control of the American population? For example, is it credible that this alleged genius supports the narrative of the September 11 attacks World Trade Center attacks? ..."
"... Tor lists on its own website sponsors that include Google, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, ONR via Naval Research Laboratory (past sponsor) and DARPA. ..."
"... Perhaps Snowden is only a Soros and Hillary Clinton supporting liberal -- but then why would he have done what he did? His character is of any government employee of the "surface state" who swallows false narratives whole. ..."
"... The logging of user and information accessed is sure added to the file. But real time supervision? No. A eye of sauron? Please. The system isnt there to prevent crime, its to track down the criminal and deeds later. And yes everything takes a very long time on the public side. ..."
"... 'Edward Snowden' who first 'leaked' to the CIA's Washington Post, in fact to Bush VP Dick Cheney's biographer Bart Gellman then the Deep State realised that was too stupid, so they switched to Rothschild employee & ex-gay-pornography-seller Glenn Greenwald, former proprietor of 'hairystuds', at the Guardian, an intel-agency rag which lies about nearly everything ..."
"... NeonRevolt once floated the theory that Snowden was an FBI or CIA plant who whistleblew solely because he had the mission to undermine NSA operations by exposing their equipment/techniques and turning public opinion against them. ..."
"... inter-service rivalry and sabotage between spy agencies is absolutely a thing, and reviewing the inconsistencies of Snowden's stunt, its aftermath, and his personal views with that potential background in mind suddenly makes things make much more sense, in my mind at least. ..."
"... If we accept the later, that he's a plant, then it raises a further question: was the short term loss, associated with his revelations, ie highlighting the utterly disturbing degree of Gov surveillance over US citizens (etc) worth the long term profit of having an established, authoritive psy-op's agent able to influence/distort etc any debate or narrative concerning the US State /elites. On this side the author notes Snowmen's views on Tor, 9/11, Russia etc which clearly advantage the US State's own views on these subjects. ..."
"... Consider that nothing Snowden revealed was news. It was all old hat for anyone who'd been paying attention, and for up to ten years. Sure Snowden made it mainstream for what good it did but nothing he said was a secret anymore. In fact, I thought even at the time his actions were nothing less than a 'threat and warning' from the intel services that they had this much on everyone. Just imagine all those national leaders, politicians from all states being pout on notice. All your secrets are ours! What a powerful global message to deliver and in such a loud and clear fashion. ..."
"... The lack of deviation from official bullshit on 9/11 is on its own however reason enough to toss this guy out. ..."
"... To my mind "9/11, attitude to", is a sort of touch-stone for telling genuine dissidents from fake and both Snowden and Assange fail on that test ..."
"... Snowden is not a classic defector so it makes sense for him to keep his distance from Russian society so as not to be inadvertently compromised or used by their intelligence services. He's obviously under surveillance there, I know we all are but he's much more aware of it, so that doesn't make it easy for him but he's definitely safer there than he'd be in France or Germany. I just don't think he planned well ahead when he became a whistle-blower or was clear about what he was trying to achieve. He's not the top level type of spy we're accustomed to reading about who betray their country for money or to serve another they believe in more than their own. If he has been on active duty as a CIA asset all along I can't see that he has achieved much of use to them other than in some inter-agency rivalry game. But it's natural for Russians to be suspicious of him – they're suspicious by nature – and rightly so, but it doesn't make his life easy there. ..."
"... 9/11 is the "litmus test" and it appears that both Assange and Snowden have failed it. ..."
"... Snowden keeping "distance" to Russia, and not openly defending them seems reasonable to me. You can imagine the smear campaign back home if he would side with Russia against the U.S. on almost anything. "The Russians got to him" or "He was always their man". ..."
"... He is trying to keep his neutrality and credibility and his target audience isn't the average Unz reader, but rather some mainstream educated middle/upper class blokes. Easily scared away from his views if they become too controversial and too far from the established narrative. ..."
"... If I had been in the position like 'Snowden', after first having been granted asylum, my priority would have been to study the language. I would gtuess that he can order food or drink, do basic greetings, and not much else. ..."
"... I agree. Shilling for the Israelis regarding 911 is a deal breaker for me. They had me going about these 2 guys for a while, but when I heard that they had ridiculed 911 truthers I smelled a rat. And after this article I agree they are shills for the status quo. Reasonable people can not doubt that 911 was a false flag operation. There's just too much bullshit there. ..."
"... I think the idea Snowden is a "plant" is a bit far out there. If he is; the real purpose of the exercise is what exactly? ..."
"... I also don't get why some commenters think Julian Assange isn't who he claims to be. His Wikileaks has published great volume of highly embarrassing material for the U.S. The embassy cables come to mind – bringing to light evidence contrary to Washington narrative on many events. ..."
"... There is another thing; Just after he established Wikileaks he came to Iceland and met with journalists and few politicians. The result from that visit was he met one Kristinn Hrafnsson, long time journalist in Iceland with excellent track record and credibility. Since Assange got in trouble, accused of sexual harassment from Swedish woman and finally escaped into the Ecuador embassy in London, Hrafnsson has been spokesman for Wikileaks. ..."
"... "It all comes down to 9/11.Everything that has happened has happened based on a lie . Everyone in Government ; everyone in the media , in entertainment , in organized religion , in the public ,in the public eye who accepts and promotes the official story is either a traitor or a tool . Everyone who does not stand forth and speak truth to power is a coward , a liar and complicit in mass-murder . Everyone everywhere can be measured by this Litmus Test ." ..."
Have you ever had the pleasure of dealing with an agent of the Federal government? For example, have you been audited by the IRS?
Did you notice what the "Agent" does to gain access to his (or her) computer -- by inserting a "Smart ID" into a slot? Did you ask
how your personal information is protected from disclosure or theft? What is to prevent the Agent from copying files to a thumb drive
and taking them home?
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12), issued by President George W. Bush on August 27, 2004, mandated the
establishment of a standard for identification of Federal government employees and contractors. HSPD-12 requires the use of
a common identification credential for both logical and physical access to federally controlled facilities and information systems.
The Department of Commerce and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) were tasked with producing a standard for
secure and reliable forms of identification. In response, NIST published Federal Information Processing Standard Publication
201 (FIPS 201), Personal Identity Verification (PIV) of Federal Employees and Contractors, issued on February 25, 2005, and a
number of special publications that provide more detail on the implementation of the standard.
Both Federal agencies and enterprises have implemented FIPS 201-compliant ID programs and have issued PIV cards. The FIPS
201 PIV card is a smart card with both contact and contactless interfaces that is now being issued to all Federal employees and
Additional information about FIPS 201 can be found on the Government Identity/Credentialing Resources page, from NIST, and
from the Secure Technology Alliance Access Control Council.
If you engage the IRS employee in conversation, remembering the adage you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, you'll
learn the computer cannot be compromised -- all data on the device are encrypted; the only access to it is via the Smart ID. Data
can be copied to an external "thumb drive" but everything copied will be encrypted; any file on that thumb drive is only readable
by that specific device. Wouldn't this be true of NSA devices as well? Why does Snowden never discuss dealing with such encryption:
how would it be possible?
In the Oliver Stone movie Snowden , as well as in any of Snowden's descriptions of how he accessed the NSA computers, did
you note either the depiction or reference to this universal Smart ID? How could Snowden be exempt from its requirement? Why wasn't
its use, which is public knowledge, shown or discussed? Per the above, the Smart ID is deployed in all government agencies: there
are no exceptions. And while the financial portion (think of all those Goldman Sachs alumni at the U.S. Department of the Treasury)
is likely the most powerful part of the financial-military-industrial-media-congressional complex that is the central power of the
federal government, do you think that IRS systems are different and superior in security to what was employed by a contractor working
for Booze-Allen Hamilton at the NSA?
How many reading my words work at a large entity, not necessarily government, let us say a Fortune 1000 or higher? Do you
have the ability to copy data unimpeded onto any external device? Can you surf the Internet at will? Or is everything you do on the
computer network under constant, real-time scrutiny?
Did Edward Snowden, who has publicly criticized Google, mention Google is deployed as a search engine throughout the federal "intranet"?
And can he catch a link to the Washington Post on the NSA homepage too? Or would he testify and can it be verified that NSA does
not use Google (for example to obtain the PowerPoint he revealed) for searching for internal documents and procedures? Can anyone
reading my words answer the questions I've posed so far and answer accurately and honestly with confirmatory evidence?
Edward Snowden would have us believe that the Eye of Sauron didn't notice he was looking at gigabytes of data unrelated to
his job function and using his computer to copy the data to external devices over a lengthy period of time. Are his supporters alleging
he is so clever he could disappear from the "Eye of Sauron's" view and be unnoticed? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell
you in Crimea. ZeroHedge reported "
IRS Agent Charged In Leak Of Michael Cohen Transactions To Michael Avenatti ." From the article:
John C. Fry, an analyst in the San Francisco IRS office who had worked for the agency since 2008, was charged with disclosing
Cohen's Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) – nine months after we reported that it wouldn't be difficult to track down the leaker
due to a digital trail left behind from accessing the system.
However, don't believe it takes nine months to identify such an unauthorized intrusion. Don't think every keystroke isn't
monitored in real-time. So my question is: would the NSA, which has much more sensitive data (especially compromising information
on the governing class) than tax returns and financial transactions have inferior capabilities than the IRS as to maintaining data
security? Are we to believe the NSA lacks a "digital trail" when it comes to classified documents?
On another issue, why did Snowden provide his files to known house organs of Intelligence Agencies, specifically the Washington
Post and The Guardian, and not give them to Wikileaks to allow a publicly available searchable database? As Roger Stone has
noted, the odious Nixon was taken down principally by the CIA media front The Washington Post because he sought detente with Russia
and another presidential assassination would have been too obvious. Notice the situation regarding the Snowden treasure trove as
investigative journalist Whitney Webb writes about it here: "
Silencing the Whistle: The Intercept Shutters
Snowden Archive, Citing Cost ."
According to a timeline of events written by Poitras that was shared and published by journalist and former Intercept columnist
Barrett Brown, both Scahill and Greenwald were intimately involved in the decision to close the Snowden archive.
While other outlets -- such as the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post and the New York Times -- also possess much (though
not all) of the archive, the Intercept was the only outlet with the (full) archive that had continued to publish documents, albeit
at a remarkably slow pace, in recent years. In total, fewer than 10 percent of the Snowden documents have been published since
2013. Thus, the closing of the publication's Snowden archive will likely mean the end of any future publications, unless Greenwald's
promise of finding "the right partner that has the funds to robustly publish" is fulfilled
Yet, as Poitras pointed out, the research department accounted for a minuscule 1.5 percent of First Look Media's budget. Greenwald's
claim that the archive was shuttered owing to its high cost to the company is also greatly undermined by the fact that he, along
with several other Intercept employees -- Reed and Scahill among them -- receive massive salaries that dwarf those of journalists
working for similar nonprofit publications.
Greenwald, for instance, received $1.6 million from First Look Media, of which Omidyar is the sole shareholder, from 2014 to
2017. His yearly salary peaked in 2015, when he made over $518,000. Reed and Scahill both earn well over $300,000 annually from
First Look. According to journalist Mark Ames, Scahill made over $43,000 per article at the Intercept in 2014. Other writers at
the site, by comparison, have a base salary of $50,000, which itself is higher than the national average for journalists.
And what about Snowden himself, the pontificator, the man who can speak on television or to the media with evidence of training?
Practice yourself -- see how well you can answer questions and speak publicly to a TV camera. How did he get his training? Who trained
him? Why? How is it that the legacy media, which
the slow, painful execution of Julian Assange , be in rapture over Snowden's new book tour and provide ample coverage? Is Assange
being murdered in part to prevent his providing exculpatory evidence that Russia never hacked the DNC and it was a leak?
I have provided two videos below for the reader to consider and compare.
Look at how Bill Binney, a true techno-nerd speaks and compare the difference between him with the polished interviews given by
Snowden who borders on pomposity. Also, to his favor Binney is doing his best to debunk the Russia hacking narrative of the DNC;
Snowden makes his thoughts about Russia and Russians clear
in his latest interview with Der Spiegel promoting his new book about himself:
DER SPIEGEL: Do you have Russian friends?
Snowden: I try to keep a distance between myself and Russian society, and this is completely intentional. I live my life
with basically the English-speaking community. I'm the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. And, you know, I'm
an indoor cat. It doesn't matter where I am -- Moscow, Berlin, New York -- as long as I have a screen to look into.
DER SPIEGEL: Western authorities accuse the Russian government on a regular basis of being one of the biggest disrupters
in the digital world. Are they right?
Snowden: Russia is responsible for a lot of negative activity in the world, you can say that right and fairly. Did Russia
interfere with elections? Almost certainly. But do the United States interfere in elections? Of course. They've been doing
it for the last 50 years. Any country bigger than Iceland is going to interfere in every crucial election, and they're going to
deny it every time, because this is what intelligence services do. This is explicitly why covert operations and influence divisions
are created, and their purpose as an instrument of national power is to ask: How can we influence the world in a direction that
improves our standing relative to all the other countries?
I am pleased to have played a small role in getting Stephen F. Cohen's work published on Unz.com. He and others have effectively
debunked Russian involvement in the manipulation of America elections and the conclusions of the Mueller report. To paraphrase a
point Professor Cohen made in his most recent article posted here, which is simply common sense: We are to believe Trump is Putin's
puppet yet Putin simultaneously encouraged the preparation of a dossier to destroy him. Does that make sense to any one with half
a brain? Do you believe Putin's intelligence agencies don't communicate to him how Washington "organized crime" really operates,
as Whitney Webb has disclosed, now on the pages of Unz.com
? What difference does any compromised President make to the policies and goals of the occupational government of the United States
(obvious to any reader of this and similar websites)?
Do you notice how Snowden never challenges any government narrative, whether it's on Russia as a villain, and not as a victim
of war initiated by Washington? Why is an alleged humanitarian such a Russophobe? Is this how he repays the nation that
granted him asylum? Has he only compassion in the abstract, and is a genius but too stupid to consider the consequences of America
going to war with Russia and in fact exacerbating the tension by his false and inflammatory statements about Russian conduct in the
2016 elections, for which there are no facts and evidence?
