Tags: Glenn Greenwald

Leon Panetta, Head of Pentagon and C.I.A. Under Obama, Says Brace for 30 Year War with ISIS

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 12.31.19 PM“I vividly recall how, in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s killing, Obama partisans triumphantly declared that this would finally usher in the winding down of the War on Terror. On one superficial level, that view was understandable: it made sense if one assumes that the U.S. has been waging this war for its stated reasons and that it hopes to vanquish The Enemy and end the war.

But that is not, and never was, the purpose of the War on Terror. It was designed from the start to be endless.”

- Glenn Greenwald, in his latest piece for the Intercept

Leon Panetta is pretty much the epitome of a status quo insider. Someone, who due to his influence and mainstream veneer of respectability, is capable of inflicting an almost inconceivable amount of damage to freedom and prosperity in America. In fact, you could say that Mr. Panetta is as responsible as almost anyone else for the banana republic laughing stock that this nation has been transformed into over the past several decades. Why? Because he served in top positions for several of America’s Presidents over that time.

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How the NSA is Actively Helping Saudi Arabia to Crackdown on Dissent

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 4.22.12 PMIt is not an exaggeration to say Saudi Arabia is one of the most oppressive, authoritarian regimes on the planet. Despite having been the main foreign instigator pushing for conflict in Syria, as well as its increasingly disturbing ties to the attacks on 9/11, it remains one of the U.S. government’s closest allies.

I’ve covered some of the human rights abuses of the Saudi regime on several occasions due to the fact that it so clearly exposes the total hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy. The most recent example was the recent sentencing of human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu Alkhair to 15 years in prison for “inciting public opinion,” i.e., effectively utilizing free speech. I covered this in detail in the post: Saudi Human Rights Lawyer and Activist Jailed for 15 Years for Free Speech Under New “Anti-Terror” Law.

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How British Spies “Seed the Internet with False Info, Control YouTube Pageviews and Manipulate Online Polls”

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.25.47 PMThanks to Edward Snowden, we now have proof about an incredible set of tools used by the British equivalent of the NSA, known as the GCHQ, or Government Communications Headquarters. These tools will essentially confirm every single conspiracy theory you could have ever imagined when it comes to propaganda on the Internet. It allows British intelligence officers to: “manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, ‘amplify’ sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be ‘extremist.’”

Being the creative folks that they are, GCHQ even came up with code words to describe each “product.” These include, UNDERPASS (for poll manipulation), SILVERLORD (for censorship), GESTATOR (for the manipulation of YouTube views), PREDATORS FACE (for DDOS attacks), the list goes on…

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Crony Congress – Rep. Mike Rogers Has Links to the Benghazi Scandal Yet is in Charge of the Investigation

For those of you who don’t know Congressman Mike Rogers, he is the Representative hailing from Michigan’s Eighth District. He is also one of the biggest blowhard, chicken-hawk defenders of unconstitutional NSA spying in all of Washington D.C.

Back in 2012, he gave his support to internet spy bill CISPA by proclaiming: “Stand for America! Support this bill!” Naturally, this clown would also serve as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Rogers is notorious for being one of the staunchest critics of Glenn Greenwald. For example, earlier this year he made up all sort of lies about Greenwald in an attempt to smear the journalist. In response, Greenwald had the following to say about Rogers back in February:

“First is that he’s not only lying, and he is lying, but he not only is lying but he knows that he’s lying. This what is Mike Rogers is notorious for in Washington is literally making things up and smearing political opponents and journalists he doesn’t like.

I defy Mike Rogers, if he wants to make that accusation, to come forward and present actual evidence that any journalist has stolen, has sold documents or stolen material or engaged in any kind of criminality. He has no evidence, he’s just making things up.”

You’d think a guy like Rogers who aggressively lobs untrue accusations against a journalist trying to inform the American public about government criminality would have a squeaky clean background himself. After all, he was a former FBI agent. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.

Incredibly, Dick Morris points out that until recently Mike Rogers’ wife was the president and the CEO of the company that was contracted by the State Department to provide intelligence-based and physical security services. While this sort of crony capitalism is seen as “business as usual” in the cesspool that is D.C., the really crazy part of this story is that as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rogers is charged with investigating the adequacy of security at the Benghazi compound prior to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack.

You can’t find a bigger conflict of interest than that…

Dick Morris writes:

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is charged with investigating the adequacy of security at the Benghazi compound prior to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack.

