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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Hard To Keep Up


It's been hard to keep up with all the recent revelations of spying, but to summarize a few things from the last couple of months.

- The government considers citizens adversaries and spies on all email, phone, and postal mail. The goal is total awareness of everything.

- The phone companies have given the NSA backdoor access to the internet backbone, allowing the NSA to impersonate legitimate sites.

- The NSA has weakened security of encryption, damaging business and the Internet.

- The NSA is collecting all other business records, such as medical records, power use, travel, and now any data entered in the Affordable Care Exchange.

- The NSA is tracking where you are.

- Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Verizon, and others have collaborated and been compromised.

- State driver's licenses now mandate data on facial recognition being collected and shared.

- Trillions have been spent.

- Under questioning, the NSA admits only one or two terrorist events may have been prevented with all of this. Under questioning, too, they have lied repeatedly.

- On average 16 Americans are killed from terrorists each year worldwide. Most aren't in the US.

- People are fearful of communicating freely in the United States.

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Latest surveillance news courtesy The Intercept

Read it and weep:

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/03/12/nsa-plans-infect-m...

Anyone seen news of European Parliament vote related to US surveillance today? Supposedly it has major implications for US tech companies providing equipment, services in Europe...can't imagine that they will be thrilled w/ The Intercept's latest report...

I don't doubt for a second though that Greenwald et al planned the release of this report to coincide w/ the vote.

 
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The Great Big Rez

“Welcome to the reservation!” These are the words of Lakota activist, Russell Means. John Trudell, another Lakota human being who is also an activist, in addition to being a subversive poet, essentially says that we are the “new Indians” and get used to it. How could one expect a system that destroyed so many cultures and belief systems not eventually to turn against the rest of us?

So, there’s one part of me that understands that this is exactly what we should have expected based on our history and our generational amnesia of that history. Another part of me feels so grateful that Chris and you guys are writing about this and right in our community. It would be great to all get together at an “undisclosed location” to figure out what we are doing and to educate and cooperate.

But coming back to the notion of being on the reservation, it’s interesting to consider that when you have to “buy” food, water, shelter, medicine and music that perhaps there really never was any real free-dom. The commodification of our holy Earth into a collection of monetized resources might be systemically at fault here and with our own privacy. It's just maybe when we realize that we’re the ones being turned into controlled monetized commodities that we start noticing there’s something that smells real rotten. Do you think we’re entering a period of the global reservation?

Perhaps we should be conversing with our aboriginal friends and find out more about what it feels like. Maybe we should be meeting with them, too.

What are your thoughts about this?

 
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Twisted UK using Yahoo to grab images of web users

Today we learn that the UK spies are collecting mass quantities of images from web cams of Yahoo users all around the world, many of which show people in states of undress. The UK and US share information.

This, one assumes, would go with the other recent revelations about working to destroy reputations.

Yahoo users should plan to look presentable for all future appearances before the watchful eye of big brother.

None of this makes the world a better or safer place. It's simply creepy. If any of us did the same thing, we'd be strung up and sent to jail.

 
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Destroying Reputations

"One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents."

So begins a new Greenwald revelation about how the US and UK try to control and manipulate discourse.

The full document and accompanying story are here.

What sorts of things do they do? Oh, pretend to be a victim of something you've done, falsely attribute something to someone, post negative comments, email your friends, family and contacts with messages. They aim to stop business deals and ruin business relationships. You don't even need to be charged with any crimes.

One slide shows that human beings can be manipulated by using leaders, trust, obedience and compliance. Another shows some "gambits for deception" such as:

Control attention> the big move covers the little move> the target looks where you look> attention drops at the perceived end> repetition reduce vigilance.

Or how about this, under "sensemaking"

Exploit prior beliefs> present story fragments> repetition creates expectancies> Haversack ruse (the piece of bad luck)> Swap the real for the false and vice versa.

Or this, under "Behavior":

Simulate the action> Simulate the outcome> Time-shift perceived behavior> divorce behavior from outcome> channel behavior

They have slides listing the ways groups come together (shared opposition, shared ideology, common beliefs), and what pulls them apart (personal power, pre-existing cleavages, competition, ideological differences).

Well worth exploring in detail.