And then there's the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings. Of course Snowden at NSA had no access to information on
how and why it was done, but as Dmitri Orlov has written:
I suppose I am a "conspiracy theorist" too. Whenever I write something that questions the veracity of some official narrative,
someone (probably a troll) pops up and asks me what I think of 9/11. Here is what I typically reply:
I totally believe that it was possible to knock down three steel-framed buildings using two flying aluminum cans loaded
with kerosene, luggage and meat. I have proven that this is possible by throwing two beer cans at three chain-link fences.
All three fences were instantly swallowed up by holes in the ground that mysteriously opened up right under them and in which
they were instantaneously incinerated into fine oxide powder that coated the entire neighborhood. Anybody who does not believe
my experimental results is obviously a tin-foil-hat crackpot conspiracy theorist.
Lots of people read this and ran away bleating; a few people bust a gut laughing because this is (trust me on this!) actually
quite funny. Some people took offense at someone ridiculing an event in which thousands of people died. (To protect their tender
sensibilities they should consider emigrating to a country that isn't run by a bunch of war criminals.)
But if you do see the humor in this, then you may be up to the challenge, which is to pull out a useful signal (a typical
experimentalist's task) out of a mess of unreliable and contradictory data. Only then would you be in a position to persuasively
argue -- not prove, mind you! -- that the official story is complete and utter bullshit.
Note that everything beyond that point, such as arguing what "the real story" is, is strictly off-limits. If you move beyond
that point you open yourself up to well-organized, well-funded debunking. But if all you produce is a very large and imposing
question mark, then the only way to attack it is by producing certainty -- a very tall order! In conspiracy theory, as in
guerrilla warfare, you don't have to win. You just have to not lose long enough for the enemy to give up.
WASHINGTON'S BLOG: Glenn Greenwald – supposedly, in the next couple of days or weeks – is going to disclose, based on NSA documents
leaked by Snowden, that the NSA is spying on all sorts of normal Americans and that the spying is really to crush dissent. [Background
here, here and here.]
Does Snowden even have documents which contain the information which you've seen?
RUSSELL TICE: The answer is no.
WASHINGTON'S BLOG: So you saw handwritten notes. And what Snowden was seeing were electronic files ?
RUSSELL TICE: Think of it this way. Remember I told you about the NSA doing everything they could to make sure that the
information from 40 years ago – from spying on Frank Church and Lord knows how many other Congressman that they were spying on
– was hidden?
Now do you think they're going to put that information into PowerPoint slides that are easy to explain to everybody what
They would not even put their own NSA designators on the reports [so that no one would know that] it came from the NSA.
They made the reports look like they were Humint (human intelligence) reports. They did it to hide the fact that they were NSA
and they were doing the collection. That's 40 years ago. [The NSA and other agencies are still doing "parallel construction",
"laundering" information to hide the fact that the information is actually from mass NSA surveillance.]
Now, what NSA is doing right now is that they're taking the information and they're putting it in a much higher security level.
It's called "ECI" – Exceptionally Controlled Information – and it's called the black program which I was a specialist in, by the
I specialized in black world – DOD and IC (Intelligence Community) – programs, operations and missions in "VRKs", "ECIs", and
"SAPs", "STOs". SAP equals Special Access Program. It's highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these. STO equals Special
Technical Operations It's highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these.
Now in that world – the ECI/VRK world – everything in that system is classified at a higher level and it has its own computer
systems that house it. It's totally separate than the system which Mr. Snowden was privy to, which was called the "JWICS": Joint
Worldwide Intelligence Communications System. The JWICS system is what everybody at NSA has access to. Mr Snowden had Sys Admin
[systems administrator] authority for the JWICS.
And you still have to have TS/SCI clearance [i.e. Top Secret/ Sensitive Compartmented Information – also known as "code word"
– clearance] to get on the JWICS. But the ECI/VRK systems are much higher [levels of special compartmentalized clearance] than
the JWICS. And you have to be in the black world to get that [clearance].
ECI = Exceptionally Controlled Information. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these ECI controlled networks).
VRK = Very Restricted Knowledge. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these VRK controlled networks.
These programs typically have, at the least, a requirement of 100 year or until death, 'till the person first being "read in"
[i.e. sworn to secrecy as part of access to the higher classification program] can talk about them. [As an interesting sidenote,
the Washington Times reported in 2006 that – when Tice offered to testify to Congress about this illegal spying – he was informed
by the NSA that the Senate and House intelligence committees were not cleared to hear such information.]
It's very compartmentalized and – even with stuff that they had – you might have something at NSA, that there's literally 40
people at NSA that know that it's going on in the entire agency.
When the stuff came out in the New York Times [the first big spying story, which broke in 2005] – and I was a source of information
for the New York Times – that's when President Bush made up that nonsense about the "terrorist surveillance program." By the way,
that never existed. That was made up.
There was no such thing beforehand. It was made up to try to placate the American people.
The NSA IG (Inspector General) – who was not cleared for this – all of a sudden is told he has to do an investigation on this;
something he has no information or knowledge of.
So what they did, is they took a few documents and they downgraded [he classification level of the documents] – just a
few – and gave them to them to placate this basic whitewash investigation.
Snowden's Failure To Understand the Most Important Documents
RUSSELL TICE: Now, if Mr. Snowden were to find the crossover, it would be those documents that were downgraded to the NSA's
The stuff that I saw looked like a bunch of alphanumeric gobbledygook. Unless you have an analyst to know what to look for
– and believe me, I think that what Snowden's done is great – he's not an intelligence analyst. So he would see something like
that, and he wouldn't know what he's looking at.
But that would be "the jewels". And the key is, you wouldn't know it's the jewels unless you were a diamond miner and you knew
what to look for. Because otherwise, there's a big lump of rock and you don't know there's a diamond in there.
I worked special programs. And the way I found out is that I was working on a special operation, and I needed information from
NSA from another unit. And when I went to that unit and I said "I need this information", and I dealt with [satellite spy operations],
and I did that in the black world. I was a special operations officer. I would literally go do special missions that were in the
black world where I would travel overseas and do spooky stuff.
Did we really need Snowden to have told us that the Internet, federally controlled, does not allow anyone a modicum of privacy
and the government after implementing the Patriot Act considers ordinary Americans the enemy?
Journalist Margie Burns asked some good questions back in June that have not yet been answered. She wondered about the
29-year old Snowden who had been a U.S. Army Special Forces recruit, a covert CIA operative, and an NSA employee in various capacities,
all in just a few, short years. Burns asked "How, exactly, did Snowden get his series of NSA jobs? Did he apply through regular
channels? Was it through someone he knew? Who recommended him? Who were his references for a string of six-figure, high-level
security jobs? Are there any safeguards in place so that red flags go up when a subcontractor jumps from job to job, especially
in high-level clearance positions?"
Five months later, journalists Mark Ames and Yasha Levine investigated some of the businesses in which Greenwald's benefactor
Omidyar had invested. They found that the actual practices of those businesses were considerably less humanitarian than the outward
appearance of Omidyar's ventures often portray. The result was that Omidyar took down references to at least one of those businesses
from his website.
In December, whistleblower Sibel Edmonds broke the news that Omidyar's Paypal Corporation was implicated in the as-yet-unreleased
NSA documents from Snowden. Moreover, Edmonds had allegedly been contacted by an NSA official who alleged that "a deal was made
in early June, 2013 between the journalists involved in this recent NSA scandal and U.S. government officials, which was then
sealed by secrecy and nondisclosure agreements by all parties involved."
It would appear that Snowden's whistleblowing has been co-opted by private corporate interests. Are those involved with privatization
of the stolen documents also colluding with government agencies to frame and direct national discussions on domestic spying and
other serious matters?
The possibilities are endless, it seems. Presenting documents at a measured rate could be a way to acclimate citizens to
painful realities without stirring the public into a panic or a unified response that might actually threaten the status quo.
And considering that the number of documents has somehow grown from only thousands to nearly two million, it seems possible
that those in control could release practically anything, thereby controlling national dialogue on many topics.
Please read the final paragraph above twice and think about the points raised about acclimating citizens and controlling national
dialog. Is Snowden as much of a "Pied Piper" as QAnon? How did Snowden describe the nature of the CIA and NSA
in this earlier interview with Der Spiegel ?
DER SPIEGEL: But those people see you as their biggest enemy today.
Snowden: My personal battle was not to burn down the NSA or the CIA. I even think they actually do have a useful role in
society when they limit themselves to the truly important threats that we face and when they use their least intrusive means.
Snowden: It wasn't that difficult. Everybody is currently pointing at the Russians.
DER SPIEGEL: Rightfully?
Snowden: I don't know. They probably did hack the systems of Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party, but we should have proof
of that. In the case of the hacking attack on Sony, the FBI presented evidence that North Korea was behind it. In this case
they didn't, although I am convinced that they do have evidence. The question is why?
DER SPIEGEL: Mike Pompeo, the new head of the CIA, has accused WikiLeaks, whose lawyers helped you, of being a mouthpiece for
the Russians. Is that not harmful to your image as well?
Snowden: First, we should be fair about what the accusations are. I don't believe the U.S. government or anybody in the
intelligence community is directly accusing Julian Assange or WikiLeaks of working directly for the Russian government. The
allegations I understand are that they were used as a tool basically to wash documents that had been stolen by the Russian government.
And, of course, that's a concern. I don't see that as directly affecting me because I'm not WikiLeaks and there is no question
about the provenance of the documents that I dealt with.
DER SPIEGEL: Currently, there's another American guy out there who is accused of being too close to Putin.
Snowden: Oh (laughs).
DER SPIEGEL: Your president. Is he your president?
Snowden: The idea that half of American voters thought that Donald Trump was the best among us, is something that I struggle
with. And I think we will all be struggling with it for decades to come.
DER SPIEGEL: But isn't there reason to fear terrorism?
Snowden: Sure there is. Terrorism is a real problem. But when we look at how many lives it has claimed in basically
any country that is outside of war zones like Iraq or Afghanistan, it is so much less than, say, car accidents or heart attacks.
Even if Sept. 11 were to happen every single year in the U.S., terrorism would be a much lower threat than so many other things.
No, no one is accusing Wikileaks of conspiring with Russia, just Robert Mueller. I really appreciate Snowden calling Julian Assange
a liar, for he has consistently denied there was a "state actor."
"Terrorism is a real problem" Snowden said. Is it credible that Snowden, who presented himself as donating funds to Ron Paul,
has never read any alternative news sites? Is it credible that Snowden believes that terrorists and this would include the good "moderate
terrorists" in Syria are armed and act on their own initiative, and is ignorant of the role of the governments of America, Israel,
and Saudi Arabia in using them to achieve their ends as proxy armies?
Does Snowden then think this report, "
Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group" is false? Does that mindset make Snowden a champion for liberty or a tool for more control
of the American population? For example, is it credible that this alleged genius supports the narrative of the September 11 attacks
World Trade Center attacks? Whom do you trust, the contributors to these very pages or Edward Snowden?
The Tor Project – a private nonprofit known as the "NSA-proof" gateway to the "dark web," turns out to be almost "100% funded
by the US government" according to documents obtained by investigative journalist and author Yasha Levine.
In a recent blog post, Levine details how he was able to obtain roughly 2,500 pages of correspondence via FOIA requests while
performing research for a book. The documents include strategy, contract, budgets and status updates between the Tor project and
its primary source of funding; a CIA spinoff known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which "oversees America's foreign
broadcasting operations like Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe."
By following the money, I discovered that Tor was not a grassroots. I was able to show that despite its indie radical
cred and claims to help its users protect themselves from government surveillance online, Tor was almost 100% funded by three
U.S. National Security agencies: the Navy, the State Department and the BBG. Following the money revealed that Tor was not
a grassroots outfit, but a military contractor with its own government contractor number. In other words: it was a privatized
extension of the very same government that it claimed to be fighting.
The documents conclusively showed that Tor is not independent at all. The organization did not have free reign to do
whatever it wanted, but was kept on a very short leash and bound by contracts with strict contractual obligations. It was also
required to file detailed monthly status reports that gave the U.S. government a clear picture of what Tor employees were developing,
where they went and who they saw. -Yasha Levine
The FOIA documents also suggest that Tor's ability to shield users from government spying may be nothing more than hot air.
While no evidence of a "backdoor" exists, the documents obtained by Levine reveal that Tor has "no qualms with privately tipping
off the federal government to security vulnerabilities before alerting the public, a move that would give the feds an opportunity
to exploit the security weakness long before informing Tor users."
Interestingly, Edward Snowden is a big fan of Tor – even throwing a "cryptoparty" while he was still an NSA contractor where
he set up a Tor exit node to show off how cool they are.
In a 2015 interview with The Intercept's (Wikileaks hating) Micah Lee, Snowden said:
LEE: What do you think about Tor? Do you think that everyone should be familiar with it, or do you think that it's only a use-it-if-you-need-it
SNOWDEN: I think Tor is the most important privacy-enhancing technology project being used today.
"Tor Browser is a great way to selectively use Tor to look something up and not leave a trace that you did it. It can also
help bypass censorship when you're on a network where certain sites are blocked. If you want to get more involved, you can volunteer
to run your own Tor node, as I do, and support the diversity of the Tor network."
Tor lists on its own website sponsors that include Google,
the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, ONR via Naval Research Laboratory (past sponsor) and DARPA.
When Julian Assange was taken from the Ecuadoran embassy, he was carrying a copy of Gore Vidal: History of the National Security
State & Vidal on America. As an older article on Vidal in The Guardian noted, "
Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit
in 9/11 ."