His wife, Kristi Clemens Rogers was the president and the CEO of the company that was contracted by the State Department to provide that security!

Mrs. Rogers, until recently, served as president and CEO of Aegis LLC, the contractor to the United States Department of State for intelligence-based and physical security services.

Aegis, a British private military company with overseas offices in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kenya, Nepal and the U.S., won a $10 billion, 5-year contract with the State Department to provide security for U.S. diplomatic posts around the world.

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The Guardian’s Deputy Editor Claims the UK Government Threatened the Paper with Shutdown

Mr Johnson said the whole attitude in the UK was that national security trumped press freedom and that the newspaper should not publish a word…We were threatened that we would be closed down. We were accused of endangering national security and people’s lives. It left us in a very difficult position.

- Paul Johnson, deputy editor of The Guardian

As if you didn’t already recognize the serious threat to press freedom in the UK following authorities holding Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda for eight hours under “terrorism” laws as he transferred through London’s Heathrow airport. It’s not just the traditional press at risk in the UK either, the government is hard at work censoring the internet itself via ridiculous filters.

Now we find out from the Irish Times that:

The Guardian newspaper was threatened with closure by the British government over the Edward Snowden spying affair, the Radiodays Europe conference has been told.

The paper’s deputy editor Paul Johnson said Britain’s intelligence agencies visited them and told them they would be closed if they persisted in printing Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance involving the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United Statesand the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK. Mr Snowden is now in Russia, where he has temporary asylum. He is wanted by the US authorities on espionage charges.

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Here’s What the Richest Man in the World Thinks About Snowden and NSA Surveillance

So Bill Gates recently gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine. The vast majority of the interview focused on his philanthropic efforts, with a particular focus on poverty and climate change. However, several questions were brought up on illegal NSA surveillance in general, and Edward Snowden in particular.

His answers reveal one of the biggest problems facing America today, which is the fact that the billionaire class as a whole does not question or rock the boat whatsoever. They criticize only when it is convenient or easy to do so, never putting themselves at risk for the sake of civil liberties and the Constitution.

In mosts cases, this is due to the fact that they themselves are the characters pulling the strings of the political class in Washington D.C. So when it comes down to it, their policies ultimately become our policies.

It is also important to note that Microsoft was a particularly eager participant in NSA spying from the very beginning. For example, according to the following PRISM slide provided by Edward Snowden, we see that Gates’ company was the first to become involved. In fact, they were participating a full six months before Yahoo!, while Apple didn’t join until a year after Steve Jobs died.

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 2.13.17 PM

What a tangled web we have weaved. Now from Rolling Stone:

Question: When people think about the cloud, it’s not only the accessibility of information and their documents that comes to mind, but also their privacy – or lack of it.

Gates: Should there be cameras everywhere in outdoor streets? My personal view is having cameras in inner cities is a very good thing. In the case of London, petty crime has gone down. They catch terrorists because of it. And if something really bad happens, most of the time you can figure out who did it. There’s a general view there that it’s not used to invade privacy in some way. Yet in an American city, in order to take advantage of that in the same way, you have to trust what this information is going to be used for.

Do they really catch terrorists because of it in London? Because in the U.S., the NSA chief already admitted that the entire spy program has stopped essentially zero terrorist attacks. It certainly didn’t stop the Boston bombings. So what are we giving up our privacy for exactly?

Question: Thanks to Edward Snowden, who has leaked tens of thousands of NSA documents, we are. Do you consider him a hero or a traitor?

Gates: I think he broke the law, so I certainly wouldn’t characterize him as a hero. If he wanted to raise the issues and stay in the country and engage in civil disobedience or something of that kind, or if he had been careful in terms of what he had released, then it would fit more of the model of “OK, I’m really trying to improve things.” You won’t find much admiration from me.

Sorry Billy boy, but we have had many whistleblowers in the past who went through the system and they ended up in jail or their lives were ruined. For example, the only person imprisoned for torture in the USA is the guy who exposed the torture program, John Kiriakou.

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The Most Evil and Disturbing NSA Spy Practices To-Date Have Just Been Revealed

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 others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.

The man-in-the-middle tactic can be used, for instance, to covertly change the content of a message as it is being sent between two people, without either knowing that any change has been made by a third party.

