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Total Surveillance Regime: Big Uncle is Watching You

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

The slide above is courtesy of The Guardian
News National Security State Recommended Links Edward Snowden as Symbol of resistance to National Security State Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Vault 7 scandal NSA revelations fallout William Binney
NSA Surveillance Industrial Espionage Data Stealing Trojans Flame Duqu Trojan Magic Lantern CIPAV Cyberstalking
Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Search engines privacy Google Toolbar Is Google evil? Keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance Blocking Facebook Facebook as Giant Database about Users Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?
Damage to the US tech companies "Everything in the Cloud" Utopia Issues of security and trust in "cloud" env Email security How to analyze your own Web activity Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Steganography Building Snort-based IDS Infrastructure
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Nineteen Eighty-Four   Cyberwarfare Prizm-related humor Etc
Version 1.4, Jan 8, 2015

Introduction

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

- Goethe

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

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

Bill N. Cambridge MA, NYT.

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

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

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. And it is a mistake to assume that such activities started with September 11 events and that Bush II was totally responsible for converting the USA into national-security state.  The technology was ready long before September 11 and what is available is always used by clandestine agencies.  They tend to adopt technology as soon as it is available, being in a pervert way "early adopters" of any communication technology. And this happens not only in the USA although the USA as technological leader was the most profoundly affected.

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

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

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

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

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. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited onetime 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 C.I.A. 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).

Recording of all email envelopes (which was also done for snail mail) started long before email was invented and became established practice since the WWII. It just a new name now -- collection of metadata. Recording metadata of phone calls and often the calls themselves first started before WWII and technology was polished on international calls, which for obvious reasons are of great interest to all governments.

We don't know then it was extended on domestic calls, this this was trivial extension of already existing capacity and probably abuse was stated gradually as soon as power of computers allow that. That means around 1958. Even in early 1960 three letter agencies were already semi-autonomous entities, a state within the state. And as assassination on President Kennedy had shown they were audacious enough to bypass Congress.

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.

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".

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 thin thing, when he with 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), 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, we need to understand that the abuse of this function and extension of it into domestic communications started nor after 9/11, but in 1950th. But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers and as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real state within the state and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

In other words expansionism is an immanent quality, the second nature of large bureaucracies, and unless there is countervailing force it can be deadly for the society at large, as we observe in case with three letter agencies, which 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 class itself a democracy. and that fact was already known to everybody in 1975. 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. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them."

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 to control them.

But that also means that most of those efforts are highly politicized, inefficient waist of resources as typical for large bureaucracies which are not so far technological but political bodies (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition).

We can admire the immortal foresight of Secretary of State Henry Stimson's  who closed the Cipher Bureau in 1929.  But this highly ethical, moral and courageous act deprived the U.S. 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 ;-)

Against whom total surveillance is directed

Total surveillance is not so much about terrorism. It's also and mainly about population control. 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 US-speak "regime change", unless it is initiated by three letter agencies.  In other words total surveillance is part and parcel of the totalitarian state even if it more reserved as for violence form called inverted totalitarism.

State actors and well funded terrorist organization are a difficult nut to crack. That have access to technology and to "know how" including the most recent exploits. That means that NSA has great difficulties intercepting and decoding traffic that is intended to be hidden. Modern encryption systems such One-Time-Pad virtually guarantee that unless you have a mole, or get the "insider information" (typically from a mole) they are impenetrable. Decoding is possible only with standard algorithms and even in this case I have doubts (Triple DEC).

But the situation with  "open" traffic is completely different. There is a low hanging fruit and here NSA is king of the hill. Which as Biney mentioned included  the problem of "drinking from a fire hose" -- they 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 those person are aware that they are watched, possibly are trained to avoid surveillance (including electronic) and behave accordingly. With modern computers decoys and steganography offer almost unlimited possibility to obsure the traffic. 

The real questions about NSA activities


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

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

Now everybody understand that since probably 2003 or even earlier that that he/she is watched 24 by 7, or as Soviet dissidents called it "Placed under the dome". Some question that we need to ask ourselves are:

All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism (or may be even fascism -- 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.

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

Militarization of cyberspace makes Internet a very dangerous medium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NSA Blowback The American Conservative

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

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

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

Every Breath You Take

Ich bin ein Berliner
J. F. Kennedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

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

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

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

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

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

The power of meta data collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Technological blowback

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord Acton(1834–1902)

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

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

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

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

Elimination of possibility of opposition to the current regime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

total surveillance = total control

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

Instilling fear

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

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

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

wtpayne

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

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

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


“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Maybe Dante had some serious vision.

The Guardian

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

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

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

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

It means two things:

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

The same is true about your phone calls metadata, credit card transactions and your activities on major shopping sites such as Amazon, and eBay. But here you can do almost nothing. Still I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. Phones are traditional target of government three letter agencies (WSJ) since the WWII. Smartphones with GPS in addition to land line metadata also provide your current geo location. 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 lesser extent on Bing) are also serious threats to your privacy. Here diversification between three or more search engines might help a bit. Other then that and generally limited your time behind the computer I do not think much can be done. Growth of popularity of Duckduckgo suggests that people are vary of Google monopolizing the search, but it is unclear how big are the advantages. You can also save searches as many searches are recurrent and generally you can benefit from using your personal Web proxy with private cashing DNS server. This way to can "shrink" your radar picture, but that's about it. Search engines are now an integral part of our civilization whether we want it or not.

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

Films to Understand the Phenomenon

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

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

Your email in toxic cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tracking your Web access

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

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

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

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

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

Effects on behavior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

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

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

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

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

...official secrecy steadily expanded its reach.

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

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

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

Adding insult to injury: Self-profiling

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

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

Scientella, palo alto

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

Steve Fankuchen, Oakland CA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jrs says on June 8, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent discoveries about Prism program: quantity turned into quality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many of us are not so surprised.

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

Questions that arise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Limits to spying via data collected about you

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

-Helen Corey WSJ.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

carlitoontour

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

SNOWDEN SUSPECTED OF BYPASSING ELECTRONIC LOGS

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

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

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

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

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

As J. Kirk Wiebe, a NSA insider, noted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That means two things:

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

There is also a question of complexity of analysis:

Possibility of abuses of collected data

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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

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[Aug 12, 2017] Googles new search protocol is restricting access to 13 leading socialist, progressive and anti-war web sites

Could it also be that Presidential elections are over and people became tiered of politics ?
Notable quotes:
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... This would explain why the World ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Significantly, Gomes does not provide any clear definition, let alone concrete examples, of any of these loaded terms ("fake news," "blatantly misleading," "low quality, "offensive," and "down right false information.") ..."
"... DIVIDE ET IMPERA ..."
"... I am fully aware Google (and the CIA/The Economist/The Guardian/NYT/Facebook/Washington Post/etc) are pro corporate and big deep state, but wsws.org (and The Intercept/alternet/globalresearch/etc) are just as anti white. Both are completely fine with flooding white lands with endless amounts of third worlders, whether the reason is to create cheaper labour costs, dismantle any chance of resistance to their particular ideology, or simply a pure anti white animus – I don't care, both are considered rivals. ..."
"... I tend to use duckduckgo these days, but for some searches I use google advanced search. Its greater precision doesn´t give as many extraneous results. Not so easy to bury things in a pile of irrelevancy. ..."
Aug 12, 2017 | www.unz.com
Andre Damon and David North August 4, 2017 1,600 Words 35 Comments Reply

New data compiled by the World Socialist Web Site , with the assistance of other Internet-based news outlets and search technology experts, proves that a massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by a cumulative 45 percent decrease in traffic from Google searches.

The drop followed the implementation of changes in Google's search evaluation protocols. In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the company's vice president for engineering, stated that Google's update of its search engine would block access to "offensive" sites, while working to surface more "authoritative content."

The World Socialist Web Site has obtained statistical data from SEMrush estimating the decline of traffic generated by Google searches for 13 sites with substantial readerships. The results are as follows:

  1. wsws.org fell by 67 percent
  2. alternet.org fell by 63 percent
  3. globalresearch.ca fell by 62 percent
  4. consortiumnews.com fell by 47 percent
  5. socialistworker.org fell by 47 percent
  6. mediamatters.org fell by 42 percent
  7. commondreams.org fell by 37 percent
  8. internationalviewpoint.org fell by 36 percent
  9. democracynow.org fell by 36 percent
  10. wikileaks.org fell by 30 percent
  11. truth-out.org fell by 25 percent
  12. counterpunch.org fell by 21 percent
  13. theintercept.com fell by 19 percent

Of the 13 web sites on the list, the World Socialist Web Site has been the most heavily affected. Its traffic from Google searches has fallen by two thirds.

The new statistics demonstrate that the WSWS is a central target of Google's censorship campaign. In the twelve months preceding the implementation of the new Google protocols, the WSWS had experienced a substantial increase in readership. A significant component of this increase was the product of Google search results. The rapid rise in search traffic reflected the well-documented growth in popular interest in socialist politics during 2016. The rate of growth accelerated following the November election, which led to large protests against the election of Trump.

Search traffic to the WSWS peaked in April 2017, precisely at the point when Google began the implementation of its censorship protocols.

Another site affected by Google's action has provided information that confirms the findings of the WSWS.

"In late May, changes to Google's algorithm negatively impacted the volume of traffic to the Common Dreams website from organic Google searches," said Aaron Kaufman, director of development at progressive news outlet Common Dreams . "Since May, traffic from Google Search as a percentage of total traffic to the Common Dreams website has decreased nearly 50 percent."

The extent and impact of Google's actions prove that a combination of techniques is being employed to block access to targeted sites. These involve the direct flagging and blackballing of the WSWS and the other 12 sites listed above by Google evaluators. These sites are assigned a highly negative rating that assures that their articles will be either demoted or entirely bypassed. In addition, new programming technology teaches the computers to think like the evaluators, that is, to emulate their preferences and prejudices.

Finally, the precision of this operation strongly suggests that there is an additional range of exclusion techniques involving the selection of terms, words, phrases and topics that are associated with socialist and left-wing websites.

This would explain why the World Socialist Web Site , which focuses on issues such as war, geopolitics, social inequality and working class struggles has experienced such a dramatic fall in Google-generated searches on these very topics. We have seen that the very terms and phrases that would under normal circumstances be most likely to generate the highest level of hits -- such as "socialism," "Marxism" and "Trotskyism" -- produce the lowest results.

This is an ongoing process in which one can expect that Google evaluators are continuously adding suspect terms to make their algorithm ever more precise, with the eventual goal of eliminating traffic to the WSWS and other targeted sites.

The information that has been gathered and published by the WSWS during the past week exposes that Google is at the center of a corporate-state conspiracy to drastically curtail democratic rights. The attack on free speech and uncensored access to information is aimed at crippling popular opposition to social inequality, war and authoritarianism.

The central and sinister role of Google in this process demonstrates that freedom of speech and thought is incompatible with corporate control of the Internet.

As we continue our exposure of Google's assault on democratic rights, we demand that it immediately and unequivocally halt and revoke its censorship program.

It is critical that a coordinated campaign be organized within the United States and internationally against Google's censorship of the Internet. We intend to do everything in our power to develop and contribute to a counter-offensive against its efforts to suppress freedom of speech and thought.

The fight against corporate-state censorship of the Internet is central to the defense of democratic rights, and there must be a broad-based collaboration among socialist, left and progressive websites to alert the public and the widest sections of the working class.

* * * Google's chief search engineer legitimizes new censorship algorithm (July 31, 2017)

Between April and June, Google completed a major revision of its search engine that sharply curtails public access to Internet web sites that operate independently of the corporate and state-controlled media. Since the implementation of the changes, many left wing, anti-war and progressive web sites have experienced a sharp fall in traffic generated by Google searches. The World Socialist Web Site has seen, within just one month, a 70 percent drop in traffic from Google.

In a blog post published on April 25, Ben Gomes, Google's chief search engineer, rolled out the new censorship program in a statement bearing the Orwellian title, "Our latest quality improvements for search." This statement has been virtually buried by the corporate media. Neither the New York Times nor the Wall Street Journal has reported the statement. The Washington Post limited its coverage of the statement to a single blog post.

Framed as a mere change to technical procedures, Gomes's statement legitimizes Internet censorship as a necessary response to "the phenomenon of 'fake news,' where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information."

The "phenomenon of 'fake news'" is, itself, the principal "fake news" story of 2017. In its origins and propagation, it has all the well-known characteristics of what used to be called CIA "misinformation" campaigns, aimed at discrediting left-wing opponents of state and corporate interests.

Significantly, Gomes does not provide any clear definition, let alone concrete examples, of any of these loaded terms ("fake news," "blatantly misleading," "low quality, "offensive," and "down right false information.")

The focus of Google's new censorship algorithm is political news and opinion sites that challenge official government and corporate narratives. Gomes writes: "[I]t's become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for."

Gomes revealed that Google has recruited some 10,000 "evaluators" to judge the "quality" of various web domains. The company has "evaluators-- areal people who assess the quality of Google's search results -- give us feedback on our experiments." The chief search engineer does not identify these "evaluators" nor explain the criteria that are used in their selection. However, using the latest developments in programming, Google can teach its search engines to "think" like the evaluators, i.e., translate their political preferences, prejudices, and dislikes into state and corporate sanctioned results.

Gomes asserts that these "evaluators" are to abide by the company's Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which "provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories."

Once again, Gomes employs inflammatory rhetoric without explaining the objective basis upon which negative evaluations of web sites are based.

Using the input of these "evaluators," Gomes declares that Google has "improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content." He again asserts, further down, "We've adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content."

What this means, concretely, is that Google decides not only what political views it wants censored, but also what sites are to be favored.

Gomes is clearly in love with the term "authoritative," and a study of the word's meaning explains the nature of his verbal infatuation. A definition given by the Oxford English Dictionary for the word "authoritative" is: "Proceeding from an official source and requiring compliance or obedience."

The April 25 statement indicates that the censorship protocols will become increasingly restrictive. Gomes states that Google is "making good progress" in making its search results more restrictive. "But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes in Search are needed."

One can assume that Mr. Gomes is a competent programmer and software engineer. But one has good reason to doubt that he has any particular knowledge of, let alone concern for, freedom of speech.

Gomes's statement is Google-speak for saying that the company does not want people to access anything besides the official narrative, worked out by the government, intelligence agencies, the main capitalist political parties, and transmitted to the population by the corporate-controlled media.

In the course of becoming a massive multi-billion dollar corporate juggernaut, Google has developed politically insidious and dangerous ties to powerful and repressive state agencies. It maintains this relationship not only with the American state, but also with governments overseas. Just a few weeks before implementing its new algorithm, in early April, Gomes met with high-ranking German officials in Berlin to discuss the new censorship protocols.

Google the search engine is now a major force for the imposition of state censorship.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/31/goog-j31.html

Wizard of Oz > , August 12, 2017 at 4:23 am GMT

Maybe something sinister has happened but mere loss of hits doesn't prove it and it would be interesting to know what the previous algorithms were, what they ate now and what can be argued as ideal (and from what point of view and on what principles).

bliss_porsena. > , August 12, 2017 at 4:26 am GMT

Cognoscenti no longer bestow credulity on Official Narratives promulgated by the Goolag Deep Swamp search engine.

utu > , August 12, 2017 at 4:29 am GMT

Alt-right will not care. They rather keep dancing with SJW's wrestling about identity politics. They just like their dance partners SJWs are so distracted with the identity politics that it never occur to them that identity politics was invented for the sole purpose of keeping them distracted. Divide et impire seems always to work. Just new lines of divisions must be created.

Dan Hayes > , August 12, 2017 at 4:34 am GMT

The ecumenical efforts of Ron Unz continues with republishing from the World Socialist Web Site .

Ace > , August 12, 2017 at 4:50 am GMT

Google is entitled to its worthless opinions about what is or is not a quality website. It's outrageous that it presumes to limit actual access to sites. If it wants to "help" users by putting a strengst verboten skull and crossbones image on search results that's actually very helpful. It would educate users on how what Google's agenda is and demonstrate that it's anything but an honest utility. As it is we're left to wonder what standards are applied and who these evaluators are. Betcha Gomes met with the Kehane woman for instructions from that devotee of free speech.

I don't get the apparent attack on lefty sites. Perhaps it's more evenly distributed and the results were obtained from a too-limited sample.

jilles dykstra > , August 12, 2017 at 6:12 am GMT

Internet censorship is being established anywhere, from GB to recently in Germany.

Wizard of Oz > , August 12, 2017 at 7:00 am GMT

@Erebus Yes I think it did happen pre-conception (though not because of any preconception I can discern).

Wizard of Oz > , August 12, 2017 at 7:04 am GMT

@utu You must repeat your homework boy. Write out 20 times

DIVIDE ET IMPERA

Wizard of Oz > , August 12, 2017 at 7:11 am GMT

Would someone care to explain how the search-and-display-results algorithms work?

Presumably it doesn't mean that you won't get those sites somewhere in Google's list if you keep on scrolling down. And I would guess too that you will still get them quite high on the list if your search words compel it.

A lengthy direct quote from one of the disfavoured sources would presumably not be relegated in favour of something merely similar from the NYT????

mastodon > , August 12, 2017 at 8:53 am GMT

So dont use it, personally prefer duckduckgo. be aware and act accordingly ..

George Gordon > , August 12, 2017 at 8:55 am GMT

So which Search Engine is the best to go for, for unbiased results?

neutral > , August 12, 2017 at 10:23 am GMT

@utu Lets not be coy here and get straight to the point, alt-right is pro white, preserving the white race is the absolute number one priority, topics such government type, tax rates, individual rights, etc, will always be secondary concerns compared to racial identity. It is not a "distraction" to play identity politics, it is the very reason for our existence, racial identity is a basic evolutionary trait, it was not invented by anybody.

I am fully aware Google (and the CIA/The Economist/The Guardian/NYT/Facebook/Washington Post/etc) are pro corporate and big deep state, but wsws.org (and The Intercept/alternet/globalresearch/etc) are just as anti white. Both are completely fine with flooding white lands with endless amounts of third worlders, whether the reason is to create cheaper labour costs, dismantle any chance of resistance to their particular ideology, or simply a pure anti white animus – I don't care, both are considered rivals.

Greg Bacon > , Website August 12, 2017 at 11:14 am GMT

Looks like that start-up money Google got from the CIA venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel is paying off handsomely

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-Q-Tel#Investments

Che Guava > , August 12, 2017 at 12:05 pm GMT

Well, that is all a laugh.

I am reading things on WSWS on occasion, occasionally a good article or review.

The stupid site is run by stupid Trotskyists (am forgetting the name of the stupid groupuscle party that runs it), who want to limit anyone else's speech, so ROFLMAO at whining about stupid Google having a new process to (accidentally)
lowering the frequency of search hits on there.

Noah Way > , August 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm GMT

O'Neill's paper for the first time outlined a strategy for "perception management" as part of information warfare (IW). O'Neill's proposed strategy identified three categories of targets for IW: adversaries, so they believe they are vulnerable; potential partners, "so they perceive the cause [of war] as just"; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they "perceive the cost as worth the effort."

How the CIA made Google

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

Jus' Sayin'... > , August 12, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT

First they came for the alt-right but we didn't care because they were all fascist pigs and they all deserved to die. Then they came for spreaders of "hate speech" but we didn't care because we got to define hate speech and they all deserved to die. Then they came for the Trump supporters but we didn't care because Trump was evil, we didn't want him as our president, and anyone who supported him should die.

And then they came for us.

Jus' Sayin'... > , August 12, 2017 at 2:14 pm GMT

@The Scalpel http://www.DuckDuckGo.com is pretty good and doesn't track one like so any of the others do. My sister, a reference librarian, recommended it to me about five years ago and I now seldom use anything else. I do use Google when I'm doing odd, non-political things like researching family history. In situations like that the wide net Google casts can be useful. The many obvious and well-publicized instances of Google redirection, e.g., towards negative stories on Trump and positive stories on Clinton in the last election, turned me against Google. Their illegal and unprincipled firing of Damore has made me vow to use any other search engine I can find before I ever again resort to Google's totalitarian system.

KenH > , August 12, 2017 at 2:16 pm GMT

Google shouldn't be accused of anti-socialist bias. They're new search algorithm just punishes sites that don't tow the (((neo-con))) line on the issues. Right wing sites are suffering as well. They have also targeted pro-white sites and sources unfriendly to diversity and multiculturalism.

About two weeks ago I did a search for black on white rape and Google returned many stories trying to debunk the one-sidedness of this epidemic whereas a couple of years ago there was a wealth of data supporting the pro-white cause.

Now that Google has been taken over by diversity commissars I'll need to find a new search engine.

Hu Mi Yu > , August 12, 2017 at 2:31 pm GMT

Google has been messing with their original excellent search algorithm for a long time. They keep dumbing it down to give me results I didn´t ask for. Among other things it increases ad revenue if I have to look at more pages to find what I want. Yahoo went the same road and became useless. Then google came along. Soon someone else will come along with a more accurate search engine.

I tend to use duckduckgo these days, but for some searches I use google advanced search. Its greater precision doesn´t give as many extraneous results. Not so easy to bury things in a pile of irrelevancy.

Avery > , August 12, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT

@KenH {About two weeks ago I did a search for black on white rape and Google .}

Interesting: you may have something there.

I did a small test just now on both Google and DuckDuckGo: same search text; "black on white rape stats".

The search results on Google are strikingly different from DuckDuckGo.
I didn't bother drilling down the links: no time, no interest.
But the link titles sure tell a story.

Google

https://www.google.com/search?site=&source=hp&q=black+on+white+rape+stats&oq=black+on+white+rape+stats&gs_l=psy-ab.3 2123.8886.0.9997.27.26.1.0.0.0.116.1999.24j2.26.0&#8230 ;.0 1.1.64.psy-ab..0.26.1941 0j0i131k1j0i131i46k1j46i131k1j0i22i30k1.QWRBKyiKyrY

DuckDuckGo

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=black+on+white+rape+stats&bext=wcp&atb=v76-7_u&ia=statistics

Have been using DuckDuckGo for a month or so.
It seems pretty good in returning results which largely match what I was looking for.

Astuteobservor II > , August 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm GMT

remember the shit google fed the retards when it left china? :)))

Laugh Track > , August 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm GMT

The World Socialist Web Site has obtained statistical data from SEMrush estimating the decline of traffic generated by Google searches for 13 sites with substantial readerships.

I'm betting that the decline in Google search results pointing searchers toward those 13 mostly lefty websites is mirrored by a decline in Google search results pointing searchers toward rightist websites.

It is ridiculous on the face of it that Google, which we know from this week's hoopla over The Memo is steeped in SJW-PC-virtue signaling, would be intentionally targeting prog websites to lower traffic to them. That accusation strikes me as borderline paranoid.

Did WSWS obtain statistical data from SEMrush estimating any decline in traffic to sites other than those 13 socialist/prog/investigative research sites? I'll bet you dollars to donuts that there has been a similar decline in Google search pointers to Breitbart, TDC, Drudge Report, Takimag, even Unz. But WSWS doesn't say whether that might also be the case. WSWS is providing only half the picture.

It might well be that Google, in cooperation with the EU's strictures on badthink and US "mainstream" efforts against so-called "fake news" and "hate speech" has devised algorithms that suppress search results pointing toward sites featuring vehement opinions, counter perspectives, and finger-pointing. If this has impacted WSWS or Commondreams or Alternet, that would be highly ironic.

More likely, I suspect this is a case of unintended consequences. But until we see statistical estimates for sites across the political spectrum, not just on those 13 sites that WSWS lists (which includes some, like Counterpunch and Consortiumnews, that Unz picks up on, BTW), we are not getting the big picture.

Michael Kenny > , August 12, 2017 at 3:27 pm GMT

The problem may not be Google. People may just not be clicking on the Google links. I certainly haven't noticed any reduction in the number of references to such sites in Google. I suspect that the problem is much more credibility. I began visiting the US internet about 14 years ago and what struck me after a few months that all the sites, regardless of their professed ideology, advanced the same arguments, which were essentially right-wing arguments. The only difference was that, on the left-wing sites, the article was dressed up in left-wing jargon. For example, the right-wing sites denounced the EU as a hotbed of socialism whereas the left-wing sites denounced the EU as a hotbed of capitalism -- The left-wing sites all catered to an old guard of American "leftisits", born essentially in the 1920s and 30s, who simply wanted the "party line" communicated to them so that they could repeat it uncritically. That generation is now increasingly dying off. The openly cynical and manipulative style of such sites does not appeal to a younger, more media-critical, generation which is not willing simply to be told what to think. The left-wing sites haven't moved with the times. They're still preaching to people now dead. The often ranting style of articles, the penchant for finding "deep state" conspiracies in every closet (such as a Google conspiracy -- ), the fondness for the knee-jerk "America bad, not-America good" mantra and the tendency to claim that what is manifestly black is actually white, so to speak, have combined to make the left-wing sites sound silly and dated. It's not really surprising therefore that sites like those listed above have suffered a loss of traffic via Google and I don't think it has anything to do with "censorship".

secretaryns > , August 12, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT

Media Matters is as pro-establishment as any site can be, so if it was "targeted", it was done so to mask Google's true intentions. They want you reading Media Matters.

Father Coughlin > , August 12, 2017 at 4:02 pm GMT

They've noticed that anti-war sites are anti-Israel, therefore "anti-Semitic".

[Aug 01, 2017] Groupthink at the CIA by

Looks like tail wags the dog -- CIA controls the US foreign policy and in the last elections also played active role in promoting Hillary. A the level of top brass we have several people mentioned by Giraldi who are probably as dangerous as Allen Dulles was. Brennan is one example.
The parade of rogues that Philip describes is really alarming. Each with agenda that directly harms the USA as a country promoting the interest of military-industrial complex and neocon faction within the government...
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter. ..."
"... Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort. ..."
"... Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago. ..."
"... Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. ..."
"... Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down. ..."
"... And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation." ..."
"... Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time. ..."
"... Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia. ..."
"... As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State. ..."
"... The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes. ..."
"... The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done. ..."
"... The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency. ..."
"... I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama. ..."
"... Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness. ..."
"... How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN. ..."
"... Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began. ..."
"... Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. ..."
"... So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face. ..."
"... Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections. ..."
Aug 01, 2017 | www.unz.com

Long ago, when I was a spear carrying middle ranker at CIA, a colleague took me aside and said that he had something to tell me "as a friend," that was very important. He told me that his wife had worked for years in the Agency's Administrative Directorate, as it was then called, where she had noticed that some new officers coming out of the Career Trainee program had red tags on their personnel files. She eventually learned from her boss that the tags represented assessments that those officers had exceptional potential as senior managers. He added, however, that the reverse appeared to be true in practice as they were generally speaking serial failures as they ascended the bureaucratic ladder, even though their careers continued to be onward and upward on paper. My friend's wife concluded, not unreasonably, that only genuine a-holes had what it took to get promoted to the most senior ranks.

I was admittedly skeptical but some recent activity by former and current Directors and Acting Directors of CIA has me wondering if something like my friend's wife's observation about senior management might indeed be true. But it would have to be something other than tagging files, as many of the directors and their deputies did not come up through the ranks and there seems to be a similar strain of lunacy at other U.S. government intelligence agencies. It might be time to check the water supply in the Washington area as there is very definitely something in the kool-aid that is producing odd behavior.

Now I should pause for a moment and accept that the role of intelligence services is to identify potential threats before they become active, so a certain level of acute paranoia goes with the job. But at the same time, one would expect a level of professionalism which would mandate accuracy rather than emotion in assessments coupled with an eschewing of any involvement in the politics of foreign and national security policy formulation. The enthusiasm with which a number of senior CIA personnel have waded into the Trump swamp and have staked out positions that contradict genuine national interests suggests that little has been learned since CIA Director George Tenet sat behind Secretary of State Colin Powell in the UN and nodded sagaciously as Saddam Hussein's high crimes and misdemeanors were falsely enumerated.

Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter.

Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort.

The most recent inexplicable comments come from the current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, speaking at the Aspen Institute Security Forum. He began by asserting that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election before saying that the logic behind Russia's Middle Eastern strategy is to stay in place in Syria so Moscow can "stick it to America." He didn't define the "it" so one must assume that "it" stands for any utensil available, ranging from cruise missiles to dinner forks. He then elaborated, somewhat obscurely, that "I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago.

Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee back in May, he suggested that some Trump associates might have been recruited by the Russian intelligence service. He testified that "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals."

In his testimony, Brennan apparently forgot to mention that the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens. Nor did he explain how he had come upon the information in the first place as it had been handed over by foreign intelligence services, including the British, Dutch and Estonians, and at least some of it had been sought or possibly inspired by Brennan unofficially in the first place. Brennan then used that information to request an FBI investigation into a possible Russian operation directed against potential key advisers if Trump were to somehow get nominated and elected, which admittedly was a longshot at the time. That is how Russiagate started.

Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down.

A lesser known former CIA senior official is John McLaughlin, who briefly served as acting Director in 2004. McLaughlin was particularly outraged by Trump's recent speech to the Boy Scouts, which he described as having the feel "of a third world authoritarian's youth rally." He added that "It gave me the creeps it was like watching the late Venezuelan [President Hugo] Chavez."

And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

I and others noted at the time that Putin and Trump had never met, not even through proxies, while we also wondered how one could be both unwitting and a recruited agent as intelligence recruitment implies control and taking direction. Morell was non-plussed, unflinching and just a tad sanctimonious in affirming that his own intelligence training (as an analyst who never recruited a spy in his life) meant that "[I] call it as I see it."

One could also cite Michael Hayden and James Clapper, though the latter was not CIA. They all basically hew to the same line about Russia, often in more-or-less the same words, even though no actual evidence has been produced to support their claims. That unanimity of thinking is what is peculiar while academics like Stephen Cohen, Stephen Walt, Andrew Bacevich, and John Mearsheimer, who have studied Russia in some depth and understand the country and its leadership far better than a senior CIA officer, detect considerable nuance in what is taking place. They all believe that the hardline policies current in Washington are based on an eagerness to go with the flow on the comforting inside-the- beltway narrative that paints Russia as a threat to vital interests. That unanimity of viewpoint should surprise no one as this is more of less the same government with many of the same people that led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They all have a vested interested in the health and well-being of a fully funded national security state.

And the other groupthink that seems to prevail among the senior managers except Pompeo is that they all hate Donald Trump and have done so since long before he won the election. That is somewhat odd, but it perhaps reflects a fear that Trump would interfere with the richly rewarding establishment politics that had enabled their careers. But it does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of CIA employees. Though it is admittedly unscientific analysis on my part, I know a lot of former and some current CIA employees but do not know a single one who voted for Hillary Clinton. Nearly all voted for Trump.

Beyond that exhibition of tunnel vision and sheer ignorance, the involvement of former senior intelligence officials in politics is itself deplorable and is perhaps symptomatic of the breakdown in the comfortable bipartisan national security consensus that has characterized the past fifty years. Once upon time former CIA officers would retire to the Blue Ridge mountains and raise Labradors, but we are now into something much more dangerous if the intelligence community, which has been responsible for most of the recent leaks, begins to feel free to assert itself from behind the scenes. As Senator Chuck Schumer recently warned "Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community ! they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."

exiled off mainstreet, August 1, 2017 at 5:06 am GMT

In jumping this fascist nihilist shark, the groupthinkers have closed themselves off from the logical conclusion to their viewpoint, which is final annihilation.

Dan Hayes, August 1, 2017 at 5:47 am GMT

Schumer's statement is true (and probably the only such one in his political career!).

annamaria, August 1, 2017 at 6:03 am GMT

Brennan, Morell, and Pompeo should better find ways to justify their salaries: the U.S. has suffered the greatest breach in cybersecurity on their watch:

" an enormous breach of the United States Security Apparatus by as many as 80 Democrat members of Congress (past and present). We rail on about the Russians and Trump, but t he media avoids providing nightly updates about these 5 spies that have compromised Congress ."

http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-awan-brothers-compromised-at-least-80-congregational-computers-and-got-paid-5-million-to-do-it-we-may-never-know-the-extent-of-the-breach/

"In total, Imran's firm was employed by 31 Democrats in Congress, some of whom held extremely sensitive positions on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affair s."

polistra, August 1, 2017 at 6:17 am GMT

Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time.

Bruce Marshall, August 1, 2017 at 6:39 am GMT

And back to reality we have VIPS Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia.

That is war, World War Three and it would seem now that Congress is marching that way, but the report below hold the key to fighting back.

http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2017/2017_30-39/2017-30/pdf/37-41_4430.pdf

One of the VIPS is William Binney fomer NSA Technical Director, an important expert. leading the group is Ray McGovern with some whit and grace, well yes how about some sanity, to which humor is important to the insight and to stay in the sights of what is clever thievery and worse. Much worse,
and there is a twinkle in the eye when realize that it is straight forward.

And Congress could stop it tout sweet, but well old habits but they have taken an Oath of Office, so, so what, yeah they did go after Bernie, so will you challenge your elected officials, either do their sworn duty or resign, for what this sanctions bill against Russia and Iran is a declaration of war, not only against Russia and Iran, but a declaration of war against the United States. for there is no reason to do this against Russia when indeed there are great opportunities to get along, but war is the insanity as it is sedition and treason. Tell them that,

https://larouchepac.com/20170731/breaking-lyndon-larouche-crush-british-coup-against-president

Priss Factor, • Website August 1, 2017 at 7:01 am GMT

Moderate Rebels = Toothfairy Rebels

jilles dykstra, August 1, 2017 at 7:21 am GMT

I wonder if groupthink exists. In any organisation people know quite well why the organisation exists, what the threats are to its existence. If they think about this, I wonder.

The CIA is the USA's secret army, it is not comparable to a real intelligence organisation like the British MI5. The CIA is more like WWII SOE, designed to set fire to Europe, Churchill's words. If indeed Trump changes USA foreign policy, no longer trying to control the world, the CIA is obsolete, as obsolete as NATO.

animalogic, August 1, 2017 at 7:44 am GMT

" but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter."

Not to defend the CIA, but didn't Rumsfeld, doubt the enthusiasm of the CIA for providing the slanted, bogus, "sexed up" intelligence the Executive required to make its "destroy Iraq now" case ? So Rumsfeld therefore set up an independent intelligence agency within the Defence Dept to provide/create the required "intelligence" ?

The Alarmist, August 1, 2017 at 7:45 am GMT

I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Yeah, because that's what resource-constrained countries with limited ability to tap the global capital markets do. Methinks Mr. Pompeo is projecting his and the neocons' fantasies on the Russians.

Realist, August 1, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State.

CalDre, August 1, 2017 at 10:43 am GMT

If only Trump would really clean the swamp – particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream .

Wizard of Oz, August 1, 2017 at 11:04 am GMT

Being resistant to jargon and catch phrases it is only slowly that I have accepted that "Deep State" is not entirely pretentious waffle when used to describe aspects of the US. However I may not be your only reader PG who would appreciate a clear explanatory description of the American Deep State and how it works.

Here are some suggested parameters.

The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes.
And its origins imply that it is not just one in a number of major influences ln government or those who vote for it.

So one has to acknowledge that in the US the Deep State has to be different in the important respect that levers of power are observably wielded by lobbies for the aged, gun owners and sellers, Israel, Wall Street, bio fuels, sugar and other ag, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, the arms industry, Disney and other Hollywood and media, health insurers and the medical profession, and I could go on.

These are all relevant to legal events like votes on impeachment or to hold up appointments. The CIA and FBI together completely united (and note how disunited 9/11 showed them to be) wouldn't remotely approach the old Turkish Deep State's ability to stage a coup. Are all of the putative elements of the Deep State together today as powerful as J.Edgar Hoover with his dirt files on everyone? (A contrast and compare exercise of today's presumed Deep State configuration and modus operandi with the simpler Hoover days might shine some light on who does what and how today. And how effectively).

To avoid lack of focus can a convincing account of the US Deep State be best given in terms of a plausible scenario for

  1. getting rid of Trump as President and/or
  2. maintaining the lunacy and hubris which has the US wasting its substance on totally unnecessary antagonistic relations with China and Russia and interference in the ME?

I would read such accounts with great interest. (Handwavers need not apply).

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT

Of course the US Deep State must hate Russia. First, Jews have a very long history of hating Russia and Russians. That never changed. The USSR was not Russia; the USSR was Marxism replacing Russia. Jews tended to love that. Rich Jews from across the world, from the US and the UK of most interest to us, sent money to support the Bolshevik Revolution.

Russia managed to survive the USSR and is slowly coming back around to Russian common sense from the Christian perspective. Neither Jews nor their WASP BFFs can ever forgive that. They want Russia to act now to commit cultural and genetic suicide, like Western Europe and the entire Anglosphere are doing.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:32 am GMT

@polistra The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done.

The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency.

jacques sheete, August 1, 2017 at 11:36 am GMT

While there can be no doubt about the crackpots in high positions of the most powerful bureaucracies, it seems to me that the CIA loonies are merely shock troops for an even worse bunch of evil psychos, the bankster mafiosi.

We should always keep that in mind.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT

@CalDre If only

But doing so would mean a voluntary end to playing the role of Sauron, determined to find and wear the One Ring to Rule Them All. The average Elite WASP, and his Jewish BFF, definitely would prefer to destroy the world, at least outside their gated compounds of endless luxury, than to step down from that level of global domination.

Philip Giraldi, August 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz Wiz – Here is an article I did on the Deep State two years ago. It was one of the first in the US media looking at the issue. It would have to be updated now in light of Trump, but much of what it states is still more-or-less correct.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/deep-state-america/

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 12:09 pm GMT

@jacques sheete Yes, indeed.

But we need to make certain that your use of the word 'mafiosi' does not lead anyone to assume that group has more than a handful of Italians. Jews, WASPs, and continental Germanics each will outnumber Italians by at least 30 to 1.

Chris Bridges, August 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm GMT

I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama.

Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness.

Well before he was elected I had a letter delivered to President Trump in which I outlined in detail what would happen to him if he did not immediately purge the CIA of these assholes. I know that at least some people on his staff read it but, of course, my advice was ignored. Trump has paid dearly for not listening to an ordinary CIA guy who wanted to give him a reality brief on those vicious snakes.

Proud_Srbin, August 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT

Historical facts teach humanity that Anglo-Saxon group of Nations was built on slavery, thuggery and theft of other peace loving Civilizations. We Slavs are the New "niggers", hate is the glue that holds you "toGether".
People of color have been successfully conditioned and practice it as well.
Time will tell how well it holds when balloon bursts and 99% gets called to serve as cannon fodder.
Terrorizing UNARMED and WEAKER is not true test of "superiority" and "exceptionalism".
Tiny, extremely tiny minority of Anglo-Saxons and Satraps understand this.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm GMT

@Chris Bridges You are responsible only for telling the truth and warning. Trump's naivete is his failing.