Isn't it odd by doing what he did with Vidal's book Assange makes the point the legitimacy of Washington must be challenged, but
Snowden never does, other than offering suggestions for tinkering at the margins, perhaps advising we use DuckDuckGo instead of Google
to give us the illusion of privacy? Did Snowden, for someone who is in front of a computer screen for most of the day, make public
the facts obtained by Whitney Webb in her piece "
How the CIA, Mossad and 'the Epstein Network' Are Exploiting Mass Shootings to Create an Orwellian Nightmare " posted on Unz.com
which goes in depth into the Orwellian hell we are facing, for as Webb concludes:
With companies like Carbyne -- with its ties to both the Trump administration and to Israeli intelligence -- and the Mossad-linked
Gabriel also marketing themselves as "technological" solutions to mass shootings while also doubling as covert tools for mass
data collection and extraction, the end result is a massive surveillance system so complete and so dystopian that even George
Orwell himself could not have predicted it.
Following another catastrophic mass shooting or crisis event, aggressive efforts will likely follow to foist these "solutions"
on a frightened American public by the very network connected, not only to Jeffrey Epstein, but to a litany of crimes and a
frightening history of plans to crush internal dissent and would-be dissenters in the United States.
There is the concept of willful blindness that I think applies to much of what Snowden has done, if not something altogether more
nefarious -- distorations, misrepresenations, and outright lies, in addition to hubris. What is the point I'm making? Perhaps Snowden
is only a Soros and Hillary Clinton supporting liberal -- but then why would he have done what he did? His character is of any government
employee of the "surface state" who swallows false narratives whole.
I only wish the reader fairly and intelligently consider the questions I have raised. For I am encouraging you to think very carefully
before you trust the statements, purpose, motives, and truthfulness of the secular saint, Edward Snowden.
Yvonne Lorenzo makes her home in New England in a house full to bursting with books, including works on classical Greece.
Her interests include gardening, mythology, ancient history, The Electric Universe, and classical music, especially the compositions
of Handel, Mozart, Bach, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and the Bel Canto repertoire. She is the author of the novels the
Son of Thunder and
The Cloak of Freya and has contributed to LewRockwell.com and TheSaker.IS.
Edward Snowden is a typical American fachidiot who, despite their protestations is a striver and bootlick for the Empire.
I genuinely believe that he is puzzled as to why it has turned against him. He deserves his destiny of forever languishing in
Several years later, practically nobody remembers him here in the US, and possible elsewhere (save for when it is convenient
for the media). Julian Assange was a far more daring, more insightful figure.
(As an aside, I am curious about the author's liking of bel canto . Lot of birdbrain music to my ears; I prefer Wagner,
Strauss, Schreker, and Berg. Also, the older I get, the more I realize that Schoenberg was by far the greater genius than Mahler.)
The logging of user and information accessed is sure added to the file. But real time supervision? No. A eye of sauron? Please.
The system isnt there to prevent crime, its to track down the criminal and deeds later. And yes everything takes a very long time
on the public side.
You know, 16:00 hours the mouse just drops dead from the hand. Public servants don't give a damn if a job is made fast or efficient,
only that procedure if followed and that it is eventually done. Unless priorities are reassigned, stuff left halfway undone in
disarray is no problem when reassigned.
Just as keeping secret private archives of more or less job related data is all standard procedure. That is keep a load of
data in your personal folders and move those into whatever form desired. Security is not very tight. Only in the sense that eventually
every person with hours and access point etc data can be recovered if so ordered to.
So stealing data out of that system shouldn't be terribly hard. Just email it to a private email. Or store on something else
and transport out. For one Hillary was doing the same thing for ages. In that case though "what difference does it make"
There was an interview with Edward in the German magazine Der Spiegel this month, Nr. 18. In it, we get the tale, he copied material
on SD cards, and smugeled them in his mouth, or inside a "magic cube" out of the base on Hawaii, passing "guards". A cube, the
occult symbol, how blatant, just mocking the profane.
On the technical side, I got a story from a German BMW factory. A bunch
of guys on nightshift plugged a USB Harddisk into a PC to watch a movie. Minutes later they received a call from the IT, it had
been recognized remotely. What a charade. It has the taste of Jewish tales, smuggling stuff, tricking guards of an evil system.
Nice to have a piece helping point to the truth, that Glenn Greenwald & Edward Snowden are CIA frauds, as every major government
'Edward Snowden' who first 'leaked' to the CIA's Washington Post, in fact to Bush VP Dick Cheney's biographer Bart Gellman
then the Deep State realised that was too stupid, so they switched to Rothschild employee & ex-gay-pornography-seller Glenn Greenwald,
former proprietor of 'hairystuds', at the Guardian, an intel-agency rag which lies about nearly everything
Despite the Snowden-Assange mutual sniping in their media-star rivalry, Julian Assange is also a CIA-Mossad asset, as Bibi
Netanyahu himself has boasted to Israeli media, regarding aggressively pro-Zionist, anti-Palestinian Julian, equally anti-9-11-truth
along with Eddie Snowden
As loyal CIA assets, neither Assange and Snowden dare to mention USA Virginia fed judge bribery files that have blocked other
extraditions, tho these files would make their own extraditions impossible, if these CIA fakers really cared about their own 'defence'
Zbigniew Brzezinski on 29 Nov 2010, on the US public television PBS News Hour, also admitted Assange was intel, his Wikileaks
People trusting Assange are dead, Peter W Smith, Seth Rich; others jailed
You will notice that Assange & Snowden both got famous via CIA – MI6 media, NY Times, UK Guardian, who are never interested
in real dissidents
Assange shared lawyer with Rothschilds, Rothschild sister-in-law posted Assange bail, Assange has ties to George Soros too
Early on, Assange helped Rothschilds destroy rival bank Julius Baer that is 'progressive Wiki-leaking' for you
Assange had a weird childhood with Aussie mind-control cult 'the Family'
Things like 'Assange living at Ecuador Embassy' – 'now in Belmarsh prison' – easily faked, Assange moved in & out for photos
by MI5 MI6, police under national security orders 'Snowden' is not necessarily in Russia either
Assange & Snowden de-legitimise real dissidents, because people say, 'Wikileaks – NY Times – UK Guardian would cover it if
it was true'
NeonRevolt once floated the theory that Snowden was an FBI or CIA plant who whistleblew solely because he had the mission to undermine
NSA operations by exposing their equipment/techniques and turning public opinion against them.
I completely understand if people are leery of the theorycrafting of a Q tracker, but I do believe that this suggestion is plausible.
Setting aside attempts at placing it in context of a Deep State war, inter-service rivalry and sabotage between spy agencies is
absolutely a thing, and reviewing the inconsistencies of Snowden's stunt, its aftermath, and his personal views with that potential
background in mind suddenly makes things make much more sense, in my mind at least.
Interesting, thought-provoking article.
It asks us to balance up competing interests & advantages.
On the one hand we can assume Snowden is "real" or not. That is, he's a genuine whistle blower, or he's a government psy-op's
If we accept the later, that he's a plant, then it raises a further question: was the short term loss, associated with his revelations,
ie highlighting the utterly disturbing degree of Gov surveillance over US citizens (etc) worth the long term profit of having
an established, authoritive psy-op's agent able to influence/distort etc any debate or narrative concerning the US State /elites.
On this side the author notes Snowmen's views on Tor, 9/11, Russia etc which clearly advantage the US State's own views on these
I don't know the answer -- except that this article raises serious questions, suspicions , about
Never for a moment considered Snowden any sort of secular saint.
Snowden for the most part only confirmed the downward trajectory of the formerly at least interesting filmmaker, Oliver Stone.
If JFK was worth a laugh (and evidently did get a few people thinking about the phoniness of Dallas '63 for the first time),
Snowden was total chloroform on screen. Sad to see Ollie hit such lows.
This bit is interesting:
When Julian Assange was taken from the Ecuadoran embassy, he was carrying a copy of Gore Vidal: History of the National
Security State & Vidal on America. As an older article on Vidal in The Guardian noted, "Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit
As batty as Vidal may have been, it is a fact he was the first American with any sort of national recognition to speak out
against the National Security State, starting in the Eisenhower years. His fury was partly stoked by their meddling in Central
America, but he stayed at it. Even gave it a mention in a movie he had a gag role in, Bob Roberts , 1992.
His favorite line (variously rendered) was "Harry Truman signed the United States of America into oblivion in February, 1949"
which was when the NSA papers were drawn up, giving us the security state, the CIA and the whole shebang. Anytime before, any
US citizen could demand accounting of any government project, no matter what. Afterward, the rule by secrecy applied.
Vidal had been a WWII veteran and deplored all that came about after. Credit is due for that.
Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you are being watched and recorded. The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows
it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested
without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone calls, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get
your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. – Edward Snowden
"Edward Snowden is a typical American fachidiot who, despite their protestations is a striver and bootlick for the Empire.
I genuinely believe that he is puzzled as to why it has turned against him. He deserves his destiny of forever languishing
in political purgatory."
And yet this "striver and bootlick for the Empire" is exiled in Russia. So some guy sacrifices an enjoyable and secure life
to go live in Russia and all you can say is that "he deserves his destiny?"
"Several years later, practically nobody remembers him here in the US"
And this is a reflection on him or on the rest of us?
@Horst G Boy howdy, a Rubik's
Cube is now magical, profane, occult, and eerily symbolic, because it's cubical! And geometry class is a satanic false
flag op of oppressive propaganda taught by crypto-Jews! Who else could be interested in IRRATIONAL numbers like π? PYTHAGORAS
WAS A MOSSAD AGENT!
And yet this "striver and bootlick for the Empire" is exiled in Russia. So some guy sacrifices an enjoyable and secure life
to go live in Russia and all you can say is that "he deserves his destiny?"
His "sacrifice" was inadvertent and involuntary. The fact that he seems not to appreciate the sanctuary offered to him by Russia
-- has he not repeatedly expressed the desire to go elsewhere? -- says a lot. From everything I have read about him, it would
appear that he regards his exile not as something to be borne with dignity, but as something to pout over as does a child who
unexpectedly did not get his way.
Julian Assange, on the other hand, sacrificed much more and did so willingly and courageously. He had no illusions about the
consequences that he would face for his beliefs and actions.
And this is a reflection on him or on the rest of us?
Both. Nobody remembers anything here in the US anyway, least of all people and events which do not flatter the national mythos.
In the case of this would-be patriot -- the scion of a family that grew fat at the government teat, and who himself has made a
tidy profit from his exile -- his unofficial damnatio memoriæ is deserved.
Maybe you ought to give Snowden some credit for his military service too. Fair is fair.
Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve on May 7, 2004, and became a Special Forces candidate through its 18X
enlistment option. He did not complete the training. After breaking both legs in a training accident, he was discharged
on September 28, 2004.
@Brabantian Is Seth Rich dead
? OpDeepState.com : "The 'murder' of Seth Rich – Everything we thought we knew is wrong !" by Lisa Phillips . "The MOSSAD infiltrated
Clinton's campaign with a Sayanim contractor – Seth Rich – this OP took Hillary right out of the race ."
Tor is a great tool, if you know how to use it correctly. The US gov't know people don't know how to use it correctly, and sets
up exit nodes to spy on idiots, like this:
In 2007 Egerstad set up just five Tor exit nodes and used them to intercept thousands of private emails, instant messages
and email account credentials.
Amongst his unwitting victims were the Australia, Japanese, Iranian, India and Russia embassies, .
Dan Egerstad proved then that exit nodes were a fine place to spy on people and his research convinced him in 2007, long
before Snowden, that governments were funding expensive, high bandwidth exit nodes for exactly that purpose.
Tor is a fine security project and an excellent component in a strategy of defence in depth but it isn't (sadly) a cloak
Exit nodes, just like fake Wi-Fi hotspots, are an easy and tempting way for attackers to silently insert themselves into
By running an exit node they can sit there as an invisible man-in-the-middle on a system that people choose when
they want extra privacy and security.
Well, this is refreshing. I agree wholeheartedly about Snowden and have the same reservations. My feelings about Assange, however,
aren't much different. Julian has not challenged the 9/11 narrative either to be fair. I am inclined to see them both as limited
hangouts. Snowden's 'revelations' were all old news to anyone who'd been paying attention for 10 years before his appearance.
Even other whistleblowers, none of whom got any media coverage, had spoken of much of it previously. I see them both as pied pipers
and nothing more. I think Russian intelligence services are perfectly well aware of what Snowden is and have kept him at arms
length themselves. Not much they could do but play along but nothing suggests they ever saw him as any sort of 'coup'
Anyone who still plays along with the 9/11 bullshit narrative isn't worth a damn anyway.
@animalogicConsider that nothing
Snowden revealed was news. It was all old hat for anyone who'd been paying attention, and for up to ten years. Sure Snowden made
it mainstream for what good it did but nothing he said was a secret anymore. In fact, I thought even at the time his actions were
nothing less than a 'threat and warning' from the intel services that they had this much on everyone. Just imagine all those national
leaders, politicians from all states being pout on notice. All your secrets are ours! What a powerful global message to deliver
and in such a loud and clear fashion.
The lack of deviation from official bullshit on 9/11 is on its own however reason enough to toss this guy out. Snowden NEVER
impressed me for a moment and honestly, nor has Assange. I believe they're both working for the other side still. By the way,
Julian Assange has actually denigrated 9/11 truthers a number of times.
@anon It's in the magazine, page
82, quote "Zauberwürfel". Presented by me, for you to get the picture. Maybe you haven't seen enough cubes around, to get that
humor. In real life, copying material on devices will be followed by arrest, no interview, no journey to some exile. This whole
tale is not funny, it's evil on many levels. Your sarcasm is disturbing.
Several years later, practically nobody remembers him here in the US, and possible elsewhere (save for when it is convenient
for the media). Julian Assange was a far more daring, more insightful figure.
I disagree, there are plenty of people who remember him. The problem is they don't care, most Americans would rather watch
America's Got Talent or Dancing With The Stars than do something about our corrupt political system.