 
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Shadow Government

It’s no longer “theory” that we are in fact governed by a shadow “elite”. These people will stop at NOTHING to protect their privileged status.
There are many signs that bode ill for the future. Many say the economy isn't going to recover and that the government knows this and is getting ready, but in ways that are very disturbing. for example
• Some of the massive purchase orders for hollow points and buckshot: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jvs3ajoz5s...
• Unfunded liabilities http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...
• Leaked Document: Government setting up military detention centers for Activists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfkZ1y...
• (The document itself: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jvs3ajoz5s... ; http://www.theatlantic.com/business/a...)
• Why a dollar and Euro Collapse is Guaranteed: http://stormcloudsgathering.com/why-d...
Look at how they were able to suppress “Occupy”

 
 #

Manipulation

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. Edward Bernays

 
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The "Deep State"

Everyone knows about the military-industrial complex, but have you heard of the “Deep State?” According to Mike Lofgren, a congressional staff member for 28 years, it’s a hybrid of corporate America and the national security state, which is “out of control” and “unconstrained.” In it, Lofgren says, elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is … the red thread that runs through the history of the last three decades. It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war,” The Deep State’s heart lies in Washington, DC, but its tentacles reach out to Wall Street, “the ultimate backstop to the whole operation,” Silicon Valley and over 400,000 contractors, private citizens who have top-secret security clearances.
For the rest, go to:
The Deep State Hiding in Plain Sight - Bill Moyers interviews Mike Lofgren http://vimeo.com/87243281
Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State February 21, 2014 by Mike Lofgren http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/anatomy-of-the-deep-state/
Excerpt:
Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation

 
 #

Tuttle or Buttle?

Computers are being used to guess who might be violent.  The Chicago PD says they can predict 400 individuals most likely to be in a violent crime. Those people get visits from police.

The system depends on error-free, reliable data on everyone.

 
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Tom Cruise was right!!

Does this remind anybody else of the movie Minority Report and its Department of Precrime?
In that movie people were being arrested of crimes that they were seen committing in the future by a team of adepts. In other words, in that movie people were arrested and tried for crimes they had not committed.

This is beginning to sound like that.

 
 #

Eyes have it

Recall that in the movie, people were identified by their retina scans, and there was a black market for having your eyes removed to avoid detection.

But that's just a movie, right?

 
 #

We Were Told That the NSA Spied On Us in 2006

Mark Klein's evidence is stark and points in one direction. Klein saw a circuit diagram of the San Francisco, CA AT&T substation building that showed all their communications being copied to a room in the building that only the NSA had access to. That was in 2006.
And as I've said repeatedly, this was never spoken of in the Times or NPR and the rest of the main stream media. That does not mean that the information was not available. I found it. Many others found it.
You might ask yourself, "What stories am I missing now because the news sources I listen to or watch, don't carry them?"

To quote from the article (quoting Klein):

"The split circuits included traffic from peering links connecting to other internet backbone providers, meaning that AT&T was also diverting traffic routed from its network to or from other domestic and international providers"

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/nsa-whistleblower-klein/

In 2008, President Bush was fearful the info that Klein had that was coming to court. He pushed for and Congress gave ATT & the other telecoms immunity from prosecution for this warrantless garnering of personal information.

I remember that moment well. It didn't get a ton of coverage, but even NPR did mention it.
Anybody who heard about immunity being granted to ATT & etc should have been asking why and for what.

I should also mention that it was approximately this point in time that stories emerged about the Bush administration having launched this program in February of 2001.

Here's a helpful article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that gives a pretty good, quick overview of what we know and when we learned it.
https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying

 
 #

Correction

(This should appear below in another thread)

The NY Times covered the NSA Telecom spying case, but once again it was NOT domestic calls that they were accused of monitoring but international:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html?pagewanted=all...

That was the official story at the time. We did not know the scope of domestic spying that was going on.

 
 #

banks, corps, etc.

It's all very well to say that our information goes from banks to the gummint rather than the other way around.

BUT - if you have been keeping up (despite profound secrecy on the part of our "committed to transparency" administration) with the latest "free trade" monstosity, the trans pacific partnership, as I know some of you have, you are aware that it amounts to an agreement by all participating nations to hand sovereignty over to big banks & corporations. Everything - our food, environmental, energy, economic, medical .....etc. sectors would be subject to rule by a tiny group of private interests. We could be sued for attempting to regulate anything effectively. In fact, this sort of thing has been going on for years - see NAFTA. But the TPP would boost & extend & lock in such provisions. Governments would eventually exist only as enforcement arms of the international piratic plutocracy. So far as I know, military & quasi-military functions are not included. But of course I'm not sure about that, since Obama has refused to let Congress see the draft provisions, far less participate in the process. Personally, I think there is a case to be made that signing the agreement would constitute treason.