Bernie voter, August 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm GMT

How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN.

Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began.

Smash Mouth, August 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm GMT

@Jake

"You must be working for the CIA. They wouldn't have you in the Ma-Fi-A"

1960′s song lyric from "Why can't we be friends"

Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was.

War is Hell, August 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm GMT

Fascinating ..

My old brain that was alive in the 60′s, remembers the lyric. But the first link I find on Google's youtube is a version that removes the above lyric, instead just echoing the title endlessly. That's the modern world .. all real content removed from what you find on the internet.

Here's a better version.

Beauracratic Mind, August 1, 2017 at 1:42 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

I wonder if groupthink exists.

It probably does as do group psychoses and group fantasies.. Anyone who's ever served in a beuaracracy knows that groupthink exists.

Take a bunch of mediocre minds. And, they do exist, as Garrison Keiler once famously made a joke out of with his line Welcome to Lake Woebegone, where all the children are above average.

Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. If everyone is wrong, then there is safety in the group. After all, if they are wrong, so was everyone else in the organization. Thus they are immune to attack and censure for being wrong. But if someone takes a position outside of the group consensus, that can be a career-ending move if they are wrong, as now everyone else will be in the I-told-U-So camp. And even if they are correct, they will still be hated and shunned just for being the person who pointed out to the group that they are wrong.

So, you take your typical average mind, and not only do they not have any great insights of their own, but they tend to stick to the group out of sheer survival and then when you take a mass of these mediocre minds you have 'groupthink'.

Wizard of Oz, August 1, 2017 at 1:44 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi Thank you. As you have my sparingly conferred respect i thank you even before reading it:-)

Eticon, August 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm GMT

@CalDre

If only Trump would really clean the swamp - particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream ....

What we've learned from Trump is that 'Draining the Swamp' will take more than an individual. It will take a political movement.

One sees this on the fringes of politics. Someone gets the idea of running for President, and they point out all that is wrong. But, they focus only on their own campaign, their own goal, and they thus gloss over the fact that they'll be outnumbered and powerless even if they win.

Seen this often on the Left. The most recent example is Bernie Sanders. Likewise, had Bernie been elected President, he too would face an entrenched establishment and media with only a small fraction of the Congress supporting him.

Change has to be built from the bottom up. There are no shortcuts. Electing a Trump, or a Nader or a Bernie does not lead to real change. Step one is to build the political movement such that it has real voting block power and which has already won voting majorities in the legislature before the movement achieves the election of a President.

What Trump has needed to be doing for this first two years is to form clear divisions that he could then take to his voters in the mid-term elections. He's needed to lay out his own agenda. So what if he loses votes in Congress? He then takes that agenda back to the voters in 2018 with a nationwide slate of Congressional candidates who support that agenda and runs a midterm campaign asking the voters to help him drain that swamp.

So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face.

Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections.

ChuckOrloski, August 1, 2017 at 2:19 pm GMT

@Jake Hey Jake,

It is a serious error to consider President Trump "naive."

What we are seeing now is The Donald's role in the serial Zionist THEATER. Think deeper about the motive behind Mr. Giraldi's choice to use the Orwellian word "Groupthink" in characterizing the CIA zeitgeist? In the classic work "1984," one observes Big Brother as the catalyst in control of the proles' thought pattern & subsequent action.

To rise & FALL as a POTUS is a matter of theater and the American proles are entertained by the political for either 4 or 8 years and the Zionists get their next Chosen actor/actress dramatically sworn in on a bible.

Mr. Trump is neither naive nor stupid. Sheldon Adelson would not donate $millioms to any POTUS wannabe who could not effectively lead the American Groupthink tradition. Subsequently, the politcal horror show is brought to you in the understandable form of the perptually elusive Deep State which gets annual Academy Award.

Beware the fake, Jake!,

Joe Hide, August 1, 2017 at 2:20 pm GMT

I agree with Your take on intelligence services in that they must be putting something in their drinking water. Good article. Keep contributing.

[Jul 30, 2017] Mainstream News Manipulation of US Public

McGovern thinks that it was Brennan boys who hacked into DNC as a part of conspiracy to implicate Russia and to secure Hillary win. One of the resons was probably that DNC servers were not well protected and there were other hacks, about whihc NSA know. So the sad state of DNC internet security needed to be swiped under the carpet and that's why CrowdStike was hired.
NSA created 7 million lines of code for penetration and that includes those that were pablished by Wikileaks and designed to imitate that attackers are coming (and using the language) from: China, North Korea, Iran and Russia.
Also NSA probably intercepts and keeps all Internet communications for a month or two so if it was a hack NSA knows who did it and what was stolen
But the most unexplainable part was that fact that FBI was denied accessing the evidence. I always think that thye can dictate that they need to see in such cases, but obviously this was not the case.
Notable quotes:
"... She couldn't pack a school gymnasium while Trumps rallies were packed with 10's of thousands. ..."
Jul 30, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Anna C 1 month ago

LEGAL, WIKIMEDIA V. NSA Discussing fake news and the NSA lawsuit at Yale | https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/06/16/fake-news-nsa-lawsuit-yale/

Tracy Spose 1 month ago

Love the rest of the talk, but no way did Hillary win. No way did she get the popular vote.

The woman was calling for war and reinstating the draft on men and women. She couldn't pack a school gymnasium while Trumps rallies were packed with 10's of thousands.

[Jul 30, 2017] Snowden dreams about better America

"Aaron Barlow: The Russian hacking nonsense is a tin foil hat conspiracy right up there with Reptilians and Aliens."
Notable quotes:
"... Snowden is a patriot. Only an individual that has integrity can do what Snowden did. He saw something that was wrong and blew the whistle on it, it was as simple as that, he knew the consequences very well. ..."
Feb 15, 2017 | www.youtube.com

walter white 3 weeks ago

poor bloke he speaks the truth and ends up in Russia and yet bush et al are free after killing all them people in 9/11 .

Binali Shareef 1 week ago

this guy is smart. well informed, super intellectual capacity. He chooses his words very wisely and well calculated. His interview is brain enlightening.

DMPKillaz 1 week ago

This right here.. is a fucking man... he gave up allllll the high life gave up allllll the money. all the BS to give the people what the fuck they needed to hear

Pyro Falcon 1 week ago

Mr Snowden is the MAN, a true American, and a HERO of the highest order. Thank you Ed.

patia55 2 weeks ago

Never trust Katie Curic

jeffv2074 1 week ago

Snowden is a patriot. Only an individual that has integrity can do what Snowden did. He saw something that was wrong and blew the whistle on it, it was as simple as that, he knew the consequences very well.

Pgs Penang 2 weeks ago

She is anti-trump. She is sent from the elite. She don't give a damn about him. 100% she is untrustworthy. Snowden is a threat to the deep state. Her questions clearly are from the democrats.

itsgoodbeingme 3 weeks ago

From a Brit: - Edward Snowden should be considered a national treasure and guard his liberty.

EarthWatch2014 3 days ago

The "journalist" who is interviewing Edward is a freedom hating, elitist worshipping mainstream media harlot.

Those who are ignorant of history are bound to repeat it. The people who founded this country left Britain due to a corrupt, tyrannical government. The US government is far more corrupt today then England was in the 1700s.

The 4th amendment has been butchered by the tyrannical, elitist dictators who are running this broken country. Today, the mainstream media is firmly controlled by a few, highly deranged elitists who are in league with the rancid, stinking pieces of fecal matter who run the US. The republic that was created by English "traitors" was supposed to be a sanctuary for freedom and human rights. The republic they created is dead and gone. It may look the same on the surface, but this country is much too far gone to ever recover. It never ceases to amaze me just how ignorant of history and the Constitution the average American is. The citizens are ignorant, bordering on stupid.

The evidence is everywhere, yet millions of weak-minded sheeple cannot see what lies directly in front of their eyes. The level of cognitive dissonance displayed by the average American is pitiful, and I will feel no pity when they realize that they were living in a country whose leaders were following the same game plan as Adolph Hitler... to the letter.

People believe that their political party, the party to which they give their allegiance, is the "good" party. Republicans and Democrats are one and the same. The two party system is simply a two headed snake that will lead the US into tyranny. The US is hated around the world because it has assumed the role of the world's arrogant, renegade cop. A country that was not to be "entangled in foreign affairs", now has military bases in nearly every corner of the earth. Those who open their mouths to defend the snakes in power will be taught a great lesson once the elitists' plans come to fruition. It's difficult to feel sorry for the people who believe the endless lies that are spoken by those in power.

These fools won't see the truth until their heads lie under the blade of the guillotine. Anyone who puts security before freedom and privacy deserves to be placed behind concrete walls and barbed wire, where they will remain "safe" from the fictitious enemies who cause them to pathetically cower in fear. The destiny of this country is that of Rome. Unfortunately, the masses do not know or understand the true history of this world. The putrid stench of ignorance covers the majority of the American populous. Snowden exposed the government's evil secrets, helping preserve freedom and liberty in the United States. Those who chastise Snowden deserve what is coming: The death of freedom under the hands of evil tyrants.

berretta9mm1 1 week ago (edited)

Watching Gen. Clapper state, UNDER OATH, that the NSA was not and is not indiscriminately reading, storing, and intercepting the private communications of every American citizen, made me feel physically ill.

The fact that he chose to tell a straight-out lie (in light of the information supplied to us by Edward Snowden, who exposed this illegal and unconstitutional internal spying program) - watching him choose to speak a brazen lie, spoken in complete disregard for his office, the NSA's mandate (and its limits), his military career leading to his appointment as head of the NSA, the Constitutional trust placed in him, and the laws which make a direct lie - under oath - to a Senate Intelligence Committee (composed of the people WE elected to represent us) a FELONY - mean that Gen. CLAPPER should be in prison for Perjury.

This is the applicable Constitutional U.S. Code, section 1621: "§ 1621. Perjury generally: Whoever! (1) having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true; or (2) in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true; - is guilty of perjury and shall, except as other-wise expressly provided by law, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. This section is applicable whether the statement or subscription is made within or without the United States."

Five years in prison, for lying to Congress about your indiscriminate spying on innocent U.S. citizens, Gen. Clapper, and then your filthy, despicable use of the U.S. Constitution (and our rights to privacy within it), as toilet paper when you lied directly to Senator Ron Wyden @ 61:00 under oath, when he asked "Does the NSA collect ANY type of data - at all - on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?" and you answered, with no hesitation or remorse, "No sir," you committed Perjury, by any definition of the above U.S. code.

Attempting to clarify, senator Wyden asked, "It does not?," and you answered, "Not wittingly. There are cases where they might inadvertently collect, but NOT WITTINGLY."

Could the lie have been any more damning, or abhorrent in a supposed Democracy? Is it any wonder why people like Gen. Clapper want Snowden - who PROVED that this was a lie, and exposed a completely illegal and unconstitutional program which Clapper was then in charge of - thrown in prison, and silenced permanently? Trump speaks of "draining the swamp." He could start with the NSA, and all of it's illegal activities, and work his way through every Intelligence Agency and the Military/Industrial Organizations and Corporations which together, represent the greatest threat ever to our liberties and to the Constitution - which is just hanging by a thread because of people and programs like this, and work his way down.

But he won't. Why? Because he, like the rest of us, has seen the Zapruder film. It's much easier - and safer - to kill the messenger. This is what makes Snowden, in today's world, a hero who, unlike the rest of these cowards and traitors, will be remembered well by history - for whatever that is worth to the man now. Thank God there are still people willing to sacrifice "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" for the purpose of protecting what remains of the tattered remnants of our Constitutionally-protected freedoms from government, and tyranny.

bluedance lilly 2 weeks ago

The US probably still surveys innocent everyday Americans by the millions. Not to prevent terrorism, but to have political and economic control, as Snowden has said. Watch the movie Snowden. Very enlightening.

Dylan Stone 1 week ago

I really liked this interview, and have much love for my fellow American Edward Snowden. He did the right thing. Whoever posted this video under the title "EDWARD SNOWDEN EXPOSES DONALD TRUMP" is kind of a dumbass. One tiny opinion is not equivalent to an expose', and this had nothing to do with Trump. Quit making click bait asshole

Jamie Brady 1 week ago

have to say .... balls of steal. left his own life behind to let "us" know what its really like. we were not there he was.. i love my country but dont think U.S.A. is not doing these things. First time in my 45 years i question things like this...he makes an amazing point....if someone questions they go to jail. Thats BS. questions make us a better Democracy. A better country...god bless you Edward i hope it works out for you brother.

Jay Bee 1 week ago

SHOCKING - TRUELY SHOCKING HOW UNBELIEVABLE DUMB THIS WOMAN IS. Is she really the best American journalism could send? I have to critisize Snowden too - for once (excuse me Eddy!): Why did he agree to meet such a ridiculous dummy? The interview - at least this dumb gooses part . was bodering on being comical. If Snowden`s intellegence were given the factor 100 - nobody would be able to give this truely uneducated, superficial and naive woman a number higher than room-temperature. In Celsius, that is! Hard to watch and difficult to understand why Snowden agreed to meet a completely shallow elderly Mom!

Jay Bee 1 week ago

SHOCKING - TRUELY SHOCKING HOW UNBELIEVABLE DUMB THIS WOMAN IS. Is she really the best American journalism could send? I have to critisize Snowden too - for once (excuse me Eddy!): Why did he agree to meet such a ridiculous dummy? The interview - at least this dumb gooses part . was bodering on being comical. If Snowden`s intellegence were given the factor 100 - nobody would be able to give this truely uneducated, superficial and naive woman a number higher than room-temperature. In Celsius, that is! Hard to watch and difficult to understand why Snowden agreed to meet a completely shallow elderly Mom!

whitemannativemind 1 week ago

This is a very interesting interview to be sure, and I personally, have great admiration for this man, as I'm sure much of the world does, and all the more so after watching the movie concerning his life in which we see how the CIA made his life a living hell for many years if not a decade or so, and may have even, brought this condition with his seizures and everything, assuming this movie was an accurate portrayal of his life, but there is precious little here about trump.

I was hoping he had some juicy info he was going to share but that does not seem so. Regardless, the man should be pardoned and allowed to get on with his life.

Government must know that it can never be all powerful and do whatever it damn will pleases, at home or abroad either. So for that reason the man is a hero for sure. He says; "we will not torture you." Wow. Not sure if he's joking there or serious but if he's serious then that is extremely disturbing indeed. Respectfully. All My Best. Out.

Gil Rasmussen 2 weeks ago

I used to like Snowden until I heard from his own mouth that he gets money from George Soros

[Jul 29, 2017] Ray McGovern The Deep State Assault on Elected Government Must Be Stopped

Highly recommended!
Ray McGovern raise important fact: DNC hide evidence from FBI outsourcing everything to CrowdStrike. This is the most unexplainable fact in the whole story. One hypotheses that Ray advanced here that there was so many hacks into DNC that they wanted to hide.
Another important point is CIA role in elections, and specifically John O. Brennan behaviour. Brennan's 25 years with the CIA included work as a Near East and South Asia analyst and as station chief in Saudi Arabia.
McGovern thing that Brennon actually controlled Obama. And in his opinion Brennan was the main leaker of Trump surveillance information.
Notable quotes:
"... Do really think the Deep State cares about the environment. Trump is our only chance to damage Deep State. McGovern is wrong... DNC were from Seth Rich, inside DNC. Murdered for it. McGovern is wrong... i could go on and on but suffice it to say his confidence is way to high. He is wrong. ..."
Apr 2, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Greg Rhodes 3 months ago

I really like Ray... I watch and listen , he seems to use logic, reason and facts in his assessments.. I'm surprised CIA and the deep state allow him to operate ... stay safe Ray...
Robert Eargle 2 months ago

McGovern, you idiot. To try to put Trump on Hillary's level is complete stupidity. The war with Russia or nothing was avoided with a Trump victory. Remember the NATO build up on the Russian border preparing for a Hillary win? Plus, if Hillary won, justice and law in the USA would be over with forever. The Germans dont know sht about the USA to say their little cute phrase. Trump is a very calm mannered man and his hands on the nuke button is an issue only to those who watch the fake MSM. And no the NSA has not released anything either. Wrong on that point too.

Manley Nelson 2 months ago

The German expression of USA having a choice between cholera and plague is ignorant. McGovern is wrong ....everyone knew HRC was a criminal. McGovern is wrong... Jill Stein in not trustworthy. A vote for Jill Stein was a vote away from Trump. If Jill Stein or HRC were elected their would be no environment left to save. Do really think the Deep State cares about the environment. Trump is our only chance to damage Deep State. McGovern is wrong... DNC were from Seth Rich, inside DNC. Murdered for it. McGovern is wrong... i could go on and on but suffice it to say his confidence is way to high. He is wrong.

Rodger Asai 3 months ago

Another month or so and the DHS may offer a color-coding system to help the sheeple understand various levels of confidence. Green - Moderate Confidence Blue - High Confidence Yellow - Very High Confidence Orange - Extremely High Confidence Red - Based on Actual Fact

The last category may be one of the signs of the apocalypse.

KELLI2L2 3 months ago

As it turned out Jill Stein was a bad choice too... Recount debacle.

midnighfairy 1 month ago

I want Hilary to pay for her lies

[Jul 28, 2017] Did Allen Dulles' CIA Murder JFK? The documents seem to say so. Will Trump release the JFK files against the wishes of the CIA?

Jul 28, 2017 | whowhatwhy.org

Did Allen Dulles' CIA Murder JFK? The documents seem to say so. Will Trump release the JFK files against the wishes of the CIA?

Posted by: JSonofa | Jul 27, 2017 5:51:13 PM | 122

[Jul 26, 2017] What You Actually Spend on the National Security State by William D. Hartung

Notable quotes:
"... This article was originally published in Tom Dispatch.com ..."
"... Pentagon Budget: $575 billion ..."
"... War Budget: $64.6 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $639.6 Billion ..."
"... Department of Energy (nuclear): $20 Billion ..."
"... Running total: $659.6 billion ..."
"... "Other Defense": $8 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $677.6 billion ..."
"... Homeland Security: $50 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $717.6 Billion ..."
"... Military Aid at the State Department: $7 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $724.6 Billion ..."
"... Intelligence: $70 Billion (mostly contained inside the Pentagon budget) ..."
"... Running Total: $724.6 Billion ..."
"... Veterans: $186 billion ..."
"... Running Total: $910.6 Billion ..."
"... Military Retirement: $80 Billion ..."
"... Running Total: $990.6 Billion ..."
"... Defense Share of the Interest on the Debt: $100 billion ..."
"... Grand Total: $1.09 Trillion ..."
Jul 26, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Hundreds of billions of dollars outside of the official Pentagon budget. July 26, 2017

The Pentagon ( Frontpage / Shutterstock ) This article was originally published in Tom Dispatch.com

You wouldn't know it, based on the endless cries for more money coming from the military politicians , and the president , but these are the best of times for the Pentagon. Spending on the Department of Defense alone is already well in excess of half a trillion dollars a year and counting. Adjusted for inflation, that means it's higher than at the height of President Ronald Reagan's massive buildup of the 1980s and is now nearing the post-World War II funding peak. And yet that's barely half the story. There are hundreds of billions of dollars in "defense" spending that aren't even counted in the Pentagon budget.

Under the circumstances, laying all this out in grisly detail!and believe me, when you dive into the figures, they couldn't be grislier!is the only way to offer a better sense of the true costs of our wars past, present, and future, and of the funding that is the lifeblood of the national security state. When you do that, you end up with no less than 10 categories of national security spending (only one of which is the Pentagon budget). So steel yourself for a tour of our nation's trillion-dollar-plus "national security" budget. Given the Pentagon's penchant for wasting money and our government's record of engaging in dangerously misguided wars without end, it's clear that a large portion of this massive investment of taxpayer dollars isn't making anyone any safer.

1) The Pentagon Budget

The Pentagon's "base" or regular budget contains the costs of the peacetime training, arming, and operation of the U.S. military and of the massive civilian workforce that supports it!and if waste is your Eden, then you're in paradise.

The department's budget is awash in waste, as you might expect from the only major federal agency that has never passed an audit . For example, last year a report by the Defense Business Board, a Pentagon advisory panel, found that the Department of Defense could save $125 billion over five years just by trimming excess bureaucracy. And a new study by the Pentagon's Inspector General indicates that the department has ignored hundreds of recommendations that could have saved it more than $33.6 billion.

The Pentagon can't even get an accurate count of the number of private contractors it employs, but the figure is certainly in the range of 600,000 or higher, and many of them carry out tasks that might far better be handled by government employees. Cutting that enormous contractor work force by just 15 percent, only a start when it comes to eliminating the unnecessary duplication involved in hiring government employees and private contractors to do the same work, would save an easy $20 billion annually.

And the items mentioned so far are only the most obvious examples of misguided expenditures at the Department of Defense. Even larger savings could be realized by scaling back the Pentagon's global ambitions, which have caused nothing but trouble in the last decade and a half as the U.S. military has waged devastating and counterproductive wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere across the Greater Middle East and Africa. An analysis by Ben Friedman of the conservative Cato Institute estimates that the Pentagon could reduce its projected spending by one trillion dollars over the next decade if Washington reined in its interventionist instincts and focused only on America's core interests.

Donald Trump, of course, ran for president as a businessman who would clean house and institute unprecedented efficiencies in government. Instead, on entering the Oval Office, he's done a superb job of ignoring chronic problems at the Pentagon, proposing instead to give that department a hefty raise: $575 billion next year. And yet his expansive military funding plans look relatively mild compared to the desires of the gung-ho members of the armed services committees in the House and Senate . Democrats and Republicans alike want to hike the Pentagon budget to at least $600 billion or more. The legislative fight over a final number will play out over the rest of this year. For now, let's just use Trump's number as a placeholder.

Pentagon Budget: $575 billion

2) The War Budget

The wars of this century, from Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond, have largely been paid for through a special account that lies outside the regular Pentagon budget. This war budget!known in the antiseptic language of the Pentagon as the "Overseas Contingency Operations" account, or OCO! peaked at more than $180 billion at the height of the Bush administration's intervention in Iraq.

As troop numbers in that country and Afghanistan have plummeted from hundreds of thousands to about 15,000 , the war budget, miraculously enough, hasn't fallen at anywhere near the same pace. That's because it's not even subject to the modest caps on the Pentagon's regular budget imposed by Congress back in 2011, as part of a deal to keep the government open.

In reality, over the past five years, the war budget has become a slush fund that pays for tens of billions of dollars in Pentagon expenses that have nothing to do with fighting wars. The Trump administration wants $64.6 billion for that boondoggle budget in fiscal year 2018. Some in Congress would like to hike it another $10 billion . For consistency, we'll again use the Trump number as a baseline.

War Budget: $64.6 Billion

Running Total: $639.6 Billion

3) Nuclear Warheads (and more)

You might think that the most powerful weapons in the U.S. arsenal ! nuclear warheads ! would be paid for out of the Pentagon budget. And you would, of course, be wrong. The cost of researching, developing, maintaining, and "modernizing" the American arsenal of 6,800 nuclear warheads falls to an obscure agency located inside the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA. It also works on naval nuclear reactors, pays for the environmental cleanup of nuclear weapons facilities, and funds the nation's three nuclear weapons laboratories, at a total annual cost of more than $20 billion per year.

Department of Energy (nuclear): $20 Billion

Running total: $659.6 billion

4) "Other Defense"

This catchall category encompasses a number of flows of defense-related funding that go to agencies other than the Pentagon. It totals about $8 billion per year . In recent years, about two-thirds of this money has gone to pay for the homeland security activities of the FBI, accounting for more than half of that agency's annual budget.

"Other Defense": $8 Billion

Running Total: $677.6 billion

The four categories above make up what the White House budget office considers total spending on "national defense." But I'm sure you won't be shocked to learn that their cumulative $677.6 billion represents far from the full story. So let's keep right on going.

5) Homeland Security

After the 9/11 attacks, Congress created a mega-agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It absorbed 22 then-existing entities , all involved in internal security and border protection, creating the sprawling cabinet department that now has 240,000 employees . For those of you keeping score at home, the agencies and other entities currently under the umbrella of DHS include the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, the Transportation Security Agency, the U.S. Secret Service, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), and the Office of Intelligence Analysis (the only one of America's 17 intelligence agencies to fit under the department's rubric).

How many of these agencies actually make us safer? That would be a debatable topic, if anyone were actually interested in such a debate. ICE!America's deportation force!has, for instance, done far more to cause suffering than to protect us from criminals or terrorists. On the other hand, it's reassuring to know that there is an office charged with determining whether there is a nuclear weapon or radioactive "dirty bomb" in our midst.

While it's hard to outdo the Pentagon, DHS has its own record of dubious expenditures on items large and small. They range from $1,000 fees for employees to attend conferences at spas to the purchase of bagpipes for border protection personnel to the payment of scores of remarkably fat salaries to agency bureaucrats. On the occasion of its tenth anniversary in 2013, Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) excoriated the department as "rife with waste," among other things, pointing to a report by the DHS inspector general that it had misspent over $1 billion.

DHS was supposed to provide a better focus for efforts to protect the United States from internal threats. Its biggest problem, though, may be that it has become a magnet for increased funding for haphazard, misplaced, and often simply dangerous initiatives. These would, for instance, include its program to supply grants to local law enforcement agencies to help them buy military-grade equipment to be deployed not against terrorists, but against citizens protesting the injustices perpetrated by the very same agencies being armed by DHS.

The Trump administration has proposed spending $50 billion on DHS in FY 2018.

Homeland Security: $50 Billion

Running Total: $717.6 Billion

6) Military Aid

U.S. government-run military aid programs have proliferated rapidly in this century. The United States now has scores of arms and training programs serving more than 140 countries . They cost more than $18 billion per year , with about 40 percent of that total located in the State Department's budget. While the Pentagon's share has already been accounted for, the $7 billion at State!which can ill afford to pay for such programs with the Trump administration seeking to gut the rest of its budget!has not.

Military Aid at the State Department: $7 Billion

Running Total: $724.6 Billion

7) Intelligence

The United States government has 16 separate intelligence agencies : the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the National Security Agency (NSA); the Defense Intelligence Agency; the FBI; the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research; the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence Analysis; the Drug Enforcement Administration Office of National Security Intelligence; the Treasury Department Office of Intelligence and Analysis; the Department of Energy Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence; the National Reconnaissance Office; the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; Army Military Intelligence; the Office of Naval Intelligence; Marine Corps Intelligence; and Coast Guard Intelligence. Add to these the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which is supposed to coordinate this far-flung intelligence network, and you have a grand total of 17 agencies.

The U.S. will spend more than $70 billion on intelligence this year, spread across all these agencies. The bulk of this funding is contained in the Pentagon budget!including the budgets of the CIA and the NSA (believed to be hidden under obscure line items there). At most, a few billion dollars in additional expenditures on intelligence fall outside the Pentagon budget and since, given the secrecy involved, that figure can't be determined, let's not add anything further to our running tally.

Intelligence: $70 Billion (mostly contained inside the Pentagon budget)

Running Total: $724.6 Billion

8) Supporting Veterans

A steady uptick of veterans generated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has dramatically increased the costs of supporting such vets once they come home, including the war wounded, some of whom will need medical care for life. For 2018, the Veterans Administration has requested over $186 billion for its budget, more than three times what it was before the 2001 intervention in Afghanistan.

Veterans: $186 billion

Running Total: $910.6 Billion

9) Military Retirement

The trust fund set up to cover pensions for military retirees and their survivors doesn't have enough money to pay out all the benefits promised to these individuals. As a result, it is supplemented annually by an appropriation from the general revenues of the government. That supplement has by now reached roughly $80 billion per year

Military Retirement: $80 Billion

Running Total: $990.6 Billion

10) Defense Share of Interest on the Debt

It's no secret that the U.S. government regularly runs at a deficit and that the total national debt is growing. It may be more surprising to learn that the interest on that debt runs at roughly $500 billion per year . The Project on Government Oversight calculates the share of the interest on that debt generated by defense-related programs at more than $100 billion annually.

Defense Share of the Interest on the Debt: $100 billion

Grand Total: $1.09 Trillion

That final annual tally of nearly $1.1 trillion to pay for past wars, fund current wars, and prepare for possible future conflicts is roughly double the already staggering $575 billion the Trump administration has proposed as the Pentagon's regular budget for 2018. Most taxpayers have no idea that more than a trillion dollars a year is going to what's still called "defense," but these days might equally be called national in security.

So the next time you hear the president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or a hawkish lawmaker claim that the U.S. military is practically collapsing from a lack of funding, don't believe it for a second. Donald Trump may finally have put plutocracy in the Oval Office, but a militarized version of it has long been ensconced in the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state. In government terms, make no mistake about it, the Pentagon & Co. are the one percent.

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular , is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex

[Jul 24, 2017] How to misunderstand security

Nov 07, 2006 | eli.thegreenplace.net
We're now trying to book rooms in a couple of lodges in Australia for our trip. When contacting the lodge by email, they inevitably ask you to send them your credit card number. I'm very reluctant to provide my credit card number by email, as it's about the least secure way there is to transfer information over the net. So, I usually ask for a secure web-page to submit the number to (HTTPS pages use proven public key algorithms to transfer the data securely), and there's rarely a problem. But today I received two most original answers from two places. One says:
You can send the number in two different emails [...]
That is, if the card number is 1234 5678, send 1234 in one email, and 5678 in another. This is surely going to confuse them hackers :-D :-D The other provided an even better algorithm:
If concerned about security you could use our fax number [...], or send your number via email and on the last set of four digits add 1 to each number for example, if your last 4 numbers on the card are 4566 send me 5677

No comments required :-D

[Jul 23, 2017] MoA - Murder, Spies And Weapons - Three Fascinating 'Deep State' Stories

Notable quotes:
"... Azerbaijan's Silk Way Airlines transported hundreds of tons of weapons under diplomatic cover to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan Congo ..."
"... A British spy. An Arizona senator. And one inflammatory dossier on Donald Trump. The connection between them is starting to unravel... ..."
"... there are indications that McCain was the one who hired the company which created the infamous Steele dossier. ..."
"... Document hack could imperil subs in Oz, India, other countries ..."
"... The Trump-Russia Dossier (by political treason stabbing the nominee of his own Party; ignoring the words of Reagan) ..."
"... the first part of your post reaffirms my comment in the previous thread about the usa, saudi arabia/gccs and israel being the terrorists that the world would be a lot better place without... " ..."
"... in an exceptional country, there is no accountability... according to obama, you have to move on and not dwell on the past, lol... ..."
"... the mountain of evidence you provide daily, as proof of the corporate empire's malignancy, is therapeutic and empowering, but, until this information reaches the bulk of the U$A's masses we're all just treading water here. ..."
"... The last thing McCain has to worry about is prosecution or even criticism for fomenting war crimes. ..."
"... "The team has carried out painstaking research cataloging serial numbers and tracing the routes. They found crates of ammunition and rockets manufactured in factories in eastern Europe. These were bought by the governments of the US and Saudi Arabia." ..."
"... A British spy. An Arizona senator. And one inflammatory dossier on Donald Trump. The connection between them is starting to unravel... ..."
"... I suspected during the Prez Campaign that Trump had McCain well and truly scoped when he said (of Satan's Mini-Me) "I like my war "heroes" not to get captured." ..."
"... This story says a lot for China & Russia's approach to long-term Strategic Diplomacy. I imagine that they both know all this stuff and a helluva lot more, but they go to all the summits, prattle about Our AmeriKKKan Friends, and then presumably laugh their asses off when the summit is over. Xi & Putin seem to truly believe that the blowback from all this Yankee Duplicity will eventually do as much harm to the American Dream as an Ru/Cn Military Solution. ..."
"... Criminal activity under diplomatic cover should be prosecuted. They can pretend they didn't find out until it was too late. Or they can claim that they were letting it happen in order to track the players. Those excuses have been used for all kinds of cover for nefarious activites like Pakistan's AQ Khan NukeMart to distribute nuclear technology and materials. (See Deception and United States and the Islamc Bomb books) And there's Fast & Furious. In the end the cover comes from the political top of the trash heap. ..."
"... Sounds familiar? Iranian industrialization and westernization happened during the Shah. That is part of above story. Same story in Saudi Arabia . ..."
"... My suspicion is that this "reversal" was also made in the USA as a consequence of the strategy to use Islam as a "green belt" against the Soviet Union. ..."
Jul 23, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
Murder, Spies And Weapons - Three Fascinating 'Deep State' Stories

350 "diplomatic" flights transporting weapons for terrorists - Trud

Azerbaijan's Silk Way Airlines transported hundreds of tons of weapons under diplomatic cover to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan Congo

With lots of details from obtained emails.

Ten thousands of tons of weapons and ammunition to al-Qaeda and other Takfiris in Syria also came first from Libya by ship, then on at least 160 big cargo flights via Saudi Arabia and Qatar to Turkey and during the last years by various ships under U.S. contracts from mostly east-European countries.

---

With all the Trump-Russia nonsense flowing around one person's involvement in the creation of the issue deserves more scrutiny:

McCain and the Trump-Russia Dossier: What Did He Know, and When? - Reason

A British spy. An Arizona senator. And one inflammatory dossier on Donald Trump. The connection between them is starting to unravel...

---

Another Scorpene Submarine Scandal - Asia Sentinel (a bit older but it was new to me)

Document hack could imperil subs in Oz, India, other countries

Musburger | Jul 21, 2017 12:41:30 PM | 1

The first story is a muti-billion dollar illegal business network that potentially encompasses not only the CIA, but also several governments, the Clinton Foundation, David Patreus, investors (many of whom hold government positions) and God knows what else. It's possibly the greatest scam the world has ever seen.
ProPeace | Jul 21, 2017 12:48:44 PM | 3
It would be nice to have a comprehensive list of sponsors of those fake lucrative speeches such front persons and puppets as Clintons, Saakashvili, Kwaśniewski, ... have been giving. The Business Round Tables that Quigley and Sutton wrote about that live off wars and misery.
Petri Krohn | Jul 21, 2017 12:55:55 PM | 4
There is an amazing amount of detailed information from reliable sources on the U.S. sponsored, Saudi paid arms deliveries to terrorist in Syria, originating from the eastern parts of the European Union. I have collected some of the best sources here:

US covert war on Syria -> Weapon deliveries

likklemore | Jul 21, 2017 12:56:46 PM | 5
McCain and the Trump-Russia Dossier The third time is the Charm.I am reminded McCain can do no wrong: His service to his country (it's alleged, by aiding the enemy); The Keating Five; (I dindu nuttin wrong)

The Trump-Russia Dossier (by political treason stabbing the nominee of his own Party; ignoring the words of Reagan). McCain, once again, will be excused and forgiven. His actions were due to illness – the most aggressive cancer of the brain. How is that so?

james | Jul 21, 2017 12:58:42 PM | 6
thanks b.. the first part of your post reaffirms my comment in the previous thread about the usa, saudi arabia/gccs and israel being the terrorists that the world would be a lot better place without... "the contracts are with U.S. companies themselves hired by the CIA and/or Pentagon as well as with Saudi and Israeli companies.."
terry | Jul 21, 2017 1:00:09 PM | 7
Here is a link to The Dilyana Files – 1403 Email Attachments Posted https://www.truthleaks.org/news/343-the-dilyana-files-1403-email-attachments-posted
james | Jul 21, 2017 1:00:13 PM | 8
@5 likklemore ... in an exceptional country, there is no accountability... according to obama, you have to move on and not dwell on the past, lol...
ben | Jul 21, 2017 1:07:44 PM | 9
Thanks b, the mountain of evidence you provide daily, as proof of the corporate empire's malignancy, is therapeutic and empowering, but, until this information reaches the bulk of the U$A's masses we're all just treading water here.
WorldBLee | Jul 21, 2017 1:11:43 PM | 10
@2: The last thing McCain has to worry about is prosecution or even criticism for fomenting war crimes. The cancer is real and he will be lauded for his courage and lionized if he dies. But should he survive he will carry on as usual with no apologies and no criticism.
nonsense factory | Jul 21, 2017 1:54:32 PM | 11
BBC News has a great little expose on tracking ISIS weapons captured in Mosul to their sources in Eastern Europe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8bwCj3lfsg
"The team has carried out painstaking research cataloging serial numbers and tracing the routes. They found crates of ammunition and rockets manufactured in factories in eastern Europe. These were bought by the governments of the US and Saudi Arabia."
Whether or not the arming and financing of ISIS groups was "accidental" or "deliberate" remains something of an open question; most likely the actual US policy from c.2011-2012 onwards was to give support to anyone trying to overthrow Assad's government regardless of affiliation. The architects of this plan? Clinton & McCain seem to be right at the center of it, with plenty of neocon/neolib supporters in Congress & the State Department/CIA/Pentagon (Nuland/Morrell/Carter etc.)
Oui | Jul 21, 2017 2:29:43 PM | 12
Sorry b .... the "Reason" article is complete nonsense. I've covered the details the last two weeks. The "dodgy dossier" was shared by Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, with the British MI6 and the FBI starting in August 2016. That's why I claim it's not RussiaGate but IC-Gate. A complot by the Intelligence Community of the UK and US. McCain is just a distraction of the true effort to dump Trump.
McCain and the Trump-Russia Dossier: What Did He Know, and When? - Reason

A British spy. An Arizona senator. And one inflammatory dossier on Donald Trump. The connection between them is starting to unravel...

  • there are indications that McCain was the one who hired the company which created the infamous Steele dossier.
  • there is evidences that he distributed it to the CIA, FBI and to the media.
  • the issue is now in front of a British court.

Christopher Steele and Sir Andrew Wood worked in a British spy nest in Moscow during the Yeltsin years of the 90s.

  • Is RussiaGate Really IC-Gate
  • Did MI6/CIA Collude with Chris Steele to Entrap Trump?
  • 'Sir' Andrew Wood as spy chief in Moscow
  • Fusion GPS linked to UAE Sheikh and Rubio Donor

    Peter W. Smith Tapped Alt-Right to Access Dark Net for Clinton emails – linked to Charles C. Johnson – Stephen Bannon - Andrew Auernheimer, a hacker who goes by the alias 'Weev', "exiled" to the Ukraine

Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 21, 2017 3:02:30 PM | 13
Thanks, b. Love the lede...
350 "diplomatic" flights transporting weapons for ter'rists - Trud

What a slimy little cur John McCain (Satan's Mini-Me) turns out to be. Guess how surprised I'm not that the little skunk is up to his eyeballs in weapons proliferation & profiteering, not to mention that old Yankee favourite Gun-barrel "Diplomacy".