2013 Edward Snowden 'leaked stolen documents' (1) 'Leaked' to Dick Cheney friend at CIA WashPost, Rothschild employee Greenwald
(2) Anti-9-11-truth (3) Nothing really new beyond more than 5+ previous NSA whistleblowers (4) Has CIA lawyers, worked with Brzezinski
son, promoted by Brzezinski daughter, fake CV history (5) Known as fake to all major gov intel agencies
@Johnny Walker ReadThis is
absolutely dynamite material, it blows to smithereens any notion that Edward Snowden is anything other than a fraud, a CIA disinfo
So now we can place him alongside Julian Assange and Wikileaks in the rogue's gallery of professional liars. This report
also exposes several other media outlets as being under CIA control, something we have known for some time
I don't know the answer -- except that this article raises serious questions, suspicions , about
To my mind "9/11, attitude to", is a sort of touch-stone for telling genuine dissidents from fake and both Snowden and Assange
fail on that test. I don't have a reference for it, but I saw it in correspondence on this site. There was a video of a lecture
given by Assange, where someone asked him about 9/11. He looked extremely embarrassed and then replied that he thought that it
was "not very important" (Sic!) and changed the subject.
I am less sure of this but I think I saw something similar in an interview with Snowden. Perhaps someone else can remind me
of exact references?
This is the same government whose leaders secure their laptops with the secret code "pas$word" and require the producers of computers
to give them full access via day one exploits along with tailor fitted programs that are easier to hack.
That Snowden got away with what he did is not that shocking.
These days Snowden has become a generic term for whistleblowing on the Deep State tech spying, like xerox for copying. I suppose someone here wants to remind us that this was _really_ the first copier, patented in 1879:
The truth or falsity of the original "myth" becames moot at some point.
The Deep State is spying. They do have hardware and software and monkey in the middle hacks. They do trade intelligence with
other spy agencies, domestic and foreign. They lie about it through the Mockingbird media.
_That_ is what is important.
Snowden's bona fides are "inside baseball", and minor league baseball at that.
.gov IT security is a joke–millions of pages of regulations, proclamations, millions of hours of management meetings, goals,
powerpoint slides–ultimately easily outmatched by any determined hackers (whether in mom's basement or an intelligence agency's
@Jonathan Revusky Yvonne Lorenzo
paper suggest suspect issues exist to support Snowden's story but finds Assange's saga to be
based in epic, consistent, continued resistance to the organized forces at work in governments and high profile international
corporations and agencies to keep secret things which expose officials as criminals.
<=the difference is consistency, scope and finger points. Assange has been consistent.. always seeking to make available as
much as he could, always with as much clarity as possible; making the point where he could, that much of what he exposed seems
to be in the domain of organized crime. Assange often exposes high profile persons and tags them with evidence to connect them
to prior and current organized crime or obviously corrupt activities. Assange shows these persons or governments or agencies are
involved in secret diplomatic activities, the secrecy of which seem always to be protected by judicial and legal processes
The Assange story paints a picture that suggest globally organized crime has come into possession and now manages and controls
many well armed domestic governments and that selected agencies of government have been enabling selected private enterprises.
Assange exposes intelligence services of many different nations to be a bank, corporation, and agency inter connects that coordinate
infrastructure destruction, invasion, regime change, and war, and that these events are often followed by opportunistic privatization.
Snowden merely says a few things are wrong and should be corrected. in time the government will fix its own mistakes. I do
not know if Snowden is a Trojan, but nothing Assange has done suggest he is and governments have treated Assange as anything but
one of them. My opinion.
Snowden took a risk to publicize what he thought was important information indicating a dangerous trend in US policy. He wasn't
willing to offer himself up as a lamb to the slaughter, so it's true that his sacrifice is not perhaps the ultimate one. He seems
to have thought he could remain in Hong Kong but didn't realize that China was never going to compromise relations with the US
to protect him. Putin wouldn't have either except that the US was so imperious in demanding his return that Putin really couldn't
save face and give him up, and no doubt he was rankled by US hypocrisy, knowing that had Snowden been a Russian, the US would
never have considered sending him back.
But Snowden DID take action which is more than most of us do. I find your complete lack of empathy kind of weird, to be honest.
Even if Assange is the more virtuous or if one disagrees with Snowden's actions, he has paid a price for principle.
What does his family background have to do with anything?
I'm not inclined to sneer at him, and I don't see how you get to "he deserves what he gets."
So Pamela Anderson lied about visiting Assange in the embassy? If they're faking it, wherever he is he isn't in the public
eye walking down the street or sitting in a Starbucks, so he's leading a prison life anyway behind closed doors somewhere. I suppose
a dedicated agent would do something like that for Queen and country or whatever, but I doubt he's the type. I gather veterans
today are trying to cast Assange as a Mossad agent but then they're the Journal of the Clandestine Community, whatever that is.
Snowden is not a classic defector so it makes sense for him to keep his distance from Russian society so as not to be inadvertently
compromised or used by their intelligence services. He's obviously under surveillance there, I know we all are but he's much more
aware of it, so that doesn't make it easy for him but he's definitely safer there than he'd be in France or Germany. I just don't
think he planned well ahead when he became a whistle-blower or was clear about what he was trying to achieve. He's not the top
level type of spy we're accustomed to reading about who betray their country for money or to serve another they believe in more
than their own. If he has been on active duty as a CIA asset all along I can't see that he has achieved much of use to them other
than in some inter-agency rivalry game. But it's natural for Russians to be suspicious of him – they're suspicious by nature –
and rightly so, but it doesn't make his life easy there.
Good stuff. Snowden was outed by Gordon Duff years ago. Although I'll have to come back to finish this article, it generally appears
to agree with Duff's analysis that none of it adds up. If I may paraphrase Edward Bernays, To read the Washington Post and Guardian or watch TV news is to see America and Western Civilization through the eyes of its
The owners of the media own the public forum in America and through it the formation of men's attitudes and the outcome of
elections. The left vs right, CNN vs Fox News, MAGA vs socialism and other contrived theater serves the interests of the media
owners and no other.
Assange tried to destroy the "system", which would have furthered the conditions for completing the ongoing, global
Cultural Marxist Revolution Mao Zedong on steroids.
Snowden, on the other hand, wanted something much less extreme. He wanted to fix and save the "system" by exposing
its excesses in order to bring it back within a quasi-legal, democratic framework.
In response, the "system" was satisfied to teach Snowden a lesson. They were willing to slap Snowden's hand by exiling him
to Western Russia, which is better than rotting in a Siberian labor camp or "max" prison in the United States.
Assange, on the other hand, is a reincarnated, digital version of Che Guevara. They want his scalp, recognizing that Assange
(like Che Guevara) will brook no compromise in his revolutionary agitation.
@9/11 Inside job Well, the
Real Litmus Test ™ is eternal security vs. conditional salvation. Don't fail, or everything else you've ever said must be
summarily dismissed. Answer well, friendo .
Splitting (also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking) is the failure in a person's thinking to bring
together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It
is a common defense mechanism.
It appears the author of this piece has not read Snowden's book, Permanent Record . If she had, she would not have asked
questions which are answered, in detail, in Snowden's book. Here are some of the most obvious points.
1. "Why does Snowden never discuss dealing with such encryption: how would it be possible?"
Answer: In his book, Snowden describes the layers of encryption that he used when copying the files from NSA. He also describes
the extraordinary level of access he had as a systems engineer. Further, he mentions his surprise at finding that the NSA did
not practice widespread encryption, in contrast to his experience at CIA, where the hard drives were not only encrypted, but removed
from the computers and placed in a safe each night.
2. "In the Oliver Stone movie Snowden, as well as in any of Snowden's descriptions of how he accessed the NSA computers, did
you note either the depiction or reference to this universal Smart ID? How could Snowden be exempt from its requirement?"
Answer: Movies omit details. In his book, Snowden describes working in the one-person Information Sharing department. As part
of that work, he brought an older, "obsolete" system to his office under the cover story of "compatibility testing" and used this
older system to copy the data.
3. "Did Edward Snowden, who has publicly criticized Google, mention Google is deployed as a search engine throughout the federal
Answer: Yes, as a matter of fact, in his book, Snowden does mention that Google provides a custom internal version of their
search engine to the intelligence community.
4. "Edward Snowden would have us believe that the Eye of Sauron didn't notice he was looking at gigabytes of data unrelated
to his job function and using his computer to copy the data to external devices over a lengthy period of time."
Answer: In his book, Snowden describes how he created a "readboard" that collected the documents as part of his work in the
Information Sharing department. He also describes how another systems administrator did notice, and how he addressed this attention
by providing access to his "readboard" to the other administrator, and explained its purpose and value to users. In other words,
the "gigabytes of data" he was looking at were directly related to his job function.
5. "On another issue, why did Snowden provide his files to known house organs of Intelligence Agencies, specifically the Washington
Post and The Guardian, and not give them to Wikileaks to allow a publicly available searchable database?"
Answer: Snowden also discusses this topic in his book. According to Snowden, he did not want to simply release the information,
he wanted the media to remove anything that might cause harm.
6. "And what about Snowden himself, the pontificator, the man who can speak on television or to the media with evidence of
training? Practice yourself -- see how well you can answer questions and speak publicly to a TV camera. How did he get his training?
Who trained him? Why?"
Answer: After 6 years of media attention, it seems reasonable he would gain some expertise in dealing with the media.
My purpose in providing the answers above is not to defend or attack Snowden. Rather, these examples just show that the author
of this piece is a sloppy amateur who did not do her homework. I suspect the author is also woefully ignorant of computer technology.
Anyone curious about these topics should read Permanent Record and decide for themselves.
Your opinion stands. Snowden has de facto been compromised. Being in Russia, and not in control of his environment. Whether
he was from the start, could be. The Tor browser bull- *** t speaks against him all the way. His conventional career start, and
youth also. He is more Macron then a Galloway.
Assange was in for the long term, had thorough knowledge of affairs digital, his youth, his physical courage(there must be
a point where selling out was a possibility) were exemplary all along the (long) and still ongoing slug.
Even his ego, fronting Wikileaks seems to be proportionate as compared to the conventional Jerks &, as Pompeo, Hillary, Trump,
Obama. If one sees how many personnel is dedicated to steer elections and governance public opinion, he certainly looks like a
lonely giant on the civil disobedience, organizational, knowledgeable, energy spent and resilience side. A true example of what
White, and Western European descend stands for. Enlightenment, in system, style, and function. Relevancy, long term goals, dare,
does not come better then that.
The author, interestingly enough, isn't I.T. professional, but, has very definite opinions about IT security. Dumb.
Just email it to a private email.
Well, firewall logs could reveal your connection to some email server outside ..
Or store on something else and transport out.
Yep. Hehe the girl doesn't actually get how that "encryption" thing works. OSI layers etc.
And, what people really don't get: all security is as good as an average person using it.
As hehe you pointed out:
Hillary was doing the same thing for ages.
Insider doesn't need to tackle technology. All he/she needs is to tackle is a dumb employee.
I could make my home systems quite secure, even against Five Eyes. That would create another set of even worse problems, but
let's leave it out for now.
The problem is my wife and her browsing/computer use habits. Hehe makes sense?
Snowden keeping "distance" to Russia, and not openly defending them seems reasonable to me. You can imagine the smear campaign
back home if he would side with Russia against the U.S. on almost anything. "The Russians got to him" or "He was always their
He is trying to keep his neutrality and credibility and his target audience isn't the average Unz reader, but rather some mainstream
educated middle/upper class blokes. Easily scared away from his views if they become too controversial and too far from the established
Last but not least, he is playing very dangerous game, probably without much security from his host country. This probably
limits what he can do, TPTB could probably get to him if they wanted it badly enough.
@PetrOldSack > The Tor browser
bull- *** t speaks against him all the way
No, your stupid bull- *** t lack of understanding about Tor speaks against you all the way. It's not encryption, like you probably
think it is. It's simply a way to use another IP address without having to drive to the nearest Starbucks to use their wifi. You
treat Tor just like any "free" wifi, assuming that your data is being sniffed and collected. If you're going to message, use Signal
(or Telegram.) Always force HTTPS. Use encryption. All Tor does is obfuscate your IP location, which is exactly what Snowden states,
"All Tor does is obfuscate your IP location .
"[Tor] allows you to disassociate your physical location ."
@Republic How he got taken down
, and it started with the name-fag using his Real Name while e-begging for help to run illegal websites, and ended up with a half-dozen
FBI agents tailing him at his arrest. Even then, Tor made it harder for the FBI to track him, just not impossible.
Tor only does one thing, obfuscate your physical location. That's it. It's not magic. It's a virtual way to sit at the Starbucks
cafe and use their free wifi. Just assume the exit node is owned by the Feds, looking for criminal morons who don't understand
it and think it's "secure" or "encrypted." It's not. Use encryption too.
Stuff like this just confirms Qanon. He said years ago Snowden was a CIA plant in the NSA to reveal this information about their
mass surveillance on purpose. Why ? Maybe it relates to what Michael Hoffman describes as revelation of the method – a process
of revealing the crimes being committed against us by "they" so it breeds apathy and despair in the population when nothing comes
The revelation of the crimes
An allegedly very high iq high school from a family with drop out Snowden's tried to join special forces and failed jump school,
he failed a polygraph, got accepted to the CIA though not as a field agent despite his lack of a degree, and was bounced from
the CIA and then got a job with Dell as an outside contractor on the basis of his still intact security clearance, the contractors
were not compartmentalised in the way government employees were.
Then he went to work for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton,
at an NSA facility in Hawaii. In subsequent interview with journalists, Snowden lied about his doing undercover work for the CIA,
salary and seniority at Booz Allen, being able to spy on the the emails and phone calls of President Obama. Oh, and suffering broken
bones in special forces jump school, he just had shin splints It is very clear how he got access, and why most of the people who
gave him it did not own up.
Snowden may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers at the NSA regional operations center in Hawaii
to give him their logins and passwords by telling them they were needed for him to do his job as a computer systems administrator,
a second source said.
Are we to believe the NSA lacks a "digital trail" when it comes to classified documents?
It's only difficult to believe if you think NASA (like the CIA and FBI once were) are only guarded in relation to external
rather than internal security breaches
[A] frightening history of plans to crush internal dissent and would-be dissenters in the United States.
Why would they bother? Those dissenters cannot change anything, while they are whiling away their free time on the internet.