Fight it with everything you've got, folks!

 
 #

Welcome to the New World Order

It appears that the most paranoid "Conspiracy Theories" from both the extreme right and left are spot-on!
I love Big Brother!

 
 #

Happy to have nothing to hide.

Lots of valid points here! Still, I'm happy that I have no hidden agendas. What you see is what you get.

 
 #

Bummer

The biggest bummer for me is that a lot of people seem to be just shrugging it off as the cost of "doing business" in America. I thought that we would reach a point where people would say "no more" but I'm not sure what would have to happen for us ever to get to that. Most people just joke about it, as in, "The NSA will be real interested in my recipes and pictures of babies...." thinking, I guess that as long as they didn't do anything at all (or even think about politics) they're safe. Same people seem also to think that those who are targeted by the NSA must have done something bad to deserve it. So basically, even if there is misuse of data (as i feel sure there already has been), people will blame the victim while proclaiming the goodness and helpfulness of the NSA in preemptively catching this person, even if they didn't do anything illegal at all.

I'm waiting for the law that makes it illegal to criticize the government, even in your mind. ;)

 
 #

The Missing Information

Chris,
all this we know and have known bits and pieces of for years.
Yes, it is true that thanks to Snowden and Drake and others we have a much clearer picture of how it is done and just how extensive the gathering is. Plus this news is in the msm now, as opposed to being in the leftie press only. That makes it harder for the administration to hide, although freakishly, they still try to.

The question I have not seen or heard being addressed yet is why? Not the terrorism excuse which is a pretty tired fig leaf at this point - who benefits from all this information?
Where is it going?
What are they doing with it?
Are maps being made?
Targets selected?
Is it going to the DOD only?
To the DOD and?
Banks?
Banks have an insatiable appetite for personal information, but how would they be using all this?
Even my most paranoid fantasy fails to explain with what this massive program might be accomplishing and for whom.

 
 #

The Missing Information

Paul,

One major correction to your statement and that is we have NEVER known this for years.

The NSA (known internally as Never Say Anything) has the job of surveillance of international communications. Go to NOVA and watch the show "The Spy Factory"; it's very clear what the NSA was pretending it was doing in the past.

But it was never the function of the NSA to spy on domestic communications, and collect, in huge data sweeps, all domestic email communication, phone calls, and internet activity of citizens of the United States. That is NOT what they are legally authorized to do. They are behaving criminally.

And this is the great revelation that Edward Snowden is responsible for providing the world, and Snowden had (and still has many of) the documents to back it all up. No one before him has ever had such proof, such inside knowledge. They've only looked from the outside in. James Bamford, never got close. Not anyone. The Never Say Anythings are turned now inside out.

The claim that this was known in the past? No, none of it was. It was just conspiracy theory, hearsay, no documents or proof to back the claims up.

Where is the information going? Into databases that could fill several football fields, and for what reasons, it is still unclear and unknown. But perhaps Snowden will have more revelations in the future.

You could do more research by reading the Guardian newspaper, which has been covering this story closely. There will surely be more whistleblowers in the future, unless the government gets to them first before they can get out of the country safely and to a reliable news organization to expose these liars.

I think you may have answered your own question at the end with your last sentence. Only the *most paranoid government on Earth* fails to explain with what this massive program might be accomplishing and for whom. Because obviously they will never explain! Never Say Anything!

 
 #

Totalitarian Watch Group

George, this is old, tired ground to me.

I feel like I've listed the sources for this a half dozen times on iBratt.
They might be in a file of mine, but really the best way for you to see what I'm talking about is to go to the Totalitarian Watch Group (link over there on the left side of the page where it says, "More groups").

Nan Stefanik does a great job of providing info about these issues. She has great sources.

Snowden is by no means the first to come forward, but he relied on the experience of previous whistle blowers from the NSA and other agencies who saw what was going on and tried to report on it only to be blackballed. So Snowden was a lot better prepared.
Nan has information on who the earlier whistle blowers were.

But it was in the leftie press.
Air America covered it pretty thoroughly. I've heard Thomm Hartmann discussing the issue with Bernie Sanders (they chat every Friday in the first hour of Hartmann's show on WKVT AM 1490).

The other thing that was going on during the Bush years was that the NSA was extremely nervous about violating their mandate to spy only outside the USA. Cheney's lawyers pushed the NSA lawyers around and insisted they do this, that they had to.