I suspected during the Prez Campaign that Trump had McCain well and truly scoped when he said (of Satan's Mini-Me) "I like my war "heroes" not to get captured."

This story says a lot for China & Russia's approach to long-term Strategic Diplomacy. I imagine that they both know all this stuff and a helluva lot more, but they go to all the summits, prattle about Our AmeriKKKan Friends, and then presumably laugh their asses off when the summit is over. Xi & Putin seem to truly believe that the blowback from all this Yankee Duplicity will eventually do as much harm to the American Dream as an Ru/Cn Military Solution.

psychohistorian | Jul 21, 2017 3:12:19 PM | 14
Thanks again for the excellent journalism b even though it reads like the trash on the rags in the grocery stores they make you look at while you check out.

I just hold out hope that the great unraveling continues and quickens its pace.

Curtis | Jul 21, 2017 3:32:48 PM | 15
Criminal activity under diplomatic cover should be prosecuted. They can pretend they didn't find out until it was too late. Or they can claim that they were letting it happen in order to track the players. Those excuses have been used for all kinds of cover for nefarious activites like Pakistan's AQ Khan NukeMart to distribute nuclear technology and materials. (See Deception and United States and the Islamc Bomb books) And there's Fast & Furious. In the end the cover comes from the political top of the trash heap.

The Dem/anti-Trump attempts to get dirt on Trump via Russians doesn't get play in the MSM. Nor does the content of the emails. They call the tune and the media plays on.

Curtis | Jul 21, 2017 3:38:37 PM | 16
nonsense factory 11

Thnx for the vid link. That evidence won't get to US MSM either. It makes the case for Tulsi Gabbard's efforts.

likklemore | Jul 21, 2017 4:52:05 PM | 18
@james 8
[Reported by Independent.co.uk, New York Post and the Guardian.co.uk] McCain admitted he handed the dossier to Comey."

NYPost: McCain "I gave Russia blackmail dossier on Trump to the FBI"

Senator John McCain passed documents to the FBI director, James Comey, last month alleging secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and that Russian intelligence had personally compromising material on the president-elect himself

New York Post
http://nypost.com/2017/01/11/john-mccain-i-gave-russia-blackmail-dossier-on-trump-to-fbi/

Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/10/fbi-chief-given-dossier-by-john-mccain-alleging-secret-trump-russia-contacts

Yes, there will be no accountability in the U.S. for the exceptional ones. However, the British courts setting aside "special relationships" may take a different view that McCain has a case to answer.

@kpax 17

Did I mis-read? McCain's cerebral?

Piotr Berman | Jul 21, 2017 5:46:21 PM | 19
The link suggests that the subs involved in the scandal are perhaps OK, and no hack compromised their worthiness in a possible military conflict. Neither there were any fatal accidents. The only losses in manpower (but quite a few) are among people engaged in the financial transactions that delivered them to various fleets.

Although there are possible danger to security, because bribery is used to blackmail involved in recruitment of spies.

Fidelios Automata | Jul 21, 2017 6:03:00 PM | 20
I hope the conspiracy theories are wrong, and that McInsane will soon suffer a well-deserved painful death.
BTW, I'm a long-time Arizonan, and I'm proud to say I've never voted for this traitor and have also signed the recall petitions against him.
radiator | Jul 21, 2017 6:16:53 PM | 21
I apologize for never contributing anything substantial but just emanating verbal support.
I hope this site has some mirrored archives. This is in its entirety a work of contemporary history (sorry my english's not good enough... mirror this site and give it some dumb ancestor of ours to read in 20, 50, 100 years, y'know).
I'm a broke lowlife but next time around I'll send some money.
radiator | Jul 21, 2017 6:19:21 PM | 22
damn I regret every cent I've spent on mainstream newspapers, although the last time I've done so has been years ago and maybe back then, they weren't so bad, but then again, they probably were and I just didn't notice.
Anonymous | Jul 21, 2017 7:01:32 PM | 23
The dog that didn't bark in the arms shipment story is the absense of Qatar in the list of recipient countries. It also seems that, whilst most (80%) were shipped through SA/UAE, more arms were shipped through Jordan (11%) than through Turkey (7%).

Bulgaria may also have been the location of military level training sites for foreigners. An intriguing report from June 2015 noted that an American was killed along with 2 foreigners (German and Canadian) in a grenade launcher accident of a PMC training center at Anevo, Bulgaria. The site was run by an company Algans (or Alguns).

http://sofiaglobe.com/2015/06/06/american-dies-four-injured-in-blast-at-bulgarias-vmz-sopot-ordnance-plant/

There are links to the infamous US military $500 million training program in which an unknown number of 'carefully vetted moderate rebels' were trained and all but 5 of them 'defected' to al Qaeda.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/aramroston/mobbed-up-arms-dealer-in-american-anti-isis-effort-linked-to

Anonymous | Jul 21, 2017 7:14:05 PM | 24
"This story says a lot for China & Russia's approach to long-term Strategic Diplomacy. I imagine that they both know all this stuff and a helluva lot more" Hoarsewhisperer @13

The docs indicate the Balkans arm supply route took off in 2012. It will have brought in many billions of USD to the relatively poor east European countries. Before the Gulenist(?) shoot down of the Russian Su-24, Russia had been trying to get Turkey and Bulgaria interested in South Stream. I suspect Russia did indeed know the details of the arms shipment, and certainly knew about Turkey's cut of the ISIS oil sales. I suspect this deal may have been an attempt to wean the two off the terrorism funding spigot. This failed as the Bulgarian government is totally owned by the US. Erdogan's ego was manipulated by his Zionist handlers and eventually his stalling killed interest at theat time. The Russians would know this background too, but the deal had to be tried. If it had worked, then the Bulgarian arms train would possibly have been stopped and the Turkish border closed several years ago. This would have greatly cramped the capabilities of ISIS, simplifying the task of eliminating them. I suspect the Russians also knew it wouldn't pan out but it was certainly worth a shot whilst they was busily obtaining intelligence on the terrorists, and secretly negotiating the logistics, overflight access etc for what was to become its base at Hymeim.

somebody | Jul 21, 2017 7:15:18 PM | 25
23 also

Russia Hopes to Sign Agreement on Arms Re-Export From Bulgaria

The statement was followed by a publication of the Bulgarian Trud newspaper that mentioned the Arcus arms company as the producer of some arms produced in Bulgaria under Russian licenses, which were found by journalists in eastern Aleppo.
nobody | Jul 21, 2017 7:49:29 PM | 27
BBC News has a great little expose

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jul 21, 2017 1:54:32 PM | 11

Tillerson. Exxon. Petrodollar. Rockefellers.

BBC. MI6. BIS. Rothschilds.

https://youtu.be/Hgq4w4dqKsU

That's a good question.

nobody | Jul 21, 2017 8:07:41 PM | 28
Master: http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/david-rockefeller.jpg

Blaster: https://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/walkingdead/images/0/0c/Armedforces.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20131116201742

Barter-Town: http://images.legalweek.com/images/IMG/277/144277/city-of-london-gherkin-finance.jpg

Mad-Max:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Vladimir_Putin_in_KGB_uniform.jpg/170px-Vladimir_Putin_in_KGB_uniform.jpg

http://madmaxmovies.com/mad-max/mad-max-cars/max-yellow-xb-interceptor-sedan/max-leaps-out-of-yellow-xb.jpg

fast freddy | Jul 21, 2017 8:20:34 PM | 29
Craven McCain has been teflon for his entire political career and he was teflon when he wrecked airplanes in the navy. McCain is just a teflon guy. Untouchable. Probably has "dossiers" on anybody that can damage him.
nobody | Jul 21, 2017 8:34:56 PM | 30

Sure, it's tempting to think this:

But we do know that Islamic Republic is a creature of the British. (Longstanding history between the worldly priests of Iran and the defunct British Empire. Read up.)

nobody | Jul 21, 2017 10:26:39 PM | 33
https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_960w/2010-2019/Wires/Images/2017-01-13/AP/Trump_Defense_Secretary_75769.jpg-2f26d.jpg&w=480 ">https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_960w/2010-2019/Wires/Images/2017-01-13/AP/Trump_Defense_Secretary_75769.jpg-2f26d.jpg&w=480">https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_960w/2010-2019/Wires/Images/2017-01-13/AP/Trump_Defense_Secretary_75769.jpg-2f26d.jpg&w=480

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/FEHE4E_I5FM/hqdefault.jpg

Trully, who but the ignorant make war against ALLAH?

ProPeace | Jul 22, 2017 1:06:13 AM | 35
They throw a hissy fit Neocon madness: We can't have peace in Syria, that would be giving in to Russia!

This is huge. An absolute outrage. The first real Trump concession to Putin that undermines U.S. security directly. https://t.co/h9WR4brHHK
! Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) July 19, 2017
Yeah, Right | Jul 22, 2017 6:40:44 AM | 45
@2 I have no doubt that McCain's medical condition is real. I well remember the news stories in early June when McCain put up a bizarre performance during testimony by James Comey - asking questions that simply didn't make any sense whatsoever and leaving everyone utterly gob-smacked regarding McCain's mental state.

So, yeah, brain tumour.

ghostship | Jul 23, 2017 6:03:50 AM | 62

OMG. the Washington Borg's house newspaper has woken up to Trump's surrender to Putin on Syria.
Trump's breathtaking surrender to Russia

But once again, President Trump, after extended personal contact with Vladimir Putin and the complete surrender to Russian interests in Syria, acts precisely as though he has been bought and sold by a strategic rival. The ignoble cutoff of aid to American proxies means that "Putin won in Syria," as an administration official was quoted by The Post.

Concessions without reciprocation, made against the better judgment of foreign policy advisers, smack more of payoff than outreach. If this is what Trump's version of "winning" looks like, what might further victory entail? The re- creation of the Warsaw Pact? The reversion of Alaska to Russian control?

Although this opinion article was posted a couple of days ago, there been no shitstorm near Trump about it since suggesting that Trump's one-man distraction/disinformation smokescreen is firing successfully on all cylinders.

Meanwhile, some in the US Army at least understand that once the battle to liquidate the ISIS Caliphate is other, they'll have problems remaining in Syria .

'We're bad day away from Russians asking, 'Why are you still in Syria?' – top US commander

A US special operations commander has admitted that an extended US stay in Syria runs contrary to international law and that Russia would be entirely justified in questioning its presence there.

At the Aspen Security Forum on Friday, Special Operations Command chief Army General, Raymond Thomas was asked whether American forces will remain in Syria, after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is defeated, possibly, to support the Kurdish forces in the north of the country.

Thomas acknowledged that American forces are fighting in a sovereign Syria, where they will likely "have no ability to stay" if that presence is questioned "in terms of international law," Thomas said, replying to the Washington Post journalist's question.


Although I'm sure that the State Department/Pentagon lawyers are looking for a reason to stay.
somebody | Jul 23, 2017 6:40:48 AM | 63
Posted by: nobody | Jul 22, 2017 11:08:41 PM | 61

Yep. Made in the USA .

By the time of Richard Nixon's arrival in office in January 1969, Iran was already America's single-largest arms purchaser. Whilst this is notable in and of itself, it is vastly overshadowed by what followed. By late 1972 Nixon leveraged U.S. Middle Eastern regional policy primarily around the focal point of a militarily strong, pro-American Iran.

Sounds familiar? Iranian industrialization and westernization happened during the Shah. That is part of above story. Same story in Saudi Arabia .

In Saudi Arabia, the 1960s, and especially the 1970s, had been years of explosive development, liberal experimentation, and openness to the West. A reversal of this trend came about abruptly in 1979, the year in which the Grand Mosque in Mecca came under attack by religiously motivated critics of the monarchy, and the Islamic Republic of Iran was established.

My suspicion is that this "reversal" was also made in the USA as a consequence of the strategy to use Islam as a "green belt" against the Soviet Union.

Same "reversal" from Atatürk happened in Turkey.

[Jul 21, 2017] Is the CIA Reformable by Melvin A. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... tells the story of the corruption Melvin A. Goodman observed within the intelligence agency and what he did to expose it. NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake says this book "serves in the public interest as a warning and wake-up call for what's at stake and why we cannot trust the CIA or the intelligence establishment to do the right thing." Click here to order a copy today by making a donation to Truthout! ..."
"... In this excerpt, , former CIA intelligence analyst Melvin A. Goodman ponders the meanings of the words whistleblower, dissident and contrarian, how they apply to himself and others, and whether the CIA can ever be repaired or rebuilt. ..."
"... The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA ..."
"... The Failure of Intelligence ..."
"... Copyright (2017) by Melvin A. Goodman. Not be reprinted without permission of the publisher, City Lights Books. ..."
Jul 21, 2017 | www.truth-out.org

The CIA's mission has gone dangerously and lethally astray, argues Melvin A. Goodman, former CIA intelligence analyst.

Whistleblower at the CIA tells the story of the corruption Melvin A. Goodman observed within the intelligence agency and what he did to expose it. NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake says this book "serves in the public interest as a warning and wake-up call for what's at stake and why we cannot trust the CIA or the intelligence establishment to do the right thing." Click here to order a copy today by making a donation to Truthout!

In this excerpt, , former CIA intelligence analyst Melvin A. Goodman ponders the meanings of the words whistleblower, dissident and contrarian, how they apply to himself and others, and whether the CIA can ever be repaired or rebuilt.

Whistleblowers. Dissidents. Contrarians.

The terms are used synonymously by pundits and the public, and I've been all three at one time or another in order to expose improprieties and illegalities in the secret government, and to inform the American public of policies that compromise the freedom and security of US citizens and weaken US standing in the global community.

I have never liked the terms contrarian or dissident. I've always believed that my criticism should be conventional wisdom. The term whistleblower is more complex because it often raises questions of patriotism or sedition. Chelsea Manning received commutation from her 35-year prison sentence for revealing so-called secrets that documented the terror and violence of the baseless US war in Iraq. Members of the Bush administration who launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 are considered honorable members of our society, although their acts involved the corruption of intelligence; caused the death of thousands of US soldiers and foreign civilians; terrorized civilian populations; perpetrated the criminal use of torture and abuse; sanctioned use of secret prisons and extraordinary rendition; and caused the destabilization of the region that has set the stage for strategic advances by Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Edward Snowden, if he had remained in the United States, would have faced an even longer prison sentence because he revealed the massive NSA surveillance program that was illegal and immoral, and that violated the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal seizures and searches. Manning and Snowden admit to breaking US laws, but their actions were never as serious as the law-breaking, including massive violations of privacy, that they exposed.

The debate over whether Snowden was a traitor is fatuous. As a result of Snowden's revelations, we learned that the National Security Agency logged domestic phone calls and emails for years, recorded the metadata of correspondence between Americans, and, in some cases, exploited the content of emails. The case against Private Manning was similarly fatuous. Manning provided evidence of the US cover-up of torture by our Iraqi allies; a US Army helicopter opening fire on a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists; and the use of an air strike to cover up the execution of civilians. Some of these acts were war crimes.

There is no more compelling evidence of the unconscionable behavior of US personnel in Iraq than the callous dialogue between the crew members of the helicopter regarding the civilian deaths and particularly the firing on those Iraqis who came to recover the dead bodies of Iraqi civilians. Manning's documents exposed this behavior, but her efforts were ridiculed by former secretary of defense Robert Gates, who described it as examining war by "looking through a straw."

To make matters worse, American journalists have criticized their colleagues (Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald [then of The Guardian]) who brought the Snowden-Manning revelations to the attention of the public. David Gregory, then host of the venerable "Meet the Press" on NBC, asked Greenwald "to the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden ... why shouldn't you ... be charged with a crime?" Jeffrey Toobin, a lawyer who labors for CNN and The New Yorker, called Snowden a "grandiose narcissist who belongs in prison" and referred to Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, who was detained by British authorities for nine hours under anti-terror laws, the equivalent of a "drug mule."

The king of calumny is Michael Grunwald, a senior correspondent for Time, who wrote on Twitter that he couldn't "wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange." The New York Times also targeted Assange, although the paper cooperated with WikiLeaks in 2010 in publishing reams of information from Private Manning's revelations. Of course, if Time or the New York Times had broken these stories, they would have built new shelves to hold their Pulitzer Prizes. Their hypocrisy was exposed by David Carr of the New York Times, who expressed shock at finding Assange and Greenwald "under attack, not just from a government bent on keeping its secrets, but from friendly fire by fellow journalists."

I didn't reveal abuses as great as those revealed by Manning and Snowden or Daniel Ellsberg, but I do claim status as a whistleblower because of my revelations before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during confirmation hearings for Bob Gates, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 to be director of central intelligence. According to US law, the term "whistleblower" applies to anyone who "reasonably believes" he or she is disclosing a violation of law or gross mismanagement, gross waste, or abuse of authority. My testimony documented for the first time the intentional distortion of intelligence by CIA director William Casey and Deputy Director Gates in order to serve the agenda of Ronald Reagan and his administration.

Bob Gates was an old friend, but the friendship ended when he routinely distorted intelligence throughout the 1980s as deputy director for intelligence and deputy director of the CIA. In destroying the political culture of the CIA, he created a toxic and corrupt environment at the Agency, and the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA detention and torture reminds us that the Agency hasn't recovered.

Being a contrarian was easy and natural for me. In fact, no one should think about entering the intelligence profession without good contrarian instincts. Such instincts would include an innate skepticism, the doubting of conventional wisdom and a willingness to challenge authority, which translates to an ability to tell truth to power. These contrarian instincts are essential to the success of any intelligence organization. As Rogers and Hammerstein would have it, it was "doing what comes naturally!"

My book The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA was the first insider account from an intelligence analyst regarding the skewed and politicized assessments of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence -- the Agency's analytic arm. I also exposed the strategic failure of covert actions that were never intended to be a part of President Harry Truman's CIA. I wrote the book for many reasons, including the need to describe the inability of journalists to take into account, let alone understand, the dangers of politicization and the actions of CIA directors such as Casey, Gates, and more recently Goss and Tenet. The political pliancy of these directors fully compromised the intelligence mission of the CIA, and it was political pliancy that made directors such as Gates and Tenet so attractive to Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.

Truthout Progressive Pick
Whistleblower at the CIA: An Insider's Account of the Politics of Intelligence

"Urgent, timely, and deeply recommended." -- Daniel Ellsberg. Click here now to get the book!


For the past quarter century, my testimony and writings have exposed the failure to honor President Truman's purpose in creating a CIA to provide policymakers with accurate, unbiased accounts of international developments, and have highlighted the CIA's readiness to cater to the White House. This view is not original with me; in fact, it was President Truman who first acknowledged that the CIA he created in 1947 had gotten off the tracks under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy in the 1950s and early 1960s.

In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, Truman wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post to document the wrongs of the CIA. He concluded that his efforts to "create the quiet intelligence arm of the Presidency" had been subverted by a "sinister" and "mysterious" agency that was conducting far too many clandestine activities in peacetime. I lectured at the Truman Library in the summer of 2014, and found a note in Truman's hand that stated the CIA was not designed to "initiate policy or to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized."

In The Failure of Intelligence , I documented the CIA's resistance to reform and the corruption in both the analytical and operational directorates. I made a case for starting over at the CIA, not dissimilar from the case made by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 25 years ago as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Not every agency or department of government can be reformed, and it is possible that the intricate web of habits, procedures, and culture places the CIA in the non-reformable category. Once the political culture of an institution such as the CIA has been broken, it is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- to rebuild or repair it.

Copyright (2017) by Melvin A. Goodman. Not be reprinted without permission of the publisher, City Lights Books. Melvin A. Goodman Melvin A. Goodman served as a senior analyst and Division Chief at the CIA from 1966 to 1990. An expert on US relations with Russia, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper's and many others. He is author of six books on US intelligence and international security. Related Stories CIA Asked to Release Documents Related to Massacre in El Salvador By Carmen Rodriguez, CIP Americas Program | Report CIA Watchdog "Mistakenly" Destroys Its Sole Copy of Senate Torture Report By Sarah Lazare, AlterNet | News Analysis CIA Cables Detail Its New Deputy Director's Role in Torture By Raymond Bonner, ProPublica | Report

[Jul 17, 2017] This Is The Most Dangerous Time Ever Ex-CIA Boss Says US To Blame For Scourge Without Parallel ISIS

Notable quotes:
"... Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall." ..."
"... My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil. ..."
"... I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them. ..."
"... Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so. ..."
"... The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list. ..."
"... CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection. ..."
"... CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings. ..."
"... No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today! Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame. ..."
"... The Devil's Chessboard ..."
Nov 23, 2015 | Zero Hedge

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before.

According to The Hill,

"I think this is the most dangerous time in terms of sustained violence," he said on "The Cats Roundtable" in an interview airing Sunday on New York's AM-970.

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Devine cited the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as an unprecedented threat in terms of its wanton disregard for human life...

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

"You have a group in ISIS today that is frankly uncivilized. These folks could get stronger and stronger. We basically have to destroy ISIS over there," Devine said.

Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall."

Devine, who mainly served during the Cold War, said ISIS is a scourge without parallel because it has no concern for self-preservation.

"There is nothing that can be compared with nuclear weapons and their use," he said of tensions between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.

"[But] people felt safe in the sense there was countervailing balance," he added. "Early in our contest with the Russians, it was clear we had checks and balances."

Finally Devine admits...

"If there's blame to be put, it's on our failure to have done that by this point."

Selected Skeptical Comments

i_call_you_my_base

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s..."

"And by dealt I mean trained and funded."

Looney

John Kerry to the MSM:

Do not use "Al Qaeda" or "Al Nustra" - just call them "Allies" (pronounced Al Lies). ;-)

Looney

Vatican_cameo

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

By small group he means CIA, Right? I thought he would have been a little clearer.

Occident Mortal

My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil.

Paveway IV

"...once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe..."

I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them.

The U.S. blocked the first Iran pipeline (called the Persian Pipeline) FROM IRAN to Iraq in 2010 by forcing the Swiss company that partnered with Iran to back out due to Israeli - ooops, 'Western' sanctions on Iran. The second Iran-sourced NG pipeline from Iran through Iraq and Syria - called the Friendship Pipeline - was agreed to in 2012 by the countries involved. That's when the U.S. launched it's failed coup attempt in Syria and let its ISIS mad-dogs loose in Iraq. Tyler usually refers to this by the derogatory label of "Islamic Pipeline" - a snide label that Kagan-PNAC and Western oil companies used. Tyler never refers to the Western-backed Qatari pipeline as the Jihadi Pipeline, nor does he refer to the Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline as the Jewish Pipeline. I'm not sure about the inconsistency - maybe he's trying to make some point.

Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so.

goldhedge

The CIA guy doesn't mention the House of Saud.

Pfft.

Jack Burton

Good catch! And there never do.

CIA and House of Saud have done a long term deal to look out for each other in this world. The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list.

CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection.

CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings.

scrappy

Somewhere it's 3:00 AM

Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton Claims Saudi Arabia is the Largest Donor to "Salafism Terrorists" Worldwide

http://refreshingnews99.blogspot.in/2015/11/wikileaks-hillary-clinton-cl...

Clinton Foundation's Colombian 'Private Equity Fund' Deletes Website

http://investmentwatchblog.com/clinton-foundations-colombian-private-equ...

sgt_doom

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today!

Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame.

Recommended reading (to better understand why the USA is known as the Great Satan):

The Devil's Chessboard, by David Talbot

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+devil%27s+chessboard&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=78875381302&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2565125617248777980&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_34lcz93rcf_e_p4

logicalman
Funny how these fucks can come out and say this kind of shit and get away with it. The fucker's basically pleading guilty to murder, FFS.
Ms No
They didn't kill anybody in South America my ass.... The school of Americas, Operation Condor, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador .... who the hell are they kidding? The CIA has always been covered and nobody ever cared.
Perimetr
"If there's blame to be put. . ."

It's on the CIA for running its global terrorist operations, funded by the $1 trillion dollars a year coming from its Afghanistan heroin operation.

Noplebian

US Gives Their Proxy Army ISIS 45 Minute Warning Before Air Strikes......

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

blindman

sirs and madams,
.
"Christmas celebration this year is going to be a charade because the whole world is at war. We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.

It's all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war. A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be-a little here, a little there-there is no justification.

What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers."

Francis I
.
http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2015/11/here-is-british-banned-...

Dinero D. Profit

Ladies and gentlemen of ZH.

In history, what must be, will be.

The discovery of America by Europe had to happen. The savages had to be eliminated and The Revolutionary War had to happen. Slavery had to begin, and after it, segregation had to begin, but, what must be, will be, slavery and segregation had to end. Old School colonization of poor nations had to happen. The Boer War had to happen. The Spanish American War had to happen. The Main had to be sunk. WWI had to happen. Calvary charges had to end. Totalitarian Communism had to happen. Germany's 20's depression had to happen, reactionary jingoism had to happen, and Kristallnacht and the Reichstag fire had to happen. The Allies had to win WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to be publicity stunts, and the Cold War had to begin. JFK had to be wacked, the Vietnam War had to happen, the FED still was happening. Civil Rights laws had to be passed. Recognition of China had to happen, going off the gold standard had to happen, and Nixon had to be kicked out of office. Corporate Globalization had to begin. After Carter an actor had to be President. Unions had to be stifled. Perestroika and glasnost had to happen. The Berlin Wall had to come down. The MIC had to find another enemy, and suddenly 9/11 had to happen.

Over population has to happen, poisoning the environment has to happen, and the NWO has to happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, the NWO is here, and there is nothing you can do, and nothing you could have done to stop it.

Edit. I see none of our supposed enemies 'truth bombing' 9/11, 7/7, and the 13th Paris attacks. I see no trade embagoes, I see no arguments in the Security Council over the illegality of US/Nato bombing in Syria.

blindman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/jimmy-carter-is-correct-t_b_79...
Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy
Posted: 08/03/2015 11:48 am EDT
.
On July 28, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question were merely an afterthought), asked him his opinion of the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014 McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns. Carter answered:

It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we've just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. ... At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell." ...
.
it is the money "system", man.

blindman

corporations and hoodwink powers ride on the indifference of the damned, the silence of the dead and doomed.

Dinero D. Profit

The Satus Quo can rely upon the loyalty of their employees, Congress, the military, the military industrial contractors, their workers and family members, the crime control establishment, all Uniersity professors and employees, and every employee of all publically traded companies, and every person employed by the MSM.

The dead and doomed are irrelevant. If you have an establishment job, you'll obey and ask no vital questions.

Dick Buttkiss
Sunnis and Shiites hate each other far more than they hate Christians, Jews, or anyone else. If it weren't for oil, the USG wouldn't give a flyiing fuck if they anihilated each other. Instead, it conspires with them in ways far beyond its ability to comprehend, much less navigate. Thus is the US ship of state heading for the shoals of its destruction, the only question being how much of the country and the outside world it takes down with it.
ross81
thats bullshit Western propaganda that Shiites hate Sunnis and vice versa. In the same way that the Brits stirred up Protestant hatred of Catholics in Ulster for centuries, the US/Israel/Saudi does the same with Sunnis vs Shiites on a much bigger scale in the Middle East. Divide and Conquer.
geno-econ
This is getting scary in that one or two more attacks will result in travel freezes, flow of Middle East oil and result in huge increase in military as well as Homeland security costs. A depression or economic collapse a real possibility Perhaps time for a Peace Conference of all interested parties. The US started this shit and should be the first to call for a Peace Conference. Macho talk will only make things worse.
moonmac
We can print trillions out of thin air at the drop of a hat but we can't kill a small group of terrorists. Got it!
sgt_doom
Or, we pour billions of dollars every year into the CIA, NSA, and DIA, and only a poor old fart such as myself can figure out that Bilal Erdogan is the ISIS connection to oil trading (Turkish president, Erdogan's son) and Erdogan's daughter is with ISIS?
GRDguy
Ex-CIA boss gets it wrong, again.

"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

should be:

"When you have a small group of financial sociopaths willing to lie-to, steal-from and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

and you'll probably be punished, jailed or shot for tryin' to protect yourself and your family.

Ban KKiller
War profiteer. That is it. Along wth James Comey, James Clapper, Jack Welch and the list is almost endless...
BarnacleBill
"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Simply take out the word "their", and the description perfectly fits the CIA, MI6 and their like. For them, it's all a business deal, nothing more - a massive slum-clearance project. Destroy people's houses, provide accommodation and food, ship them somewhere else; do it again and again until the money-printing machine conks out. It's money for old rope.

http://barlowscayman.blogspot.com/2015/11/slum-clearance-on-massive-scale.html

And, yes, we're all vulnerable. The man got that right.

Duc888
"You get the politicians you deserve."

CIA types are appointed, not elected.

Duc888
I do not know if there are any Catherine Austin Fitts fans on this web site but this is definitely worth the time. The FEDGOV came after her non stop for 6 years when she worked for HUD under Bush Sr. If nothing else this lady is tenacious. In this presentation she uncorks exactly HOW the deep black budgets are paid for...and it ain't your tax dollars. What she uncovered while at HUD was simply amazing..... and she made an excellent point. At the top... it's NOT "fraud" because that's how it was all deigned right from the get go after wwII. It brings to mind the funny computer saying....."it's a feature, not a bug".

She digs right into how the CIA was funded... Truly amazing stuff. ...of course the dick head brigade will come along here and deride her because of the conference she is speaking at.... well, who the fuck cares, her presentation is excellent and filled with facts.

Yes it is 1 hour 20 minutes long but imho it is well worth the watch...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0mimIp8mr8

Dragon HAwk
After reading all these posts my only question is why does the CIA allow Zero Hedge to Exist ?

except of course to collect names...

[Jul 17, 2017] CIA sought to hack Apple iPhones from earliest days

Notable quotes:
"... Efforts to break into Apple products by government security researchers started as early as 2006, a year before Apple introduced its first iPhone and continued through the launch of the iPad in 2010 and beyond, The Intercept said. ..."
Mar 10, 2015 | The Intercept/Reuters

CIA researchers have worked for nearly a decade to break the security protecting Apple (AAPL.O) phones and tablets, investigative news site The Intercept reported on Tuesday, citing documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The report cites top-secret U.S. documents that suggest U.S. government researchers had created a version of XCode, Apple's software application development tool, to create surveillance backdoors into programs distributed on Apple's App Store.

The Intercept has in the past published a number of reports from documents released by whistleblower Snowden. The site's editors include Glenn Greenwald, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work in reporting on Snowden's revelations, and by Oscar-winning documentary maker Laura Poitras.

It said the latest documents, which covered a period from 2006 to 2013, stop short of proving whether U.S. intelligence researchers had succeeded in breaking Apple's encryption coding, which secures user data and communications.

Efforts to break into Apple products by government security researchers started as early as 2006, a year before Apple introduced its first iPhone and continued through the launch of the iPad in 2010 and beyond, The Intercept said.

Breeching Apple security was part of a top-secret program by the U.S. government, aided by British intelligence researchers, to hack "secure communications products, both foreign and domestic" including Google Android phones, it said.

Silicon Valley technology companies have in recent months sought to restore trust among consumers around the world that their products have not become tools for widespread government surveillance of citizens.

Last September, Apple strengthened encryption methods for data stored on iPhones, saying the changes meant the company no longer had any way to extract customer data on the devices, even if a government ordered it to with a search warrant. Silicon Valley rival Google Inc (GOOGL.O) said shortly afterward that it also planned to increase the use of stronger encryption tools.

Both companies said the moves were aimed at protecting the privacy of users of their products and that this was partly a response to wide scale U.S. government spying on Internet users revealed by Snowden in 2013.

An Apple spokesman pointed to public statements by Chief Executive Tim Cook on privacy, but declined to comment further.

"I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services," Cook wrote in a statement on privacy and security published last year. "We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will."

Leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have expressed concern that turning such privacy-enhancing tools into mass market features could prevent governments from tracking militants planning attacks. The CIA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

[Jul 16, 2017] WikiLeaks - Vault 7 Projects

wikileaks.org
Today, July 6th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the BothanSpy and Gyrfalcon projects of the CIA. The implants described in both projects are designed to intercept and exfiltrate SSH credentials but work on different operating systems with different attack vectors.

BothanSpy is an implant that targets the SSH client program Xshell on the Microsoft Windows platform and steals user credentials for all active SSH sessions. These credentials are either username and password in case of password-authenticated SSH sessions or username, filename of private SSH key and key password if public key authentication is used. BothanSpy can exfiltrate the stolen credentials to a CIA-controlled server (so the implant never touches the disk on the target system) or save it in an enrypted file for later exfiltration by other means. BothanSpy is installed as a Shellterm 3.x extension on the target machine.

Gyrfalcon is an implant that targets the OpenSSH client on Linux platforms (centos,debian,rhel,suse,ubuntu). The implant can not only steal user credentials of active SSH sessions, but is also capable of collecting full or partial OpenSSH session traffic. All collected information is stored in an encrypted file for later exfiltration. It is installed and configured by using a CIA-developed root kit (JQC/KitV) on the target machine. OutlawCountry 30 June, 2017 Today, June 30th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the OutlawCountry project of the CIA that targets computers running the Linux operating system. OutlawCountry allows for the redirection of all outbound network traffic on the target computer to CIA controlled machines for ex- and infiltration purposes. The malware consists of a kernel module that creates a hidden netfilter table on a Linux target; with knowledge of the table name, an operator can create rules that take precedence over existing netfilter/iptables rules and are concealed from an user or even system administrator.

The installation and persistence method of the malware is not described in detail in the document; an operator will have to rely on the available CIA exploits and backdoors to inject the kernel module into a target operating system. OutlawCountry v1.0 contains one kernel module for 64-bit CentOS/RHEL 6.x; this module will only work with default kernels. Also, OutlawCountry v1.0 only supports adding covert DNAT rules to the PREROUTING chain. Elsa 28 June, 2017 Today, June 28th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the ELSA project of the CIA. ELSA is a geo-location malware for WiFi-enabled devices like laptops running the Micorosoft Windows operating system. Once persistently installed on a target machine using separate CIA exploits, the malware scans visible WiFi access points and records the ESS identifier, MAC address and signal strength at regular intervals. To perform the data collection the target machine does not have to be online or connected to an access point; it only needs to be running with an enabled WiFi device. If it is connected to the internet, the malware automatically tries to use public geo-location databases from Google or Microsoft to resolve the position of the device and stores the longitude and latitude data along with the timestamp. The collected access point/geo-location information is stored in encrypted form on the device for later exfiltration. The malware itself does not beacon this data to a CIA back-end; instead the operator must actively retrieve the log file from the device - again using separate CIA exploits and backdoors.

The ELSA project allows the customization of the implant to match the target environment and operational objectives like sampling interval, maximum size of the logfile and invocation/persistence method. Additional back-end software (again using public geo-location databases from Google and Microsoft) converts unprocessed access point information from exfiltrated logfiles to geo-location data to create a tracking profile of the target device. Leaked Documents ELSA User Manual
Brutal Kangaroo 22 June, 2017 Today, June 22nd 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the Brutal Kangaroo project of the CIA. Brutal Kangaroo is a tool suite for Microsoft Windows that targets closed networks by air gap jumping using thumbdrives. Brutal Kangaroo components create a custom covert network within the target closed network and providing functionality for executing surveys, directory listings, and arbitrary executables.

The documents describe how a CIA operation can infiltrate a closed network (or a single air-gapped computer) within an organization or enterprise without direct access. It first infects a Internet-connected computer within the organization (referred to as "primary host") and installs the BrutalKangeroo malware on it. When a user is using the primary host and inserts a USB stick into it, the thumbdrive itself is infected with a separate malware. If this thumbdrive is used to copy data between the closed network and the LAN/WAN, the user will sooner or later plug the USB disk into a computer on the closed network. By browsing the USB drive with Windows Explorer on such a protected computer, it also gets infected with exfiltration/survey malware. If multiple computers on the closed network are under CIA control, they form a covert network to coordinate tasks and data exchange. Although not explicitly stated in the documents, this method of compromising closed networks is very similar to how Stuxnet worked.

The Brutal Kangaroo project consists of the following components: Drifting Deadline is the thumbdrive infection tool, Shattered Assurance is a server tool that handles automated infection of thumbdrives (as the primary mode of propagation for the Brutal Kangaroo suite), Broken Promise is the Brutal Kangaroo postprocessor (to evaluate collected information) and Shadow is the primary persistence mechanism (a stage 2 tool that is distributed across a closed network and acts as a covert command-and-control network; once multiple Shadow instances are installed and share drives, tasking and payloads can be sent back-and-forth).

The primary execution vector used by infected thumbdrives is a vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows operating system that can be exploited by hand-crafted link files that load and execute programs (DLLs) without user interaction. Older versions of the tool suite used a mechanism called EZCheese that was a 0-day exploit until March 2015 ; newer versions seem use a similar, but yet unknown link file vulnerability ( Lachesis / RiverJack ) related to the library-ms functionality of the operating system. Leaked Documents Brutal Kangaroo -- Drifting Deadline v1.2 - User Guide
EzCheese v6.3 - User Guide
EzCheese v6.2 - User Guide (Rev. B)
EzCheese v6.2 - User Guide (Rev. A)
EZCheese v6.2 - IVV TDR Slides
See more Cherry Blossom 15 June, 2017 Today, June 15th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the CherryBlossom project of the CIA that was developed and implemented with the help of the US nonprofit Stanford Research Institute (SRI International) .

CherryBlossom provides a means of monitoring the Internet activity of and performing software exploits on Targets of interest. In particular, CherryBlossom is focused on compromising wireless networking devices, such as wireless routers and access points (APs), to achieve these goals. Such Wi-Fi devices are commonly used as part of the Internet infrastructure in private homes, public spaces (bars, hotels or airports), small and medium sized companies as well as enterprise offices. Therefore these devices are the ideal spot for "Man-In-The-Middle" attacks, as they can easily monitor, control and manipulate the Internet traffic of connected users. By altering the data stream between the user and Internet services, the infected device can inject malicious content into the stream to exploit vulnerabilities in applications or the operating system on the computer of the targeted user.