Such activity cannot change anything at all, and so it is to be encouraged from the point of view of any establishment as open
dissent on the net wards off the allegation of totalitarian state. Talk is cheap.
I'm not going to comment on the person or their agenda, rather the process-broadly.
Can you copy encrypted files without knowledge and smuggle them out?
Yes, with a second device and some standard hardware stuff.
They can see the second device if it is plugged in, but they have to look for it.
There is no need to try and copy from the source, copy the output to a second machine that can interpret.
ought to give Snowden some credit for his military service too.
Hell, I'd give the guy credit for his quick sprinting at the NSA. But we haven't established if he was a wiz kid or a plant.
Vidal went into the US Army after Pearl Harbor, at age 17. Even though he'd been his high school representative for the America
First Committee, trying to keep the US out of the war. Due to hypothermia working on army transport ships in the Aleutians, he
was initially misdiagnosed as arthritic and, not being caught in time, ended up first with a titanium leg replacement years later,
then in a wheelchair.
I remain sort of impressed when a young man opposes a fight, then for patriotic reasons, serves anyway (and pays a steep price).
I'm sure we'll get the full story on Snowden sooner or later.
@Saggy A stupid girl who is completely
unfamiliar with the Snowden history. For example, she asks this, "why did Snowden provide his files to The Guardian?"
Because he needed immediate press coverage. He didn't have weeks or even days, he had at most a few hours. His story
had to be in the press the next morning. Both Greenwald and the Guardian reporter were with him at the hotel, worried that
Snowden might even be assassinated if caught by US forces, and worked to get immediate press coverage of his plight to save his
life. Plus, he was in constant contact with Wikileaks'Julian Assange, which she conveniently ignores to promote her lie-based
Without his story getting into the press within a few hours, and without Wikileaks' Julian Assange helping Snowden, he'd be
in prison now, at best, possibly dead.
I say, give the guy a fair trial. He has asked for a fair trial. But the US Gov't has refused to allow his motive to
be considered in the trial. Amazing, isn't it? Since when is motive to not be considered in a criminal trial?
For Snowden, a fair trial means allowing the jury to consider his motivations rather than simply deciding the case
on whether a law was broken.
"They want the jury strictly to consider whether these actions were lawful or unlawful, not whether they were right or wrong,"
Snowden said. "And I'm sorry, but that defeats the purpose of a jury trial."
Tor may still be a good tool, it certainly was, I had great fun using it to troll and set off edit wars on English Wikipedia for
a year or two mid-last decade. One of those edit wars lasted for about three days. I just watched after starting it (but I meant
what I said in the comment that set it off, but not always in the trolling(^-^)v).
In any case, the English-language WP has been madly tracking Tor exit nodes and banning them since about early '07.
Fun while it lasted.
As for the wrong way to use it, that basically means making a connection to any other site, without Tor, while using Tor. I
slipped up on that once or twice when slightly drunk.
I don't even know if using Tor is even legal in Japan now. I do love, however, how Wikipedia is aggressively supressing it.
Some politicians in ruling party were moving to make it illegal a couple of years ago, our polity is so nonsensical that I
have to checck Japanese wiki to see the result.
Any fule knows that Tor original is a U.S.N. programme,
It appears the author of this piece has not read Snowden's book, Permanent Record. If she had, she would not have asked
questions which are answered, in detail, in Snowden's book. Here are some of the most obvious points.
1. "Why does Snowden never discuss dealing with such encryption: how would it be possible?"
Answer: In his book, Snowden describes the layers of encryption that he used when copying the files from NSA. He also describes
the extraordinary level of access he had as a systems engineer. Further, he mentions his surprise at finding that the NSA did
not practice widespread encryption, in contrast to his experience at CIA, where the hard drives were not only encrypted, but
removed from the computers and placed in a safe each night.
2. "In the Oliver Stone movie Snowden, as well as in any of Snowden's descriptions of how he accessed the NSA computers,
did you note either the depiction or reference to this universal Smart ID? How could Snowden be exempt from its requirement?"
Answer: Movies omit details. In his book, Snowden describes working in the one-person Information Sharing department. As
part of that work, he brought an older, "obsolete" system to his office under the cover story of "compatibility testing" and
used this older system to copy the data.
No, I haven't read the book–yet.
As part of a forensic analysis, which none of you were observant enough to understand, the subject is interviewed without knowledge
of the questions in advance. His answers would be evaluated based on facts, for which a forensic IT team with no connections to
government contractors would be part of and gain access to NSA systems. Thus, testimony is considered but it must be verified.
Rand Paul might be one to open an investigation into the inadequacy of NSA security but government investigating itself is suspect.
No such investigation will ever take place.
Note there has been no calls, that I am aware of, for any GAO study of NSA vulnerabilities.
Second, the critics miss the point: providing files to CIA-Five Eye fronts like Guardian and CIA Washington Post is suspect.
As per what I wrote, no one now has access to this data.
I suspect Snowden leaked legitimate information to con the Russians to be on their soil and conduct malfeasance. Prior to Putin
providing S-300s to Syria, Israel had better relations with Russia. I suspect Q is also coordinated by Intel agency friendly to
Likud. Note his mention of John Perry Barlow before his death. He warned of Snowden being sent deliberately to Russia and hence
my concern for CIA doing something stupid.
As to his comments on not supporting Russia, no support is necessary. If he were a decent human being he could simply have
stated, "Election interference notwithstanding the U.S. should pursue non-aggressive posture against Russia. There was no 'Second
Pearl Harbor.' The risk of nuclear war is great and I agree with President Trump to reduce tensions, although I disagree with
Instead, see his Tweets supporting the Pussy Hats and "We came, we saw, he died" Hillary Clinton.
In the event, Snowden is irrelevant. The end of Empire is imminent.
Read Martyanov's post on the recent threats America made to Russia here.
I have compassion for Snowden. His end will likely be as Skripals was: disappearance by Western IC which he supports and blame
placed on Russia.
We are free to disagree with one another. I trust nothing a supporter of Empire says.
As to September 11 I wasn't aware of Assange's remarks. This is the touchstone as others have said. Snowden enlisted because
of September 11 false flag. Yeah, right, he is an idiot savant.
Even Ed Asner who no longer wins Emmy awards and is blackballed had the courage to do this video. Trust Snowden? I think not.
Y. Lorenzo (this site will not allow me to post under my name)
p.s. Ron uses Gmail. The nearest military base is a long, long way from my location. A helicopter outfitted with surveillance
bubbles overflew after I submitted this piece.. Coincidence, right?
I will fight for the truth. I receive no compensation for my work and expect none. I support the cause of peace and not Empire.
Thanks for the intelligent supportive comments. Ad hominem attacks mean nothing. Thanks to Ron for posting though he disagrees.
...re. 'Smowden"when he was constantly whining about Russia, getting hhs pole-dancing gf to join him there must have
been a major effort, but he has no gratitude for it.
Really strange. At the time, I thought that Putin's comment 'he is a strange young man' had to do only with questions of loyalty and betrayal,
of course, it was lilekely deeper and more suspicious than that. If I had been in the position like 'Snowden', after first having been granted asylum, my priority would have been to study
the language. I would gtuess that he can order food or drink, do basic greetings, and not much else.
@Republic Snowden's wife is a
former pole dancer, those are for good for something, but its not marrying. Everything about him suggests immaturity, from his
toying with the idea of being a model to his trying to go from frail civilian with a youth spent 24/7 gaming to passing jumps
school. He stole vastly more than he could ever have read, much of it having no bearing on privacy so he has no idea what he might
have compromised. Quoth he:
There is a secrecy agreement, but there is also an oath of service. An oath of service is to support and defend, not an
agency, not even the president, it is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies
– direct quote – foreign and domestic. And this begs the question, what happens when our obligations come into conflict.
If you have meaningful values (ie those that do not charge to suit your personal aggrandisement) you resign, I but instead
of doing that he deliberately got another job contracting with the NSA all the better to steal data.
.In the event, Snowden is irrelevant. The end of Empire is imminent. Read Martyanov's post on the recent threats America made to Russia here .
That was fast, even for this pub.
Ad hominem attacks mean nothing.
You mean being positive about you UNABLE to visualize a byte from a "keypress" moving all the way to the LAN cable with each
timer "click"? You know, buffers, busses, microcode/firmware, interrupts, stack/heap, closed source, encryption/decryption layer
of the OSI stack etc. That's for technology.
As for people, unaware of an average idiot user in any environment using IT, Governments in particular, and the role and power
of sysadmins in such environments?
But confident to write articles what can and can not be done re IT security?
You mean being positive about you UNABLE to visualize a byte from a "keypress" moving all the way to the LAN cable with
each timer "click"? You know, buffers, busses, microcode/firmware, interrupts, stack/heap, closed source, encryption/decryption
layer of the OSI stack etc. That's for technology.
Rand Paul might be one to open an investigation into the inadequacy of NSA security but government investigating itself
is suspect. No such investigation will ever take place.
Yes, Rand Paul who while cutting his lawn provoked his own retired doctor neighbor in a gated community into a maddened vicious
rib dislocating attack that cost Paul part of his lung What a brilliant choice to annoy the government.
His end will likely be as Skripals was: disappearance by Western IC which he supports and blame placed on Russia
Skirpal is in America. The British got Skirpal out of Russia, but Russia could have killed him any time because he was homesick
and meeting people from the Russian Embassy. In my opinion the Russians were trying to kill Skirpal's daughter along with him.
They knew she was coming and timed the nerve agent attack so as to 'accidentally' kill her along with the traitor. The knowledge
that you will go after their families is the ultimate deterrent. Unless you are a narcissistic dick like Snowden, who hardly mentions
anything his family did for him except getting a second phone line so he could play some stupid internet game. Snowden actually
says in his book that the internet raised him. It did not get him a job in the CIA despite him having no degree, that was his
mom's NSA and her father's Pentagon connections. Aldrich Ames's father worked for the CIA .
Edward Snowden is a great man – a great American. (Will a Dem president pardon him?) I recently viewed a video on how a poor immigrant family hid Snowden before he secured a flight out of Hong Kong. (He is working
to get them out of Hong Kong, to Canada.) I am curious as to how he got the flight out to Russia?????
This will be my final comment.
My issue is one regarding Snowden's character and integrity, especially as the collapsing Empire under FUBAR Trump is waging
war on the world. Come on, none of the CIA trolls here have read The Saker with Orlov on the fate of the mass murdering Empire?
At this point it is important to explain what exactly a "final collapse" looks like. Some people are under the very mistaken
assumption that a collapsed society or country looks like a Mad Max world. This is not so. The Ukraine has been a failed state
for several years already, but it still exists on the map. People live there, work, most people still have electricity (albeit
not 24/7), a government exists, and, at least officially, law and order is maintained. This kind of collapsed society can go
on for years, maybe decades, but it is in a state of collapse nonetheless, as it has reached all the 5 Stages of Collapse as
defined by Dmitry Orlov in his seminal book "The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit" where he mentions the following
5 stages of collapse:
Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in "business as usual" is lost.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that "the market shall provide" is lost.
Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that "the government will take care of you" is lost.
Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that "your people will take care of you" is lost.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in "the goodness of humanity" is lost.
Sound familiar? Read it and weep. Your pensions are toast.
Or read Chris Hedges America The Farewell Tour.
Snowden's character is proven by his interview with Brian Roberts.
Now, although only 14% of U.S. TLAMs got past Syrian air defenses, hear him was rhapsodic on the "beautiful missiles."
And Snowden is happy to talk to this creep? And asks Rothschild-Kravis puppet Macron to ex-filtrate him to France?
It was in this milieu that he met Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis, in their residence on Park Avenue in New York . The Kravis
couple, unfailing supporters of the US Republican Party, are among the great world fortunes who play politics out of sight
of the Press. Their company, KKR, like Blackstone and the Carlyle Group, is one of the world's major investment funds.
" Emmanuel's curiosity for the 'can-do attitude' was fascinating – the capacity to tell yourself that you can do anything
you set your mind to. He had a thirst for knowledge and a desire to understand how things work, but without imitating or copying
anyone. In this, he remained entirely French ", declares Marie-Josée Drouin (Mrs. Kravis) today .
Snowden's revelations about his aspirations for asylum outside of Russia come just days ahead of the upcoming release of
his new memoir which is expected to hit the shelves on US Constitution Day.
Famous American whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the man responsible for exposing a number of global
surveillance programs run by the US agency, has recently revealed that he would like to obtain asylum in France.
Call it female intuition, Snowden creeps me out.
Those who want to bow before his altar, be my guest. You have free will.
Just realized, isn't this creature the only female author here?
A female creature is writing, as an author, on alt-whatever site, about things she has never been professionally involved in.
With certain hahaha style.
Hahaha ..oh my.
So, what have we got:
1. Unz finally collapsed under "diversity" pressure?
2. There is, sort of a hidden, message here.
@Sean True true .mea culpa. Female
stuff, that is, in general.
Style, though, is unique for the creature here.
Go wave your flag
.CIA trolls here
Read it and weep. Your pensions are toast .
.creep .creeps me out
I mean hahaha .when reading those things it's, almost, as written by a certain type of commentators here. Almost as one of
them, actually. Same "footprint". Especially the first two.
I mean, having that from an author here is, really, a new low for sure.
This is the first time I've seen something like that, and my attitude was mild in this thread compared to some in other threads.
I mean, I was quite hard on some authors here, and never, so far that. "Butthurt" ."whoo-hoo"
I've quite offended a couple of authors here and they never replied with any rude word. And ..my God "whoo-hoo". Haha crazy.
New "quality" seeping here, apparently. Hehe getting with times, I guess. And program.
I've been on this site for quite some time. Read, on average, 20 % of articles and similar number of comments in those articles.
I can't, really, recollect ONE case when an AUTHOR, here, in a comments exchange with a commentator, used the words
"butthurt" and "whoo-hoo". Not once from the, say, authors from the West. Born and raised there, that is. Cultural
thing, I guess.