- From Glenn Greenwald’s latest article: How the NSA Plans to Infect Millions of Computers with Malware

The latest piece from Greenwald and company on the unconstitutional spy practices of the NSA may represent the most dangerous and disturbing revelations yet. It’s hard for shadiness at the NSA to surprise me these days, but there was only one word that kept repeating over and over in my head as I read this: EVIL.

As a quick aside, Greenwald points out in the quote above how spam emails are used by the NSA to bait you into clicking dangerous links. This is a timely revelation considering I received one such email yesterday from a friend of mine. The email was sent to a wide list of let’s say “liberty-minded people” and webmasters associated with very popular sites. The link seemed shady so I texted him to ask if he had sent it. He hadn’t.

Earlier this week, during a talk at SXSW, Edward Snowden pleaded with people to use encryption. While he admitted if the NSA targeted you individually they could almost certainly “own your computer,” he stated that if people use encryption on a massive scale it makes the NSA’s attempts to monitor everyone at the same time much more difficult.

Apparently, the NSA is well aware of this threat. Which is why we now know that the agency has been dedicating significant amounts of taxpayer dollars toward an attempt to infect millions of computers with malware in an attempt at “industrial-scale exploitation,” which would lead to them “owning the net.”

As Mikko Hypponen, an expert in malware stated:

“The NSA’s surveillance techniques could inadvertently be undermining the security of the Internet.”

Move along serfs, nothing to see here.

From The Intercept:

Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

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 others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.

The implants being deployed were once reserved for a few hundred hard-to-reach targets, whose communications could not be monitored through traditional wiretaps. But the documents analyzed by The Intercept show how the NSA has aggressively accelerated its hacking initiatives in the past decade by computerizing some processes previously handled by humans. The automated system – codenamed TURBINE – is designed to “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.”

Mikko Hypponen, an expert in malware who serves as chief research officer at the Finnish security firm F-Secure, calls the revelations “disturbing.” The NSA’s surveillance techniques, he warns, could inadvertently be undermining the security of the Internet.

It sounds like that is precisely their intent…

The NSA began rapidly escalating its hacking efforts a decade ago. In 2004, according to securet internal records, the agency was managing a small network of only 100 to 150 implants. But over the next six to eight years, as an elite unit called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) recruited new hackers and developed new malware tools, the number of implants soared to tens of thousands.

The agency’s solution was TURBINE. Developed as part of TAO unit, it is described in the leaked documents as an “intelligent command and control capability” that enables “industrial-scale exploitation.”

Earlier reports based on the Snowden files indicate that the NSA has already deployed between 85,000 and 100,000 of its implants against computers and networks across the world, with plans to keep on scaling up those numbers.

The intelligence community’s top-secret “Black Budget” for 2013, obtained by Snowden, lists TURBINE as part of a broader NSA surveillance initiative named “Owning the Net.”

The agency sought $67.6 million in taxpayer funding for its Owning the Net program last year. Some of the money was earmarked for TURBINE, expanding the system to encompass “a wider variety” of networks and “enabling greater automation of computer network exploitation.”

Your tax dollars at works slaves.

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Edward Snowden Speaking Live Now at SXSW – Watch it Here

Edward Snowden will be speaking at 12 EST in Austin, Texas at SXSW.

This is his first live public speaking engagement since he came forward last year as one of the most famous whistleblowers in history.

Since the event is now over, I have replaced the lifestream with a recording of the talk. Enjoy.

 

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NSA Chief is Pushing for Legislation to Stifle the First Amendment

Recently, what came out with the justices in the United Kingdom … they looked at what happened on Miranda and other things, and they said it’s interesting: journalists have no standing when it comes to national security issues. They don’t know how to weigh the fact of what they’re giving out and saying, is it in the nation’s interest to divulge this.

- General Keith Alexander, Director of the NSA

Although General Alexander states the above with regard to the UK justice system, he clearly agrees with the assessment. Read the passage above again and think about how scary that statement is. It becomes clear that one of the reasons abuses at the NSA are so egregious is because of the attitude of the person in charge. Alexander genuinely thinks that intelligence officials know best, and should not be subject to any sort of accountability. You don’t need to be a card-carrying member of the ACLU to see how dangerous this perspective is. To endorse this notion that “journalists have no standing when it comes to national security issues,” is to effectively make illegal one of the most important free speech rights in any democracy. This sort of attitude represents the antithesis of American values.