The wireless device itself is compromized by implanting a customized CherryBlossom firmware on it; some devices allow upgrading their firmware over a wireless link, so no physical access to the device is necessary for a successful infection. Once the new firmware on the device is flashed, the router or access point will become a so-called FlyTrap . A FlyTrap will beacon over the Internet to a Command & Control server referred to as the CherryTree . The beaconed information contains device status and security information that the CherryTree logs to a database. In response to this information, the CherryTree sends a Mission with operator-defined tasking. An operator can use CherryWeb , a browser-based user interface to view Flytrap status and security info, plan Mission tasking, view Mission -related data, and perform system administration tasks.

Missions may include tasking on Targets to monitor, actions/exploits to perform on a Target , and instructions on when and how to send the next beacon. Tasks for a Flytrap include (among others) the scan for email addresses , chat usernames , MAC addresses and VoIP numbers in passing network traffic to trigger additional actions, the copying of the full network traffic of a Target , the redirection of a Target 's browser (e.g., to Windex for browser exploitation) or the proxying of a Target 's network connections. FlyTrap can also setup VPN tunnels to a CherryBlossom -owned VPN server to give an operator access to clients on the Flytrap 's WLAN/LAN for further exploitation. When the Flytrap detects a Target , it will send an Alert to the CherryTree and commence any actions/exploits against the Target . The CherryTree logs Alerts to a database, and, potentially distributes Alert information to interested parties (via Catapult ). Leaked Documents CherryBlossom -- System Req Spec (CDRL-10)
CherryBlossom -- Quick Start Guide
WiFi Devices
CherryBlossom -- Installation Guide
CherryBlossom -- Operating Environment (S//NF)
See more Pandemic 1 June, 2017 Today, June 1st 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the "Pandemic" project of the CIA, a persistent implant for Microsoft Windows machines that share files (programs) with remote users in a local network. "Pandemic" targets remote users by replacing application code on-the-fly with a trojaned version if the program is retrieved from the infected machine. To obfuscate its activity, the original file on the file server remains unchanged; it is only modified/replaced while in transit from the pandemic file server before being executed on the computer of the remote user. The implant allows the replacement of up to 20 programs with a maximum size of 800 MB for a selected list of remote users (targets).

As the name suggests, a single computer on a local network with shared drives that is infected with the "Pandemic" implant will act like a "Patient Zero" in the spread of a disease. It will infect remote computers if the user executes programs stored on the pandemic file server. Although not explicitly stated in the documents, it seems technically feasible that remote computers that provide file shares themselves become new pandemic file servers on the local network to reach new targets. Leaked Documents Pandemic 1.1 (S/NF)
Pandemic 1.1-RC1 (S/NF)
Pandemic 1.1-RC1 -- IVVRR Checklist
Pandemic 1.0 (S/NF)
Pandemic 1.0 -- IVVRR Checklist
See more Athena 19 May, 2017 Today, May 19th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the "Athena" project of the CIA. "Athena" - like the related "Hera" system - provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system (from Windows XP to Windows 10). Once installed, the malware provides a beaconing capability (including configuration and task handling), the memory loading/unloading of malicious payloads for specific tasks and the delivery and retrieval of files to/from a specified directory on the target system. It allows the operator to configure settings during runtime (while the implant is on target) to customize it to an operation.

According to the documentation (see Athena Technology Overview ), the malware was developed by the CIA in cooperation with Siege Technologies , a self-proclaimed cyber security company based in New Hampshire, US. On their website, Siege Technologies states that the company " ... focuses on leveraging offensive cyberwar technologies and methodologies to develop predictive cyber security solutions for insurance, government and other targeted markets. ". On November 15th, 2016 Nehemiah Security announced the acquisition of Siege Technologies.

In an email from HackingTeam (published by WikiLeaks here ), Jason Syversen, founder of Siege Technologies with a background in cryptography and hacking, " ... said he set out to create the equivalent of the military's so-called probability of kill metric, a statistical analysis of whether an attack is likely to succeed. 'I feel more comfortable working on electronic warfare,' he said. 'It's a little different than bombs and nuclear weapons -- that's a morally complex field to be in. Now instead of bombing things and having collateral damage, you can really reduce civilian casualties, which is a win for everybody.' " Leaked Documents Athena v1.0 User Guide
Athena Technology Overview
Athena (Design)
Athena (Demo)
Athena (Design/Engine)
See more AfterMidnight 12 May, 2017 Today, May 12th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes "AfterMidnight" and "Assassin", two CIA malware frameworks for the Microsoft Windows platform.

"AfterMidnight" allows operators to dynamically load and execute malware payloads on a target machine. The main controller disguises as a self-persisting Windows Service DLL and provides secure execution of "Gremlins" via a HTTPS based Listening Post (LP) system called "Octopus". Once installed on a target machine AM will call back to a configured LP on a configurable schedule, checking to see if there is a new plan for it to execute. If there is, it downloads and stores all needed components before loading all new gremlins in memory. "Gremlins" are small AM payloads that are meant to run hidden on the target and either subvert the functionality of targeted software, survey the target (including data exfiltration) or provide internal services for other gremlins. The special payload "AlphaGremlin" even has a custom script language which allows operators to schedule custom tasks to be executed on the target machine.

"Assassin" is a similar kind of malware; it is an automated implant that provides a simple collection platform on remote computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. Once the tool is installed on the target, the implant is run within a Windows service process. "Assassin" (just like "AfterMidnight") will then periodically beacon to its configured listening post(s) to request tasking and deliver results. Communication occurs over one or more transport protocols as configured before or during deployment. The "Assassin" C2 (Command and Control) and LP (Listening Post) subsystems are referred to collectively as" The Gibson" and allow operators to perform specific tasks on an infected target.. Leaked Documents AfterMidnight v1.0 Users Guide
AlphaGremlin v0.1.0 Users Guide
AfterMidnight Diagrams
Assassin v1.4 Users Guide
Assassin v1.3 Users Guide
See more Archimedes 5 May, 2017 Today, May 5th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes "Archimedes", a tool used by the CIA to attack a computer inside a Local Area Network (LAN), usually used in offices. It allows the re-directing of traffic from the target computer inside the LAN through a computer infected with this malware and controlled by the CIA. This technique is used by the CIA to redirect the target's computers web browser to an exploitation server while appearing as a normal browsing session.

The document illustrates a type of attack within a "protected environment" as the the tool is deployed into an existing local network abusing existing machines to bring targeted computers under control and allowing further exploitation and abuse. Leaked Documents Archimedes 1.0 User Guide
Archimedes 1.3 Addendum
Archimedes 1.2 Addendum
Archimedes 1.1 Addendum
Fulcrum User Manual v0.62
See more Scribbles 28 April, 2017 Today, April 28th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes the documentation and source code for CIA's "Scribbles" project, a document-watermarking preprocessing system to embed "Web beacon"-style tags into documents that are likely to be copied by Insiders, Whistleblowers, Journalists or others. The released version (v1.0 RC1) is dated March, 1st 2016 and classified SECRET//ORCON/NOFORN until 2066.

Scribbles is intended for off-line preprocessing of Microsoft Office documents. For reasons of operational security the user guide demands that "[t]he Scribbles executable, parameter files, receipts and log files should not be installed on a target machine, nor left in a location where it might be collected by an adversary."

According to the documentation, "the Scribbles document watermarking tool has been successfully tested on [...] Microsoft Office 2013 (on Windows 8.1 x64), documents from Office versions 97-2016 (Office 95 documents will not work!) [and d]ocuments that are not be locked forms, encrypted, or password-protected". But this limitation to Microsoft Office documents seems to create problems: "If the targeted end-user opens them up in a different application, such as OpenOffice or LibreOffice, the watermark images and URLs may be visible to the end-user. For this reason, always make sure that the host names and URL components are logically consistent with the original content. If you are concerned that the targeted end-user may open these documents in a non-Microsoft Office application, please take some test documents and evaluate them in the likely application before deploying them."

Security researches and forensic experts will find more detailed information on how watermarks are applied to documents in the source code, which is included in this publication as a zipped archive. Leaked Documents Scribbles v1.0 RC1 - User Guide
Scribbles (Source Code)
Scribbles v1.0 RC1 - IVVRR Checklist
Scribbles v1.0 RC1 - Readiness Review Worksheet
Weeping Angel 21 April, 2017 Today, April 21st 2017, WikiLeaks publishes the User Guide for CIA's "Weeping Angel" tool - an implant designed for Samsung F Series Smart Televisions. Based on the "Extending" tool from the MI5/BTSS, the implant is designed to record audio from the built-in microphone and egress or store the data.

The classification marks of the User Guide document hint that is was originally written by the british MI5/BTSS and later shared with the CIA. Both agencies collaborated on the further development of the malware and coordinated their work in Joint Development Workshops. Leaked Documents Extending - User Guide
Hive 14 April, 2017 Today, April 14th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes six documents from the CIA's HIVE project created by its "Embedded Development Branch" (EDB).

HIVE is a back-end infrastructure malware with a public-facing HTTPS interface which is used by CIA implants to transfer exfiltrated information from target machines to the CIA and to receive commands from its operators to execute specific tasks on the targets. HIVE is used across multiple malware implants and CIA operations. The public HTTPS interface utilizes unsuspicious-looking cover domains to hide its presence.

Anti-Virus companies and forensic experts have noticed that some possible state-actor malware used such kind of back-end infrastructure by analyzing the communication behaviour of these specific implants, but were unable to attribute the back-end (and therefore the implant itself) to operations run by the CIA. In a recent blog post by Symantec , that was able to attribute the "Longhorn" activities to the CIA based on the Vault 7 , such back-end infrastructure is described:

For C&C servers, Longhorn typically configures a specific domain and IP address combination per target. The domains appear to be registered by the attackers; however they use privacy services to hide their real identity. The IP addresses are typically owned by legitimate companies offering virtual private server (VPS) or webhosting services. The malware communicates with C&C servers over HTTPS using a custom underlying cryptographic protocol to protect communications from identification.

The documents from this publication might further enable anti-malware researchers and forensic experts to analyse this kind of communication between malware implants and back-end servers used in previous illegal activities. Leaked Documents Users Guide
Developers Guide
Developers Guide (Figures)
Hive Beacon Infrastructure
Hive Infrastructure Installation and Configuration Guide
See more Grasshopper 7 April, 2017 Today, April 7th 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 "Grasshopper" -- 27 documents from the CIA's Grasshopper framework , a platform used to build customized malware payloads for Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Grasshopper is provided with a variety of modules that can be used by a CIA operator as blocks to construct a customized implant that will behave differently, for example maintaining persistence on the computer differently, depending on what particular features or capabilities are selected in the process of building the bundle. Additionally, Grasshopper provides a very flexible language to define rules that are used to "perform a pre-installation survey of the target device, assuring that the payload will only [be] installed if the target has the right configuration". Through this grammar CIA operators are able to build from very simple to very complex logic used to determine, for example, if the target device is running a specific version of Microsoft Windows, or if a particular Antivirus product is running or not.

Grasshopper allows tools to be installed using a variety of persistence mechanisms and modified using a variety of extensions (like encryption). The requirement list of the Automated Implant Branch (AIB) for Grasshopper puts special attention on PSP avoidance , so that any Personal Security Products like 'MS Security Essentials', 'Rising', 'Symantec Endpoint' or 'Kaspersky IS' on target machines do not detect Grasshopper elements.

One of the persistence mechanisms used by the CIA here is 'Stolen Goods' - whose "components were taken from malware known as Carberp, a suspected Russian organized crime rootkit." confirming the recycling of malware found on the Internet by the CIA. "The source of Carberp was published online, and has allowed AED/RDB to easily steal components as needed from the malware.". While the CIA claims that "[most] of Carberp was not used in Stolen Goods" they do acknowledge that "[the] persistence method, and parts of the installer, were taken and modified to fit our needs", providing a further example of reuse of portions of publicly available malware by the CIA, as observed in their analysis of leaked material from the italian company "HackingTeam" .

The documents WikiLeaks publishes today provide an insights into the process of building modern espionage tools and insights into how the CIA maintains persistence over infected Microsoft Windows computers, providing directions for those seeking to defend their systems to identify any existing compromise Leaked Documents Grasshopper-v1_1-AdminGuide
Grasshopper-v2_0_2-UserGuide
StolenGoods-2_1-UserGuide
GH-Module-Null-v2_0-UserGuide
GH-Module-Buffalo-Bamboo-v1_0-UserGuide
See more Marble Framework 31 March, 2017 Today, March 31st 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 "Marble" -- 676 source code files for the CIA's secret anti-forensic Marble Framework . Marble is used to hamper forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA.

Marble does this by hiding ("obfuscating") text fragments used in CIA malware from visual inspection. This is the digital equivallent of a specalized CIA tool to place covers over the english language text on U.S. produced weapons systems before giving them to insurgents secretly backed by the CIA.

Marble forms part of the CIA's anti-forensics approach and the CIA's Core Library of malware code. It is " [D]esigned to allow for flexible and easy-to-use obfuscation " as " string obfuscation algorithms (especially those that are unique) are often used to link malware to a specific developer or development shop. "

The Marble source code also includes a deobfuscator to reverse CIA text obfuscation. Combined with the revealed obfuscation techniques, a pattern or signature emerges which can assist forensic investigators attribute previous hacking attacks and viruses to the CIA. Marble was in use at the CIA during 2016. It reached 1.0 in 2015.

The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.

The Marble Framework is used for obfuscation only and does not contain any vulnerabilties or exploits by itself. Leaked Documents Marble Framework (Source Code)
Dark Matter 23 March, 2017 Today, March 23rd 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 "Dark Matter", which contains documentation for several CIA projects that infect Apple Mac firmware (meaning the infection persists even if the operating system is re-installed) developed by the CIA's Embedded Development Branch (EDB). These documents explain the techniques used by CIA to gain 'persistence' on Apple Mac devices, including Macs and iPhones and demonstrate their use of EFI/UEFI and firmware malware.

Among others, these documents reveal the "Sonic Screwdriver" project which, as explained by the CIA, is a "mechanism for executing code on peripheral devices while a Mac laptop or desktop is booting" allowing an attacker to boot its attack software for example from a USB stick "even when a firmware password is enabled". The CIA's "Sonic Screwdriver" infector is stored on the modified firmware of an Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter.

"DarkSeaSkies" is "an implant that persists in the EFI firmware of an Apple MacBook Air computer" and consists of "DarkMatter", "SeaPea" and "NightSkies", respectively EFI, kernel-space and user-space implants.

Documents on the "Triton" MacOSX malware, its infector "Dark Mallet" and its EFI-persistent version "DerStarke" are also included in this release. While the DerStarke1.4 manual released today dates to 2013, other Vault 7 documents show that as of 2016 the CIA continues to rely on and update these systems and is working on the production of DerStarke2.0 .

Also included in this release is the manual for the CIA's "NightSkies 1.2" a "beacon/loader/implant tool" for the Apple iPhone. Noteworthy is that NightSkies had reached 1.2 by 2008, and is expressly designed to be physically installed onto factory fresh iPhones. i.e the CIA has been infecting the iPhone supply chain of its targets since at least 2008.

While CIA assets are sometimes used to physically infect systems in the custody of a target it is likely that many CIA physical access attacks have infected the targeted organization's supply chain including by interdicting mail orders and other shipments (opening, infecting, and resending) leaving the United States or otherwise.

[Jul 16, 2017] https://fdik.org/wikileaks/year0/vault7/cms/page_2621796.html

Jul 16, 2017 | fdik.org

So, secure your systems people. Attackers potentially trying to use these tools still need to somehow get a shell on your system in order to install this stuff.

Detecting on your system
As far as detecting on your system, that's going to be tough since:

But - we do know a couple things..

More Information
WikiLeaks announcement:
https://wikileaks.org/vault7/#BothanSpy

Gyrfalcon 2.0 User Manual:
https://wikileaks.org/vault7/document/Gyrfalcon-2_0-User_Guide/Gyrfalcon-2_0-User_Guide.pdf

Gyrfalcon 1.0 User Manual:
https://wikileaks.org/vault7/document/Gyrfalcon-1_0-User_Manual/Gyrfalcon-1_0-User_Manual.pdf

[Jul 15, 2017] How your phone and fitness band could end up giving evidence against you by Ben Lovejoy

Your email records are a goldmine. There's the obvious stuff – who you were in contact with when, and what was said – but there's so much more than that to be gleaned. ...Your phone does regular, automatic backups to Apple or Google servers, and with the right software, anyone can download and access them.
Notable quotes:
"... How do we strike a balance between the privacy of the individual and the state's interest in justice being served? ..."
"... Most of us leave a pretty comprehensive digital footprint these days. ..."
"... Your ISP logs show which websites you visited, even which stories you read on Guardian.com over breakfast. ..."
"... Your email records are a goldmine. There's the obvious stuff – who you were in contact with when, and what was said – but there's so much more than that to be gleaned. ..."
"... Your phone does regular, automatic backups to Apple or Google servers, and with the right software, anyone can download and access them. ..."
"... It may not be possible to formulate hard-and-fast rules covering every eventuality, but there is every reason to set out clear and transparent guidelines within which decisions can be made – and no reason why the debate to determine these guidelines should not take place in public and in parliament. ..."
Feb 24, 2015 | The Guardian

A criminal suspect can't be forced to divulge their phone passcode, a US circuit court judge ruled in October 2014. Yet law enforcement officials can compel a suspect to provide a fingerprint – which they can then use to unlock the phone and obtain data which may prove the case against them.

In an ongoing Canadian civil case, activity data from a Fitbit fitness band is being used to determine the truthfulness of an accident victim's claim that she is less active now than before the accident.

And in another civil case, where a plaintiff argued that his injuries meant he was no longer able to operate a computer for lengthy periods of time, a court ruled that the defendants had a right to access metadata from his hard drive that showed how often the claimant had used his PC.

Keeping in mind David Cameron's suggestion in January that there should be no such thing as private messaging, how much of this is reasonable? How do we strike a balance between the privacy of the individual and the state's interest in justice being served?

It might be reasonably argued that the degree of intrusion should be proportional to the seriousness of the accusation. But this principle can easily take us into very grey territory.

Suppose the police and intelligence services are investigating a terrorist attack – a tube bombing. Ten people died: it's clearly a very serious crime. The authorities know that the bomb was placed on the station platform sometime between 7:13am, when CCTV footage shows the bag definitely wasn't there, and 7.23am, when the explosion occurred. Is it reasonable to pull the Oyster data from 7am to 7.23am, to identify all the people who entered the station between those times and cross-reference with police and security services files to search for anyone known or suspected to have terrorist links?

What if they do that and draw a blank? They will now want to know more about all those people who entered the first tube station between 7am to 7.23am. More than 250 people per minute enter a busy station during rush hour, so that's 5,750 suspects. They're pretty sure from the CCTV footage that the suspect is male, so they narrow it down to 2,875 people. And that's all there is to go on so far. One of those men is our bomber, the other 2,874 of them are innocent.

Is it reasonable to get a blanket court order to examine the ISP and mobile phone records of all 2,875 people? With that many people, all the authorities are going to do is run a simple search of the metadata – the who-contacted-who part – and see if any of them have been in contact with any known or suspected terrorists. They're not spying on your sexts to your girlfriend or emails from your credit card company querying a missed payment, they're just looking at who you might have been in touch with.

No matches. But the explosive used in this attack was found to have been stolen from a demolition company in Leeds one week before the attack. A court order to run a search of the 2,875 suspects' email records for train bookings to or from Leeds during that week is readied, and their car registration numbers are obtained, to see whether any of them were logged on any ANPR systems on the M1 during that time. That's all. No other email content will be looked at, nor any other details of their driving history; just those two straightforward searches. Fair enough?

The suspects are narrowed down to 47 people whose cars were spotted at least once on the M1 at some point between London and Leeds during that week. There is got nothing else to go on, so the authorities now need to take a deeper dive into the online lives of those 47 people.

What could that involve? Most of us leave a pretty comprehensive digital footprint these days. Your fitness bank or sleep-tracking app logs the time that you woke up. Your ISP logs show which websites you visited, even which stories you read on Guardian.com over breakfast.

Phone GPS and wi-fi logs can enable your movements to be tracked to within tens of metres: your route to the tube station can easily be mapped. Oyster data logs the details of the subsequent tube journey: stations, dates, times.

Your email records are a goldmine. There's the obvious stuff – who you were in contact with when, and what was said – but there's so much more than that to be gleaned.

Ever had a password reminder emailed to you for iCloud or Google? Deleted the mail but failed to empty your trash can? Not an issue if you switched on two-factor authentication, but if you didn't, the authorities now have remote access to the content of your phone. The entire content. Your phone does regular, automatic backups to Apple or Google servers, and with the right software, anyone can download and access them.

Your contacts. Your calendar. Your photos. Your notes. And more.

Collating the addresses of your contacts with your Oyster data tells us who you've been visiting, and how often. The authorities would soon know more about those 47 people than almost any of their friends.

What if they had been left not with 47 suspects but 200? 500? Where do we draw the line?

What if, instead of an actual bombing, it was an aborted attempt at the same, but without hard-and-fast proof – how does that change the equation of what is and isn't acceptable?

These will always be difficult judgment calls, but while the individual decisions may need to be made in secret, it does not mean that the principles governing these decisions should themselves be secret or – worse – left to the whim of individual judges in individual cases.

It may not be possible to formulate hard-and-fast rules covering every eventuality, but there is every reason to set out clear and transparent guidelines within which decisions can be made – and no reason why the debate to determine these guidelines should not take place in public and in parliament.

[Jul 04, 2017] We Must Declare Independence by Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... Think about NSA surveillance. As we have learned from brave whistleblowers like William Binney and Edward Snowden, the US intelligence community is not protecting us from foreigners who seek to destroy our way of life. The US intelligence community is itself destroying our way of life. Literally every one of our electronic communications is captured and stored in vast computer networks. Perhaps they will be used against "dissidents" in the future who question government tyranny. ..."
"... saying that you don't care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. ..."
"... Think about the TSA. The freedom to travel is fundamental, and our Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures is the law of the land. But if you dare to exercise that right by purchasing an air ticket, you are treated like a Guantanamo Bay detainee. Don't dare question as the TSA agents commit acts that would be crimes were they done by anyone else. Yet so many Americans still believe this is what it takes to be "safe." ..."
"... Think about the military industrial complex. The US government spends more on its military empire than much of the rest of the world combined. Our so-called mortal enemy Russia spends ten cents to every dollar we spend on weapons of war. Yet we are told we must spend more! Imagine the amazing peaceful scientific discoveries that might be made were so many researchers and scientists not on the government payroll designing new ways to end life on earth. ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Some 241 years later, Washington claims more of our money as its own than King George could have ever imagined. What do we get in this bargain? We get a federal government larger and more oppressive than before 1776, a government that increasingly views us as the enemy.

Think about NSA surveillance. As we have learned from brave whistleblowers like William Binney and Edward Snowden, the US intelligence community is not protecting us from foreigners who seek to destroy our way of life. The US intelligence community is itself destroying our way of life. Literally every one of our electronic communications is captured and stored in vast computer networks. Perhaps they will be used against "dissidents" in the future who question government tyranny.

We have no privacy in our computers or our phones. If the government wants to see what we are doing at any time, it simply switches on our phone camera or computer camera – or our "smart" television. Yet today we continue to hear, "I've got nothing to hide."

In a recent interview on our Liberty Report, Edward Snowden made the excellent point that, "saying that you don't care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say."

Think about the TSA. The freedom to travel is fundamental, and our Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures is the law of the land. But if you dare to exercise that right by purchasing an air ticket, you are treated like a Guantanamo Bay detainee. Don't dare question as the TSA agents commit acts that would be crimes were they done by anyone else. Yet so many Americans still believe this is what it takes to be "safe."

Think about the military industrial complex. The US government spends more on its military empire than much of the rest of the world combined. Our so-called mortal enemy Russia spends ten cents to every dollar we spend on weapons of war. Yet we are told we must spend more! Imagine the amazing peaceful scientific discoveries that might be made were so many researchers and scientists not on the government payroll designing new ways to end life on earth.

Think about the Fed. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 the US dollar has lost some 98 percent of its value. Is the destruction of our currency not a cruel form of tyranny, hitting hardest those who can least afford it?

I think it's time for us to declare our independence from an oppressive government that seeks to control our money and our lives in ways unimaginable to those who rebelled against the British Crown in 1776. Our revolution is peaceful, and it concentrates on winning hearts and minds one at a time. But it marches on. We must reclaim the spirit of independence every day and every night and intensify the struggle against those who seek to impose tyranny upon us.


Copyright © 2017 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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[Jul 04, 2017] Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia by Gareth Porter

Notable quotes:
"... Recent hearings by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees reflected the rising tide of Russian-election-hacking hysteria and contributed further to it. Both Democrats and Republicans on the two committees appeared to share the alarmist assumptions about Russian hacking, and the officials who testified did nothing to discourage the politicians. ..."
"... The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a record of spreading false stories about alleged Russian hacking into US infrastructure , such as the tale of a Russian intrusion into the Burlington, Vermont electrical utility in December 2016 that DHS later admitted was untrue. There was another bogus DHS story about Russia hacking into a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011. ..."
"... So, there's a pattern here. Plus, investigators, assessing the notion that Russia hacked into state electoral databases, rejected that suspicion as false months ago. Last September, Assistant Secretary of DHS for Cybersecurity Andy Ozment and state officials explained that the intrusions were not carried out by Russian intelligence but by criminal hackers seeking personal information to sell on the Internet. ..."
"... Illinois is the one state where hackers succeeded in breaking into a voter registration database last summer. The crucial fact about the Illinois hacking, however, was that the hackers extracted personal information on roughly 90,000 registered voters, and that none of the information was expunged or altered. ..."
"... "Any time you more carefully monitor a system you're going to see more bad guys poking and prodding at it," he observed, " because they're always poking and prodding." [Emphasis added] ..."
"... Reagan further revealed that she had learned from the FBI that hackers had gotten a user name and password for their electoral database, and that it was being sold on the "dark web" – an encrypted network used by cyber criminals to buy and sell their wares. In fact, she said, the FBI told her that the probe of Arizona's database was the work of a "known hacker" who had been closely monitored "frequently." ..."
"... The sequence of events indicates that the main person behind the narrative of Russian hacking state election databases from the beginning was former FBI Director James Comey. In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 28, Comey suggested that the Russian government was behind efforts to penetrate voter databases, but never said so directly. ..."
"... The media then suddenly found unnamed sources ready to accuse Russia of hacking election data even while admitting that they lacked evidence. The day after Comey's testimony ABC headlined , "Russia Hacking Targeted Nearly Half of States' Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrating 4." The story itself revealed, however, that it was merely a suspicion held by "knowledgeable" sources. ..."
"... But that claim of a "likely" link between the hackers and Russia was not only speculative but highly suspect. The authors of the DHS-ODNI report claimed the link was "supported by technical indicators from the US intelligence community, DHS, FBI, the private sector and other entities." They cited a list of hundreds of I.P. addresses and other such "indicators" used by hackers they called "Grizzly Steppe" who were supposedly linked to Russian intelligence. ..."
"... But the highly classified NSA report made no reference to any evidence supporting such an attribution. The absence of any hint of signals intelligence supporting its conclusion makes it clear that the NSA report was based on nothing more than the same kind of inconclusive "indicators" that had been used to establish the original narrative of Russians hacking electoral databases. ..."
"... Russian intelligence certainly has an interest in acquiring intelligence related to the likely outcome of American elections, but it would make no sense for Russia's spies to acquire personal voting information about 90,000 registered voters in Illinois. ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | original.antiwar.com
Cyber-criminal efforts to hack into U.S. government databases are epidemic, but this ugly reality is now being exploited to foist blame on Russia and fuel the New Cold War hysteria

Recent hearings by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees reflected the rising tide of Russian-election-hacking hysteria and contributed further to it. Both Democrats and Republicans on the two committees appeared to share the alarmist assumptions about Russian hacking, and the officials who testified did nothing to discourage the politicians.

On June 21, Samuel Liles, acting director of the Intelligence and Analysis Office's Cyber Division at the Department of Homeland Security, and Jeanette Manfra, acting deputy under secretary for cyber-security and communications, provided the main story line for the day in testimony before the Senate committee - that efforts to hack into election databases had been found in 21 states.

Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap also endorsed the narrative of Russian government responsibility for the intrusions on voter registration databases.

But none of those who testified offered any evidence to support this suspicion nor were they pushed to do so. And beneath the seemingly unanimous embrace of that narrative lies a very different story.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a record of spreading false stories about alleged Russian hacking into US infrastructure , such as the tale of a Russian intrusion into the Burlington, Vermont electrical utility in December 2016 that DHS later admitted was untrue. There was another bogus DHS story about Russia hacking into a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011.

So, there's a pattern here. Plus, investigators, assessing the notion that Russia hacked into state electoral databases, rejected that suspicion as false months ago. Last September, Assistant Secretary of DHS for Cybersecurity Andy Ozment and state officials explained that the intrusions were not carried out by Russian intelligence but by criminal hackers seeking personal information to sell on the Internet.

Both Ozment and state officials responsible for the state databases revealed that those databases have been the object of attempted intrusions for years. The FBI provided information to at least one state official indicating that the culprits in the hacking of the state's voter registration database were cyber-criminals.

Illinois is the one state where hackers succeeded in breaking into a voter registration database last summer. The crucial fact about the Illinois hacking, however, was that the hackers extracted personal information on roughly 90,000 registered voters, and that none of the information was expunged or altered.

The Actions of Cybercriminals

That was an obvious clue to the motive behind the hack. Assistant DHS Secretary Ozment testified before the House Subcommittee on Information Technology on Sept. 28 ( at 01:02.30 of the video ) that the apparent interest of the hackers in copying the data suggested that the hacking was "possibly for the purpose of selling personal information."

Ozment 's testimony provides the only credible motive for the large number of states found to have experienced what the intelligence community has called "scanning and probing" of computers to gain access to their electoral databases: the personal information involved – even e-mail addresses – is commercially valuable to the cybercriminal underworld.

That same testimony also explains why so many more states reported evidence of attempts to hack their electoral databases last summer and fall. After hackers had gone after the Illinois and Arizona databases, Ozment said, DHS had provided assistance to many states in detecting attempts to hack their voter registration and other databases.

"Any time you more carefully monitor a system you're going to see more bad guys poking and prodding at it," he observed, " because they're always poking and prodding." [Emphasis added]

State election officials have confirmed Ozment's observation. Ken Menzel, the general counsel for the Illinois Secretary of State, told this writer, "What's new about what happened last year is not that someone tried to get into our system but that they finally succeeded in getting in." Menzel said hackers "have been trying constantly to get into it since 2006."

And it's not just state voter registration databases that cybercriminals are after, according to Menzel. "Every governmental data base – driver's licenses, health care, you name it – has people trying to get into it," he said.

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan told Mother Jones that her I.T. specialists had detected 193,000 distinct attempts to get into the state's website in September 2016 alone and 11,000 appeared to be trying to "do harm."

Reagan further revealed that she had learned from the FBI that hackers had gotten a user name and password for their electoral database, and that it was being sold on the "dark web" – an encrypted network used by cyber criminals to buy and sell their wares. In fact, she said, the FBI told her that the probe of Arizona's database was the work of a "known hacker" who had been closely monitored "frequently."

James Comey's Role

The sequence of events indicates that the main person behind the narrative of Russian hacking state election databases from the beginning was former FBI Director James Comey. In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 28, Comey suggested that the Russian government was behind efforts to penetrate voter databases, but never said so directly.

Comey told the committee that FBI Counterintelligence was working to "understand just what mischief Russia is up to with regard to our elections." Then he referred to "a variety of scanning activities" and "attempted intrusions" into election-related computers "beyond what we knew about in July and August," encouraging the inference that it had been done by Russian agents.

The media then suddenly found unnamed sources ready to accuse Russia of hacking election data even while admitting that they lacked evidence. The day after Comey's testimony ABC headlined , "Russia Hacking Targeted Nearly Half of States' Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrating 4." The story itself revealed, however, that it was merely a suspicion held by "knowledgeable" sources.

Similarly, NBC News headline announced, "Russians Hacked Two US Voter Databases, Officials Say." But those who actually read the story closely learned that in fact none of the unnamed sources it cited were actually attributing the hacking to the Russians.

It didn't take long for Democrats to turn the Comey teaser - and these anonymously sourced stories with misleading headlines about Russian database hacking - into an established fact. A few days later, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff declared that there was "no doubt" Russia was behind the hacks on state electoral databases.

On Oct. 7, DHS and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement that they were "not in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian government." But only a few weeks later, DHS participated with FBI in issuing a "Joint Analysis Report" on "Russian malicious cyber activity" that did not refer directly to scanning and spearphishing aimed of state electoral databases but attributed all hacks related to the election to "actors likely associated with RIS [Russian Intelligence Services]."

Suspect Claims

But that claim of a "likely" link between the hackers and Russia was not only speculative but highly suspect. The authors of the DHS-ODNI report claimed the link was "supported by technical indicators from the US intelligence community, DHS, FBI, the private sector and other entities." They cited a list of hundreds of I.P. addresses and other such "indicators" used by hackers they called "Grizzly Steppe" who were supposedly linked to Russian intelligence.

But as I reported last January, the staff of Dragos Security, whose CEO Rob Lee, had been the architect of a US government system for defense against cyber attack, pointed out that the vast majority of those indicators would certainly have produced "false positives."

Then, on Jan. 6 came the "intelligence community assessment" – produced by selected analysts from CIA, FBI and National Security Agency and devoted almost entirely to the hacking of e-mail of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta. But it included a statement that "Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple state or local election boards." Still, no evidence was evinced on this alleged link between the hackers and Russian intelligence.

Over the following months, the narrative of hacked voter registration databases receded into the background as the drumbeat of media accounts about contacts between figures associated with the Trump campaign and Russians built to a crescendo, albeit without any actual evidence of collusion regarding the e-mail disclosures.

But a June 5 story brought the voter-data story back into the headlines. The story, published by The Intercept, accepted at face value an NSA report dated May 5, 2017 , that asserted Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, had carried out a spear-phishing attack on a US company providing election-related software and had sent e-mails with a malware-carrying word document to 122 addresses believed to be local government organizations.

But the highly classified NSA report made no reference to any evidence supporting such an attribution. The absence of any hint of signals intelligence supporting its conclusion makes it clear that the NSA report was based on nothing more than the same kind of inconclusive "indicators" that had been used to establish the original narrative of Russians hacking electoral databases.

A Checkered History

So, the history of the US government's claim that Russian intelligence hacked into election databases reveals it to be a clear case of politically motivated analysis by the DHS and the Intelligence Community. Not only was the claim based on nothing more than inherently inconclusive technical indicators but no credible motive for Russian intelligence wanting personal information on registered voters was ever suggested.

Russian intelligence certainly has an interest in acquiring intelligence related to the likely outcome of American elections, but it would make no sense for Russia's spies to acquire personal voting information about 90,000 registered voters in Illinois.

When FBI Counterintelligence chief Priestap was asked at the June 21 hearing how Moscow might use such personal data, his tortured effort at an explanation clearly indicated that he was totally unprepared to answer the question.

"They took the data to understand what it consisted of," said Priestap, "so they can affect better understanding and plan accordingly in regards to possibly impacting future election by knowing what is there and studying it."

In contrast to that befuddled non-explanation, there is highly credible evidence that the FBI was well aware that the actual hackers in the cases of both Illinois and Arizona were motivated by the hope of personal gain.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare . He can be contacted at porter.gareth50@gmail.com . Reprinted from Consortium News with the author's permission.

Read more by Gareth Porter Why Afghanistan? Fighting a War for the War System Itself – June 13th, 2017 The Kissinger Backchannel to Moscow – June 4th, 2017 Will Trump Agree to the Pentagon's Permanent War in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? – May 14th, 2017 US 'Deep State' Sold Out Counter-Terrorism To Keep Itself in Business – April 23rd, 2017 New Revelations Belie Trump Claims on Syria Chemical Attack – April 14th, 2017

View all posts by Gareth Porter

[Jun 24, 2017] Obama Ordered Cyberweapons Implanted Into Russias Infrastructure by Jason Ditz

Jun 23, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

Former Official: Implants Designed to 'Cause Them Pain and Discomfort'

A new report from the Washington Post today quoted a series of Obama Administration officials reiterating their official narrative on Russia's accused hacking of the 2016 election. While most of the article is simply rehashes and calls for sanctions, they also revealed a secret order by President Obama in the course of "retaliation" for the alleged hacking.

This previously secret order involved having US intelligence design and implant a series of cyberweapons into Russia's infrastructure systems, with officials saying they are meant to be activated remotely to hit the most important networks in Russia and are designed to " cause them pain and discomfort ."

The US has, of course, repeatedly threatened "retaliatory" cyberattacks against Russia, and promised to knock out broad parts of their economy in doing so. These appear to be the first specific plans to have actually infiltrate Russian networks and plant such weapons to do so.

Despite the long-standing nature of the threats, by the end of Obama's last term in office this was all still in the "planning" phases. It's not totally clear where this effort has gone from there, but officials say that the intelligence community, once given Obama's permission, did not need further approval from Trump to continue on with it, and he'd have actually had to issue a countermanding order, something they say he hasn't.

The details are actually pretty scant on how far along the effort is, but the goal is said to be for the US to have the ability to retaliate at a moment's notice the next time they have a cyberattack they intend to blame on Russia.

Unspoken in this lengthy report, which quotes unnamed former Obama Administration officials substantially, advocating the effort, is that in having reported that such a program exists, they've tipped off Russia about the threat.

This is, however, reflective of the priority of the former administration, which is to continuing hyping allegations that Russia got President Trump elected, a priority that's high enough to sacrifice what was supposed to be a highly secretive cyberattack operation.

[Jun 24, 2017] The Criminal Laws of Counterinsurgency by Todd E. Pierce

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. ..."
"... As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance." ..."
"... Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles. ..."
"... This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency ..."
"... But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong. ..."
"... Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences. ..."
"... Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime . (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program , which should be read with the current book.)

The US "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Glennon noted that the propensity of "security managers" to back policies which ratchet up levels of security "will play into Trump's hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally." Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of "population control" as first fully developed in the Vietnam War's Phoenix Program.

Hating the US

There also must be the realization that our "national security" apparatchiks - principally but not solely the CIA - have served to exponentially increase the numbers of those people who hate the US.

Some of these people turn to terrorism as an expression of that hostility. Anyone who is at all familiar with the CIA and Al Qaeda knows that the CIA has been Al Qaeda's most important "combat multiplier" since 9/11, and the CIA can be said to have birthed ISIS as well with the mistreatment of incarcerated Iraqi men in US prisons in Iraq.