@foolisholdmanI agree. Shilling
for the Israelis regarding 911 is a deal breaker for me. They had me going about these 2 guys for a while, but when I heard that
they had ridiculed 911 truthers I smelled a rat. And after this article I agree they are shills for the status quo. Reasonable
people can not doubt that 911 was a false flag operation. There's just too much bullshit there.
I think the idea Snowden is a "plant" is a bit far out there. If he is; the real purpose of the exercise is what exactly?
I also don't get why some commenters think Julian Assange isn't who he claims to be. His Wikileaks has published great volume
of highly embarrassing material for the U.S. The embassy cables come to mind – bringing to light evidence contrary to Washington
narrative on many events.
There is another thing; Just after he established Wikileaks he came to Iceland and met with journalists and few politicians.
The result from that visit was he met one Kristinn Hrafnsson, long time journalist in Iceland with excellent track record and
credibility. Since Assange got in trouble, accused of sexual harassment from Swedish woman and finally escaped into the Ecuador
embassy in London, Hrafnsson has been spokesman for Wikileaks.
Since I am familiar with Hrafnsson work for decades, I would be very surprised if he worked with Assagne all this time, and
even took over his job, so to speak, as head of Wikileaks if Assagne wasn't genuine. Hrafnsson has struck me as smart guy and
honest and it's extremely unlikely he would continue if something didn't smell right at Wikileaks. I also want to point out Wikileaks
has been working with, what I consider the few remaining NEWS outlets in Europe. (Including The Guardian before it was bought
few years ago and became worthless).
To Assagne credit he booted Icelandic polititian, one Birgitta Jónsdóttir; who tried to visit him in U.K. prison – and wanted
nothing to do with her. She has been trying to make international name for herself as fighter for human rights and peacemaker
and against corruption and so forth. Unfortunately she is a bag full of hot air and thinks SHE is the center of the universe.
It's all about her and therefore she is of no use for any cause. Julian was right to send her packing.
I can't imagine what the CIA or NSA or other tentacles of the Empire would gain by running Wikileaks. It makes absolutely no
sense to me.
"It all comes down to 9/11.Everything that has happened has happened based on a lie . Everyone in Government ; everyone in
the media , in entertainment , in organized religion , in the public ,in the public eye who accepts and promotes the official
story is either a traitor or a tool . Everyone who does not stand forth and speak truth to power is a coward , a liar and complicit
in mass-murder . Everyone
everywhere can be measured by this Litmus Test ."
In 2013, Edward Snowden was an IT systems expert working under contract for the National
Security Agency when he traveled to Hong Kong to provide three journalists with thousands of
top-secret documents about U.S. intelligence agencies' surveillance of American citizens.
To Snowden, the classified information he shared with the journalists exposed privacy abuses
by government intelligence agencies. He saw himself as a whistleblower. But the U.S. government
considered him a traitor in violation of the
Espionage Act .
After meeting with the journalists, Snowden intended to leave Hong Kong and travel -- via
Russia -- to Ecuador, where he would seek asylum. But when his plane landed at Moscow's
Sheremetyevo International Airport, things didn't go according to plan.
"What I wasn't expecting was that the United States government itself ... would cancel my
passport," he says.
Snowden was directed to a room where Russian intelligence agents offered to assist him -- in
return for access to any secrets he harbored. Snowden says he refused.
"I didn't cooperate with the Russian intelligence services -- I haven't and I won't," he
says. "I destroyed my access to the archive. ... I had no material with me before I left Hong
Kong, because I knew I was going to have to go through this complex multi-jurisdictional
Snowden spent 40 days in the Moscow airport, trying to negotiate asylum in various
countries. After being denied asylum by 27 nations, he settled in Russia, where he remains
"People look at me now and they think I'm this crazy guy, I'm this extremist or whatever.
Some people have a misconception that [I] set out to burn down the NSA," he says. "But that's
not what this was about. In many ways, 2013 wasn't about surveillance at all. What it was about
was a violation of the Constitution."
Snowden's 2013 revelations led to changes in the laws and standards governing American
intelligence agencies and the practices of U.S. technology companies, which now encrypt much of
their Web traffic for security. He reflects on his life and his experience in the intelligence
community in the memoir Permanent Record.
On Sept. 17, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit to recover all proceeds from the book,
alleging that Snowden violated nondisclosure agreements by not letting the government review
the manuscript before publication; Snowden's attorney, Ben Wizner, said in a statement that the
book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news
organizations, and that the government's prepublication review system is under court
If you are paranoid enough, and want to follow Snowden steps (he actually has valid reason to be afraid that each his step is
monitored by all available tech means, including using his sell phone) you do not need to open the phone and disconnect the mike.
You can just put a drop of epoxy into microphone phone. That disables microphone as no air will get to the membrane.
"... I try not to use one as much as possible, and when I do use one, I use a cellphone that I have myself modified. [I've] performed a kind of surgery on it. I open it up with special tools and I use a soldering iron to remove the microphone and I disconnect the camera so that the phone can't simply listen to me when it's sitting there. It physically has no microphone in it. And when I need to make a call I just connect an external microphone through the headphone jack. And this way the phone works for you rather than you working for the phone. ..."
I try not to use one as much as possible, and when I do use one, I use a cellphone that I
have myself modified. [I've] performed a kind of surgery on it. I open it up with special tools
and I use a soldering iron to remove the microphone and I disconnect the camera so that the
phone can't simply listen to me when it's sitting there. It physically has no microphone in it.
And when I need to make a call I just connect an external microphone through the headphone
jack. And this way the phone works for you rather than you working for the phone.
We need to
be regulating the collection of data, because our phones, our devices, our laptops -- even just
driving down the street with all of these systems that surround us today -- is producing
records about our lives. It's the modern pollution.
You need to be careful about the software you put on your phone, you need to be careful
about the connections it's making, because today most people have got a thousand apps on their
phones; it's sitting there on your desk right now or in your hand and the screen can be off but
it's connecting hundreds or thousands of times a second. ...
And this is this core problem of the data issue that we're dealing with today. We're passing
laws that are trying to regulate the use of data. We're trying to regulate the protection of
data, but all of these things presume that the data has already been collected. ...
We need to be regulating the collection of data, because our phones, our devices, our
laptops -- even just driving down the street with all of these systems that surround us today
-- is producing records about our lives. It's the modern pollution.
"... The United States is seeking all proceeds earned by Snowden for the book, the Justice Department said. The lawsuit also names the "corporate entities" behind the book's publication as nominal defendants. ..."
"... Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden, said the lawsuit was without merit. "This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations," he said in a statement, adding that Snowden would have submitted it for review if he thought the government would review it in good faith. ..."
The United States filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked
secret documents about U.S. telephone and internet surveillance in 2013, saying his new book violates non-disclosure agreements.
The Justice Department said Snowden published his memoir, "Permanent Record," without submitting it to intelligence agencies for
review, adding that speeches given by Snowden also violated nondisclosure agreements. In 2013, Snowden wrote "Everything You Know
about the Constitution is Wrong."
The United States is seeking all proceeds earned by Snowden for the book, the Justice Department said. The lawsuit also names
the "corporate entities" behind the book's publication as nominal defendants.
Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden, said the lawsuit was without merit.
"This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations," he said in a
statement, adding that Snowden would have submitted it for review if he thought the government would review it in good faith.
Representatives for the book's publisher, Macmillan Publishers, and its unit Henry Holt & Co, did not immediately respond to requests
Snowden has lived in Russia since he revealed details of U.S. intelligence agencies' secret surveillance programs.
Though he is viewed by some as a hero, U.S. authorities want him to stand in a criminal trial over his disclosures of classified
Speaking by video link at an event in Berlin to promote the book, Snowden said that while he had signed a non-disclosure agreement
to maintain secrecy, he had also sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
"You've told the government you're not going to talk to journalists. You've told them you're not going to write a book," Snowden
said. "At the same time you have an oath to defend the Constitution. And the secret that you are asked to protect is that the government
is violating that Constitution and the rights of people around the world."
Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington and Paul Carrell in Berlin; Editing by Marguerita
Choy and Lisa Shumaker Our Standards: The Thomson
Reuters Trust Principles.
When the ideology collapses like neoliberalism collapsed in 2008 defections and leaks from the intelligence agencies became more
prominent and higher level. Just before the USSR collapsed there were several high level officers of KGB that changed sides including
at least one general of KGB.
We can probably view Snowden and Manning as signs of similar process which started in the USA after the collapse of neoliberalism.
They suggest that loyalty to the USA in CIA or NSA is on low level not became of some external factors, but due to lack of conviction
in the sanity of the current social system in the USA (aka neoliberal society). So "protest defections" will probably continues unabated.
Of course, dealing with intelligence agencies is tricky as Snowden revelation might just be a limited revenge of CIA to NSA.
But in any case it is undisputable that while few Snowden files were published the mere fact of exfiltration of so much highly sensitive
information did some damage to military industrial complex. That makes is less pausible that he operates as CIA mole, which several
commenters below suggest.
At the same time in this interview Snowden sounds like a naive and disoriented person: " I try to keep a distance between myself
and Russian society, and this is completely intentional. I live my life with basically the English-speaking community." English
speaking community in Russia probably has highest in the world percentage of intelligence officers of Western countries including CIA
Another somewhat suspicious fact is that very few files that Snowden files were released. So the whole story now looks like "Too
much ado about nothing." Unlike Wikileaks that published Manning materials.
"... He describes the 18 years since the September 11 attacks as "a litany of American destruction by way of American self-destruction, with the promulgation of secret policies, secret laws, secret courts and secret wars". ..."
"... Snowden also said: " The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition. ..."
"... " An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer to an automated police officer ." - The Guardian ..."
"... You have to remember, in the beginning I didn't even know mass surveillance was a thing because I worked for the CIA, which is a human intelligence organization. But when I was sent back to NSA headquarters and my very last position to directly work with a tool of mass surveillance, there was a guy who was supposed to be teaching me . And sometimes he would spin around in his chair, showing me nudes of whatever target's wife he's looking at. And he's like: "Bonus!" ..."
"... The most important part of the Rubik's cube was actually not as a concealment device, but a distraction device. I had to get things out of that building many times. I really gave Rubik's cubes to everyone in my office as gifts and guards saw me coming and going with this Rubik's cube all the time. So I was the Rubik's cube guy . ..."
"... When you're doing this for the first time, you're just going down the hallway and trying not to shake. And then, as you do it more times, you realize that it works. You realize that a metal detector won't detect an SD card because it has less metal in it than the brackets on your jeans. ..."
"... I try to keep a distance between myself and Russian society, and this is completely intentional. I live my life with basically the English-speaking community . I'm the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. And, you know, I'm an indoor cat. It doesn't matter where I am -- Moscow, Berlin, New York -- as long as I have a screen to look into. ..."
"... 16 June 2013 The revelations expand to include the UK, with news that GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians' communications during the 2009 G20 summit in London, and that the British spy agency has also tapped the fibre-optic cables carrying much of the internet's traffic. ..."
"... 3 July 2013 While en route from Moscow, Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, is forced to land in Vienna after European countries refuse his plane airspace, suspecting that Snowden was on board. It is held and searched for 12 hours. ..."
"... December 2016 Oliver Stone releases the movie Snowden featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson, Zachary Quinto and a cameo by former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. ..."
"... When he originally contacted Glenn Greenwald, I was suspicious. I said then, nothing will come of this, and nothing did, because WE NEVER GOT TO SEE all the files he had and what was on them. ..."
"... Read in Reuters that he's requested asylum in France. ..."
"... It will be common knowledge soon that it was the NSA (Admiral Rogers) that first detected the coup against Trump and the illegal surveillance. Remember friends, the FISA warrants were a cover for the illegal spying the Obama administration was ALREADY doing on Trump, Cruz, and others. ..."
"... I try to keep a distance between myself and Russian society, and this is completely intentional. I live my life with basically the English-speaking community. ..."
"... What an ungrateful twat. Russia saved his bacon and yet he wants to know nothing of the country and its people and maybe begin to understand WHY they would offer to help him...even if he doesnt like the Russain government, he CHOOSES to know nothing of the Russian people. What a loser! ..."
"... Maybe he doesn't know how to speak Russian, seeing as how getting stuck in Russia was not exactly his original plan. He just happened to be in a Russian airport when the USA happened to revoke his passport, making it impossible for him to leave. ..."
"... There is also the other angle, that perhaps he might be working as a CIA agent even now, and that his predicament is actually all entirely pre-meditated by the USA. Russia might take his getting friendly with the locals as being a bit impolite if he is doing spy work for the USA while living in Russia. ..."
"... He doesnt need to be "palsy-walsy" with Russians, he has NO knowledge of the country he lives in and its people and doesn't want to. That is ungrateful to the nth degree. ..."
"... If Russia wanted to they could shut down his ability to give video-conferences etc. They don't, they continue to show him a hospitality that he seems willing to spit on! ..."
"... Serious damage? I fear Snowden and Assange wasted their lives upon the American people. Was Snowden wrong morally? He fought the totalitarian giant and for this the people sit back in their arm chairs and moralize whether it was right or wrong. We don't deserve to be "free.". ..."
"... Why and how has Greenwald been able to "sit on" countless info files but never released them? If that is true then why haven't US authorities gone after him as well? Way too many strange aspects to Snowden's cover story and how he's allowed by the Russian's to make public statements about their local political landscape. ..."
"... It's not just that. Greenwald lives full time in Brazil for a very good reason--Brazil has no extradition treaty with the US. He's relatively safe there, although his boyfriend was stupid enough to go to London briefly and nearly got the Assange treatment... ..."
"... What I hate is that Snowden gave all those documents to Greenwald who said he was going to publish them and once he went to the Intercept under Omadyar...nothing but silence on those files. To my mind he betrayed Snowden. ..."
"... Book tour, Docudrama and T-Shirt? ..."
"... That part of the narrative does seem a bit odd, doesn't it? She's allowed to come and go as she pleases in the USA, yet is married to this guy wanted by the US authorities? Hmm. Nothing suspicious about that. ..."
"... Can anybody name something that Snowfen revealed that wasn't common knowledge? ..."