Not only does General Alexander see things this way, apparently he is lobbying for Congressional legislation that would solidify this authoritarian view within the law itself. For example, the Guardian reported yesterday that:

General Keith Alexander, who has furiously denounced the Snowden revelations, said at a Tuesday cybersecurity panel that unspecified “headway” on what he termed “media leaks” was forthcoming in the next several weeks, possibly to include “media leaks legislation.”

The general, who is due to retire in the next several weeks, said that the furore over Snowden’s surveillance revelations – which he referred to only as “media leaks” – was complicating his ability to get congressional support for a bill that would permit the NSA and the military Cyber Command he also helms to secretly communicate with private entities like banks about online data intrusions and attacks. 

So apparently he has several pieces of authoritarian legislation on his plate at the moment. He laments Snowden is making the implementation of his fascist tendencies more difficult. Just another reason to celebrate Snowden.

“We’ve got to handle media leaks first,” Alexander said.

“I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks. I am an optimist. I think if we make the right steps on the media leaks legislation, then cyber legislation will be a lot easier,” Alexander said.

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War on Encryption: Highlighting Two Crucial Articles on the Latest NSA Revelations

While most of the media, including the alternative media, has been focused primarily on our psychopathic leaders’ attempt to drag us into a Syrian civil war alongside al-Qaeda, some really crucial new information has been released about the NSA from the Snowden documents.

Specifically, we now know the lengths to which the NSA has fought to make encryption useless. Disturbingly, there was a debate about all of this in the 1990′s. Back then the NSA, with the help of the Clinton administration, attempted to install a backdoor into all encryption called a “Clipper Chip.” This was shot down, but the NSA went ahead and did it covertly anyway. This is the type of total unconstitutional slime we are dealing with.

The most absurd part of the recent revelations is the realization that the NSA isn’t actually cracking most of the encryption due to smarts or math, but rather by coercing major technology companies to allow them unfettered access. Part of this coercion unsurprisingly revolves around generous monetary payoffs to “grease the surveillance wheels” courtesy of a hefty Black Budget.

The first highlighted article is from yesterday’s New York Times. The information is so devastating to the already battered reputation of the criminal NSA that according to the paper:

Intelligence officials asked The Times and ProPublica not to publish this article, saying it might prompt foreign targets to switch to new forms of encryption or communications that would be harder to collect or read. The news organizations removed some specific facts but decided to publish the article because of the value of a public debate about government actions that weaken the most powerful privacy tools.

Some key excepts below:

Many users assume — or have been assured by Internet companies — that their data is safe from prying eyes, including those of the government, and the N.S.A. wants to keep it that way. The agency treats its recent successes in deciphering protected information as among its most closely guarded secrets, restricted to those cleared for a highly classified program code-named Bullrun, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.

Beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the N.S.A. invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop. Having lost a public battle in the 1990s to insert its own “back door” in all encryption, it set out to accomplish the same goal by stealth.

The N.S.A. hacked into target computers to snare messages before they were encrypted. In some cases, companies say they were coerced by the government into handing over their master encryption keys or building in a back door. And the agency used its influence as the world’s most experienced code maker to covertly introduce weaknesses into the encryption standards followed by hardware and software developers around the world.

Paul Kocher, a leading cryptographer who helped design the SSL protocol, recalled how the N.S.A. lost the heated national debate in the 1990s about inserting into all encryption a government back door called the Clipper Chip.

“And they went and did it anyway, without telling anyone,” Mr. Kocher said. He said he understood the agency’s mission but was concerned about the danger of allowing it unbridled access to private information.

Intelligence officials asked The Times and ProPublica not to publish this article, saying it might prompt foreign targets to switch to new forms of encryption or communications that would be harder to collect or read. The news organizations removed some specific facts but decided to publish the article because of the value of a public debate about government actions that weaken the most powerful privacy tools.

The full extent of the N.S.A.’s decoding capabilities is known only to a limited group of top analysts from the so-called Five Eyes: the N.S.A. and its counterparts in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Only they are cleared for the Bullrun program, the successor to one called Manassas — both names of an American Civil War battle. A parallel GCHQ counterencryption program is called Edgehill, named for the first battle of the English Civil War of the 17th century.

Think about the fact that they named these programs after Civil War battles. What does that tell us about how they view “the people” in relation to government?

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