Indeed, by following the model of the Phoenix Program, the CIA must be seen in the Twenty-first Century as a combination of the ultimate "Murder, Inc.," when judged by the CIA's methods such as drone warfare and its victims; and the Keystone Kops, when the multiple failures of CIA policies are considered. This is not to make light of what the CIA does, but the CIA's misguided policies and practices have served to generate wrath, hatred and violence against Americans, which we see manifested in cities such as San Bernardino, Orlando, New York and Boston.

Pointing out the harm to Americans is not to dismiss the havoc that Americans under the influence of the CIA have perpetrated on foreign populations. But "morality" seems a lost virtue today in the US, which is under the influence of so much militaristic war propaganda that morality no longer enters into the equation in determining foreign policy.

In addition to the harm the CIA has caused to people around the world, the CIA works tirelessly at subverting its own government at home, as was most visible in the spying on and subversion of the torture investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The subversion of democracy also includes the role the CIA plays in developing and disseminating war propaganda as "information warfare," upon the American people. This is what the Rand Corporation under the editorship of Zalmay Khalilzad has described as "conditioning the battlefield," which begins with the minds of the American population.

Douglas Valentine discusses and documents the role of the CIA in disseminating pro-war propaganda and disinformation as complementary to the violent tactics of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Valentine explains that "before Phoenix was adopted as the model for policing the American empire, many US military commanders in Vietnam resisted the Phoenix strategy of targeting civilians with Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police."

Military Commanders considered that type of program a flagrant violation of the Law of War. "Their main job is to zap the in-betweeners – you know, the people who aren't all the way with the government and aren't all the way with the Viet Cong either. They figure if you zap enough in-betweeners, people will begin to get the idea," according to one quote from The Phoenix Program referring to the unit tasked with much of the Phoenix operations.

Nazi Influences

Comparing the Phoenix Program and its operatives to "Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police" is not a distortion of the strategic understanding of each. Both programs were extreme forms of repression operating under martial law principles where the slightest form of dissent was deemed to represent the work of the "enemy." Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe by Philip W. Blood describes German "Security Warfare" as practiced in World War II, which can be seen as identical in form to the Phoenix Program as to how the enemy is defined as anyone who is "potentially" a threat, deemed either "partizans" or terrorists.

That the Germans included entire racial categories in that does not change the underlying logic, which was, anyone deemed an internal enemy in a territory in which their military operated had to be "neutralized" by any means necessary. The US military and the South Vietnamese military governments operated under the same principles but not based on race, rather the perception that certain areas and villages were loyal to the Viet Cong.

This repressive doctrine was also not unique to the Nazis in Europe and the US military in Vietnam. Similar though less sophisticated strategies were used against the American Indians and by the imperial powers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, including by the US in its newly acquired territories of the Philippines and in the Caribbean. This "imperial policing," i.e., counterinsurgency, simply moved to more manipulative and, in ways, more violent levels.

That the US drew upon German counterinsurgency doctrine, as brutal as it was, is well documented. This is shown explicitly in a 2011 article published in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies entitled German Counterinsurgency Revisited by Charles D. Melson. He wrote that in 1942, Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler named a deputy for "anti-bandit warfare," (Bevollmachtigter fur die Bandenkampfung im Osten), SS-General von dem Bach, whose responsibilities expanded in 1943 to head all SS and police anti-bandit units and operations. He was one of the architects of the Einsatzguppen "concept of anti-partisan warfare," a German predecessor to the "Phoenix Program."

'Anti-Partisan' Lessons

It wasn't a coincidence that this "anti-partisan" warfare concept should be adopted by US forces in Vietnam and retained to the present day. Melson pointed out that a "post-war German special forces officer described hunter or ranger units as 'men who knew every possible ruse and tactic of guerrilla warfare. They had gone through the hell of combat against the crafty partisans in the endless swamps and forests of Russia.'"

Consequently, "The German special forces and reconnaissance school was a sought after posting for North Atlantic Treaty Organization special operations personnel," who presumably included members of the newly created US Army Special Forces soldiers, which was in part headquartered at Bad Tolz in Germany, as well as CIA paramilitary officers.

Just as with the later Phoenix Program to the present-day US global counterinsurgency, Melson wrote that the "attitude of the [local] population and the amount of assistance it was willing to give guerilla units was of great concern to the Germans. Different treatment was supposed to be accorded to affected populations, bandit supporters, and bandits, while so-called population and resource control measures for each were noted (but were in practice, treated apparently one and the same). 'Action against enemy agitation' was the psychological or information operations of the Nazi period. The Nazis believed that, 'Because of the close relationship of guerilla warfare and politics, actions against enemy agitation are a task that is just as important as interdiction and combat actions. All means must be used to ward off enemy influence and waken and maintain a clear political will.'"

This is typical of any totalitarian system – a movement or a government – whether the process is characterized as counterinsurgency or internal security. The idea of any civilian collaboration with the "enemy" is the basis for what the US government charges as "conspiracy" in the Guantanamo Military Commissions.

Valentine explains the Phoenix program as having been developed by the CIA in 1967 to combine "existing counterinsurgency programs in a concerted effort to 'neutralize' the Vietcong infrastructure (VCI)." He explained further that "neutralize" meant "to kill, capture, or make to defect." "Infrastructure" meant civilians suspected of supporting North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers. Central to the Phoenix program was that its targets were civilians, making the operation a violation of the Geneva Conventions which guaranteed protection to civilians in time of war.

"The Vietnam's War's Silver Lining: A Bureaucratic Model for Population Control Emerges" is the title of Chapter 3. Valentine writes that the "CIA's Phoenix program changed how America fights its wars and how the public views this new type of political and psychological warfare, in which civilian casualties are an explicit objective." The intent of the Phoenix program evolved from "neutralizing" enemy leaders into "a program of systematic repression for the political control of the South Vietnamese people. It sought to accomplish this through a highly bureaucratized system of disposing of people who could not be ideologically assimilated." The CIA claimed a legal basis for the program in "emergency decrees" and orders for "administrative detention."

Lauding Petraeus

Valentine refers to a paper by David Kilcullen entitled Countering Global Insurgency. Kilcullen is one of the so-called "counterinsurgency experts" whom General David Petraeus gathered together in a cell to promote and refine "counterinsurgency," or COIN, for the modern era. Fred Kaplan, who is considered a "liberal author and journalist" at Slate, wrote a panegyric to these cultists entitled, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. The purpose of this cell was to change the practices of the US military into that of "imperial policing," or COIN, as they preferred to call it.

But Kilcullen argued in his paper that "The 'War on Terrorism'" is actually a campaign to counter a global insurgency. Therefore, Kilcullen argued, "we need a new paradigm, capable of addressing globalised insurgency." His "disaggregation strategy" called for "actions to target the insurgent infrastructure that would resemble the unfairly maligned (but highly effective) Vietnam-era Phoenix program."

He went on, "Contrary to popular mythology, this was largely a civilian aid and development program, supported by targeted military pacification operations and intelligence activity to disrupt the Viet Cong Infrastructure. A global Phoenix program (including the other key elements that formed part of the successful Vietnam CORDS system) would provide a useful start point to consider how Disaggregation would develop in practice."

It is readily apparent that, in fact, a Phoenix-type program is now US global policy and - just like in Vietnam - it is applying "death squad" strategies that eliminate not only active combatants but also civilians who simply find themselves in the same vicinity, thus creating antagonisms that expand the number of fighters.

Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles.

The Bloody Reality

One "sanitized" article - approved for release in 2011 - is a partially redacted New Times article of Aug. 22, 1975, by Michael Drosnin. The article recounts a story of a US Army counterintelligence officer "who directed a small part of a secret war aimed not at the enemy's soldiers but at its civilian leaders." He describes how a CIA-directed Phoenix operative dumped a bag of "eleven bloody ears" as proof of six people killed.

The officer, who recalled this incident in 1971, said, "It made me sick. I couldn't go on with what I was doing in Vietnam. . . . It was an assassination campaign . . . my job was to identify and eliminate VCI, the Viet Cong 'infrastructure' – the communist's shadow government. I worked directly with two Vietnamese units, very tough guys who didn't wear uniforms . . . In the beginning they brought back about 10 percent alive. By the end they had stopped taking prisoners.

"How many VC they got I don't know. I saw a hell of a lot of dead bodies. We'd put a tag on saying VCI, but no one really knew – it was just some native in black pajamas with 16 bullet holes."

This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, as Mr. Valentine writes.

A second article archived by the CIA was by the Christian Science Monitor, dated Jan. 5, 1971, describing how the Saigon government was "taking steps that could help eliminate one of the most glaring abuses of its controversial Phoenix program, which is aimed against the Viet Cong political and administrative apparatus." Note how the Monitor shifted blame away from the CIA and onto the South Vietnamese government.

But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong.

Yet "security committees" throughout South Vietnam, under the direction of the CIA, sentenced at least 10,000 "Class C civilians" to prison each year, far more than Class A and B combined. The article stated, "Thousands of these prisoners are never brought to court trial, and thousands of other have never been sentenced." The latter statement would mean they were just held in "indefinite detention," like the prisoners held at Guantanamo and other US detention centers with high levels of CIA involvement.

Not surprisingly to someone not affiliated with the CIA, the article found as well that "Individual case histories indicate that many who have gone to prison as active supporters of neither the government nor the Viet Cong come out as active backers of the Viet Cong and with an implacable hatred of the government." In other words, the CIA and the COIN enthusiasts are achieving the same results today with the prisons they set up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CIA Crimes

Valentine broadly covers the illegalities of the CIA over the years, including its well-documented role in facilitating the drug trade over the years. But, in this reviewer's opinion, his most valuable contribution is his description of the CIA's participation going back at least to the Vietnam War in the treatment of what the US government today calls "unlawful combatants."

"Unlawful combatants" is a descriptive term made up by the Bush administration to remove people whom US officials alleged were "terrorists" from the legal protections of the Geneva Conventions and Human Rights Law and thus to justify their capture or killing in the so-called "Global War on Terror." Since the US government deems them "unlawful" – because they do not belong to an organized military structure and do not wear insignia – they are denied the "privilege" of belligerency that applies to traditional soldiers. But – unless they take a "direct part in hostilities" – they would still maintain their civilian status under the law of war and thus not lose the legal protection due to civilians even if they exhibit sympathy or support to one side in a conflict.

Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences.

This is not to condemn all CIA officers, some of whom acted in good faith that they were actually defending the United States by acquiring information on a professed enemy in the tradition of Nathan Hale. But it is to harshly condemn those CIA officials and officers who betrayed the United States by subverting its Constitution, including waging secret wars against foreign countries without a declaration of war by Congress. And it decidedly condemns the CIA war criminals who acted as a law unto themselves in the torture and murder of foreign nationals, as Valentine's book describes.

Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely.

Douglas Valentine's book is a thorough documentation of that fact and it is essential reading for all Americans if we are to have any hope for salvaging a remnant of representative government.

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the US Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. This originally appeared at ConsortiumNews.com .

Read more by Todd E. Pierce Inciting Wars the American Way – August 14th, 2016 Chicago Police Adopt Israeli Tactics – December 13th, 2015 US War Theories Target Dissenters – September 13th, 2015 Ron Paul and Lost Lessons of War – September 1st, 2015 Has the US Constitution Been Lost to Military Rule?– January 4th, 2015

[Jun 15, 2017] Seveteen Sisters -- 17 US Agencies Make Up The Most Sophisticated Spy Network In The World by Paul Szoldra

May 11, 2013 | www.businessinsider.com

The U.S. intelligence community is vast , composed of 17 distinct organizations each operating under its own shroud of secrecy.

Oversight of these agencies generally falls to the Department of Defense or Congress, leaving the average citizen with precious little knowledge of how they operate.

Funded by largely classified budgets, it's difficult to assess how much the U.S. annually spends on these clandestine operations, but one 2012 estimate pegs the cost at about $75 billion.

The following slides highlight the expansive reach of the U.S. intelligence community.

The Central Intelligence Agency spies on foreign governments and organizes covert ops. screenshot

The CIA is the most well-known U.S. spying agency, formed by the passage of the National Security Act of 1947. The agency has its roots with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) that operated during World War II.

Headquarters : Langley, Va.

Mission : CIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates intelligence gathered on foreign nations. This comes through signals and human intelligence sources.

Budget : Classified. On their website , the CIA states, "neither the number of employees nor the size of the Agency's budget can, at present, be publicly disclosed. A common misconception is that the Agency has an unlimited budget, which is far from true."

the annual intelligence budget was $44 billion.

The National Security Agency was once so secretive it was jokingly called 'No Such Agency.' NSA Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland NSA

The NSA was No Such Agency ."

Headquarters : Fort Meade, Md.

Budget : Classified. Some estimate the NSA is actually the largest intelligence organization in the world - three times the size of the CIA. The headquarters alone takes up 6.3 million square feet - around the same size as the Pentagon - with 112 acres of parking spaces, reports the Washington Post.

The Defense Intelligence Agency works to understand what foreign militaries will do before they do it. DIA its overseas spy network to collect first-hand intelligence.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : The DIA serves as the lead intelligence agency for the Dept. of Defense, coordinating analysis and collection of intelligence on foreign militaries, in addition to surveillance and reconnaissance operations. The DIA is the common link between military and national intelligence agencies.

Budget : Classified. The DIA does not reveal budget information, although they do say they have more than 16,500 men and women working for them and are under DoD and congressional oversight.

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research provides diplomats the necessary tools for effective foreign policy.

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) has ties to the Office of Strategic Services from World War II, but was transferred to State after the war. INR now reports directly to the Secretary of State, harnessing intelligence from all sources and offering independent analysis of global events and real-time insight.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : This agency serves as the Secretary of State's primary advisor on intelligence matters, and gives support to other policymakers, ambassadors, and embassy staff.

Budget : $49 million in 2007, according to documents obtained by FAS.

Air Force Intelligence provides reconnaissance for US ground troops.

Formerly known as the Air Intelligence Agency, the agency is now known as the Air Force ISR - Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance. Air Force intelligence was established in 1948 to get information to troops on the ground, and most recently, the ISR has collected that intelligence from aerial drones.

Headquarters : Lackland Air Force Base, Texas

Mission : Air Force ISR collects and analyzes intelligence on foreign nations and hostile forces, both in and out of combat zones. They also conduct electronic and photographic surveillance, and provide weather and mapping data to troops in the field.

Budget : Unknown . The budget of ISR apparently falls under the Air Force's Operation & Maintenance budget, which includes other areas outside of the agency's scope such as flying operations and logistics. That number for 2012, however, was just over $46 million.

The FBI's National Security Branch oversees counterterrorism and intelligence gathering.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Security Branch (NSB) was established in 2005 , combining resources that include counterterrorism, counter-intelligence, weapons of mass destruction, and intelligence under a single FBI leader.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : Formed after 9/11 and the Iraq WMD commission - when intelligence agencies were not sharing data with each other - the NSB integrates intel on national security and criminal threats from a variety of sources that are often intertwined in order to protect U.S. interests.

Budget : Total FBI budget was approximately $8.1 billion in 2012, which included an increase of $119 million "to enhance our counterterrorism, computer intrusions, and other programs," according to their website.

Army Intelligence and Security Command offers essential intel to troops on the battlefield.

Army intelligence has been around since spies worked for the Continental Army in 1775 , but the U.S. Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) was established in 1977 to become the major unifying command of army intelligence.

Headquarters : Fort Belvoir, Va.

Mission : INSCOM provides commanders on the ground with information they may need on the battlefield: intercepted enemy radio communications, maps, ground imagery, and information on force structure and numbers.

Budget : Unknown. The total military intelligence budget was $21.5 billion in 2012.

The Department of Energy, Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence gathers information on foreign nuclear weapons.

Surprisingly, the Energy Department even has an intelligence service. The Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence focuses on technical intelligence on nuclear weapons and nonproliferation, nuclear energy (especially foreign), and energy security.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : The Dept. of Energy doesn't have the ability to conduct foreign intelligence, instead relying on information passed to them by other agencies (such as the CIA or NSA). If it involves weapons of mass destruction, the DoE offers up the analytical expertise.

Budget : Unknown. Like other government budgets, the intelligence activity is not specifically mentioned, although it may fall under "Atomic Energy Defense Activities" which had a total budget of more than $16 billion in 2012.

Coast Guard Intelligence provides information on maritime security and homeland defense.

Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI) was formed in 1915 and now falls under the Dept. of Homeland Security, providing information on maritime and port security, search and rescue, and counter-narcotics.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : Although CGI is technically an intelligence agency, its primary mission is as an investigative arm of the Coast Guard. CGI special agents "conduct criminal, counterintelligence and personnel security investigations within the Coast Guard's area of responsibility," with the majority being criminal offenses violating military law, according to the Coast Guard's official website . However, the Coast Guard does have specialists conducting analysis and collection of intelligence.

Budget : Unknown. Like the Army, the budget has some overlap, although the 2014 budget request includes $60 million for C4ISR systems, an acronym for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

CGI headquarters is relatively small, only employing about 280 .

The Treasury's Office of Intelligence and Analysis collects terrorism and financial intelligence.

The Office of Intelligence and Analysis is fairly new, established in 2004 by the Intelligence Authorization Act. OIA's focus is mainly on providing information to combat terrorism and illicit financial transactions.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : OIA safeguards the U.S. financial system "against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats," according to DNI.

Budget : Around $340 million.

The Drug Enforcement Administration hunts down illegal drugs.

The DEA has been gathering intelligence for anti-drug operations since its establishment in 1973 . The agency collects and provides intelligence to other law enforcement agencies and helps with investigations.

Headquarters : El Paso, Texas

Mission : DEA assists local and federal law enforcement in conducting major drug investigations, along with developing "information that leads to seizures and arrests, and provid[ing] policy makers with drug trend information upon which programmatic decisions can be based," according to their website.

Budget : $2 billion (total DEA budget in 2013)

The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity monitors the Corp's battlefields.

Like Army intelligence, the Marine Corps provides their own agency to collect and analyze information for troops on the ground. This includes map making, radio intercepts, human intelligence, and counter-intelligence.

Headquarters : Quantico, Va.

Mission : The primary function of Marine IA is to give tactical and operational intelligence to battlefield commanders. They also serve as the "go-to" unit for the Commandant of the Marine Corps on understanding intel.

Budget : Unknown. The total military intelligence budget was $21.5 billion in 2012.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency provides advanced mapping for military forces.

Having its roots from the 1972 formation of the Defense Mapping Agency and formerly known as NIMA , the agency was renamed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in 2003 . The agency has the task of collecting and understanding Earth's physical and man-made attributes. Using advanced imagery (mainly from satellites), it was NGA watching Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

Headquarters : Ft. Belvoir, Va.

Mission : NGA employs cartographers and analysts that collect and generate information about the Earth. This data is used in navigation, national security, military operations, and humanitarian aid efforts.

Budget : Classified . NGA employs approximately 14,500 government civilians.

The National Reconnaissance Office is responsible for America's spy satellites.

While the NGA is responsible for gaining information from satellite data, the National Reconnaissance Office - created secretly in 1961 and not acknowledged until 1992 - is in charge with satellite design, building, launch, and maintenance.

Headquarters : Chantilly, Va.

Mission : NRO gives its mission as "innovative overhead intelligence systems for national security." Simply put, the NRO provides their "customers" at the CIA, DoD, and elsewhere with technologically advanced spy satellites.

Budget : Classified .

The Office of Naval Intelligence provides information on the world's oceans to sailors everywhere.

The Office of Naval Intelligence was established in 1882 for "the purpose of collecting and recording naval information" that could be useful in war and peace. Like other military intelligence services, ONI gives maritime commanders information they need on foreign forces.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : ONI gathers intelligence and moves it rapidly to decision makers. "We produce maritime intelligence on weapons and technology proliferation and smuggling and illicit maritime activities that directly supports the U.S. Navy, joint war fighters and national decision makers and agencies," according to their website.

Budget : Unknown. The total military intelligence budget was $21.5 billion in 2012.

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis looks for information on any potential threats to the US.

The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis works primarily on homeland threats - collecting and analyzing information, and sharing intelligence with local and federal law enforcement through the use of " fusion centers ."

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : They work on four main areas: understanding threats through analysis, collecting information relevant to homeland security, sharing that information with the agencies that need it, and managing the homeland security enterprise, according to DNI.

Budget : Classified. In a Congressional Research Service report , it was noted that "DNI does not publicly disclose details about the intelligence budget, but ... reported that the aggregate amount appropriated to the [national intelligence program] for FY2009 was $49.8 billion."

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is where all the intelligence should come together for delivery to the president.

Established in 2004 , the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) manages the efforts of the entire U.S. intelligence community. Director James R. Clapper serves as the principal advisor to the president as well as the National Security and Homeland Security Councils.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : The DNI has two main missions: to lead intelligence integration, and "forge an intelligence community that delivers the most insightful intelligence possible."

Budget : The specifics of the office itself are unknown, but the total aggregate amount for the national intelligence program is more than $48 billion.

BONUS: The 'intelligence state' has been expanding drastically since 9/11. Gary Nichols via U.S. Military

The U.S. intelligence community is officially made of 17 organizations, but there is even more to the story.

A groundbreaking investigation from the Washington Post found some rather daunting figures:

- 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies are working on intelligence, counterterrorism, or homeland security in the U.S.

- Just the NSA alone is contracting with more than 250 companies on intelligence work, including big names like Northrop Grumman and SAIC.

- Many intelligence agencies are doing redundant work, such as 51 federal and military organizations that track the flow of money in and out of terror networks.

- One reason why those intelligence budgets are classified: millions of dollars in so-called "ghost money" given to foreign governments.

[Jun 15, 2017] Many Americans know that MSM are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so they actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of spam in comments. It is dispiriting to say the least.

Notable quotes:
"... Lots of people out there (Hello lurkers!) know that the Pork Pie News Networks are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of f/ktard commenters. It is dispiriting to say the least. ..."
"... That may well be the idea, particularly those organizations that want to hose a and discredit alternative media sites (sic the JTRIG program and the likes of Brigade 77 and digilogues that have been running for years). If you can hack it, you probably think a) does this make sense? b) who is bono? c) timing, timing, timing.. d) is anything logically missing from the picture/story? e) if so, what conclusions can we draw from that? etc. It's not easy. ..."
"... Once upon a time we had newspaper columnists to do our thinking for us who we would religiously read. Now it is each one for themselves. What a pain in the ass. Fortunately we have the Kremlin Stooge and a bunch of other sites to help! :-) ..."
"... Don't miss the link to TTG's comment on leaks at Sic Semper Tyrannis! ..."
"... Yet again, you do not get this kind of information from the Pork Pie News Networks, the same ones who cosy up to the security services in return for juicy tidbits and also rubbish 'alternative news/websites/blogs'. ..."
"... the notion of compartmentalized operational security and broad state electronic surveillance of the population are mutually exclusive. ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
at Al, June 7, 2017 at 7:17 am

Vis the Reality Winner leaking 'proof' of Russian hacking of US elections, PavewayIV's comment on Moon of Alabama says it all:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/do-not-trust-the-intercept-or-how-to-burn-a-source.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b8d28a09f7970c

####

He's one of a handful of good commenters there among the nutbags, antisemites, conspiracy theorists etc. It's one of the things that really bugs me about great (supposedly) alternative news/opinion/blogs. They always get immediately contaminated by all sorts of narcissistic 'tards who just want to s/t the bed for everyone else, particularly the flyby trolls. Lots of people out there (Hello lurkers!) know that the Pork Pie News Networks are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of f/ktard commenters. It is dispiriting to say the least.

That may well be the idea, particularly those organizations that want to hose a and discredit alternative media sites (sic the JTRIG program and the likes of Brigade 77 and digilogues that have been running for years). If you can hack it, you probably think a) does this make sense? b) who is bono? c) timing, timing, timing.. d) is anything logically missing from the picture/story? e) if so, what conclusions can we draw from that? etc. It's not easy.

Once upon a time we had newspaper columnists to do our thinking for us who we would religiously read. Now it is each one for themselves. What a pain in the ass. Fortunately we have the Kremlin Stooge and a bunch of other sites to help! :-)

et Al , June 7, 2017 at 7:43 am
'Ghostship' elucidates how Reality Winner would have access to top class info;

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/do-not-trust-the-intercept-or-how-to-burn-a-source.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b7c9000590970b

####

My only thoughts are, wouldn't such info be compartmentalized (standard operating procedure, innit?), i.e. a 'translator' would not have free and unlimited access, but rather have access to only very specific highly secret info? If there are that many translators out there, then compartmentalization would work very well. It is totally counter intuitive, nay stupid , to allow free range to anyone but the top of the top. More people, more chance of leaks, accidents or incomptence.

et Al , June 7, 2017 at 7:50 am
Ah, I should have read on. PavewayIV again:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/do-not-trust-the-intercept-or-how-to-burn-a-source.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01bb09a3288d970d

####

Don't miss the link to TTG's comment on leaks at Sic Semper Tyrannis!

Yet again, you do not get this kind of information from the Pork Pie News Networks, the same ones who cosy up to the security services in return for juicy tidbits and also rubbish 'alternative news/websites/blogs'.

marknesop , June 7, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Indeed it is; Secret and Top secret information is made available to those who

(1) are cleared to the appropriate level, and

(2) have the need to know.

It's "and". Not "or". Top Secret information may not be viewed by anyone with a Top Secret security clearance – only by those who need to know that information to carry out their duties related to it.

Information may actually specify, "Top Secret – Eyes Only" in which the personnel holding a Top Secret clearance who may view the material are either listed, or it is restricted only to the addressee.

yalensis , June 8, 2017 at 2:34 am
I dunno, because that whole Snowden thing revealed a lot of holes in the American security apparatus. Snowden himself was surprised just how much stuff he was able to access, and he was just a contractor at the time, not even a permanent employee.
marknesop , June 8, 2017 at 5:37 am
Well, yes, because the notion of compartmentalized operational security and broad state electronic surveillance of the population are mutually exclusive.

But to the very best of my knowledge Snowden did not reveal any secrets of America's defense systems, its operational structure, its past military operations or its future plans in that area, if he knew them. The damaging information he disclosed all related to American spying on foreign leaders and the American electorate

[Jun 13, 2017] NBCs Kelly Hits Putin With a Beloved Canard by Ray McGovern

Notable quotes:
"... "They have been misled and they are not analyzing the information in its entirety. We have talked about it with former President Obama and with several other officials. No one ever showed me any direct evidence. When we spoke with President Obama about that, you know, you should probably better ask him about it – I think he will tell you that he, too, is confident of it. But when he and I talked I saw that he, too, started having doubts. At any rate, that's how I saw it." ..."
"... As I noted in a Jan. 20 article about Obama's news conference two days earlier, "Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the US intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with 'high confidence' – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds. ..."
"... "Hackers may be anywhere," Putin said. "There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can't you imagine such a scenario? In the middle of an internal political fight, it was convenient for them, whatever the reason, to put out that information. And put it out they did. And, doing it, they made a reference to Russia. Can't you imagine it happening? I can. ..."
"... "Let us recall the assassination of President Kennedy. There is a theory that Kennedy's assassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today's context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services than to organize some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a reference to Russia in the process. " ..."
"... The capabilities shown in what WikiLeaks calls the "Vault 7" trove of CIA documents required the creation of hundreds of millions of lines of source code. At $25 per line of code, that amounts to about $2.5 billion for each 100 million code lines. But the Deep State has that kind of money and would probably consider the expenditure a good return on investment for "proving" the Russians hacked into Democratic Party emails. ..."
"... In other words, it is altogether possible that the hacking attributed to Russia was actually one of several "active measures" undertaken by a cabal consisting of the CIA, FBI, NSA and Clapper – the same agencies responsible for the lame, evidence-free report of Jan. 6, that Clapper and Brennan acknowledged last month was not the consensus view of the 17 intelligence agencies. ..."
"... There is also the issue of the forensics. Former FBI Director James Comey displayed considerable discomfort on March 20, explaining to the House Intelligence Committee why the FBI did not insist on getting physical access to the Democratic National Committee's computers in order to do its own proper forensics, but chose to rely on the examination done by the DNC's private contractor, Crowdstrike. ..."
"... The firm itself has conflicts of interests in its links to the pro-NATO and anti-Russia think tank, the Atlantic Council, through Dmitri Alperovitch, who is an Atlantic Council senior fellow and the co-founder of Crowdstrike. ..."
"... Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – now including a possible impeachment battle over removing the President of the United States – wouldn't it seem logical for the FBI to insist on its own forensics for this fundamental predicate of the case? Or could Comey's hesitancy to demand access to the DNC's computers be explained by a fear that FBI technicians not fully briefed on CIA/NSA/FBI Deep State programs might uncover a lot more than he wanted? ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

To prove their chops, mainstream media stars can't wait to go head-to-head with a demonized foreign leader, like Vladimir Putin, and let him have it, even if their "facts" are wrong, as Megyn Kelly showed

NBC's Megyn Kelly wielded one of Official Washington's most beloved groupthinks to smack Russian President Vladimir Putin over his denials that he and his government were responsible for hacking Democratic emails and interfering with the U.S. presidential election.

In her June 2 interview with Putin, Kelly noted that all "17 intelligence agencies" of the US government concurred in their conclusion of Russian guilt and how could Putin suggest that they all are "lying." It's an argument that has been used to silence skeptics for months and apparently is so useful that no one seems to care that it isn't true.

For instance, on May 8, in testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper conceded publicly that the number of intelligence agencies involved in the assessment was three, not 17, and that the analysts assigned to the project from CIA, FBI and NSA had been "handpicked."

On May 23, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA Director John Brennan confirmed Clapper's account about the three agencies involved. "It wasn't a full interagency community assessment that was coordinated among the 17 agencies," Brennan acknowledged.

But those public admissions haven't stopped Democrats and the mainstream media from continuing to repeat the false claim. In comments on May 31, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton repeated the canard, with a flourish, saying: "Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get."

A couple of days later, Kelly revived the myth of the consensus among the 17 intelligence agencies in her interview with the Russian president. But Putin passed up the opportunity to correct her, replying instead:

"They have been misled and they are not analyzing the information in its entirety. We have talked about it with former President Obama and with several other officials. No one ever showed me any direct evidence. When we spoke with President Obama about that, you know, you should probably better ask him about it – I think he will tell you that he, too, is confident of it. But when he and I talked I saw that he, too, started having doubts. At any rate, that's how I saw it."

As I noted in a Jan. 20 article about Obama's news conference two days earlier, "Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the US intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with 'high confidence' – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds.

"At President Obama's Jan. 18 press conference, he admitted as much: 'the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked .'" [Emphasis added]

Explaining the Technology

More importantly, Putin in his interview with Kelly points out that "today's technology" enables hacking to be "masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin" of the hack. "And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack. Modern technology is very sophisticated and subtle and allows this to be done. And when we realize that we will get rid of all the illusions. "

Later, when Kelly came back to the issue of hacking, Putin expanded on the difficulty in tracing the source of cyber attacks.

"Hackers may be anywhere," Putin said. "There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can't you imagine such a scenario? In the middle of an internal political fight, it was convenient for them, whatever the reason, to put out that information. And put it out they did. And, doing it, they made a reference to Russia. Can't you imagine it happening? I can.

"Let us recall the assassination of President Kennedy. There is a theory that Kennedy's assassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today's context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services than to organize some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a reference to Russia in the process. "

Kelly: "Let's move on."

However carefully Megyn Kelly and her NBC colleagues peruse The New York Times, they might well not know WikiLeaks' disclosure on March 31 of original CIA documents showing that the agency had created a program allowing it to break into computers and servers and make it look like others did it by leaving telltale signs (like Cyrillic markings, for example).

The capabilities shown in what WikiLeaks calls the "Vault 7" trove of CIA documents required the creation of hundreds of millions of lines of source code. At $25 per line of code, that amounts to about $2.5 billion for each 100 million code lines. But the Deep State has that kind of money and would probably consider the expenditure a good return on investment for "proving" the Russians hacked into Democratic Party emails.

In other words, it is altogether possible that the hacking attributed to Russia was actually one of several "active measures" undertaken by a cabal consisting of the CIA, FBI, NSA and Clapper – the same agencies responsible for the lame, evidence-free report of Jan. 6, that Clapper and Brennan acknowledged last month was not the consensus view of the 17 intelligence agencies.

There is also the issue of the forensics. Former FBI Director James Comey displayed considerable discomfort on March 20, explaining to the House Intelligence Committee why the FBI did not insist on getting physical access to the Democratic National Committee's computers in order to do its own proper forensics, but chose to rely on the examination done by the DNC's private contractor, Crowdstrike.

The firm itself has conflicts of interests in its links to the pro-NATO and anti-Russia think tank, the Atlantic Council, through Dmitri Alperovitch, who is an Atlantic Council senior fellow and the co-founder of Crowdstrike.

Strange Oversight

Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – now including a possible impeachment battle over removing the President of the United States – wouldn't it seem logical for the FBI to insist on its own forensics for this fundamental predicate of the case? Or could Comey's hesitancy to demand access to the DNC's computers be explained by a fear that FBI technicians not fully briefed on CIA/NSA/FBI Deep State programs might uncover a lot more than he wanted?

Comey was asked again about this curious oversight on June 8 by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr:

BURR: "And the FBI, in this case, unlike other cases that you might investigate – did you ever have access to the actual hardware that was hacked? Or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data that they had collected?"

COMEY: "In the case of the DNC, and, I believe, the DCCC, but I'm sure the DNC, we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. But we didn't get direct access."

BURR: "But no content?"

COMEY: "Correct."

BURR: "Isn't content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?"

COMEY: "It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks – the people who were my folks at the time is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016."

Burr demurred on asking Comey to explain what amounts to gross misfeasance, if not worse. Perhaps, NBC could arrange for Megyn Kelly to interview Burr to ask if he has a clue as to what Putin might have been referring to when he noted, "There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia."

Given the congressional intelligence "oversight" committees' obsequiousness and repeated "high esteem" for the "intelligence community," there seems an even chance that – no doubt because of an oversight – the CIA/FBI/NSA deep-stage troika failed to brief the Senate "oversight committee" chairman on WikiLeaks "Vault 7" disclosures – even when WikiLeaks publishes original CIA documents.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Reprinted with permission from Consortium News .

[Jun 08, 2017] NSA Denies Everything About Latest Intercept Leak, Including Denying Something That Was Never Claimed

Notable quotes:
"... Targeting telco and ISP systems administrators goes well outside the bounds of "national security." These people aren't suspected terrorists. They're just people inconveniently placed between the NSA and its goal of " collecting it all ." ..."
"... The NSA's own documents say that QUANTUMHAND "exploits the computer of a target that uses Facebook." The man-on-the-side attack impersonates a server , not the site itself. The NSA denies impersonating, but that's not what The Intercept said or what its own documents state. This animated explanation, using the NSA's Powerpoint presentation, shows what the attack does -- it tips the TURBINE servers, which then send the malware payload before the Facebook servers can respond. ..."
"... To the end user, it looks as though Facebook is just running slowly. ..."
"... When the NSA says it doesn't impersonate sites, it truly doesn't. It injects malware by beating Facebook server response time. It doesn't serve up faux Facebook pages; it simply grabs the files and data from compromised computers. ..."
"... The exploit is almost wholly divorced from Facebook itself. The social media site is an opportunity for malware deployment, and the NSA doesn't need to impersonate a site to achieve its aims. This is the NSA maintaining deniability in the face of damning allegations -- claiming something was said that actually wasn't and resorting to (ultimately futile) attempts to portray journalists as somehow less trustworthy than the agency. ..."
"... At this point, the mere fact that the NSA denies doing something is almost enough to convince me that they are doing it. I'm trying not to be paranoid. They just make it so difficult. ..."
"... considering how much access they seemed to have I think it is entirely possible for them to do that. And the criminal energy to do it definitely there as well. ..."
"... And there is still the question if Facebook and similar sites might be at least funded, if not run by intelligence agencies altogether. If that is the case that would put this denial in an entirely different light. It would read "We don't impersonate companies. We ARE the companies."... ..."
"... Max level sophistry. I wonder if anyone at the NSA even remembers what the truth is, it's been coated in so many layers of bullshit. ..."
"... As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins." ..."
Jun 08, 2017 | www.techdirt.com
NSA Denies Everything About Latest Intercept Leak, Including Denying Something That Was Never Claimed from the let's-play-word-games-with-the-NSA dept The recent leaks published at Glenn Greenwald's new home, The Intercept, detailed the NSA's spread of malware around the world, with a stated goal of sabotaging "millions" of computers. As was noted then, the NSA hadn't issued a comment. The GCHQ, named as a co-conspirator, had already commented, delivering the usual spiel about legality, oversight and directives -- a word salad that has pretty much replaced "no comment" in the intelligence world.

The NSA has now issued a formal statement on the leaks, denying everything -- including something that wasn't even alleged. In what has become the new "no comment" on the NSA side, the words "appropriate," "lawful" and "legitimate" are trotted out, along with the now de rigueur accusations that everything printed (including, apparently, its own internal documents) is false.

Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites, are inaccurate. NSA uses its technical capabilities only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations, all of which must be carried out in strict accordance with its authorities. Technical capability must be understood within the legal, policy, and operational context within which the capability must be employed.
First off, for the NSA to claim that loading up "millions" of computers with malware is somehow targeted (and not "indiscriminate") is laughable. As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins."

Targeting telco and ISP systems administrators goes well outside the bounds of "national security." These people aren't suspected terrorists. They're just people inconveniently placed between the NSA and its goal of " collecting it all ."

Last, but not least, the NSA plays semantic games to deny an accusation that was never made, calling to mind Clapper's denial of a conveniently horrendous translation of a French article on its spying efforts there.

NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.
This "denial" refers to this portion of The Intercept's article.
In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target's computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive... In one man-on-the-side technique, codenamed QUANTUMHAND, the agency disguises itself as a fake Facebook server. When a target attempts to log in to the social media site, the NSA transmits malicious data packets that trick the target's computer into thinking they are being sent from the real Facebook. By concealing its malware within what looks like an ordinary Facebook page, the NSA is able to hack into the targeted computer and covertly siphon out data from its hard drive.
The NSA's own documents say that QUANTUMHAND "exploits the computer of a target that uses Facebook." The man-on-the-side attack impersonates a server , not the site itself.