Meeting with both
The Guardian and
Spiegel Online in Moscow as part of its promotion, the infamous whistleblower spent nearly five hours with the two media
outlets - offering a taste of what's in the book, details on his background, and his thoughts on artificial intelligence, facial
recognition, and other intelligence gathering tools coming to a dystopia near you.
While The Guardian interview is 'okay,' scroll down for the far more interesting Spiegel interview, where Snowden
goes way deeper into his cloak-and-dagger life, including thoughts on getting suicided.
First, The Guardian :
Snowden describes in detail for the first time his background, and what led him to leak details of the secret programms being
run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK's secret communication headquarters,
He describes the 18 years since the September 11 attacks as "a litany of American destruction by way of American self-destruction,
with the promulgation of secret policies, secret laws, secret courts and secret wars".
Snowden also said: " The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities,
such as facial and pattern recognition.
" An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer
to an automated police officer ." -
Snowden secretly married his partner, Lindsay Mills, two years ago in a Russian courthouse. They met when he was 22 (14 years
ago) on the internet site "Hot or Not," where he rated her a 10 out of 10 and she rated him a (generous) eight.
He freely moves around Moscow, riding the metro, visiting art galleries or the ballet, and meeting with friends in cafes and
The 36-year-old lives in a two-bedroom flat on the outskirts of Moscow, and derives most of his income (until now) from speaking
fees - mainly to students, civil rights activists and others abroad via video chat.
Snowden is an "indoor cat by choice," who is "happiest sitting at his computer late into the night, communicating with campaigners
At a training school for spies, Snowden was nicknamed "the Count" after the Sesame Street character.
The Der Spiegel interview, meanwhile, is way more interesting ... For example:
" If I Happen to Fall out of a Window, You Can Be Sure I Was Pushed. "
Meeting Edward Snwoden is pretty much exactly how children imagine the grand game of espionage is played.
But then, on Monday, there he was, standing in our room on the first floor of the Hotel Metropol, as pale and boyish-looking
as the was when the world first saw him in June 2013 . For the last six years, he has been living in Russian exile. The U.S. has
considered him to be an enemy of the state, right up there with Julian Assange, ever since he revealed, with the help of journalists,
the full scope of the surveillance system operated by the National Security Agency (NSA).
For quite some time, though, he remained silent about how he smuggled the secrets out of the country and what his personal
motivations were. -
Select excerpts via Der Spiegel (emphasis ours):
DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Snowden, you always said: "I am not the story." But now you've written 432 pages about yourself. Why?
Edward Snowden: Because I think it's more important than ever to explain systems of mass surveillance and mass manipulation
to the public. And I can't explain how these systems came to be without explaining my role in helping to build them.
DER SPIEGEL: Wasn't it just as important four or even six years ago?
Snowden: Four years ago, Barack Obama was president. Four years ago, Boris Johnson wasn't around and the AfD ( Germany's
right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany ) was still kind of a joke. But now in 2019, no one is laughing. When you look
around the world, when you look at the rising factionalization of society, when you see this new wave of authoritarianism sweeping
over many countries: Everywhere political classes and commercial classes are realizing they can use technology to influence the world
on a new scale that was not previously available. We are seeing our systems coming under attack.
DER SPIEGEL: What systems?
Snowden: The political system, the legal system, the social system. And we have the proclivity to think that if we get rid of
the people we don't like, the problem is solved. We go: "Oh, it's Donald Trump. Oh, it's Boris Johnson. Oh, it's the Russians" But
Donald Trump is not the problem. Donald Trump is the product of the problem.
DER SPIEGEL: While writing, did you discover any truths about yourself that you didn't like?
Snowden: The most unflattering thing is to realize just how naïve and credulous I was and how that could make me into a
tool of systems that would use my skills for an act of global harm . The class of which I am a part of, the global technological
community, was for the longest time apolitical. We have this history of thinking: "We're going to make the world better."
DER SPIEGEL: Was that your motivation when you entered the world of espionage?
Snowden: Entering the world of espionage sounds so grand. I just saw an enormous landscape of opportunities because the
government in its post-9/11 spending blitz was desperate to hire anybody who had high-level technical skills and a clearance. And
I happened to have both. It was weird to be just a kid and be brought into CIA headquarters, put in charge of the entire Washington
metropolitan area's network .
DER SPIEGEL: Was it not also fascinating to be able to invade pretty much everybody's life via state-sponsored hacking?
Snowden: You have to remember, in the beginning I didn't even know mass surveillance was a thing because I worked for
the CIA, which is a human intelligence organization. But when I was sent back to NSA headquarters and my very last position to directly
work with a tool of mass surveillance, there was a guy who was supposed to be teaching me . And sometimes he would spin around in
his chair, showing me nudes of whatever target's wife he's looking at. And he's like: "Bonus!"
DER SPIEGEL: You became seriously ill and fell into depression. Have you ever had suicidal thoughts?
Snowden: No! This is important for the record. I am not now, nor have I ever been suicidal. I have a philosophical objection
to the idea of suicide, and if I happen to fall out of a window, you can be sure I was pushed.
DER SPIEGEL: You write that you sometimes smuggled SD memory cards inside a Rubik's cube .
Snowden: The most important part of the Rubik's cube was actually not as a concealment device, but a distraction device.
I had to get things out of that building many times. I really gave Rubik's cubes to everyone in my office as gifts and guards saw
me coming and going with this Rubik's cube all the time. So I was the Rubik's cube guy . And when I came out of the tunnel with
my contraband and saw one of the bored guards, I sometimes tossed the cube to him. He's like, "Oh, man, I had one of these things
when I was a kid, but you know, I could never solve it. So I just pulled the stickers off." That was exactly what I had done -- but
for different reasons.
DER SPIEGEL: You even put the SD cards into your mouth.
Snowden:When you're doing this for the first time, you're just going down the hallway and trying not to shake. And
then, as you do it more times, you realize that it works. You realize that a metal detector won't detect an SD card because it has
less metal in it than the brackets on your jeans.
DER SPIEGEL: You describe your arrival in Moscow as a walk in the park. You say you refused to cooperate with the Russian
intelligence agency FSB and they let you go. That sounds implausible to us.
Snowden: I think what explains the fact that the Russian government didn't hang me upside down my ankles and beat me with
a shock prod until secrets came out was because everyone in the world was paying attention to it. And they didn't know what to do.
They just didn't know how to handle it. I think their answer was: "Let's wait and see."
DER SPIEGEL: Do you have Russian friends?
Snowden: I try to keep a distance between myself and Russian society, and this is completely intentional. I live my
life with basically the English-speaking community . I'm the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. And, you know, I'm
an indoor cat. It doesn't matter where I am -- Moscow, Berlin, New York -- as long as I have a screen to look into.
Read the rest of Der Spiegel' s interview with Edward Snowden
Meanwhile, The Guardian provides an interesting 'Snowden Timeline':
21 June 1983 Edward Joseph Snowden is born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, US.
2006-2013 Initially at the CIA, and then as a contractor for first Dell and then Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden spends years
working in cybersecurity on projects for the US National Security Agency (NSA).
20 May 2013 Edward Snowden arrives in Hong Kong, where a few days later he meets with Guardian journalists, and shares with
them a cache of top secret documents he has been downloading and storing for some time.
5 June 2013 The Guardian begins reporting the Snowden leaks, with revelations about the NSA storing the phone records of millions
of Americans, and the agency's claim its Prism programme had "direct access" to data held by Google, Facebook, Apple and other
US internet giants.
7 June 2013 The US president, Barack Obama, is forced to defend the programmes, insisting that they are adequately overseen
by the courts and Congress.
9 June 2013 Snowden goes public as the source of the leaks in a video interview.
16 June 2013 The revelations expand to include the UK, with news that GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians' communications
during the 2009 G20 summit in London, and that the British spy agency has also tapped the fibre-optic cables carrying much of
the internet's traffic.
21 June 2013 The US files espionage charges against Snowden and requests Hong Kong detain him for extradition.
23 June 2013 Snowden leaves Hong Kong for Moscow. Hong Kong claims that the US got Snowden's middle name wrong in documents
submitted requesting his arrest meaning they were powerless to prevent his departure.
1 July 2013 Russia reveals that Snowden has applied for asylum. He also expresses an interest in claiming asylum in several
South American nations. Eventually Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela offer permanent asylum.
3 July 2013 While en route from Moscow, Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, is forced to land in Vienna after European countries
refuse his plane airspace, suspecting that Snowden was on board. It is held and searched for 12 hours.
1 August 2013 After living in an airport for a month, Snowden is granted asylum in Russia.
21 August 2013 The Guardian reveals that the UK government ordered it to destroy the computer equipment used for the Snowden
December 2013 Snowden is a runner-up to Pope Francis as Time's Person of the Year, and gives Channel 4's "Alternative Christmas
May 2015 The NSA stops the bulk collection of US phone calling records that had been revealed by Snowden.
December 2016 Oliver Stone releases the movie Snowden featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson, Zachary
Quinto and a cameo by former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.
January 2017 Snowden's leave to remain in Russia is extended for three more years.
June 2018 Snowden says he has no regrets about his revelations, saying: "The government and corporate sector preyed on our
ignorance. But now we know. People are aware now. People are still powerless to stop it but we are trying."
March 2019 Vanessa Rodel, who sheltered Snowden in Hong Kong, is granted asylum in Canada.
September 2019 Snowden remains living in an undisclosed location in Moscow as he prepares to publish his memoirs.
There's really no way to know that for sure if this guy is legit. If he is part of an operation, let's hope it's for something
good. When he originally contacted Glenn Greenwald, I was suspicious. I said then, nothing will come of this, and nothing
did, because WE NEVER GOT TO SEE all the files he had and what was on them.
Just what this man is up to we will likely never know. These kinds of operations can take years to set up.
My guess is Snowden is the Decoy, the distraction. There is likely someone else or something else that all of this camouflages.
Things go both ways in a surveillance environment. Snowden will be exposed in time as a CIA operative. The NSA has everything
including Hillary's private emails. Obama and many in his regime were also using private email servers, and the NSA has them all.
Snowden was trying to destroy the NSA, when they are what was needed to take down the CIA, FBI, and the Deep State. I don't
like the NSA being in existence, but this will help in prosecuting the criminals.
So what is the NSA waiting for? The statute of limitations to expire? LOL. Snowden wasn't trying to do anything except educate
people on what their government is doing. You obviously hate truth and knowledge. You work for the NSA?
Any other critical thinkers notice the CIA activated their asset again finally ? A predictable programmed book really ? Just
imagine what kind of juicy already known statecraft he will reveal. Lol. America loves their confabulated mythical pseudo-hero's
& cucked political demigods full of bovine scat don't they.
The UberMensch hero who somehow miraculously survived the 'enkryptonite' where other HVT can't. Amazing. Need to hurl makes
me gag reflex & gut retch.
Snowden is still CIA and his mission was to throw the NSA under the bus.
It will be common knowledge soon that it was the NSA (Admiral Rogers) that first detected the coup against Trump and the
illegal surveillance. Remember friends, the FISA warrants were a cover for the illegal spying the Obama administration was ALREADY
doing on Trump, Cruz, and others.
I try to keep a distance between myself and Russian society, and this is completely intentional. I live my life with
basically the English-speaking community.
What an ungrateful twat. Russia saved his bacon and yet he wants to know nothing of the country and its people and maybe
begin to understand WHY they would offer to help him...even if he doesnt like the Russain government, he CHOOSES to know nothing
of the Russian people. What a loser!
Just how is he to know who is undercover security services and who is just plain good and interesting?
Maybe he doesn't know how to speak Russian, seeing as how getting stuck in Russia was not exactly his original plan. He
just happened to be in a Russian airport when the USA happened to revoke his passport, making it impossible for him to leave.
There is also the other angle, that perhaps he might be working as a CIA agent even now, and that his predicament is actually
all entirely pre-meditated by the USA. Russia might take his getting friendly with the locals as being a bit impolite if he is
doing spy work for the USA while living in Russia.
I agree with you vasilievich....I am looking forward to visiting Russia next spring in time for the V-Day and the Immortal
Regiment, then spend a month visiting Russian and hopefully getting to interact with Russians "on the street".
One of the differences with Russia and the "West" is that Putins hours long live "conversations" with Russians and the way
he gets his government to follow up up problems, which he himself follows up on to insure actions are taken, ensure that people
have that freedom to be critical of their own society. Such an opposite to what happens to critics in the "west"
My take on Snowden is he's basically a decent guy who did some serious damage. Was he wrong legally? Hell yes! Was he wrong
morally? Possibly. Would I put the guy in prison if I could? Yeah for about 30 days because the bottom line of what he did was
to expose **** that needed to be exposed.
It's complicated but occasionally a guy like this is needed to stir the pot.
Serious damage? I fear Snowden and Assange wasted their lives upon the American people. Was Snowden wrong morally? He fought
the totalitarian giant and for this the people sit back in their arm chairs and moralize whether it was right or wrong. We don't
deserve to be "free.".
There is still more and something very fishy about Snowden.....if he really did so much so called "damage" to the US why do
US authorities never mention him? Why do they never pressure Russia to send him back?
Why and how has Greenwald been able to "sit on" countless info files but never released them? If that is true then why
haven't US authorities gone after him as well? Way too many strange aspects to Snowden's cover story and how he's allowed by the
Russian's to make public statements about their local political landscape.
It's not just that. Greenwald lives full time in Brazil for a very good reason--Brazil has no extradition treaty with the
US. He's relatively safe there, although his boyfriend was stupid enough to go to London briefly and nearly got the Assange treatment...
What I hate is that Snowden gave all those documents to Greenwald who said he was going to publish them and once he went
to the Intercept under Omadyar...nothing but silence on those files. To my mind he betrayed Snowden.
That part of the narrative does seem a bit odd, doesn't it? She's allowed to come and go as she pleases in the USA, yet
is married to this guy wanted by the US authorities? Hmm. Nothing suspicious about that.
How does what I wrote translate into an integrity issue?