I believe Congress finally gave official permission (and pardons for any previous illegal behavior) late in 2008 and candidate Obama spoke out against it . . . Sadly President Obama bares little resemblance to candidate Obama on this issue.

 
 #

The NY Times covered the NSA

The NY Times covered the NSA Telecom spying case, but once again it was NOT domestic calls that they were accused of monitoring but international:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html?pagewanted=all...

That was the official story at the time. We did not know the scope of domestic spying that was going on.

 
 #

Mark Klein - 2006

I did look at the TWG last night. I didn't immediately see anything about the recent NSA history of domestic surveillance.

So here is an article that will help.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/nsa-whistleblower-klein/

It's about a former ATT employee named Mark Klein who worked in an ATT domestic communications substation in San Francisco. In brief he discovered that everything that flowed through their wires - calls, internet, everything was being copied to a room in the building that only the NSA has access to.
Klein went public about this shortly after. He's one of the main sources of info on this program.

At this point, the question is, why did only Air America listeners and readers of left wing blogs and news sources know about this?
Why did not PBS and NPR see fit to run and run with this story??

ETA:
This thread is based in the Totalitarianism Watch Group. If you go to the link trail at the top of the page you will see the words, "Totalitarianism Watch Group" and that will lead you to a listing of past postings by Chris, Lise, Myself, Ellen, Nan and others. There are links to many useful sources there.
You don't have to be at the mercy of the msm. There are many ways to be informed.

 
 #

That link is to a June 2013

That link is to a June 2013 article.

The problem with Mark Klein's story is that, according to the NY Times, "Mr. Klein said he did not have a security clearance but had witnessed interactions between colleagues who did have clearances and the highly secretive N.S.A."

He only "witnessed" the "black room" or heard about them in Atlanta. Klein said in an interview, "It was strange and sort of suspicious". That's hardly a bombshell of story like Snowden's.

 
 #

There's no good reason to do this

To understand all of this one has to understand big data and how it is viewed and used. It's not easy for people to be able to imagine just how connected and powerful all of this can be. It's a relatively new way to use information. Massive amounts of information.

Maps are definitely being made from data - showing all of our connections. Who did you call, for how long, who did you mail something to, what ATM did you use, how much gas did you buy, what plane ticket did you get, where's your seat on the plane, how much money do you have in your bank account, your school records, your health records, your DMV and court records, what did you get at the store, what web sites did you look at, how much power are you using, your location, what locations your car drove by, and more... then all of this information for anyone you have contact with, including children, and so on.

Imagine a screen where you can call up a name, then access all records associated with it in a timeline form that shows all corresponding and radiating connections, and you have the ability to follow any path you choose. A complete list of everything you did for the last five years. Things you've forgotten. All your emails.

In the old days, this would be your own private business and the government would only be concerned if you were suspected of a crime.

The excuse used is "terrorism" but whistleblowing agents say it is used politically. Some reported that Cheney's office used to use the NSA after hours, without oversight. They said members of the Supreme Court, candidate Obama, members of Congress, and others were spied upon. They've gone after journalists, people who oppose drones, people who fight for human rights, multinational corporations, and ex-girlfriends.

The phone companies are especially guilty in allowing and assisting with access to the internet backbone. This allows the NSA to spoof sites with man in the middle attacks.

Big data can show if you are a leader or a follower, and how much influence you have. You can then be controlled more effectively.

The NSA is not the Department of Defense (or the FBI or CIA). It's an arm of the White House and National Security. Your bank records go to the NSA, not the other way around.

The data centers for this are enormous, and servers are literally blowing up and catching fire due to the extremes.

Of course, if they cared about our security, they would be making our computers and networks safer, not breaking into them and compromising standards. : )

So, imagine a bad president, or naughty NSA director. They have access to absolutely everything about everyone without obeying the 4th amendment. How handy to look up dirt on opponents, or to stop protests. You can stop nasty journalists from exposing embarrassing information. You can find out who spoke to the press and throw them in jail. It's already been used this way.

There's no legitimate reason to need all information on everyone. It's illegal and unnecessary. There is no reason that Clapper needs a file on my niece or nephew, my sisters, my mom or my dad. None have done anything, and they aren't suspects.

The Guardian has a section devoted to the NSA news - new stories every few hours if anyone is interested,

This is far worse than most people ever imagined. (Most thought that if they used a keyword like "bomb" they might get flagged for a special list. In reality, we're all on the special list just for existing!)

 

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