The NSA denies impersonating, but that's not what The Intercept said or what its own documents state. This animated explanation, using the NSA's Powerpoint presentation, shows what the attack does -- it tips the TURBINE servers, which then send the malware payload before the Facebook servers can respond.

To the end user, it looks as though Facebook is just running slowly.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/88822483

When the NSA says it doesn't impersonate sites, it truly doesn't. It injects malware by beating Facebook server response time. It doesn't serve up faux Facebook pages; it simply grabs the files and data from compromised computers.

The exploit is almost wholly divorced from Facebook itself. The social media site is an opportunity for malware deployment, and the NSA doesn't need to impersonate a site to achieve its aims. This is the NSA maintaining deniability in the face of damning allegations -- claiming something was said that actually wasn't and resorting to (ultimately futile) attempts to portray journalists as somehow less trustworthy than the agency.

sorrykb ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 9:39am

Denial = Confirmation?
NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.
At this point, the mere fact that the NSA denies doing something is almost enough to convince me that they are doing it. I'm trying not to be paranoid. They just make it so difficult.
Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 9:48am
Re: Denial = Confirmation?

considering how much access they seemed to have I think it is entirely possible for them to do that. And the criminal energy to do it definitely there as well.

By now you have to assume the worst when it comes to them, and once the truth comes out it tends to paint and even worse picture then what you could imagine.

And there is still the question if Facebook and similar sites might be at least funded, if not run by intelligence agencies altogether. If that is the case that would put this denial in an entirely different light. It would read "We don't impersonate companies. We ARE the companies."...

Mark Wing , 14 Mar 2014 @ 10:35am

Max level sophistry. I wonder if anyone at the NSA even remembers what the truth is, it's been coated in so many layers of bullshit.

art guerrilla ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 12:06pm
Re: NSA Word-Smithing

I can not stress this poster's sentiment, as well as voiced in the article itself, of the CHILDISH semantic games the alphabet spooks will play... they WILL (metaphorically speaking) look you straight in the eye, piss on your leg, and INSIST it is raining; THEN fabricate evidence to 'prove' it was rain...

In my readings about the evil done in our name, with our money, *supposedly* to 'protect and serve' us, by the boys in black, you can NOT UNDERESTIMATE the most simplistic, and -to repeat myself -- CHILDISH ways they will LIE AND DISSEMBLE...

They are scum, they are slime, they are NOT the best and the brightest, they are the worst and most immoral...

YOU CAN NOT OVERSTATE THEIR MORAL VACUITY...

we do NOT deserve these pieces of shit...

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 11:17am

We know that the NSA, with the cooperation of the companies involved, has equipment co-located at major backbones and POPs to achieve the goals for QUANTUMHAND, QUANTUMINSERT, and etc.

At what point will we start confronting these companies and pressuring them to discontinue such cooperation? I know it's no easy task, but just as much as the government is reeling from all the public pressure, so too will these companies if we press their hands. Make it affect their bottom line.

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:49pm
is techdirt an hack target?

this page of your site tries to run scripts from
google
amazonaws
twitter
facebook
ajax.googleapis
techdirt

and install cookies from
techdirt
imigur

and request resources from
rp-api
vimeo

and install/use tracking beacons from
facebook connect
google +1
gravitar
nativo
quantcast
redit
repost.us
scorecard research beacon
twitter button.

...and who knows what else would run if all that was allowed to proceed. (I'm not going to run them to find out the 2nd level stuff)

for all the great reporting techdirt does on spying/tracking/privacy- you need to get you shit together already with this site; it seams like you're part of the problem. Please explain the technical facts as to why these same types of hacks couldn't be done to your readers through this clusterfuck of off site scripts/beacons/cookies/resources your forcing on people to ignorant to know how to block them.

Matthew Cline ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:50pm

As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins."

Well, heck, that's easy. Since the computers of the sys admins are just means to an ends, simply define "target" in a way that excludes anyone whose computers are compromised as a means to an end.

Anonymous mouse , 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:56pm

I seem to remember some articles about why people who don't use Facebook are suspect. To wit,

Are these possible signs that the NSA and GHCQ planted those stories?

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 3:49pm
The fun has yet to really begin

On April 8th, this year, Microsoft will stop installing new security patches from Windows XP, leaving computers running it totally vulnerable to such hacks. Anybody want to place bets on the fact that the alphabet soup agencies of our wonderful gummint are going to be first in line to exploit them? Just think what NSA could do with 300,000,000+ computers to play with!

[Jun 08, 2017] Congress Getting Pissed Off Over Failure Of Intel Community To Reveal How Many Americans Are Being Spied On Techdirt

Notable quotes:
"... I'm sure the number of American's spied upon is pretty damning and might actually cause some blowback (especially if it's 90-100% of the population as I suspect), which could put its use in jeopardy. ..."
"... the Postal Service has confirmed that it takes a photograph of the outside of every letter and package mailed in the United States and occasionally provides the photos to law enforcement agencies. ..."
"... It's obvious that they somehow accessed nearly all communications of Americans at one point or another. Even if technically they didn't look at much of the data. ..."
Jun 08, 2017 | www.techdirt.com
Then, yesterday, there was a public Senate Intelligence Committee hearing over the issue of the 702 renewal. While most of the press is focused on the refusal of those testifying to say whether President Trump had spoken to them about various investigations concerning Russia, there was something else concerning that was brought up. Coats, despite his earlier promises and the promises of his office, is now saying that it would be impossible to give a number.

Not surprisingly, for the folks in Congress who have been insisting on getting this number (and giving it to the public), this... did not sit well. When it was Senator Wyden's turn to question the panel, he went off on Coats for going back on his word.

This morning you went back on that promise and you said that even putting together a sampling, a statistical estimate, would jeopardize national security. I think that is a very, very damaging position to stake out.

Later in that exchange, there was this exchange (which, if you watch it, involved both men being fairly testy with each other):

Wyden: Can the government use FISA 702 to collect communications it knows are entirely domestic?

Coats: Not to my knowledge. It would be against the law.

As Marcy Wheeler points out, that exchange may prove to be similar to Wyden's now infamous question to Coats' predecessor, Clapper, about whether or not the NSA collected information on millions of Americans (the "not wittingly" response, which was later shown to be completely bogus). Wheeler points out that for Coats to actually believe that, it would appear that he doesn't know how 702 is actually used , even though he signed a memo about this very thing. Wheeler points to the recent FISC opinion reauthorizing 702 data collection that states that if the Director of the NSA signs a waiver for all of the domestic collections, then the NSA can still collect a wholly domestic communication under 702. That FISC opinion cites a March 30th memo that Coats would have signed as the justification for this argument. So for him to now say that it's illegal for the very thing his own memo from March says is okay... seems like a serious problem.

And Wyden's not the only one upset about this. Since this was a Senate hearing, Rep. Conyers wasn't there, but he put out a blistering statement calling Coats' statements "unacceptable."

The intelligence community has-for many months-expressly promised members of both parties that they would deliver this estimate to us in time to inform our debate on the reauthorization of Section 702. As late as last August, we had discussed and approved the specific methodologies that the NSA might use to make good on their promise.

Today, Director Coats announced that the estimate is 'infeasible' and will not be forthcoming. I find that outcome unacceptable.

Over the course of the last year, we believed we had worked past the excuses we are offered today. The nation's leading civil liberties organizations see no threat to privacy in this project, and have said so publicly. The agencies demonstrated to us how they might perform this analysis without significant diversion of resources. I am deeply disappointed in a return to these old talking points.

Section 702 is built on trust. It will be more difficult to find that trust as we move forward with the debate.

As we discussed earlier this week, a bunch of Senators have already been pushing a permanent renewal of 702 with no changes at all. As the debate heats up on the renewal of Section 702 ahead of its expiration later this year, we're going to need Congress to hold the intelligence community to its promise to reveal at least some data on how these programs impact Americans' communications.

aerinai ( profile ), 8 Jun 2017 @ 8:19am
No Stakes, No Game

Until these Senators start actually holding these guys accountable and not renew their authority of Section 702, these hearings are just bluster. I like Wyden and what he's doing (it seems single handedly), but unfortunately it doesn't mean much to the NSA. Withholding the information won't change any politicians views of it and its 'necessity', so they might as well err on the side of caution.

I'm sure the number of American's spied upon is pretty damning and might actually cause some blowback (especially if it's 90-100% of the population as I suspect), which could put its use in jeopardy.

Bergman ( profile ), 8 Jun 2017 @ 9:42am
Re: No Stakes, No Game

Contempt of Congress still exists, I think the Senate should start stomping on people who show contempt.

Roger Strong ( profile ), 8 Jun 2017 @ 10:07am
Re: We can truthfully guarantee...

Plus those who don't use electronic-based forms of communication, but who have friends and relatives who do, and who mention them in emails and on Facebook.

Also those who pay their grocery bills with a credit or debit card. Purchase history is occasionally requested by police.

Also people not into ebooks, but who check out books from the library.

Don't forget travel details, for those who cross a border. Or fly. Or pay for gas and meals with a credit / debit card.

Or who use local transit. My city switched to electronic fare cards a few months ago. Naturally, it was just revealed that the private travel history of bus riders is being handed to police without requiring a warrant.

But hey, there's still non-electronic communication like snail mail. That hardly ever gets opened. Although the Postal Service has confirmed that it takes a photograph of the outside of every letter and package mailed in the United States and occasionally provides the photos to law enforcement agencies.

James T , 8 Jun 2017 @ 10:44am
They can't

It's obvious that they somehow accessed nearly all communications of Americans at one point or another. Even if technically they didn't look at much of the data.

If true then they certainly wouldn't want to say we spied on everyone. That would damage their position which is that they are being responsible Intelligence agencies.

Anonymous Coward , 8 Jun 2017 @ 12:06pm
Infeasible to justify funding for an office that can't even justify itself

If the office cannot even compute a rough estimate, then it is either uncooperative or supremely incompetent. In either case, it is infeasible to continue funding such an entity. Funding for continued operation of the surveillance programs should be stripped until such time as it can comply with simple oversight requirements.

[Jun 07, 2017] James Comey sued by intelligence contractor Dennis Montgomery over spying on Americans Circa News - Learn. Think. Do.

Jun 07, 2017 | circa.com

A former U.S. intelligence contractor tells Circa he walked away with more than 600 million classified documents on 47 hard drives from the National Security Agency and the CIA, a haul potentially larger than Edward Snowden's now infamous breach.

And now he is suing former FBI Director James Comey and other government figures, alleging the bureau has covered up evidence he provided them showing widespread spying on Americans that violated civil liberties.

The suit, filed late Monday night by Dennis Montgomery, was assigned to the same federal judge who has already ruled that some of the NSA's collection of data on Americans violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, setting up an intriguing legal proceeding in the nation's capital this summer.

Montgomery says the evidence he gave to the FBI chronicle the warrantless collection of phone, financial and personal data and the unmasking of identities in spy data about millions of Americans.

... ... ...

Montgomery alleges that more than 20 million American identities were illegally unmasked - credit reports, emails, phone conversations and Internet traffic, were some of the items the NSA and CIA collected.

He said he returned the hard drives to the FBI, a fact confirmed in government documents reviewed by Circa.

"They're doing this domestic surveillance on Americans, running a project on U.S. soil," Montgomery alleged. He did not disclose the classified name of the project but said he revealed all aspects of the project during his interview with the FBI.

"Can you imagine what someone can do with the information they were collecting on Americans, can you imagine that kind of power."

Officials with the FBI and CIA declined to comment due to current and pending litigation.

... ... ...

The FBI contacts with Montgomery were encouraged by a senior status federal judge, who encouraged the two sides to meet rather than allow for any of the classified materials to leak, according to interviews Circa conducted.

Montgomery's lawsuit, which included his lawyer, the well-known conservative activist Larry Klayman, alleges Montgomery provided extensive evidence to the FBI of illegal spying on Americans ranging from judges to businessman like the future President Donald Trump.

The suit did not offer specifics of any illegal spying, but it accused the bureau of failing to take proper actions to rectify Montgomery's concerns.

Montgomery divulged to the FBI a "pattern and practice of conducting illegal, unconstitutional surveillance against millions of Americans, including prominent Americans such as the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen, and others such as Donald J. Trump, as well as Plaintiffs themselves," Montgomery and Klayman alleged in their suit.

"Plaintiffs were assured that the FBI, under Defendant Comey, would conduct a full investigation into the grave instances of illegal and unconstitutional activity set forth by Montgomery. However, the FBI, on Defendant Comey's orders, buried the FBI's investigation because the FBI itself is involved in an ongoing conspiracy to not only conduct the aforementioned illegal, unconstitutional surveillance, but to cover it up as well," the suit added.

Klayman and Montgomery also alleged that they have evidence that they themselves have been improperly spied upon by U.S. intelligence. The suit named numerous other defendants as well, including current NSA Director Mike Rogers, former CIA Director John Brennan and even former President Barack Obama.

[Jun 06, 2017] Do Not Trust The Intercept or How To Burn A Source

Looks more and more like psyop operation -- a part of a Neo-McCarthyism propaganda campaign.
Notable quotes:
"... So why even go out of your way to leak these supposedly worthless documents to the press in the first place? Who benefits? ..."
"... Deep state benefits - analysis(?) is leaked which show as you say no proof, but it keeps the anti-russia propaganda going for another month or so - just as the anti-trump deep state and media wants. Sigh. ..."
"... P.S if any of you get a chance try to catch the interview on RT where German journo, who is unfortunately dead, states categorically that CIA and his bosses would instruct him on what to write and how to write it. ..."
"... If Reality Leigh Winner goes to trial and receives serious prison time, then The Intercept was wrong, but until then I'll think she's a Clintonist useful idiot. ..."
"... That would be Udo Ulfkotte. He used to work for FAZ. You have to take into account that he tried to live from writing books after FAZ and conspiracy theories do sell. ..."
"... Greenwald and Poitras are now the only two people with full access to the complete cache of NSA files ... just Glenn and Laura at the for-profit journalism company created by the founder of eBay. ..."
"... CIA Agents Caught Red Handed Trolling Alternative Media Sites http://humansarefree.com/2017/06/cia-agents-caught-red-handed-trolling.html I think we talked about this years ago, in regards to Israeli paid trolls, but we've gone so far into the Panopticon control grid, what difference does it make. ..."
"... I also think, it is possible that Hillary Clinton and Putin had a very personal not so private war after Hillary announced that she would do everything to prevent a realignment of Post Soviet States. And employing Victoria Nuland to achieve just that. ..."
"... ...which of course how psyops works. Because this leak will fuel more of the Trump/Russian conspiracies and hatred in the MSM. ..."
"... Are you from one of those USG "perception management" projects? Well, if you are, American taxpayers should be pissed off if this is all the "best and brightest" can come up with. The USG IC has an annual budget of $65 billion so if this is a black op., they have more than enough money to be able to afford the arrest of the "leaker" and even pay for her to get decently lawyered up. ..."
"... This whole episode smacks of a psy-op to me. If - and this is a big if - the Russians did hack into any voting systems, I'd be more willing to believe it was to collect evidence of malfeasance on the part of our own government than it would have been to manipulate the results themselves. ..."
"... Important to note is that Putin just mentioned in his interview with Megyn Kelly that it doesn't matter who's president of the United States because no matter what, the policy remains the same. That's a pretty direct indictment of the integrity of US elections, so what better time to up the ante with respect to the obvious lies about Russian interference in our elections than right after Putin calls our elections Kabuki theater? ..."
"... Well for one she is not a whistleblower, she is another anti-Trump neocon working for the deep state. She I believe leaked material just to attack Trump and Russia even more with info, as we have seen so many times now past months. She nor we as readers have any idea if there is any truth to the claim to start with. So why leak it? Well obviously, like past months, some groups in our society benefit from this greatly. ..."
"... I haven't trusted The Intercept since they ran their hit piece on Tulsi Gabbard. ..."
"... Ghostship. True enough. But knowing it is still different from effectively dealing with it. The elite/CIA controlled mass media still has a lot of power to persuade people as do the corporations that finance political elections. As well as the people who make money from arms sales. These people who may be loosely referred to as 'deep state' don't want to give up any of that power/money. ..."
"... She follows a neocon agenda (war against afghanistan, war against Syria, hatered against Russia, hatred against foreign policy that Trump have i.e), she works for the deep state, she leak deep state material to smear her "enemies". ..."
"... Who are those who spread this bs to the MSM about Trump and Russia constantly for past months? Where does it come from if not from the deep state groups? ..."
"... Omidyar being behind the Intercept has always been an iffy proposition at best, and it has never sat well that Greenwald is apparently satisfied with such an arrangement. ..."
"... And you just know Mark Ames will have a piece up bashing Omidyar, Greenwald and Scahill. Speaking of Scahill, other than a weekly podcast, what exactly does he do for the Intercept? ..."
"... Greenwald is a self-serving hack and the Intercept functions alongside outlets like DemocracyNow! to provide a Democrat-friendly perspective on the world to people who think they are very "progressive". They will never challenge the fundamental precepts of US imperialism and the oligarchic powers behind it, or truly rock the boat. ..."
"... There's a chance they got played. As noted, the documents don't actual show evidence of actual interference with voting system beyond data gathering. ..."
"... Alternatively, the document was prepared in such a way that it was actually politically harmless but it could snare the leaker who would be triumphantly and publicly "executed". That can improve the discipline in the shop. ..."
"... This is silly nonsense. There is no difference at all between the neocons and the neolibs (the neolords). They come from exactly the same place and believe in exactly the same thing. Specifically, they are atychiphobs; they cannot endure any form of failure. So they always must attach themselves to whatever they perceive as the winning side. And ultimately rule the rest of the losing world. For them that's all there is; Hillary is an example, and most rich individuals also. They would absolutely prefer death to loserdom. So of course they have no concerns at all about the fate of the losers. They are all the same. ..."
"... Sounds like a con job from start to finish. Along the lines of bellingcat, SOHR ect. Just another method of disseminating propaganda. ..."
"... this whole thing is such a circus! and yes, the NSA has access to far more info than these stupid documents allude to, not to mention that the US has got to have some massive access to Russian data. ..."
"... I should add: If Putin were directly responsible for hacking anything, Clinton should kiss Putin's who-cares-what for waiting until AFTER the primaries. She got to be part of the final coin-toss. ..."
"... really, why is this NSA document even considered whistle-blowing? ..."
"... Setting aside the antics of the Intercept, let's consider how preposterous this story is at face value. She's basically a translator for a few Middle Eastern languages. So she's reading email or web sites or listening to phone calls and doing her translating thing. It's not like she's a high-level analyst preparing briefings for the National Intelligence director - she's a damn low-level translator (no offense to NSA translators out there). ..."
"... If Winner DID manage to stumble upon a Top Secret memo on her work network unrelated to her job, then her supervisor would have known it within minutes. Everything anybody does is constantly monitored and logged, right down to the keystroke. SHE would know that. In fact, she would be fired for not reporting this impossible access to top secret information immediately. She would be further punished for even having the document linger on her screen for more than a second or two. There's a reason they put TOP SECRET at the very top of every page. Classified documents also have their own security/surveillance/monitoring mechanisms. The document itself (or the document management system) knows or is told who is allowed to read it or even see that it exists. It would record her access, even if all the other security and monitoring software the agency had failed completely. So you get the idea. Even if she saw this document (unlikely) and did NOT report the inappropriate access, she would eventually be frog-walked out of the building before the end of the day. ..."
"... Top Secret documents (and their networks) do not allow you to print them at all, and certainly not on some random office printer. ..."
"... All modern printers and copy machines have an invisible watermark that identifies the time/date you printed a page and the serial number of the machine. If she copied it somewhere, then they copy can be traced to a certain machine and date/time. She's busted either way if the feds got their hands on it, and SHE KNOWS THAT. ..."
"... Sorry - but unless someone can prove she has an extra chromosome or two, I have to believe this is a charade. She won't go to jail because she's in on it with the NSA and it's not a real Top Secret document anyway. NO intelligence agency will ever verify or deny something you show them is either legitimate or Top Secret, so even that part is wrong. If you call them to ask about a document you have, they will politely put you on hold so they can dispatch some DHS thugs to kick in your door and retrieve said document - without telling you anything either way. ..."
"... I tend to agree with the hint, hint - #RealityWinner is an obvious PsyOp. Her employer probably had a deal for her - agree to be "used", play the part in a little prosecution game we'll have going, make sure you leak to Cook - and don't worry, you'll be well rewarded in the end. ..."
"... The timing of this leak and the choice of media outlet is very convenient for the Establishment Dems/Deep State Russia investigation. Leaking to the Intercept, which has credibility in the alternative media, would be a convenient way to get the story covered in the MSM and leftist media. It certainly helps to distract Berners from the Seth Rich story. Some interns at the Intercept did a sloppy job checking up on their source. ..."
"... thank you for this. i left a comment on that article yesterday about how dumb the technical aspects were and apparently you noticed as well (i also mentioned stuxnet as an example of what an effective and professional attack would actually look like). ..."
"... as i also mentioned: hillary won durham by a WIDE margin (almost 100k votes). seems like any "hacking" worked to her advantage, not trump's. ..."
"... i've been reading douglas valentine's book on the phoenix program and other CIA criminality https://www.amazon.com/CIA-Organized-Crime-Illegal-Operations/dp/0997287012 ..."
"... It looks like a real half-arsed psyops -- here is the "Russia did it" smoking gun we've all been waiting for and it gets sorta rolled out but not trumpeted hysterically. Why the Intercept? Why not the NYtimes or wapo? ..."
"... It's becoming more difficult daily to find something that doesn't stink. I see it as an attempt to further bury the censored NBC interview with Putin where he explained several hard truths, one of which I alluded to yesterday. Compare vid here, http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/06/nbc-edited-out-putins-hard-truths-heres.html with uncensored one here, which includes transcript, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54688 ..."
Jun 06, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yesterday The Intercept published a leaked five page NSA analysis about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. Its reporting outed the leaker of the NSA documents. That person, R.L. Winner, has now been arrested and is likely to be jailed for years if not for the rest of her life.

FBI search (pdf) and arrest warrant (pdf) applications unveil irresponsible behavior by the Intercept 's reporters and editors which neglected all operational security trade-craft that might have prevented the revealing of the source. It leaves one scratching the head if this was intentional or just sheer incompetence. Either way - the incident confirms what skeptics had long determined : The Intercept is not a trustworthy outlet for leaking state secrets of public interests.

The Intercept was created to privatize the National Security Agency documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The documents proved that the NSA is hacking and copying nearly all electronic communication on this planet, that it was breaking laws that prohibited spying on U.S. citizen and that it sabotages on a large scale various kinds of commercial electronic equipment. Snowden gave copies of the NSA documents to a small number of journalists. One of them was Glenn Greenwald who now works at The Intercept . Only some 5% of the pages Snowden allegedly acquired and gave to reporters have been published. We have no idea what the unpublished pages would provide.

The Intercept , a subdivision of First Look Media, was founded by Pierre Omidyar, a major owner of the auctioning site eBay and its PayPal banking division. Omidyar is a billionaire and "philanthropist" who's (tax avoiding) Omidyar Network foundation is "investing" for "returns". Its microcredit project for farmers in India, in cooperation with people from the fascists RSS party, ended in an epidemic of suicides when the farmers were unable to pay back. The Omidyar Network also funded (fascist) regime change groups in Ukraine in cooperation with USAID. Omidyar had cozy relations with the Obama White House. Some of the held back NSA documents likely implicate Omidyar's PayPal.

The Intercept was funded with some $50 million from Omidyar. It first hires were Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras - all involved in publishing the Snowden papers and other leaks. Its first piece was based on documents from the leaked the NSA stack. It has since published on this or that but not in a regular media way. The Intercept pieces are usually heavily editorialized and tend to have a mainstream "liberal" to libertarian slant. Some were highly partisan anti-Syrian/pro-regime change propaganda . The website seems to have no regular publishing schedule at all. Between one and five piece per day get pushed out, only few of them make public waves. Some of its later prominent hires (Ken Silverstein, Matt Taibbi) soon left and alleged that the place was run in a chaotic atmosphere and with improper and highly politicized editing. Despite its rich backing and allegedly high pay for its main journalists (Greenwald is said to receive between 250k and 1 million per year) the Intercept is begging for reader donations .

Yesterday's published story (with bylines of four(!) reporters) begins :

Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November's presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept.

The NSA "intelligence report" the Intercept publishes along the piece does NOT show that "Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack ". The document speaks of "cyber espionage operations " - i.e someone looked and maybe copied data but did not manipulate anything. Espionage via computer networks is something every nation in this world (and various private entities) do all the time. It is simply the collection of information. It is different from a "cyberattack" like Stuxnet which was intended to create large damage,

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 6:32:53 AM | 1

First Deep State Arrest? http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/06/05/first-deep-state-arrest-government-contractor-busted-leaking-nsa-docs-to-the-intercept/

That girl's social media accounts is filled with neocon propaganda and anti-Trump posts. Intercept is really really stupid for spreading this deepstate pro-war desinformation.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 6:40:53 AM | 2
Wikileaks twitter account has good comment on it. It is clear that The Intercept is a way to coopt hackers and leakers. She possibly would not have been arrested with Democrats in power. The New York Times and the Intercept have a campaign to leak to US sources so that whistleblowing is not treason.
never mind | Jun 6, 2017 6:53:25 AM | 3
I take it that there's not even the slightest or far reaching bit of evidence at all in the leaked documents that implicates Russia (or the US government) of any mischief.

So why even go out of your way to leak these supposedly worthless documents to the press in the first place? Who benefits?

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 7:01:37 AM | 4
never mind

Deep state benefits - analysis(?) is leaked which show as you say no proof, but it keeps the anti-russia propaganda going for another month or so - just as the anti-trump deep state and media wants. Sigh.

nobody | Jun 6, 2017 7:04:47 AM | 5
She looks like a dual citizen of the Rothschild colony in Palestine.
Mister Roboto | Jun 6, 2017 7:07:17 AM | 6
Thanks for this. Even before reading this account, I was inclined to think "fake news" because the Deep State is such a prolific and relentless generator of propaganda. And also, I think we're pretty much screwed regardless of who is in power. My only hope is that it all doesn't end up in mushroom-clouds.
Miller | Jun 6, 2017 7:10:45 AM | 7
This sort of activity wouldn't have helped Russian intelligence, but it might have been useful to US intelligence. DHS already got caught red handed.
opereta | Jun 6, 2017 7:16:59 AM | 8
It was obvious that The Intercept became a US Inteligence Industry pawn the minute it started to denounce Al Assad on 2016. It was too good to be true from the beginning. Snowden should say something about "his friends" Greenwald and Poitras !! As far as it is descrived in the above article, the R J Winner affaire could be just another Psy Op by the Langley People
Anon | Jun 6, 2017 7:20:36 AM | 9
Its interesting how Assange and Wikileaks support this deep-state leaker. Why?
somebody | Jun 6, 2017 7:40:07 AM | 10
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 7:20:36 AM | 9

Because one person's freedom is everybody's freedom or in a quotation "Freedom is always the freedom of the person that thinks differently from you".

Lea | Jun 6, 2017 7:49:35 AM | 13
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 7:20:36 AM | 9
Its interesting how Assange and Wikileaks support this deep-state leaker. Why?

Assange supports all leakers, regardless of what they leak or to whom. Any other stance would amount to shooting himself in the foot.

On another note, what is extraordinary is to see a Deep State leaker busted by the Deep State. How batty is that? I mean, she was only trying to help them against "big bad Russia", wasn't she? So?

falcemartello | Jun 6, 2017 7:51:05 AM | 14
Yes the intercept gave them self away when Greenwald wrote a piece denouncing the Syrian government and the SAA back in 2015. He occasionally has sane and progressive expressions like when he speaks against the fascist state of Israel. He gave himself away again on the propaganda outlet Democracy now. He was eluding to the fact of Russian collusion with the recent POTUS elections and the Flyn fiasco. Here again he gave himself away. He is bought and paid for by the elite like most journo's in our deluded western countries.

P.S if any of you get a chance try to catch the interview on RT where German journo, who is unfortunately dead, states categorically that CIA and his bosses would instruct him on what to write and how to write it.

although a fan of the intercept at first, i soured when they announced they were spying on their readership. never trust a billionaire. betrayal is the only route to billionaire status.

greenwald and poitras at the oscars turned my stomach. not a word about chelsea manning or any of the others ... greenwald and poitras were the 'stars'.

now, no matter this winner is a loser or no, they've betrayed another one of the people who've put them where they are. they're cannibals.

since i stopped reading the intercept i was unaware of their support for al-cia-duh and the jihadists in syria. that just stinks.

snowden cast his pearls before swine.

Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 7:55:51 AM | 16
Maybe someone at The Intercept thought this was an attempt by the NSA (not the "deep state, there isn't one") to burn them, so they toss the document back at the NSA to see what happens.

Why The Intercept? If you read most Clintonist blogs, you'll quickly realise that Greenwald is up there with Assange and Putin as satanic (Trumpist) agents, so an Internet-aware Clintonist sending documents to The Intercept or Wikileaks suggests some other purpose than simply leaking information adverse to Trump.

Most Clintonists have jumped on this NSA "document" as further solid proof of Putin's culpability which just happened to be "leaked" at about the same time a favourable interview with Putin was being broadcast on the MSM.

If Reality Leigh Winner goes to trial and receives serious prison time, then The Intercept was wrong, but until then I'll think she's a Clintonist useful idiot.

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:00:37 AM | 17
somebody / Lea

Actually Wikileaks/Assange have no idea if this info is even true. Who leaks this? Well obviously the same propagandists we heard past 6 months that want the world to think Russia and Trump won the election/the pathetic accusation that Russia somehow ruled the election to Trump. As far as we know the leaks could not only lack evidence but it could also be pure fake. So no, I dont see why Wikileaks and Assange would support this. But thats me.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:05:00 AM | 18
Posted by: falcemartello | Jun 6, 2017 7:51:05 AM | 14

That would be Udo Ulfkotte. He used to work for FAZ. You have to take into account that he tried to live from writing books after FAZ and conspiracy theories do sell.

Of course everybody the US, Russia, Qatar, companies have a PR greyzone trying to influence public opinion.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:08:44 AM | 19
Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 7:55:51 AM | 16

Read the @intercept they even agreed with the NSA to redact the stuff. The solution is obvious but I don't hear anybody calling for it: Paper ballots. It is simple, works and is fast if you have a good counting system in place. Lots of countries still use it.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:11:10 AM | 20
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:00:37 AM | 17

Accepting that leakers could be fake would destroy the business model. But no, if it was fake they would not go the extra effort to arrest a leaker who will be supplied good lawyers, I suppose.

jfl | Jun 6, 2017 8:13:28 AM | 21
Reality Winner charged leaking classified material

rod rosenstein ... Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team , mike whitney has this guy's number, if you ask me.

Who "owns" the NSA secrets leaked by Edward Snowden to reporters Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras?

Greenwald and Poitras are now the only two people with full access to the complete cache of NSA files ... just Glenn and Laura at the for-profit journalism company created by the founder of eBay.

Whistleblowing has traditionally served the public interest. In this case, it is about to serve the interests of a billionaire starting a for-profit media business venture. This is truly unprecedented. Never before has such a vast trove of public secrets been sold wholesale to a single billionaire as the foundation of a for-profit company.

and who sold them? not edward snowden ... he gave them away ... to the two 'operators' who sold them to omidyar.

after death, devastation, and destruction outright ... deceit it the usofa's main growth industry. and hey, 'progressives' can do it too! and still huff and puff themselves up - among their temporary, transactional 'friends' anyway - with righteousness indignation.

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:19:24 AM | 22
somebody

Thats whats called desinformation or psyops., you already for example seems claim that this is true facts that have been leaked, but we dont know that. Or do you actually believe the whole Russia-Trump-hacking-claims we heard past months?

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:41:09 AM | 23
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:19:24 AM | 22

It is a document about what someone in the NSA believes , it is completely meaningless. Greenwald and Scahill are kind of distancing themselves from the article. The document is just enough to cause headlines that convince trusting people that Russia hacked the election. Arresting the leaker makes sure everybody heard about it. Who wrote it by the way

Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Sam Biddle, Ryan Grim

They need 4 people to publish a document and burn a source?

Uncle $cam | Jun 6, 2017 8:49:05 AM | 24
CIA Agents Caught Red Handed Trolling Alternative Media Sites http://humansarefree.com/2017/06/cia-agents-caught-red-handed-trolling.html I think we talked about this years ago, in regards to Israeli paid trolls, but we've gone so far into the Panopticon control grid, what difference does it make.

Carry on...

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:52:33 AM | 25
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:19:24 AM | 22

I assume Russia has a cyber capacity in its defense portfolio, like everybody else.

The most likely scenario is Hillary Clinton and Julian Assange having a very personal private war after the state department leaks. I also think, it is possible that Hillary Clinton and Putin had a very personal not so private war after Hillary announced that she would do everything to prevent a realignment of Post Soviet States. And employing Victoria Nuland to achieve just that.

What do politicians in the US think - that they can attack without anybody trying to hit back?

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:55:33 AM | 27
somebody

"... document about what someone in the NSA believes,..."

...which of course how psyops works. Because this leak will fuel more of the Trump/Russian conspiracies and hatred in the MSM.

Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 9:11:24 AM | 29

>>>>> Posted by: somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:08:44 AM | 19
Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 7:55:51 AM | 16

Read the @intercept they even agreed with the NSA to redact the stuff.

Well that's a big fat F in Black Ops 101 for you.

The Intercept just returns the document to the NSA - end of.

The Intercept asks the NSA to review and redact the document - it keeps going. Returning the received document rather than a re-typed one might raise questions within the NSA but could be put down to operator error at The Intercept but re-typed documents would get The Intercept no further in working out what's actually happening.

I'm not sure if this is what is happening but the whole thing is weird.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:11:10 AM | 20

But no, if it was fake they would not go the extra effort to arrest a leaker who will be supplied good lawyers, I suppose.

Are you from one of those USG "perception management" projects? Well, if you are, American taxpayers should be pissed off if this is all the "best and brightest" can come up with. The USG IC has an annual budget of $65 billion so if this is a black op., they have more than enough money to be able to afford the arrest of the "leaker" and even pay for her to get decently lawyered up.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 9:15:07 AM | 30
27) if so, there are unintended consequences

From the memory whole - wired

But that's not what's really important here. WikiLeaks and Assange say they have no responsibility for the content they leak, and that no one has evidence that the sources of the DNC leak are Russian. But these leaks and tweets damage WikiLeaks' credibility. If they're not scrutinizing their own leaks on the base level of their content, it's not hard to imagine that WikiLeaks could unwittingly become part of someone else's agenda (like, say, a Russian one). "If you are a legitimate leaker, why go with WikiLeaks? You go with The Intercept or the New York Times, like they did with the Panama Papers" says Nicholas Weaver, a computer scientist at UC Berkeley who studies the organization. "Wikileaks is a pastebin for spooks, and they're happy to be used that way."

All this effort to discredit Wikileaks - poof.

Kronos | Jun 6, 2017 9:22:06 AM | 32
One would think that all parties would be interested in this news. The Dems, of course, want to make Russian links. But doesn't Trump want to use this to prove his theory that the popular vote was wrong? Let's not turn this into a game where everyone interprets things based on ideology. The whole dang point is that someone was trying to infiltrate our voting system. Maybe they failed, maybe it was just a reconnaissance mission, but it happened. That is news.

Moon is obviously showing extreme bias. Instead of trying to figure out and analyze the implications he uses this as a way to score points. Points against the Intercept. Points against the Dems, and so on. How tiring.

SlapHappy | Jun 6, 2017 9:54:22 AM | 35
This whole episode smacks of a psy-op to me. If - and this is a big if - the Russians did hack into any voting systems, I'd be more willing to believe it was to collect evidence of malfeasance on the part of our own government than it would have been to manipulate the results themselves.

Important to note is that Putin just mentioned in his interview with Megyn Kelly that it doesn't matter who's president of the United States because no matter what, the policy remains the same. That's a pretty direct indictment of the integrity of US elections, so what better time to up the ante with respect to the obvious lies about Russian interference in our elections than right after Putin calls our elections Kabuki theater?

ben | Jun 6, 2017 10:15:11 AM | 38
More diversion folks. The real elephant in the room is the U$A electoral system. It's rotten to it's core. Regardless of ANY information coming from ANY source, the corporate overlords OWN the voting systems at the national level here in the U$A. SO, we here in the U$A, can believe whoever we want to, but, our votes, at least at national level, are meaningless.

P.S- Read around folks, but, watch what people do, not what the say.

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 10:34:10 AM | 40
jawbone

Well for one she is not a whistleblower, she is another anti-Trump neocon working for the deep state. She I believe leaked material just to attack Trump and Russia even more with info, as we have seen so many times now past months. She nor we as readers have any idea if there is any truth to the claim to start with. So why leak it? Well obviously, like past months, some groups in our society benefit from this greatly.

Bob Bows | Jun 6, 2017 10:46:15 AM | 41
The article even says that NO EVIDENCE has been presented: "While the document provides rare window into the NSA's understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking, it does not show the underlying "raw" intelligence on which the analysis is based. A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the documentbecause a single analysis is not necessarily definitive."

The information is a lie, just like the original report from the Director of National Intelligence, as I detail here: http://coloradopublicbanking.blogspot.com/2017/01/us-intelligence-reports-fail.html

From The Hague | Jun 6, 2017 10:49:08 AM | 42
peter #39 that Trump has been utterly silent about Russia or Putin. Not one negative word.

Everybody not complying with "Russia/Putin is bad" must be paid or blackmailed. Silly.

Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 11:24:33 AM | 44
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 10:34:10 AM | 40
she is another anti-Trump neocon working for the deep state

Three points:

1. She is not a neo-con, she's a neo-lib/liberal interventionist/R2P liberal/Clintonist. There is a big difference between neo-cons and neo-libs/liberal interventionists/R2P liberals/Clintonists. The neo-cons do it because they can, the latter, who are far more dangerous, do it "for the greater good" although they rarely ask the people who it's being done for what they think and they have a far greater degree of "religious"certainty about what they're doing.
To paraphrase Putin in his recent interview, "why would he interfere in American elections as he gets the same foreign policy crap regardless of which side wins?"

2. The neo-cons lost big time in Iraq and as a result have little real power in Washington beyond being disruptive.

3. There is no deep state in the United States now because it's totally visible, and since both the neo-cons and the neo-libs/liberal interventionists/R2P liberals/Clintonists have the same objective there is no need for secrecy or conspiracies. If anyone needs to revive the "deep state" it's the Trumpists.