Been married twice, fully faithful. But at his age particularly, would not recommend it to a guy who is in an unstable situation
anyway. (not to mention the girl originally rejected him when the going got rough).
Live a little, enjoy your youth, and enjoy the infamy!
the important side effect of dominance in advertizing is a huge surveillance mechanism of Big
Brother type that come with it. Google essentially is able to see what particular individual is
viewing, unless special steps like blocking Google advertizing server IPs, modifying the page of
advertizing servers produce logs that are equitant if not better.
Fifty Attorney Generals from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced
on Monday that they are launching an anti-trust investigation into Google. This investigation
would be in addition the one that the Justice Department's already conducting. Here's what
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who's leading the case, had to say when he made the
announcement on Monday.
KEN PAXTON: This is a company that dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet and
searching on the internet as they dominate the buyer side, the seller side, the auction side
and even the video side with YouTube. And right now, we're looking at advertising, but the
facts will lead to where the facts lead. And even as we speak, been up here about a minute,
there'll be 3.8 million searches and a lot of advertising dollars just made in every minute
that one of these people speaks.
GREG WILPERT: Other major tech companies that have come into the crosshairs of various state
and federal government agencies for anti-trust investigations are Facebook, Apple and Amazon.
According to a New York Times analysis, Google is facing five major investigations,
Facebook eleven, and Apple and Amazon are each facing three. Each area of anti-competitive
behavior is different, depending on the market that each one of these companies dominates.
Joining me now to discuss the wave of anti-trust investigations against Google and other
tech companies is Bill Black. He is a white-collar criminologist, former financial regulator,
and Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He's
also the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One . Thanks for
joining us again, Bill.
BILL BLACK: Thank you.
GREG WILPERT: So it's interesting that a Republican State Attorney General is taking the
lead on this, Ken Paxton. And that California isn't even a part of the case, along with
Alabama. What's going on here? What's your analysis?
BILL BLACK: Okay, so the reason the state AGs are getting involved in general in lots of
different things, and going all the way back to the runup to the great financial crisis, is
that the United States Department of Justice has basically abandoned cracking down
significantly on elite white-collar crimes in general and anti-trust in particular. Now,
there's an exception -- cartels. They actually are moderately vigorous until the Trump
administration, but in lots of other areas, not so. And so the states felt that the only way
that you could have any effective action was to have the states take the lead. But the states
lack the capacity to take the lead.
They just don't have -- All the 50 states plus Puerto Rico and DC together do not have the
resources in anti-trust, for example, that the federal government has just in its anti-trust
division. And that's not even mentioning the FBI, which does the real investigations, and which
the states have no real counterpart to. And so the only way the states could even try to be
effective was to link together. And they did this in the runup to the great financial crisis
sufficiently, effectively, that the federal government actually sought to block the states from
bringing this action, claiming that it was preempted, so this is continuing that practice.
They weren't able to get California and they weren't able to get Alabama. So they weren't
able to get Alabama on the usual conservative grounds of "why should we sue anybody, the
powerful?" But they weren't able to get California of course in part because the state AG is a
Democrat, and his leading source of contributions, or among his three leading sources of
contributions is Google. And this is one of the real problems with state AGs. They're statewide
races, you have to get elected, and they're expensive races, so you're always seeking political
contributions and such. That, of course, is something that the US Attorney General doesn't have
to do and allows him or her to be more independent.
Then the next question is the states have to face the question always in these kinds of
cases that the federal government doesn't face. And that's "who's going to be in charge?" It's
obviously that the US Attorney General, unless he has to recuse himself, is in charge at the
federal level. But the state level, it's a matter of negotiation. For reasons that pass all
understanding, they put Paxton, one of the absolute most notorious state Attorney Generals in
the United States, in charge. Paxton is trying to raise political contributions on the basis of
this investigation. He sent out an email seeking funds, and I quote "we will continue to fight
for your rights and to protect you from monopolistic practices by liberal elites in DC or in
Silicon Valley." Now here's a hint, Attorney Generals are not supposed to go after liberals or
conservatives or moderates.
That is completely antithetical to the idea of justice, but Paxton is not functioning like
an independent, honest person. He's someone who is intensely politically ambitious, who hates
anybody who he perceives as even moderate -- much less, liberal or progressive and such -- and
he wants to use this investigation as a weapon to go after his political opponents. And on top
of that, get paid off, to get a fine that he can use to tout as a success, and to use that
resources to do the same type of thing in going after other folks. So again, I have no idea why
the state AGs who are Democrats were willing to allow Paxton to take the lead role because it's
going to discredit the entire investigation.
GREG WILPERT: I think that's really interesting to see this kind of battle going on,
essentially within the elite circles of the United States. It's really breaking out into the
open in this case, if that's the real motivation behind -- Well, he said it himself. His real
motivation is to go after the liberal elites, which he sees Google and Facebook as being a part
of. But I want to turn to the actual issue of anti-trust and monopolies. Now, clearly Google
dominates the search market. There's no doubt about that. It's practically the only search
engine anyone uses. However, in advertising, Google is not actually a monopoly, at least if one
looks at its market share by revenues, where it has a 38% share of digital advertising revenues
and Facebook has 22%. Now, give us an idea as to why Google's dominance in search and
advertising should actually perhaps be a concern. Is that concern real? And also, if
advertisers can simply go elsewhere if they feel that Google isn't treating them fairly, why
should their practices in this area be of concern?
BILL BLACK: Okay, so one of the things I teach is anti-trust and such. Monopoly is not the
same thing as monopoly power. When we use the word "monopoly," we typically mean one entity
that controls nearly everything. There are cases, but they're rare in life where there is
actually a monopoly. Long before you have exclusive control over a market, however, you have
some degree of market power. How much is incredibly complex and depends on the inner play. But
one of the things is, say, use your numbers, we have somewhere around 30 to 40% of control
here. We've got a competitor who has 20 and another competitor who has 20. Well then that makes
it pretty easy for the three of us to collude. And we can collude implicitly, right? Just don't
rock the boat. Anybody that really tries to undercut on fees, then we rush in and we match that
and maybe we even cut a little more to show them how vigorous we're going to be. So economists
have long been concerned anytime a company gets even close to the degree of market domination
that you talked about, so it's not silly in the least that they're worried about it.
Now here's the kicker: people may remember Bork and the phrase "to be Borked." Well one of
the reasons he was not approved by the Senate to be a Supreme Court Justice is that he was
leading the right-wing movement to say that essentially we should get rid of anti-trust. In the
specific context of Silicon Valley and any high tech entity in which numbers matter,
penetration matters, the argument from the Right is that there are "network effects." In other
words, when I use my email, it's much more valuable if I can talk to everybody than if I can
just talk to the 10,000 people who have to be subscribers, in the old days, of some particular
email service. And those kind of network effects are fairly common within tech, typically
because of this desire to communicate and to search, in this case, much more broadly. So that
leads to something close to what, in the old days in economics we would refer to as a "natural
monopoly." A natural monopoly just means that there are so many economies of scale, that
whoever gets big actually gets cheaper, and they have a competitive advantage over any rivals
in those circumstances.
But we want the efficiency of that network and the conservatives are unwilling to do a
hybrid, saying, "Okay, we'll have a network that covers everybody, but we'll treat it like a
common carrier, and we'll make sure that the private entity doesn't become the
multi-billionaire because of the profit from these things." So the conservatives want us just
to walk away and let some people become extraordinarily rich and then use their market power,
if they choose, to say "I actually don't want those people spreading their views, so I'm going
to make life difficult for them." So there's also a political rationale, political science
rationale, freedom rationale for saying "you shouldn't let a private company that is not
subject at least to the duties of treating everyone fairly have this kind of monopoly power
GREG WILPERT: I want to dig a little bit deeper exactly on that issue actually. In the past,
major anti-trust cases simply broke up the monopoly; such as, happened with Standard Oil in
1911 and AT&T in 1982. But is that even an option in cases for Facebook and Google? You're
speaking about the network effects and they're obviously quite strong in the case of Facebook
and Google. That is, do we really want a dozen different search engines or a dozen different
baby Facebooks? In other words, wouldn't turning over the company to its users or to some other
-- What would a possible alternative look like instead of breaking it up, or is that the only
BILL BLACK: I don't think it is the only solution, but it's been the only solution that the
Right has been willing to contemplate and to oppose as well, by the way. Again, their position
is "we should just allow this network to be created and allow private parties to gain
supernormal profits." In economic jargon, that just means a hell of a lot of money. This is why
these people are multi-multi-billionaires, is they control something that has immense monopoly
power, and therefore is able to charge more than they should, and that's inefficient. So the
efficiency condition should be, "Yes, you create the network, but you don't allow a particular
party to become immensely rich from it. You run it instead as essentially a regulated public
utility." That says, "No, you can just get a normal return out of all of this. But yes, we'll
allow a fully efficient network to be created,"
When you treat it like a public utility, then it has traditionally at law, doctrines of
fairness and such that you can't discriminate against the use, that you can't use it as a
weapon against your enemies and such, so you have to take all customers on the same terms
whether they're big customers or little customers and such. Of course, that harks back to an
earlier dispute and one of the first things that the Trump administration sought to eliminate,
was any duty on the part of these private monopolies to treat people fairly. So it's quite
interesting that the Trump administration is now investigating that which it previously
blessed. And of course, the Trump administration has announced that it's going to use the
anti-trust laws as a weapon against their political enemies -- the car companies, for daring to
agree with California to produce fewer greenhouse gases.
GREG WILPERT: Yeah. I just want to return to the issue of this particular case now with Ken
Paxton and Google because obviously, or not obviously, but presumably, he would probably favor
a decision that would actually weaken the power of Google and Facebook by breaking it up, which
I would think the Democratic state Attorney Generals that are behind this case probably
wouldn't necessarily favor. So how are they ever going to come to a resolution in this case, or
is this just going to be tied up in the courts forever?
BILL BLACK: So this issue actually cuts across all kinds of ideological dimensions. You have
the Texas AG, arguably the most conservative state AG in the country, someone who doesn't care
about anti-trust at all, suddenly becoming the great enforcer of antitrust because it's his
political opponents. You've got Democrats who often think that monopoly power has gone too far
going, "Okay, I'll do a deal with the devil -- Paxton -- on this."
But now, and I mean just like today, the Koch Brothers Foundation has gotten involved. And
it's sending out this major effort to get the population to turn against their state AGs
because of this very investigation and the Facebook investigation as well. The Koch brothers
fear that if this precedence gets created, of actually reinvigorating the anti-trust laws, they
could be in the sights of particular Attorney Generals as well. I don't want to say that only
conservative or Republican AGs use these laws against their political opponents because there
have been a series of scandals involving Democrats as well and it's not so much political
there. It's fundraisers. Whoever raises money for them, they help out. You draw the money
largely from plaintiff's lawyers and the plaintiff lawyers would really, really, really love it
if the state AGs would bring an action against the very folks that they too are suing. That
would help their litigation a great deal. So, there are a series of scandals involving
Democrats and Republicans in these Attorney General-type suits.
"... The Inteligence elite mistake their power over people -- and the unspeakable sums of money that are flooded into their agencies -- for success. As you might imagine, that has spelled disaster where ever in the world that they operate. God help the society where they gain the upper hand. Like in the United States, for example. Their minds are broken beyond repair because reality actively lies to them. ..."
Court: FBI Must Destroy Memos Calling Antiwar.com a Threat
Ruling comes after a eight-year battle over secret surveillance of the popular website after
By KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS • September 12, 2019
In a major victory for Antiwar.com, free speech and journalism, a federal appeals court has
ruled that the FBI must expunge surveillance memos that agents had drafted about the website's
co-founders Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo in the early years following the 9/11 attacks.
"It's been a long fight and I'm glad we had an outcome that could might affect future FBI
behavior," said Garris, who runs Antiwar.com, based in the San Francisco Bay area. "I just wish
Justin was still here to know that this has happened."
Raimondo, 67, passed away in June from a long bout with cancer. He and Garris had sued the
FBI in 2013 demanding it turn over all the memos and records it was keeping on the two men and
the website, which has been promoting anti-interventionist news and views from a
libertarian-conservative perspective since 1995
They won their case, and in 2017 the FBI agreed to turn over all the memos and settle their
legal fees, $299,000, but the final expungement of two key memos involving intelligence
gathered on the men and Antiwar.com, had yet to be expunged from the agency's record...
It all began when an observant reader brought a heavily redacted 2004 memo to Antiwar.com's
attention in 2011. It was part of a batch of documents the reader had obtained through FOIA
requests. It was clear from the documents' contents that the FBI had been collecting
information and records on Raimondo and Garris for some time. At one point the FBI agent
writing the April 30, 2004 memo on Antiwar.com recommended further monitoring of the website in
the form of opening a "preliminary investigation to determine if [redaction] are engaging in,
or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security."
Why? Because the website was questioning U.S. war policy ...
Agents noted that Antiwar.com had, or linked to, published counter-terrorism watch lists
(already in the public domain). The FBI noted at least two of Raimondo's columns and wondered
openly, "who are (Antiwar.com's) contributors and what are the funds utilized for?" This, after
acknowledging there was no evidence of any crime being plotted or committed.
Other things noted in the documents::
-- Garris had passed along a threat he received on Sept. 12, 2001 from a Antiwar.com reader
obviously disgruntled with the website's coverage of 9/11. The subject line read, "YOUR SITE IS
GOING DOWN," and proceeded with this missive: "Be warned assholes, ill be posting your site
address to all the hack boards tonight your site is history."
Concerned, Garris forwarded the email to the FBI field office in San Francisco. Garris heard
nothing, but by January 2002, it turned up again, completely twisted around, in a secret FBI
memo entitled, "A THREAT BY GARRIS TO HACK FBI WEBSITE."
It turns out this "threat" went on to justify, at least in part, the FBI's ongoing interest
in monitoring the website.
-- The FBI took interest in Raimondo's writing about a 2001 FBI investigation of five
Israeli nationals who were witnessed smiling and celebrating and taking pictures of the burning
Twin Towers from a rooftop perch across the river from Ma