All these conspiracy theories are a waste of time and energy because there is so much real dangerous crap going on that needs to be attended to first.

William Rood | Jun 6, 2017 11:31:31 AM | 45
I haven't trusted The Intercept since they ran their hit piece on Tulsi Gabbard.
financial matters | Jun 6, 2017 11:37:29 AM | 46
Ghostship. True enough. But knowing it is still different from effectively dealing with it. The elite/CIA controlled mass media still has a lot of power to persuade people as do the corporations that finance political elections. As well as the people who make money from arms sales. These people who may be loosely referred to as 'deep state' don't want to give up any of that power/money.
From The Hague | Jun 6, 2017 11:43:20 AM | 47
#46
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Foreign_Policy/US_ForeignPolicy.html
SlapHappy | Jun 6, 2017 11:46:22 AM | 48
Assuming the neocons and neolibs represent different interests is the same as assuming the democrats and republicans represent different masters. Divide and conquer is the name of the game, and until we can come together and agree on who the real enemy is, they'll continue eating our lunch with impunity.
Pnyx | Jun 6, 2017 11:57:04 AM | 49
Thanks for the very valuable information. I wonder what Snowdon is thinking and maybe doing about The Intercept. Being him I would be fourious.
Anon | Jun 6, 2017 11:57:32 AM | 50
ghostship

She follows a neocon agenda (war against afghanistan, war against Syria, hatered against Russia, hatred against foreign policy that Trump have i.e), she works for the deep state, she leak deep state material to smear her "enemies".

Who are those who spread this bs to the MSM about Trump and Russia constantly for past months? Where does it come from if not from the deep state groups?

NemesisCalling | Jun 6, 2017 12:38:46 PM | 52
@24 uncle $cam

This is easy to tell but difficult to snuff out in the end. Once Hillary and co. started railing against paid Kremlin-trolls on alt-right and various forum sites, you knew that it was something that they had been doing for quite sometime and, indeed, had been losing the battle. At that point, it was best to throw up their hands and concoct the victim-story, even though we TPTB probably pioneered the tactics (color revolutions, ngos, etc.).

Perhaps there were Kremlin agents on our boards. Perhaps there are some here. But truth, or a slightly biased truth, still stands in their corner, so I refuse to complain about Russia agents. The CIA OTOH. They can GTFO.

james | Jun 6, 2017 12:39:01 PM | 53
thanks b..

i used to like greenwald long before his time at the intercept... the intercept smelt funny right from the beginning.. i haven't followed it, in spite of having enjoyed reading greenwald when he was more independent..

this whole story stinks to high heaven.. something is weird about the whole thing.. can't put my finger on it.. seems like more bs basically.. the usa is bonkers at this point..

@8 opereta... i see it similar to you..

@43 uncle scam... some of those folks are still around, but more of them are not..

hopehely | Jun 6, 2017 12:48:49 PM | 54
How on Earth do these kids (Snowden, Winner, etc) manage to get that kind of jobs?
crone | Jun 6, 2017 12:52:30 PM | 55
@54 2 yrs of college, a couple of years in 'the field' (Air Force in this case)

Pointman | Jun 6, 2017 1:13:54 PM | 57
As you say, appalling tradecraft by both the leaker and the recipient. I would have thought even a cursory security check before giving her any security clearance would have unearthed her extreme views on social media.

Some general thoughts on the subject of leaks from the Trump administration -

https://thepointman.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/leaks/

Pointman

Brooklin Bridge | Jun 6, 2017 1:17:51 PM | 58
Excellent article. A warning to heed and I hope it gets out far and wide. Omidyar being behind the Intercept has always been an iffy proposition at best, and it has never sat well that Greenwald is apparently satisfied with such an arrangement.
Copeland | Jun 6, 2017 1:20:02 PM | 59
What a circus of distraction that grabs for public attention; its chief element is distraction,-- and its goal is distraction. In the end, Trump will probably go farther to accommodate the deep state, since what it aims to destroy is any chance for improvement of relations with Russia. This a PSYOPS extravaganza. The moronic level of political debate is not going to improve with the introduction of Reality Winner ( whose name sounds a bit silly, in this context).

The confirmed partisans will wolf down such farce without even tasting it. These absurd pratfalls will stop abruptly when the risk to our survival becomes obvious; but something on the order of a miracle would need to happen soon, to avert disaster. Trump's base will loudly congratulate him, whatever concessions he makes to survive politically; and the rationally unmoored Dems will sign on to any confidence game if it gets the results they are after.

Certainly, a closer observation of the details can help. Thanks to the author of this article, our host, and those who have commented. The alternative is for life to become a work of fiction.

WGary | Jun 6, 2017 1:44:48 PM | 60
My guess is "Reality Winner" is actually very bright, experienced and goes by another name.

NemesisCalling | Jun 6, 2017 2:03:54 PM | 62
b,

Outstanding reporting, b. I saw a report on the microlending "phenomenon" in India on PBS a long time ago. It was heralded then. I'll have to dive into your link to survey the damage. Thx again.

h | Jun 6, 2017 2:06:17 PM | 63
Hey b, John Kiriakou chimed in saying "@theintercept should be ashamed of itself. Matthew Cole burns yet another source. It makes your entire organization untrustworthy"

And you just know Mark Ames will have a piece up bashing Omidyar, Greenwald and Scahill. Speaking of Scahill, other than a weekly podcast, what exactly does he do for the Intercept?

WorldBLee | Jun 6, 2017 2:06:58 PM | 64
Greenwald is a self-serving hack and the Intercept functions alongside outlets like DemocracyNow! to provide a Democrat-friendly perspective on the world to people who think they are very "progressive". They will never challenge the fundamental precepts of US imperialism and the oligarchic powers behind it, or truly rock the boat.
4mas | Jun 6, 2017 2:15:02 PM | 65
There's a chance they got played. As noted, the documents don't actual show evidence of actual interference with voting system beyond data gathering. But now we have a leaker who's social media bills her as part of the resistance. And in this environment, how are the optics going to look like prosecuting someone who is being passed off as having leaked evidence of malfeasance? I think they rushed too quickly to publish.
BilboBaggeshott | Jun 6, 2017 2:28:40 PM | 66
Nice to see so many finally coming to the realisation that Greenwald, Poitras and the Intercept are disinfo operatives.... Waiting for the rest of you to begin questioning The Snowjob too.
jfl | Jun 6, 2017 2:34:09 PM | 67
pence smells blood in the water ... Russia, Iran and terrorism are top global threats - Pence
"From the Russian attempts to redraw international borders by force, to Iran destabilizing the Middle East, and to the global threat of terrorism, which affects people everywhere. It seems that the world has become much more dangerous today than ever since the fall of communism, about a quarter of a century ago,"- he said at a meeting of vice-president.

... pence is running for president ... in 2017?

Piotr Berman | Jun 6, 2017 2:37:15 PM | 68
Actually, it is a good question how Winner got the access to the file. "Top Secret" is actually a low level of secrecy, without specific restriction who "needs to know" it. Practical problem for the wanna be leaker is to find "a needle in the haystack". Probably the chain of folders had self-explanatory names, which is like posting in on the billboard for all and sundry working for NSA. That in itself can be "leaking with a borrowed hand".

The content does not seem to be secret in the sense of revealing "sources and methods", just a scrubbed analysis with conclusions. A major part of the mission of intelligence agency to to careful draw conclusions from the gathered data so they are useful to the decision makers: access to information allows to engage in disinformation. But what to do with the obsolete analysis, prepared for the PDM, previous decision maker? Post it on a billboard, if you still like PDM.

Alternatively, the document was prepared in such a way that it was actually politically harmless but it could snare the leaker who would be triumphantly and publicly "executed". That can improve the discipline in the shop.

Poor girl. But those Intercept people, why they did not at least re-type the document before showing it to anyone?

blues | Jun 6, 2017 2:41:19 PM | 69
=>> Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 11:24:33 AM | 44

This is silly nonsense. There is no difference at all between the neocons and the neolibs (the neolords). They come from exactly the same place and believe in exactly the same thing. Specifically, they are atychiphobs; they cannot endure any form of failure. So they always must attach themselves to whatever they perceive as the winning side. And ultimately rule the rest of the losing world. For them that's all there is; Hillary is an example, and most rich individuals also. They would absolutely prefer death to loserdom. So of course they have no concerns at all about the fate of the losers. They are all the same.

And speaking of psyops and propaganda, the Deep State (of course there is a deep state (the neolords) whom common selves cannot comprehend) is now in the business of producing psyoperative YouTube videos. See if you can spot the subliminal propaganda in this one (hint -- it is not at all about how Russians perceive Americans):

RUSSIAN MILLENNIALS SPEAK OPENLY ABOUT AMERICA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFklhWu3d3E

From The Hague | Jun 6, 2017 2:57:46 PM | 71
Posted by: BilboBaggeshott | Jun 6, 2017 2:28:40 PM | 66

How to Identify a CIA Limited Hangout Operation http://tarpley.net/2013/06/19/how-to-identify-a-cia-limited-hangout-operation/

Peter AU | Jun 6, 2017 3:02:36 PM | 72
Sounds like a con job from start to finish. Along the lines of bellingcat, SOHR ect. Just another method of disseminating propaganda.
Anon | Jun 6, 2017 3:04:42 PM | 73
hophely:

"How on Earth do these kids ( Winner) manage to get that kind of jobs?"

Exactly! I thought you had to be very special, bright and so on to get this kind of jobs here we have a 25 year old girl, that is named...Reality Winner and she has social media where she posts alot of selfies of herself and have a twitter feed like high school student. She seems quite dorky to me. That she has already been in and out of the air force is even more bizarre. This is the kind of morons ruling this world.

anon | Jun 6, 2017 3:10:44 PM | 74
The Intercept article is as inept as the NSA document! it's mostly a cartoon, and things like guessing corporate emails are hardly espionage - they are normal ways of figuring out how to contact people in the professional world, NOT a security threat. Phishing them ought to be illegal, but clearly the FBI doesn't give a crap until it happens to Clinton's campaign chair. At least it is SO common that normal people KNOW not to fall for it. what a bunch of drivel! If the NSA had any actual intelligence that the origin of the emails was Russia, you would think that might be part of the explanation, but the cartoon only says "probably within"...

Then the Intercept spends pages (and pages) arguing for more $$ for the NSA (!) and to centralize control of US elections to the federal level where all this 'insecurity' can be properly controlled by responsible people (like the NSA, or the POTUS).

Topping that off was Amy Goodman showing an interview with a Clinton mouthpiece trumpeting propaganda that this whole "Russian" scheme is a way to get contact info of registered voters to aim "fake news" at them....... anybody here who is a registered voter knows that the minute you sign up you are permanently on the list for daily piles of glossy lies from PACS and nightly phone surveys about what crafted message would work 'if the election were held today'. Where I live, the Dems have so much money that they poll the crap out of us during city-level campaigns. (and after the election they can't be bothered with what their voters care about.)

this whole thing is such a circus! and yes, the NSA has access to far more info than these stupid documents allude to, not to mention that the US has got to have some massive access to Russian data.

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 3:16:17 PM | 75
Glenn Greenwald is a puppet http://smoloko.com/ The Intercept consistently strongly campaigned for globalist Macron by repeatedly disparaging Le Pen as "Holocaust denier", see https://theintercept.com/2017/04/27/le-pen-promotes-holocaust-denier-plans-ban-kosher-butchers-yarmulkes/. Glenn Greenwald is a gay Jew https://twitter.com/FullGoy
anon | Jun 6, 2017 3:20:27 PM | 76
I should add: If Putin were directly responsible for hacking anything, Clinton should kiss Putin's who-cares-what for waiting until AFTER the primaries. She got to be part of the final coin-toss.

really, why is this NSA document even considered whistle-blowing?

PavewayIV | Jun 6, 2017 3:37:14 PM | 77
People - please stop the insanity.

Greenwald/Intercept?

The firewall set up by (or at least 'persuaded' by) the U.S. intelligence to toss out a few useless Snowden scraps to the peons? Why would the Intercept NOT report report this to their intel masters? Does anyone here really think 1) the Intercept has NOT been compromised since day one, 2) everybody and and everything at the Intercept is NOT closely monitored by the intel community? They probably have a department just for the Intercept. So whether the Intercept actually ratted out Winner is irrelevant - the NSA probably knows what flavor of coffee the mail guy at the Intercept was holding when he picked up the previously examined mail. The only way any Top Secret document is making its way to the Intercept is if the NSA or FBI created and mailed the document themselves. And if the alleged journalist did not report receipt of the document to the FBI, then THEY would face jail time if the FBI found it during a raid.

How did Winner come about this information?

Setting aside the antics of the Intercept, let's consider how preposterous this story is at face value. She's basically a translator for a few Middle Eastern languages. So she's reading email or web sites or listening to phone calls and doing her translating thing. It's not like she's a high-level analyst preparing briefings for the National Intelligence director - she's a damn low-level translator (no offense to NSA translators out there).

Why on earth would someone in that position have ANY Top Secret memos on Russian hackers or the election. Do people really think there is (at her workplace) a network-accessible folder labeled 'Top Secret' that anyone with a Top Secret clearance can browse through? No - that's not how it works. Does anyone think they have a 'Top Secret' mailing list to distribute memos? Nope. In fact, can ANYONE give me the least plausible reason why some nobody Arabic-language translator would ever even be able to SEE a Top Secret memo regarding a subject she has absolutely no involvement with?

Computers at Intel Agencies

If Winner DID manage to stumble upon a Top Secret memo on her work network unrelated to her job, then her supervisor would have known it within minutes. Everything anybody does is constantly monitored and logged, right down to the keystroke. SHE would know that. In fact, she would be fired for not reporting this impossible access to top secret information immediately. She would be further punished for even having the document linger on her screen for more than a second or two. There's a reason they put TOP SECRET at the very top of every page. Classified documents also have their own security/surveillance/monitoring mechanisms. The document itself (or the document management system) knows or is told who is allowed to read it or even see that it exists. It would record her access, even if all the other security and monitoring software the agency had failed completely. So you get the idea. Even if she saw this document (unlikely) and did NOT report the inappropriate access, she would eventually be frog-walked out of the building before the end of the day.

Printing

I won't belabor the point, but everything from all the security, monitoring and logging items above apply moreso for printing anything. Top Secret documents (and their networks) do not allow you to print them at all, and certainly not on some random office printer. Presuming she did the impossible and get a Top Secret document printed out (which would all be logged), how did she get it out of her controlled-access area and the building itself? Hide it in her purse? Tell the guard, "I'm taking this folder of top secret stuff home to work on, but it's OK - I have a top secret clearance..."

All modern printers and copy machines have an invisible watermark that identifies the time/date you printed a page and the serial number of the machine. If she copied it somewhere, then they copy can be traced to a certain machine and date/time. She's busted either way if the feds got their hands on it, and SHE KNOWS THAT.

Impossible Conclusion

Now given all the above and her knowledge of how all that works, does anyone think she's STILL going to naively print out and mail a hard copy of Top Secret information to a known compromised, well-monitored news site... because she doesn't like Trump??

Sorry - but unless someone can prove she has an extra chromosome or two, I have to believe this is a charade. She won't go to jail because she's in on it with the NSA and it's not a real Top Secret document anyway. NO intelligence agency will ever verify or deny something you show them is either legitimate or Top Secret, so even that part is wrong. If you call them to ask about a document you have, they will politely put you on hold so they can dispatch some DHS thugs to kick in your door and retrieve said document - without telling you anything either way.

Why would she do this then? Well, if she knew she wasn't really going to be tried to go to prison and the NSA is 'in' on it, then I'm sure there's a large check waiting for her somewhere. How much do you think it would take to buy out a translator from her crappy .gov job? Plus, she gets to stick it to Trump and those evil Russians. It's a win-win!

Maybe I'm too cynical nowadays, but this whole thing is preposterous beyond belief. Am I the only one that thinks this whole thing stinks to high heaven? I'm amazed the bar is so low for these fabrications.

Merlin2 | Jun 6, 2017 3:47:26 PM | 78
For james #53 and all who want to be amused: it's all so poetic!

https://www.reddit.com/r/WayOfTheBern/comments/6fkoe1/reality_winner_reality_for_winners/

I tend to agree with the hint, hint - #RealityWinner is an obvious PsyOp. Her employer probably had a deal for her - agree to be "used", play the part in a little prosecution game we'll have going, make sure you leak to Cook - and don't worry, you'll be well rewarded in the end.

Why her? the name, of course - sends a nice message. And her youth - get a little sympathy going. from a gullible public (not any of us though).

Rusty Pipes | Jun 6, 2017 4:09:32 PM | 80
The timing of this leak and the choice of media outlet is very convenient for the Establishment Dems/Deep State Russia investigation. Leaking to the Intercept, which has credibility in the alternative media, would be a convenient way to get the story covered in the MSM and leftist media. It certainly helps to distract Berners from the Seth Rich story. Some interns at the Intercept did a sloppy job checking up on their source.
the pair | Jun 6, 2017 4:14:02 PM | 81
thank you for this. i left a comment on that article yesterday about how dumb the technical aspects were and apparently you noticed as well (i also mentioned stuxnet as an example of what an effective and professional attack would actually look like). the thought that a macro in a word file (who lets those run by default anyway?) could pivot into some elaborate firmware/hardware exploit is just dumb. even the article mentions that machines and procedures vary from state to state and even city to city. seems like a lot of work to put into changing votes for a few thousand people.

as i also mentioned: hillary won durham by a WIDE margin (almost 100k votes). seems like any "hacking" worked to her advantage, not trump's.

i've been reading douglas valentine's book on the phoenix program and other CIA criminality https://www.amazon.com/CIA-Organized-Crime-Illegal-Operations/dp/0997287012

and he makes a lot of the points you do here regarding the intercept. as much as i respect greenwald, he and the other top tier hires don't need that site. they've got enough leverage to start their own site or even just stick to facebook and/or twitter and then "third party" out to big sites. this would give them exposure without tying them down to one billionaire with his own agendas and biases.

glenn used to have some oddly toxic opinions (anti-chavez whining and supposed initial support for the iraq war) and came around. he's not a dummy. i also doubt he has any malevolent intentions given his charitable work in brazil and what seems like genuine concern for "the law" and privacy and etc.

the documents were trusted to him and a few others. there was a reason for that. every non-journalist (and i include many intercept writers in that group) since is just a parasite using him and the documents as a host. time to swat them away and be truly indie. (not holding my breath).

side note: "reality winner"? wow. when i first saw the headlines i thought she was a former contestant on "big brother" or something. we'll see how much vocal support she gets from the democrats. again - not holding breath.

stumpy | Jun 6, 2017 4:34:04 PM | 83
It looks like a real half-arsed psyops -- here is the "Russia did it" smoking gun we've all been waiting for and it gets sorta rolled out but not trumpeted hysterically. Why the Intercept? Why not the NYtimes or wapo? Just like the dossier a few months ago, generated some smoke but in the end its a weak petard. Did Sessions tamp it down?
Anonymous Hippopotamus | Jun 6, 2017 4:38:46 PM | 84
Coincidence that this just happened? http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/amp/news/michael-moore-launches-trumpileaks-website-calls-whistleblowers-1010640
Sibel Edmonds | Jun 6, 2017 4:51:45 PM | 85
Thank you 'Moon of Alabama' for publishing this solid piece and warning future whistleblowers. Kudos to you!

Regards, Sibel Edmonds (FBI Whistleblower; Founder & Editor of Newsbud)

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 5:03:06 PM | 86
Posted by: Anonymous Hippopotamus | Jun 6, 2017 4:38:46 PM | 84

No, wikileaks kind of recommends it.

@wikileaks 24

Michael Moore's #Trumpileaks is not secure enough to protect sources with classified information but it is better than many newspapers.

karlof1 | Jun 6, 2017 5:12:51 PM | 87
Paveway IV @77--

It's becoming more difficult daily to find something that doesn't stink. I see it as an attempt to further bury the censored NBC interview with Putin where he explained several hard truths, one of which I alluded to yesterday. Compare vid here, http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/06/nbc-edited-out-putins-hard-truths-heres.html with uncensored one here, which includes transcript, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54688

I strongly urge bar patrons to read transcript or watch uncensored vid and cease wasting time on all the related "nonsense."

blues | Jun 6, 2017 5:25:10 PM | 88
=>> Sibel Edmonds | Jun 6, 2017 4:51:45 PM | 85

No comment.

Corbett & Edmonds Call Out Nauseating Russia Worship in Alt Media
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijdMfUdLfTw

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 5:32:25 PM | 89
blues 88

Like watching desperate housewife talking about foreign policy, but I guess one shouldnt be surprised about her views coming being a fmr. FBI agent.

james | Jun 6, 2017 5:39:47 PM | 90
@77 paveway... thanks.. you are preaching to the choir here.. none of the story adds up, but the intercept is one bs outfit plain and simple..

@78/79 merlin.. thanks.. we see it much the same!

this ''russia did it memo'' is so friggin' boring... the usa has lost it's creative imagination if it ever had one to begin with... hollywood is over and one with.. give it up hollywash..

ruralito | Jun 6, 2017 5:40:23 PM | 91
@88, thanks. My estimation of C & E just took a big hit.

aaaa | Jun 6, 2017 5:50:10 PM | 92
@82 I remember reading that some crazy number, like 6 million people have security clearances. That's a lot of people that signed up to keep quiet. I guess a lot of it relates to basic military stuff, or controlled technology like aircraft parts or whatever.

Marym | Jun 6, 2017 6:00:49 PM | 93
PavewayIV @ 77

Farsi, it's Afghan version Dari, and Pashto are Indo-European > Indo-Iranian, languages, not Arabic languages, though they use the Arabic script.

brian | Jun 6, 2017 6:05:16 PM | 94
who are these Intercept guys? the billionaire seems to hire anyone

'Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Sam Biddle, Ryan Grim'

DC | Jun 6, 2017 6:15:00 PM | 95
She speaks Farsi and Pashto, I bet she's CIA who's been promised a lot of $$$ after she serves a short prison term. It's my guess that what she provided to The Intercept was given to her after it was manufactured or "doctored". The info published by The Intercept should be considered as suspicious.

aaaa | Jun 6, 2017 6:20:45 PM | 96
@94 there was some recent expose on the intercept that was quite damning, but I can't remember the content

PavewayIV | Jun 6, 2017 6:35:50 PM | 97
Marym@93 - Thanks. I hesitated to just say 'Iranian' because that didn't seem quite right, but 'Arabic' is obviously wrong. Hey, I'm American. I couldn't even tell you where Farsiland or Pastonia are on a map. I think... somewhere by Italy? No, wait...

dh | Jun 6, 2017 6:48:22 PM | 98
@95 Sounds right. She won't get the full Chelsea Manning treatment. Just a naive patriotic young American girl who did the right thing. Obviously she was tricked into using that copier. Couple of months and she''ll get a job at Fox.
@98 ....which she will turn down for a better offer at CNN.

Posted by: dh | Jun 6, 2017 6:55:18 PM | 99

@98 ....which she will turn down for a better offer at CNN.

Posted by: dh | Jun 6, 2017 6:55:18 PM | 99

JerseyJeffersonian | Jun 6, 2017 7:12:49 PM | 100
Remember when Greenwald's Brazilian boyfriend was being held by the authorities and accused of smuggling information from Snowden? Then he got released. Hmm.

Wonder if there was some sort of agreement to the effect that if Greenwald played ball, possible prosecution against said boyfriend would be held in abeyance. This is a tactic employed by government lawyers in some cases when they want something. Like a slow-walking of releases from Snowden's revelations, for instance. And maybe some other dirty business when wanted by the powers that be, like this "leak" that the NSA thought something could be true , but with the leak not containing any proof or any supporting raw intelligence.

Holding a sword over the head of the boyfriend might be just the ticket. And couple that with speculation that Snowden's documents contained revelations about Greenwald's boss, Pierre Omidyar. Maybe an offer that Greenwald and company could not refuse.

Speculation on my part, of course. But not the first time that such tactics have been deployed.

[Jun 03, 2017] Putin hits on false flag operation to implicate Russians

Notable quotes:
"... "The most important this is that we don't do that on government level," he said. "Secondly, I can imagine that some purposefully does that, building the chain of these attacks in a way to make it seem that Russia is the source of these attacks. Modern technology allows to do that quite easily." ..."
"... On high level like in case of Iranian hacks only state actors can operate. But they are not needed with such suckers like completely incompetent and arrogant Hillary. Here anybody suffice and that can be "lesser states" hostile to Russia (such as Ukraine, or Estonia) or even the USA agencies themselves (false flag operation) ..."
"... The level of incompetence demonstrated by "bathroom server" saga is simply staggering, to say the least: State Department essentially is as close to a security agency as one could get: they took over some former CIA functions ("color revolutions" is one such function) and generally they work in close cooperation. And this close cooperation is typical not only for the USA. But here we have a server in comparison with which many colleges email server installations are paragons of security. ..."
Jun 02, 2017 |

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/01/politics/russia-putin-hackers-election/index.html

It contain even more important quote about how Russia can be intentionally framed:

While he maintained Thursday that the Russian government wasn't behind the attacks, he said hackers anywhere could make their efforts appear like they came from the state.

"The most important this is that we don't do that on government level," he said. "Secondly, I can imagine that some purposefully does that, building the chain of these attacks in a way to make it seem that Russia is the source of these attacks. Modern technology allows to do that quite easily."

And there is some evidence in favor of his hypothesis

1. On high level like in case of Iranian hacks only state actors can operate. But they are not needed with such suckers like completely incompetent and arrogant Hillary. Here anybody suffice and that can be "lesser states" hostile to Russia (such as Ukraine, or Estonia) or even the USA agencies themselves (false flag operation)

The level of incompetence demonstrated by "bathroom server" saga is simply staggering, to say the least: State Department essentially is as close to a security agency as one could get: they took over some former CIA functions ("color revolutions" is one such function) and generally they work in close cooperation. And this close cooperation is typical not only for the USA. But here we have a server in comparison with which many colleges email server installations are paragons of security.

And her staff incompetence was also simply amazing. IMHO they all were criminally incompetent.

To hack such idiots for state actors is highly unusual -- they instantly suspect that this is a mousetrap, so called honeypot.

2. As for "gullible Podesta" he was such a joke that it hurts; this idiot (with very strange inclinations) did not even managed to buy a $15 USB security key that Google provides for two factor authentication.

https://arstechnica.com/security/2014/10/google-offers-usb-security-key-to-make-bad-passwords-moot/

Here too "state actor" would think that this is a trap. To give up password for nothing. For the "grey cardinal" of DNC ? You are kidding.

2. Doublethink demonstrated in this case suggest nefarious goals. Of course, Hillary bathroom server hacks are disputed. Both by Hillary and MSM :-). Who simultaneously are convinced about DNC hacks ;-).

This is really from 1984: "Doublethink is the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts." (Wikipedia)

3. There is a more plausible version about DNC "hack", which is swiped under the rag. That it was actually a leak, not hack and it involves Seth Rich. Here it is even more probably that Russian are framed. Nobody in MSM wants to touch this theme. How one would explain such a lack interest to what is really sensational material? By the State Department talking points?

4. Also now we know that CIA can imitate attack of any state actor including Russia, China or North Korea. They have special tools for this. So if one puts such a name as "Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Dzerzhinsky ) into malware this is clearly not a Russian. Can be Polish hacker. Can well be some guy from Langley with perverse sense of humor ;-). BTW Alperovitch, the head of the company CrowdStrike, to which investigation of DNC hack was mysteriously outsourced (see below) never asked himself this simple question.

5. Another interesting fact is that investigation of "DNC hack" was outsourced by FBI to a shady company run by Dmitry Alperovitch ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Alperovitch )

Can you imagine that ? We need to assume that FBI does not have specialists, so FBI decided to use a "headlines grabber" type of security company to perform this important for national security investigation:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/crowdstrike-needs-address-harm-causedukraine-jeffrey-carr

Cue bono from such a decision? That is the question :-)

IMHO this action alone raises serious questions both about Comey and the whole DNC hack story (I like the term "Fancy Bear" that Alperovitch used; this bear might reside well outside of Russia and in reality be a panda or even a skunk :-)

6. Hacking is a simply perfect ground for false flag operations. So in any objective investigation this hypothesis needs to be investigated. Nobody even tried to raise this question. Even once. Including honchos in Congress. Which for an independent observer increases probability that this might well be a false flag operation with a specific purpose.

All-in-all we have more questions then answers here. So jumping to conclusions and resulting witch hunt of the US media and the behavior of some US officials is really suspicious.

[Jun 03, 2017] Putin Hackers may be 'patriots' but not working for Russian government

Jun 03, 2017 | www.cnn.com
In comments to reporters at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Putin likened hackers to "artists," who could act on behalf of Russia if they felt its interests were being threatened. "(Artists) may act on behalf of their country, they wake up in good mood and paint things. Same with hackers, they woke up today, read something about the state-to-state relations. "If they are patriotic, they contribute in a way they think is right, to fight against those who say bad things about Russia," Putin said. Putin: We didn't hack US election Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in any attempts to influence November's US Presidential election. When asked directly whether Russia interfered in the election, Putin said in March: "Read my lips: No." He also described the allegations as "fictional, illusory, provocations and lies." Derek Chollet, senior adviser of the German Marshall Fund of the US, told CNN's Brian Todd that's not true. "The US intelligence community in January concluded with high confidence that Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to try to shape the US election. And part of that influence campaign were hackers. This is Putin trying to obfuscate and blur what is the reality." US-Russia investigation

While he maintained Thursday that the Russian government wasn't behind the attacks, he said hackers anywhere could make their efforts appear like they came from the state. "The most important this is that we don't do that on government level," he said. "Secondly, I can imagine that some purposefully does that, building the chain of these attacks in a way to make it seem that Russia is the source of these attacks. Modern technology allows to do that quite easily." However, he said that even if hackers did intervene it's unlikely they could swing a foreign election. "No hacker can affect an electoral campaign in any country, be it Europe, Asia or America." "I'm certain that no hackers can influence an electoral campaign in another country. It's just not going to settle on the voter's mind, on the nation's mind," he added. CNN's Fareed Zakaria said Putin's remarks on the hacking mirror what Putin said when Russia seized Ukraine's Crimea region. "If you remember, when the invasion of Crimea and the destabilization of eastern Ukraine took place, Vladimir Putin said, 'I don't know who these people are ... it seems there are patriotically minded Ukrainians and Russians who want the Crimea to be part of Russia," Zakaria said.

[Jun 03, 2017] Putins remark looks like a valid observation about a very dangerous phenomena -- State actors can provoke non-state actors in cyberspace and vice versa, non-state actors can provoke state actors. As a result the spiral of confrontation can start unwinding uncontrollably.

Jun 03, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael -

, June 02, 2017 at 08:28 AM
"(Artists) may act on behalf of their country, they wake up in good mood and paint things. Same with hackers, they woke up today, read something about the state-to-state relations.
"If they are patriotic, they contribute in a way they think is right, to fight against those who say bad things about Russia," Putin said.
libezkova - , June 02, 2017 at 09:24 PM
This is a complex issues and some considerations below are gross simplifications and should be viewed as such. But the key question is: can "hacking wars" eventually lead to the nuclear war due to interplay between state and non-state actors?

As Paul Craig Roberts recently observed "The most important truth of our time is that the world lives on the knife-edge of the American military/security complex's need for an enemy in order to keep profits flowing."

So the main danger here is that cyber attacks which were made "to keep profits flowing" (including false flag operating; hacking a perfect field for false flag operations) can provoke a real war, which can escalate into nuclear exchange. Especially if one side thinks that it can intercept the missiles from the other.

So Putin's remark looks like a valid observation about a very dangerous phenomena -- State actors can provoke non-state actors in cyberspace and vice versa, non-state actors can provoke state actors. As a result the spiral of confrontation can start unwinding uncontrollably.

Hostile action like the current McCarthyism witch hunt against Russia provokes reaction, including unanticipated from non-state actors. Some now really inclined to hack the US servers.

Similarly US hackers now are more inclined to hack Russian servers.

Which provokes another reaction, but now from the state actors. As a result money are flowing into appropriate coffers, which was the key idea from the start.

[May 31, 2017] Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin by Ellen Nakashima, Adam Entous and Greg Miller

Another well-placed, well-timed leak from WaPo. Un-named intelligence official in play again. Is Russian embassy bugged and all diplomatic correspondence intercepted ? Looks like those guys outdid STASI. the standard question arises: "cuo bono".
If true, that means that the way information was obtained is iether already known by Russian, or this channel will be closed really soon. Form the text of the article it looks like the USA is able to read Russian diplomatic communication. Unless this is yet another disinformation, that means that the USA obtained the keys used by the embassy for incoding dypolicic communication, or have a modle who provided this communication by downloading already decoded archive or something like that. Which actually violates Vienna convention and makes the USA rogue nation not that different from GDR ot the USSR.
While it is unclear " what Kislyak would have had to gain by falsely characterizing his contacts with Kushner to Moscow" it is clear who benefit from this revelation. But even if true why to reveal such an important information for such a minor case. Trump folded. What else "deep state" wants from him ? Are Hillary friends in State Department and a couple of other intelligence agencies really crazy about the revenge ?
More questions then answers
Notable quotes:
"... But officials said that it's unclear what Kislyak would have had to gain by falsely characterizing his contacts with Kushner to Moscow, particularly at a time when the Kremlin still saw the prospect of dramatically improved relations with Trump. ..."
"... The FBI closely monitors the communications of Russian officials in the United States, and maintains near-constant surveillance of its diplomatic facilities. The National Security Agency monitors the communications of Russian officials overseas. ..."
"... 'according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports'. This isn't any sort of verification. Another manufactured news media story. ..."
"... The Washington Post should not even believed with there track record. They should identify there source that is leaking anything they can get there hands. Never about anything else accept fake news. The jokers on here keep on drinking the koolaid that the WP prints! ..."
"... Always jump to conclusions as always without the facts. They gave up on Trump now they go after some one else. You fools talk about Watergate and have no proof about any of this except what the Washington Trash prints! ..."
May 26, 2017 | www.msn.com

Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, then President-elect Trump's son-in-law and confidant, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser.

The White House disclosed the fact of the meeting only in March, playing down its significance. But people familiar with the matter say the FBI now considers the encounter, as well as another meeting Kushner had with a Russian banker, to be of investigative interest.

Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

Neither the meeting nor the communications of Americans involved were under U.S. surveillance, officials said.

The White House declined to comment. Robert Kelner, a lawyer for Flynn, declined to comment. The Russian embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

Russia at times feeds false information into communication streams it suspects are monitored as a way of sowing misinformation and confusion among U.S. analysts. But officials said that it's unclear what Kislyak would have had to gain by falsely characterizing his contacts with Kushner to Moscow, particularly at a time when the Kremlin still saw the prospect of dramatically improved relations with Trump.

Kushner's apparent interest in establishing a secret channel with Moscow, rather than rely on U.S. government systems, has added to the intrigue surrounding the Trump administration's relationship with Russia.

To some officials, it also reflects a staggering naivete.

The FBI closely monitors the communications of Russian officials in the United States, and maintains near-constant surveillance of its diplomatic facilities. The National Security Agency monitors the communications of Russian officials overseas.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that though Russian diplomats have secure means of communicating with Moscow, Kushner's apparent request for access to such channels was extraordinary.

"How would he trust that the Russians wouldn't leak it on their side?" said one former senior intelligence official. The FBI would know that a Trump transition official was going in and out of the embassy, which would cause "a great deal" of concern, he added. The entire idea, he said, "seems extremely naïve or absolutely crazy."

The discussion of a secret channel adds to a broader pattern of efforts by Trump's closest advisors to obscure their contacts with Russian counterparts. Trump's first national security adviser, Flynn, was forced to resign after a series of false statements about his conversations with Kislyak. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from matters related to the Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had failed to disclose his own meetings with Kislyak when asked during congressional testimony about any contact with Russians.

Kushner's interactions with Russians - including Kislyak and an executive for a Russian bank under U.S. sanctions - were not acknowledged by the White House until they were exposed in media reports.

It is common for senior advisers of a newly elected president to be in contact with foreign leaders and officials. But new administrations are generally cautious in their handling of interactions with Moscow, which U.S. intelligence

... ... ....

In addition to their discussion about setting up the communications channel, Kushner, Flynn and Kislyak also talked about arranging a meeting between a representative of Trump and a "Russian contact" in a third country whose name was not identified, according to the anonymous letter.

The Post reported in April that Erik Prince, the former founder of Blackwater private security firm and an informal adviser to the Trump transition team, met on Jan. 11 - nine days before Trump's inauguration - in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean with a representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tom Lewis · Longs, South Carolina

"Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring" .... pretty stiff accusation with this as the news media's source ... 'according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports'. This isn't any sort of verification. Another manufactured news media story.

Paul Schofield · San Diego, California

Everyone knew about this, and it happens with every transition team, and it was done AFTER Trump won the election, but if it gets the Liberals' panties in a bunch, and CNN more viewers, the angry Clintonites can scream impeachment for a few hours tonight..... suckers!

Jerry Reich · Arnold, Missouri

The Washington Post should not even believed with there track record. They should identify there source that is leaking anything they can get there hands. Never about anything else accept fake news. The jokers on here keep on drinking the koolaid that the WP prints!

Always jump to conclusions as always without the facts. They gave up on Trump now they go after some one else. You fools talk about Watergate and have no proof about any of this except what the Washington Trash prints!

[May 26, 2017] "Markets Today Are Radically Different Than What We Believe - We Have the Façade of Competition -

Notable quotes:
"... "You tell your search engine stuff you wouldn't tell your spouse. You want a really sobering experience? Log in to Google and they'll show you your last seven years of searches. How would you like it if I put that up on the screen? That's what you've sold to get the service." ..."
"... Virtual Competition ..."
"... Big data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence, they argue, can all be used to potentially harm competition and consumers. Big data and analytics could lead to "near perfect" price discrimination. ..."
"... Aprominent search engine could even, conceivably,have the incentive and ability to degrade the quality of its search results . ..."
May 26, 2017 | promarket.org

The business model at the heart of the digital economy is a simple one: Internet giants such as Google and Facebook provide consumers with "free" services-free email, free GPS, free instant messaging, free search-and in return consumers consent to hand over vast amounts of their own data, which the companies then use to target advertisers.

This exchange helped make data the "new" oil ,creating "new infrastructure, new businesses, new monopolies, new politics and-crucially-new economics," according to The Economist . To a large degree, it has also benefited consumers, though as antitrust lawyer Gary Reback noted during the Stigler Center's conference on concentration in America in March, the services provided by digital platforms are far from free: "You tell your search engine stuff you wouldn't tell your spouse. You want a really sobering experience? Log in to Google and they'll show you your last seven years of searches. How would you like it if I put that up on the screen? That's what you've sold to get the service."

Nor is it an absolute certaintythat consumers will always benefit from this arrangement. In their 2016 book Virtual Competition (Harvard University Press), Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke explore the economic power of digital platforms, and itsimplications for welfare and society. Big data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence, they argue, can all be used to potentially harm competition and consumers. Big data and analytics could lead to "near perfect" price discrimination.

They could also lead to behavioral discrimination : Firms that harvest users' personal data could tailor their advertising and marketing to target them at critical moments, " with the right price and emotional pitch ."Super-platforms, like Google, can potentially exclude or hinder independent apps and favor their own rival services. Aprominent search engine could even, conceivably,have the incentive and ability to degrade the quality of its search results .

[May 22, 2017] NSA is here to help you or Spying as a service (SAAS)

May 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Willem Hendrik, May 21, 2017 at 9:50 pm GMT

Look at the bright side; If you lost the grocery list your wife gave you, call the NSA and ask them to send you a copy.

If your boss denies promising you a raise call NSA for supporting materials.

SAAS ( Spying as a service)

[May 22, 2017] The Russian Obsession Goes Back Decades by Jacob G. Hornberger

Notable quotes:
"... Just consider the accusations that have been leveled at the president: ..."
"... He has committed treason by befriending Russia and other enemies of America. ..."
"... He has subjugated America's interests to Moscow. ..."
"... President Donald Trump? No, President John F. Kennedy. What lots of Americans don't realize, because it was kept secret from them for so long, is that what Trump has been enduring from the national-security establishment, the mainstream press, and the American right-wing for his outreach to, or "collusion with," Russia pales compared to what Kennedy had to endure for committing the heinous "crime" of reaching out to Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship. They hated him for it. They abused him. They insulted him. They belittled him. They called him naïve. They said he was a traitor. All of the nasties listed above, plus more, were contained in an advertisement and a flier that appeared in Dallas on the morning of November 22, 1963, the day that Kennedy was assassinated. They can be read here and here . Ever since then, some people have tried to make it seem like the advertisement and flier expressed only the feelings of extreme right-wingers in Dallas. That's nonsense. They expressed the deeply held convictions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, the conservative movement, and many people within the mainstream media and Washington establishment. In June 1963, Kennedy threw down the gauntlet in a speech he delivered at American University, now entitled the " Peace Speech ." It was one of the most remarkable speeches ever delivered by an American president. It was broadcast all across the communist Soviet Union, the first time that had ever been done. ..."
"... Kennedy wasn't dumb. He knew what he was up against. He had heard Eisenhower warn the American people in his Farewell Address about the dangers to their freedom and democratic way of life posed by the military establishment. After Kennedy had read the novel Seven Days in May, ..."
"... Kennedy didn't stop with his Peace Speech. He also began negotiating a treaty with the Soviets to end above-ground nuclear testing, an action that incurred even more anger and ire within the Pentagon and the CIA. ..."
"... By this time, Kennedy's war with the national-security establishment was in full swing. He had already vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds after its perfidious conduct in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. By this time, he had also lost all confidence in the military after it proposed an all-out surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, much as Japan had done at Pearl Harbor, after the infamous plan known as Operation Northwoods, which proposed terrorist attacks and plane hijackings carried out by U.S. agents posing as Cuban communists, so as to provide a pretext for invading Cuba, and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the military establishment accused him of appeasement and treason for agreeing not to ever invade Cuba again. ..."
"... What Kennedy didn't know was that his "secret" negotiations with the Soviet and Cuban communists weren't so secret after all. As it turns out, it was a virtual certainty that the CIA (or NSA) was listening in on telephone conversations of Cuban officials at the UN in New York City, much as the CIA and NSA still do today, during which they would have learned what the president was secretly doing behind their backs. ..."
"... In response to the things that were said in that advertisement and flier about him being a traitor for befriending Russia, he told his wife Jackie on the morning he was assassinated: "We are heading into nut country today." Of course, as he well knew, the nuts weren't located only in Dallas. They were also situated throughout the U.S. national-security establishment ..."
"... For more information, attend The Future of Freedom Foundation's one-day conference on June 3, 2017, entitled " The National Security State and JFK " at the Washington Dulles Marriott Hotel. ..."
May 20, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Just consider the accusations that have been leveled at the president:

  1. He has betrayed the Constitution, which he swore to uphold.
  2. He has committed treason by befriending Russia and other enemies of America.
  3. He has subjugated America's interests to Moscow.
  4. He has been caught in fantastic lies to the American people, including personal ones, like his previous marriage and divorce.
President Donald Trump? No, President John F. Kennedy. What lots of Americans don't realize, because it was kept secret from them for so long, is that what Trump has been enduring from the national-security establishment, the mainstream press, and the American right-wing for his outreach to, or "collusion with," Russia pales compared to what Kennedy had to endure for committing the heinous "crime" of reaching out to Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship.

They hated him for it. They abused him. They insulted him. They belittled him. They called him naïve. They said he was a traitor.

All of the nasties listed above, plus more, were contained in an advertisement and a flier that appeared in Dallas on the morning of November 22, 1963, the day that Kennedy was assassinated. They can be read here and here .

Ever since then, some people have tried to make it seem like the advertisement and flier expressed only the feelings of extreme right-wingers in Dallas. That's nonsense. They expressed the deeply held convictions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, the conservative movement, and many people within the mainstream media and Washington establishment.

In June 1963, Kennedy threw down the gauntlet in a speech he delivered at American University, now entitled the " Peace Speech ." It was one of the most remarkable speeches ever delivered by an American president. It was broadcast all across the communist Soviet Union, the first time that had ever been done.

In the speech, Kennedy announced that he was bringing an end to the Cold War and the mindset of hostility toward Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union that the U.S. national-security establishment had inculcated in the minds of the American people ever since the end of World War II.

It was a radical notion and, as Kennedy well understood, a very dangerous one insofar as he was concerned. The Cold War against America's World War II partner and ally had been used to convert the United States from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, one consisting of a vast, permanent military establishment, the CIA, and the NSA, along with their broad array of totalitarian-like powers, such as assassination, regime change, coups, invasions, torture, surveillance, and the like. Everyone was convinced that the Cold War - and the so-called threat from the international communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Russia - would last forever, which would naturally mean permanent and ever-increasing largess for what Kennedy's predecessor, President Dwight Eisenhower, had called the "military-industrial complex."

Suddenly, Kennedy was upending the Cold War apple cart by threatening to establish a relationship of friendship and peaceful coexistence with Russia, the rest of the Soviet Union, and Cuba.

Kennedy knew full well that his actions were considered by some to be a grave threat to "national security." After all, don't forget that it was Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz's outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that got him ousted from power by the CIA and presumably targeted for assassination as part of that regime-change operation. It was Cuban leader Fidel Castro's outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that made him the target of Pentagon and CIA regime-change operations, including through invasion, assassination, and sanctions. It was Congo leader's Patrice Lamumba's outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that got him targeted for assassination by the CIA. It would be Chilean President Salvador Allende's outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that got him targeted in a CIA-instigated coup in Chile that resulted in Allende's death.

Kennedy wasn't dumb. He knew what he was up against. He had heard Eisenhower warn the American people in his Farewell Address about the dangers to their freedom and democratic way of life posed by the military establishment. After Kennedy had read the novel Seven Days in May, which posited the danger of a military coup in America, he asked friends in Hollywood to make it into a movie to serve as a warning to the American people. In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Pentagon and the CIA were exerting extreme pressure on Kennedy to bomb and invade Cuba, his brother Bobby told a Soviet official with whom he was negotiating that the president was under a severe threat of being ousted in a coup. And, of course, Kennedy was fully mindful of what had happened to Arbenz, Lamumba, and Castro for doing what Kennedy was now doing - reaching out to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship.

In the eyes of the national-security establishment, one simply did not reach out to Russia, Cuba, or any other "enemy" of America. Doing so, in their eyes, made Kennedy an appeaser, betrayer, traitor, and a threat to "national security."

Kennedy didn't stop with his Peace Speech. He also began negotiating a treaty with the Soviets to end above-ground nuclear testing, an action that incurred even more anger and ire within the Pentagon and the CIA. Yes, that's right - they said that "national security" depended on the U.S. government's continuing to do what they object to North Korea doing today - conducting nuclear tests, both above ground and below ground.

Kennedy mobilized public opinion to overcome fierce opposition in the military, CIA, Congress, and the Washington establishment to secure passage of his Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

He then ordered a partial withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, and told close aides that he would order a complete pull-out after winning the 1964 election. In the eyes of the U.S. national-security establishment, leaving Vietnam subject to a communist takeover would pose a grave threat to national security here in the United States.

Worst of all, from the standpoint of the national-security establishment, Kennedy began secret personal negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro to bring an end to America's Cold War against them. That was considered to be a grave threat to "national security" as well as a grave threat to all the military and intelligence largess that depended on the Cold War.

By this time, Kennedy's war with the national-security establishment was in full swing. He had already vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds after its perfidious conduct in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. By this time, he had also lost all confidence in the military after it proposed an all-out surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, much as Japan had done at Pearl Harbor, after the infamous plan known as Operation Northwoods, which proposed terrorist attacks and plane hijackings carried out by U.S. agents posing as Cuban communists, so as to provide a pretext for invading Cuba, and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the military establishment accused him of appeasement and treason for agreeing not to ever invade Cuba again.

What Kennedy didn't know was that his "secret" negotiations with the Soviet and Cuban communists weren't so secret after all. As it turns out, it was a virtual certainty that the CIA (or NSA) was listening in on telephone conversations of Cuban officials at the UN in New York City, much as the CIA and NSA still do today, during which they would have learned what the president was secretly doing behind their backs.

Kennedy's feelings toward the people who were calling him a traitor for befriending Moscow and other "enemies" of America? In response to the things that were said in that advertisement and flier about him being a traitor for befriending Russia, he told his wife Jackie on the morning he was assassinated: "We are heading into nut country today." Of course, as he well knew, the nuts weren't located only in Dallas. They were also situated throughout the U.S. national-security establishment.

For more information, attend The Future of Freedom Foundation's one-day conference on June 3, 2017, entitled " The National Security State and JFK " at the Washington Dulles Marriott Hotel.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation .

[May 21, 2017] Now we have a government dominated by Banking and Distribution, think Goldman Sacks and Walmart

Notable quotes:
"... Over the last thirty years the power of the Manufacturing and Infrastructure concerns has fallen dramatically. So now we have a government dominated by Banking and Distribution, think Goldman Sacks and Walmart. ..."
"... According to former CIA director Richard Helms, when Allen Dulles was tasked in 1946 to "draft proposals for the shape and organization of what was to become the Central Intelligence Agency," he recruited an advisory group of six men made up almost exclusively of Wall Street investment bankers and lawyers. ..."
"... Dulles himself was an attorney at the prominent Wall Street law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell. Two years later, Dulles became the chairman of a three-man committee which reviewed the young agency's performance. ..."
"... So we see that from the beginning the CIA was an exclusive Wall Street club. Allen Dulles himself became the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence in early 1953. ..."
"... The current Democratic Party was handed two golden opportunities and blew both of them. Obama blew the 2008 financial crisis. And Hillary Clinton blew the 2016 election. ..."
"... Neoliberal Democrats seek to create the same tribablist/identity voting block on the left that the republicans have on the right. The is why people like sanjait get totally spastic when progressives criticize the party. ..."
May 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Gibbon1 , May 19, 2017 at 04:24 PM

Among the rich I think there were three groups based on where their wealth and interests laid.

Banking/Insurance industry.
Distribution/logistics.
Manufacturing and Infrastructure.

Over the last thirty years the power of the Manufacturing and Infrastructure concerns has fallen dramatically. So now we have a government dominated by Banking and Distribution, think Goldman Sacks and Walmart.

libezkova - , May 20, 2017 at 09:03 PM
"Over the last thirty years the power of the Manufacturing and Infrastructure concerns has fallen dramatically. So now we have a government dominated by Banking and Distribution, think Goldman Sacks and Walmart."

This trend does not apply to Military-industrial complex (MIC). MIC probably should be listed separately. Formally it is a part of manufacturing and infrastructure, but in reality it is closely aligned with Banking and insurance.

CIA which is the cornerstone of the military industrial complex to a certain extent is an enforcement arm for financial corporations.

Allen Dulles came the law firm that secured interests of Wall Street in foreign countries, see http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30605.htm )

According to former CIA director Richard Helms, when Allen Dulles was tasked in 1946 to "draft proposals for the shape and organization of what was to become the Central Intelligence Agency," he recruited an advisory group of six men made up almost exclusively of Wall Street investment bankers and lawyers.

Dulles himself was an attorney at the prominent Wall Street law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell. Two years later, Dulles became the chairman of a three-man committee which reviewed the young agency's performance.

The other two members of the committee were also New York lawyers. For nearly a year, the committee met in the offices of J.H. Whitney, a Wall Street investment firm.

According to Peter Dale Scott, over the next twenty years, all seven deputy directors of the agency were drawn from the Wall Street financial aristocracy; and six were listed in the New York social register.

So we see that from the beginning the CIA was an exclusive Wall Street club. Allen Dulles himself became the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence in early 1953.

The prevalent myth that the CIA exists to provide intelligence information to the president was the promotional vehicle used to persuade President Harry Truman to sign the 1947 National Security Act, the legislation which created the CIA.iv

But the rationale about serving the president was never more than a partial and very imperfect truth...

Gibbon1 - , May 19, 2017 at 04:59 PM
The current Democratic Party was handed two golden opportunities and blew both of them. Obama blew the 2008 financial crisis. And Hillary Clinton blew the 2016 election.

If you have a tool and the tool it broken you try to fix it. One doesn't pretend there is nothing wrong.

The difference between neoliberal democrats and progressives is they differ on what's wrong.

Neoliberal Democrats seek to create the same tribablist/identity voting block on the left that the republicans have on the right. The is why people like sanjait get totally spastic when progressives criticize the party.

Progressives seek to create an aggressive party that represents the interests of working class and petite bourgeoisie. That is why you see progressives get spastic when the corporate democrats push appeasement policies.

[May 21, 2017] Keeping communications private in the age of Big Brother (a practical HOWTO) - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... the NSA has to prioritize its efforts: shall they use their supercomputers, translators, analysts, senior officers, etc. to spy after, say, the girlfriend of a senior Chinese diplomat or spy after you? ..."
"... Using sophisticated ComSec technologies only draws unwanted attention to you ..."
"... My advice is simple: never use any form of encryption while at work ..."
"... .If ComSec is important for you, you really ought to ditch your Windows or Mac/Apple machines. They – like anything Google, are basically a subsidiary of the NSA. ..."
"... The real cost of security will always be convenience : the painful reality is that good security is always inconvenient. ..."
"... The key here is "is it worth it?" and that is a personal decision of yours to take. Also, you will also need to factor in the costs of not using high-tech ..."
"... when the General Petraeus sex scandal made news, it was revealed that he communicated with is lover using this method. Since they are both career CIA officers, I guess it works. ..."
"... It's been discussed that the CIA and Deep State promoted Abstract Art as ideological weapon during the Cold War. When will people discuss the fact that Homomania is now the #1 ideological weapon of Globo-Imperialism in the Gold War. ..."
"... And the content of your messages is almost irrelevant. GCHQ doesn't monitor content of UK residents without explicit authority. It hardly needs to. It can monitor who you call, when, how often, how long are the calls, your locations, the receiver's locations, your other contacts, their other contacts. With that much information, the content is almost irrelevant. ..."
"... Re: Peter Principle. Your discussion of the open-source community level of quality made me wonder if there is a mirror image of the Peter Principle, say, the Paul Principle? ..."
"... Does anyone trust Android phones? I was sad that the Ubuntu phone failed. ..."
May 21, 2017 | www.unz.com
Second, both spying and ComSec are cost-driven . Yes, even the NSA has a limited (if huge) budget. And yes, even the NSA has to prioritize its efforts: shall they use their supercomputers, translators, analysts, senior officers, etc. to spy after, say, the girlfriend of a senior Chinese diplomat or spy after you?

It is true that all our communications are intercepted and recorded. This is especially true of the 'metadata' (who contacted whom and when and how and how often), but it is also true of our more or less 'secure' communications, be they protected by a very weak encryption algorithm or a military-grade encryption system. Once that data is stored, the NSA has to parse it (mostly looking at the metadata) and take a decision as to how much resources it is willing to allocate to your specific case. No offense intended, but if you are a small pot grower with a history of political activism who emigrated to the USA form, say, Turkey 10 years ago and if you are emailing your friends in Antalya, the NSA would need to decrypt your email. That would take them less than 1 milisecond, but somebody needs to authorize it.

Then they would have to get a machine translation from Turkish into English which will be hopefully good enough (I am quite sure that the few Turkish-language translators they have will not be allocated to you, sorry, you are just not that important). Then some analyst must read that text and decide to pass it on to his boss for follow-up. If the analyst finds your email boring, he will simply send it all into a virtual trash bin. Conclusions: For the bad guys to spy after you must be worth their time as expressed in dollars and cents, including opportunity costs (time spend *not* going after somebody more important) It is exceedingly unlikely that the NSA will put their best and brightest on your case so don't assume they will.

... ... ...

Using sophisticated ComSec technologies only draws unwanted attention to you . This one was very true and is still partially true. But the trend is in the right direction. What this argument says is that in a culture where most people use postcards to communicate using a letter in a sealed envelope makes you look suspicious. Okay, true, but only to the extend that few people are using envelopes. What has changed in the past, say, 20-30 years is that nowadays everybody is expecting some degree of security and protection. For example, many of you might remember that in the past, most Internet addresses began with HTTP whereas now they mostly begin with HTTPS: that "s" at the end stands for "secure" . Even very mainstream applications like Skype or Whatsapp use a very similar technology to the one justifying the "s" at the end of HTTPS. We now live in a world were the number of users of sealed envelopes is growing where the usage of postcards is in free fall. Still, it IS true that in some instances the use of a top-of-the-line encryption scheme will draw somebody's attention to you.

... ... ...

My advice is simple: never use any form of encryption while at work or on the clock. ...Just keep a reasonably low profile. For public consumption, I also recommend using Google's Gmail. Not only does it work very well, but using Gmail makes you look "legit" in the eyes of the idiots. So why not use it?

...The US government has many ways to spy on you. You can use the most advanced encryption schemes, but if your computer is running Windows you are *begging* for a backdoor and, in fact, you probably already have many of them in your machine. But even if your operating system is really secure like, say OpenBSD or SEL-Debian, the NSA can spy on you ,,,

...If ComSec is important for you, you really ought to ditch your Windows or Mac/Apple machines. They – like anything Google, are basically a subsidiary of the NSA.

If you use remote servers to provide you with " software as a service " try to use those who have a stake in being peer-reviewed and who only use open source technologies (Silent Circle's Silent Phone is an example). There are public interest and "watchdog" type of organizations out there who will help you make the right choices, such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation .

... ... ...

The real cost of security will always be convenience : the painful reality is that good security is always inconvenient. In theory, security does not need to harm convenience, but in reality it always, always does. For example, to become more or less proficient in ComSec you need to educate yourself, that takes time and energy. Using a key to enter a home takes more time than to open an unlocked door. A retinal scan takes even more time (and costs a lot more). You might always spend a great deal of time trying to convince your friends to adopt your practices, but they will reject your advice for many more or less valid reasons. The key here is "is it worth it?" and that is a personal decision of yours to take. Also, you will also need to factor in the costs of not using high-tech.

... ... ...

Carlton Meyer , Website May 21, 2017 at 3:22 am GMT

I have read about a simpler method. Open a web mail account with yahoo or whoever and share the username/password. Then compose a message and save the draft. Your partner later opens the draft and adds a response, saves draft, and so on. No e-mail is ever sent, so there is nothing to intercept.

This sounded crafty but I was unsure if it was secure and have no need anyway, but when the General Petraeus sex scandal made news, it was revealed that he communicated with is lover using this method. Since they are both career CIA officers, I guess it works.

Philip Owen , May 21, 2017 at 11:59 am GMT

Medieval methods work best. Surround a large building with guards. In the middle of the large internal space place a circle of (inspected) chairs. Meet in a huddle.

For the poor, nothing beats a walk in the countryside, even a park.

Anon , May 21, 2017 at 6:38 pm GMT

It's been discussed that the CIA and Deep State promoted Abstract Art as ideological weapon during the Cold War. When will people discuss the fact that Homomania is now the #1 ideological weapon of Globo-Imperialism in the Gold War.

Philip Owen , May 21, 2017 at 7:28 pm GMT

And the content of your messages is almost irrelevant. GCHQ doesn't monitor content of UK residents without explicit authority. It hardly needs to. It can monitor who you call, when, how often, how long are the calls, your locations, the receiver's locations, your other contacts, their other contacts. With that much information, the content is almost irrelevant.

Ivy , May 21, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT

Re: Peter Principle. Your discussion of the open-source community level of quality made me wonder if there is a mirror image of the Peter Principle, say, the Paul Principle?

DaveE , May 21, 2017 at 8:33 pm GMT

A great way to keep your cellphone radio-silent is to wrap it in a (2 is better still) metallized mylar potato chip or Doritos bag. (The more silvery looking, the better, in my experience.)

The cell sites will NOT be able to ask your phone for its ID or give up its location, until you take it out of the bag, of course.

It's a great way to take a road trip without the NSA knowing EXACTLY where you are at every point along the way. And generally, you will be able to return your calls when you get home since there will be a record of the calls at your provider, which will come up (in your message box) when the phone is re-enabled.

Be aware though, once the phone is taken out of the bag, it will register with the local cell sites (i.e. your cover will be blown.)

Ben Banned , May 21, 2017 at 8:50 pm GMT

Debian with the ssl bug that quietly existed for years – most likely for spying? That OS? That "community" effort? Which is basically derived from (Redhat) which is the DOD? Pffrt. Most of this is nonsense.

The NSA has made people their bitch, in the most obvious ways. In the spirit of security then and being a dutiful patriotic bitch – keep posting on social media given to you by the "truth tellers". They are here to help you right? Tell you all the truthiness because they "were" in the military, and "were" spooks. Keep your iphones close and let your mind do the deep state's thinking.

Eagle Eye , May 22, 2017 at 12:54 am GMT

For your emails: Protonmail https://protonmail.com/ (free of charge)

Free of charge? Paid for by whom?

As others have pointed out (if not in so many words), 95% of the spying efforts by the NSA and others are directed at traffic analysis , not analyzing the CONTENT of communications. Who contacted whom, when, for how long, etc. can tell you a lot about what is going on, and is very easy and cheap to do on a massive (humanity-wide) scale using existing computer technology.

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation referred to in the Saker's piece illustrates the point:

• They know you rang a phone sex service at 2:24 am and spoke for 18 minutes. But they don't know what you talked about.
• They know you called the suicide prevention hotline from the Golden Gate Bridge. But the topic of the call remains a secret.
• They know you spoke with an HIV testing service, then your doctor, then your health insurance company in the same hour. But they don't know what was discussed.
• They know you received a call from the local NRA office while it was having a campaign against gun legislation, and then called your senators and congressional representatives immediately after. But the content of those calls remains safe from government intrusion.
• They know you called a gynecologist, spoke for a half hour, and then called the local Planned Parenthood's number later that day. But nobody knows what you spoke about.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/why-metadata-matters

In a similar vein, it is said (almost certainly correctly) that Target can spot whether a shopper is pregnant long before she starts buying obvious baby-related stuff.

Johnny F. Ive , May 22, 2017 at 2:00 am GMT

I didn't know about the phone apps. They look nice. Does anyone trust Android phones? I was sad that the Ubuntu phone failed. I'd like smart phones to be more like PCs where new operating systems can be installed on them. Is "SEL-Debian," Security Enhanced Linux? The NSA developed that. OpenBSD supposed to be real nice and encrypted. How about systemd? The good thing about open source is that the code is open but does anyone read it?

...

[May 19, 2017] There are other search engines, browsers, email services besides those operated by the giants. DuckDuckGo, protonmail, and the Opera browser (with free built-in VPN!) work well for me

As soon as DuckDuckGo shows ads and you have Javascript enabled your privacy evaporate the same way it evaporated in Google, unless you use VPN. But even in this case there are ways to "bound" your PC to you via non IP based methods.
May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

lyman alpha blob , May 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

There are other search engines, browsers, email services, etc. besides those operated by the giants. DuckDuckGo, protonmail, and the Opera browser (with free built-in VPN!) work well for me.

The problem is, if these other services ever do get popular enough, the tech giants will either block them by getting their stooges appointed to Federal agencies and regulating them out of existence, or buy them.

I've been running from ISP acquisitions for years, as the little guys get bought out I have to find an even littler one.

Luckily I've found a local ISP, GWI, that I've used for years now. They actually came out against the new regulations that would allow them to gather and sell their customers' data. Such anathema will probably wind up with their CEO publicly flayed for going against all that is good and holy according to the Five Horsemen.

[May 19, 2017] Notes From an Emergency Tech Feudalism

Notable quotes:
"... ByMaciej Cegłowski, a painter and computer guywho livesin San Francisco and runs a bookmarking site called Pinboard. Originally published at Idle Words ..."
"... This is the text version of a talk I gave on May 10, 2017, at the re:publica conference in Berlin. ..."
"... The emergency I want to talk about is the rise of a vigorous ethnic nationalism in Europe and America. This nationalism makes skillful use of online tools, tools that we believed inherently promoted freedom, to advance an authoritarian agenda. ..."
"... Facebook is the dominant social network in Europe, with 349 million monthly active users. Google has something like 94% of market share for search in Germany. The servers of Europe are littered with the bodies of dead and dying social media sites. The few holdouts that still exist, like Xing , are being crushed by their American rivals. ..."
"... And so Trump is in charge in America, and America has all your data. This leaves you in a very exposed position. US residents enjoy some measure of legal protection against the American government. Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously. ..."
"... But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it. ..."
"... A very cleverly designed trap, and one in which the cattle to be slaughtered all believe they are choosing their own destiny even as they are herded inexorably closer to the slaughterhouse. ..."
May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on May 19, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. This is a wide-ranging, lively, sobering talk about the implications of tech feudalism and what we can do about it.

ByMaciej Cegłowski, a painter and computer guywho livesin San Francisco and runs a bookmarking site called Pinboard. Originally published at Idle Words

This is the text version of a talk I gave on May 10, 2017, at the re:publica conference in Berlin.

The good part about naming a talk in 2017 'Notes from an Emergency' is that there are so many directions to take it.

The emergency I want to talk about is the rise of a vigorous ethnic nationalism in Europe and America. This nationalism makes skillful use of online tools, tools that we believed inherently promoted freedom, to advance an authoritarian agenda.

Depending on where you live, the rise of this new right wing might be nothing new. In the United States, our moment of shock came last November, with the election of Donald Trump. The final outcome of that election was:

65.8 million for Clinton
63.0 million for Trump

This was the second time in sixteen years that the candidate with fewer votes won the American Presidency. There is a bug in the operating system of our democracy, one of the many ways that slavery still casts its shadow over American politics.

But however tenuously elected, Trump is in the White House, and our crisis has become your crisis. Not just because America is a superpower, or because the forces that brought Trump to power are gaining ground in Europe, but because the Internet is an American Internet.

Facebook is the dominant social network in Europe, with 349 million monthly active users. Google has something like 94% of market share for search in Germany. The servers of Europe are littered with the bodies of dead and dying social media sites. The few holdouts that still exist, like Xing , are being crushed by their American rivals.

In their online life, Europeans have become completely dependent on companies headquartered in the United States.

And so Trump is in charge in America, and America has all your data. This leaves you in a very exposed position. US residents enjoy some measure of legal protection against the American government. Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously.

But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it.

This is an astonishing state of affairs. I can't imagine a world where Europe would let itself become reliant on American cheese, or where Germans could only drink Coors Light.

In the past, Europe has shown that it's capable of identifying a vital interest and moving to protect it. When American aerospace companies were on the point of driving foreign rivals out of business, European governments formed the Airbus consortium , which now successfully competes with Boeing.

A giant part of the EU budget goes to subsidize farming , not because farming is the best use of resources in a first-world economy, but because farms are important to national security, to the landscape, to national identity, social stability, and a shared sense of who we are.

But when it comes to the Internet, Europe doesn't put up a fight. It has ceded the ground entirely to American corporations. And now those corporations have to deal with Trump. How hard do you think they'll work to defend European interests?

The Feudal Internet

The status quo in May 2017 looks like this:

There are five Internet companies-Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Together they have a market capitalization just under 3 trillion dollars.

Bruce Schneier has called this arrangement the feudal Internet . Part of this concentration is due to network effects, but a lot of it is driven by the problem of security. If you want to work online with any measure of convenience and safety, you must choose a feudal lord who is big enough to protect you.

These five companies compete and coexist in complex ways.

Apple and Google have a duopoly in smartphone operating systems. Android has 82% of the handset market , iOS has 18%.

Google and Facebook are on their way to a duopoly in online advertising. Over half of the revenue in that lucrative ($70B+) industry goes to them, and the two companies between them are capturing all of the growth (16% a year).

Apple and Microsoft have a duopoly in desktop operating systems. The balance is something like nine to one in favor of Windows , not counting the three or four people who use Linux on the desktop, all of whom are probably at this conference.

Three companies, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, dominate cloud computing. AWS has 57% adoption , Azure has 34%. Google has 15%.

Outside of China and Russia, Facebook and LinkedIn are the only social networks at scale. LinkedIn has been able to survive by selling itself to Microsoft.

And outside of Russia and China, Google is the world's search engine .

That is the state of the feudal Internet, leaving aside the court jester, Twitter, who plays an important but ancillary role as a kind of worldwide chat room.

Google in particular has come close to realizing our nightmare scenario from 1998, a vertically integrated Internet controlled by a single monopoly player. Google runs its own physical network, builds phone handsets, develops a laptop and phone operating system, makes the world's most widely-used browser, runs a private DNS system, PKI certificate authority, has photographed nearly all the public spaces in the world, and stores much of the world's email.

But because it is run by more sympathetic founders than Bill Gates, because it builds better software than early Microsoft did, and because it built up a lot of social capital during its early "don't be evil" period, we've given it a pass.

Security

It's not clear that anyone can secure large data collections over time. The asymmetry between offense and defense may be too great. If defense at scale is possible, the only way to do it is by pouring millions of dollars into hiring the best people to defend it. Data breaches at the highest levels have shown us that the threats are real and ongoing. And for every breach we know about, there are many silent ones that we won't learn about for years.

A successful defense, however, just increases the risk. Pile up enough treasure behind the castle walls and you'll eventually attract someone who can climb them. The feudal system makes the Internet more brittle, ensuring that when a breach finally comes, it will be disastrous.

Each of the big five companies, with the important exception of Apple, has made aggressive user surveillance central to its business model. This is a dilemma of the feudal internet. We seek protection from these companies because they can offer us security. But their business model is to make us more vulnerable, by getting us to surrender more of the details of our lives to their servers, and to put more faith in the algorithms they train on our observed behavior.

These algorithms work well, and despite attempts to convince us otherwise, it's clear they work just as well in politics as in commerce. So in our eagerness to find safety online, we've given this feudal Internet the power to change our offline world in unanticipated and scary ways.

Globalism

These big five companies operate on a global scale, and partly because they created the industries they now dominate, they enjoy a very lax regulatory regime. Everywhere outside the United States and EU, they are immune to government oversight, and within the United Statesl the last two administrations have played them with a light touch. The only meaningful attempt to regulate surveillance capitalism has come out of the European Union.

Thanks to their size and reach, the companies have become adept at stonewalling governments and evading attempts at regulation or oversight. In many cases, this evasion is noble. You don't want Bahrain or Poland to be able to subpoena Facebook and get the names of people organizing a protest rally. In other cases, it's purely self-serving. Uber has made a sport of evading all authority, foreign and domestic, in order to grow.

Good or bad, the lesson these companies have drawn is the same: they need only be accountable to themselves.

But their software and algorithms affect the lives of billions of people. Decisions about how this software works are not under any kind of democratic control. In the best case, they are being made by idealistic young people in California with imperfect knowledge of life in a faraway place like Germany. In the worst case, they are simply being read out of a black-box algorithm trained on God knows what data.

This is a very colonial mentality! In fact, it's what we fought our American War of Independence over, a sense of grievance that decisions that affected us were being made by strangers across the ocean.

Today we're returning the favor to all of Europe.

Facebook, for example, has only one manager in Germany to deal with every publisher in the country. One! The company that is dismantling the news industry in Germany doesn't even care enough to send a proper team to manage the demolition.

Denmark has gone so far as to appoint an ambassador to the giant tech companies, an unsettling but pragmatic acknowledgement of the power relationship that exists between the countries of Europe and Silicon Valley.

So one question (speaking now as an EU citizen): how did we let this happen? We used to matter! We used to be the ones doing the colonizing! We used to be a contender!

How is it that some dopey kid in Palo Alto gets to decide the political future of the European Union based on what they learned at big data boot camp? Did we lose a war?

The lack of accountability isn't just troubling from a philosophical perspective. It's dangerous in a political climate where people are pushing back at the very idea of globalization. There's no industry more globalized than tech, and no industry more vulnerable to a potential backlash.

China and Russia show us that the Internet need not be a world-wide web, that it can be subverted and appropriated by the state. By creating a political toolkit for authoritarian movements, the American tech giants may be putting their own future at risk.

Irreality

Given this scary state of the world, with ecological collapse just over the horizon, and a population sharpening its pitchforks, an important question is how this globalized, unaccountable tech industry sees its goals. What does it want? What will all the profits be invested in?

What is the plan?

The honest answer is: rocket ships and immortality.

I wish I was kidding.

The best minds in Silicon Valley are preoccupied with a science fiction future they consider it their manifest destiny to build. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are racing each other to Mars. Musk gets most of the press, but Bezos now sells $1B in Amazon stock a year to fund Blue Origin. Investors have put over $8 billion into space companies over the past five years, as part of a push to export our problems here on Earth into the rest of the Solar System.

As happy as I am to see Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos fired into space, this does not seem to be worth the collapse of representative government.

Our cohort of tech founders is feeling the chill breath of mortality as they drift into middle age. And so part of what is driving this push into space is a more general preoccupation with 'existential risk'.

Musk is persuaded that we're living in a simulation, and he or a fellow true believer has hired programmers to try to hack it.

Peter Thiel, our most unfortunate German import, has built a survival retreat for himself in New Zealand .

Sam Altman hoards gold in Big Sur .

OpenAI, a religious cult thinly disguised as a research institution, has received $1B in funding to forestall the robot rebellion.

The biggest existential risk, of course, is death, so a lot of money is going to make sure that our big idea men don't expire before the world has been received the full measure of their genius.

Google Ventures founded the very secretive life extension startup Calico , with $1.5B dollars in funding. Google loses $4B a year on its various "moon shots", which include life extension. They employ Ray Kurzweil, who believes we're still on track for immortality by 2045 . Larry Ellison has put $370M to anti-aging research , as anybody would want to live in a world with an immortal Larry Ellison. Our plutocrats are eager to make death an opt-out experience.

Now, I'm no fan of death. I don't like the time commitment, or the permanence. A number of people I love are dead and it has strained our relationship.

But at the same time, I'm not convinced that a civilization that is struggling to cure male-pattern baldness is ready to take on the Grim Reaper. If we're going to worry about existential risk, I would rather we start by addressing the two existential risks that are indisputably real-nuclear war and global climate change-and working our way up from there.

But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate. They debate how to make a morally benevolent God-like AI, rather than figuring out how to put ethical guard rails around the more pedestrian AI they are introducing into every area of people's lives.

The tech industry enjoys tearing down flawed institutions, but refuses to put work into mending them. Their runaway apparatus of surveillance and manipulation earns them a fortune while damaging everything it touches. And all they can think about is the cool toys they'll get to spend the profits on.

The message that's not getting through to Silicon Valley is one that your mother taught you when you were two: you don't get to play with the new toys until you clean up the mess you made.

The circumstances that have given the tech industry all this power will not last long. There is a limited time in which our small caste of tech nerds will have the power to make decisions that shape the world. By wasting the talents and the energies of our brightest people on fantasy role play, we are ceding the future to a more practical group of successors, some truly scary people who will take our tools and use them to advance a very different agenda.

To recap: the Internet has centralized into a very few hands. We have an extremely lucrative apparatus of social control, and it's being run by chuckleheads.

The American government is also being run by chuckleheads.

The question everybody worries about is, what happens when these two groups of chuckleheads join forces?

The Winter

For many Americans, the election was a moment of profound shock. It wasn't just Trump's policies that scared us. It was the fact that this unserious, cruel, vacant human being had been handed the power of the American presidency.

Scariest to me was how little changed. No one in the press or in social media had the courage to say "we fucked up." Pundits who were stunned by the election result still made confident predictions about what would happen next, as if they had any claim to predictive power.

After the election both Facebook and Google looked at the mountains of data they had collected on everyone, looked at the threats the Trump Administration was making-to deport 11 million people, to ban Muslims from entering the country-and said to themselves, "we got this."

The people who did worry were tech workers. For a moment, we saw some political daylight appear between the hundreds of thousands of people who work in the tech sector, and the small clique of billionaires who run it. While the latter filed in to a famously awkward meeting with Trump and his children at the top of his golden tower, the former began organizing in opposition, including signing a simple but powerful pledge to resign rather than help Trump fulfill one of his key campaign promises: barring Muslims from the United States.

This pledge was a small gesture, but it represented the first collective action by tech workers around a political agenda that went beyond technology policy, and the first time I had ever seen tech workers come out in open defiance of management.

A forest of new organizations sprung up. I started one, too, called Tech Solidarity, and started traveling around the country and holding meetings with tech workers in big cities. I had no idea what I was doing, other than trying to use a small window of time to organize and mobilize our sleepy industry.

That feeling of momentum continued through when Trump took office. The Women's March in January brought five million people out onto the streets. America is not used to mass protests. To see the streets of our major cities fill with families, immigrants, in many cases moms and daughters and grandmothers marching together, that was a sight to take your breath away.

Hard on the heels of it came the travel ban, an executive order astonishing not just in its cruelty-families were split at airports; in one case a mom was