NSA now spies on everyone in the US?

Travlin
By Travlin on Sun, May 12, 2013 - 5:25pm

Note:  I’d like to hear your thoughts on this issue.  It’s not necessary to do research.  Just post your comment below.

If the US Government treats all citizens like foreign enemies, what does it mean to be a “citizen”?  And is this still the United States of America?

The super secret NSA (National Security Agency) is four times the size of the CIA.  It is limited by law to targets outside the US.  It employs the most advanced resources on earth for collecting, sorting, tracking, decrypting, and analyzing electronic data in staggering quantities.  All foreign sources are subject to monitoring – radios, phones, satellites, computers, voice, data – anything electronic.

Now this awesome power is being directed against YOU and every other person in the United States according to former NSA insiders who held high level positions.  They report that nearly all domestic electronic communications and internet activity are being captured, recorded, and stored.  Under program Stellar Wind, data will be linked to individuals, and their social networks mapped.  Financial records, and other data from commercial sources may also be included to compile a complete dossier on everyone and their activities.  This will all be continuously updated in a searchable database for easy retrieval from any location.  Software will mine the data looking for anything “suspicious” for further study.  And only “they” get to define what is suspicious.

While this sounds like a New World Order conspiracy theory, it is being reported by credible people in positions to know.  Some of these whistle blowers were threatened with unsuccessful criminal charges, with up to 35 years imprisonment, and even endured SWAT raids on their homes by the FBI.

You can forget about suing the NSA for violating your Fourth Amendment right against “unreasonable searches”.  The Supreme Court already closed that door.

I invite you to review the sources and judge for yourself.  William Binney is the most outspoken, but Thomas Drake and others are on the record as well.  I have provided some links and encourage you to search further.  Since all NSA activity is shrouded in secrecy, we can’t know conclusively what they are doing.  But we need to look as deep as we can and draw reasonable conclusions.  This is a critical issue and it is important to have multiple members look into this and share their findings and thoughtsIt is important to know if we live in a Constitutional Republic or a Tyranny.

Travlin

The Program 


My thanks to the member who posted this video previously.  I was unable to find that post to give them proper credit.

Drake, Wiebe, Binney  Click this link for a stunning video interview with three whistle blowers.

William Binney
RT short video 
DemNow part 1
DemNow part 2
DemNow part 3

Thomas Drake
Natl Press Club  Time stamps of note – 15:30 monitoring, 32:45 confirm monitoring, 41:00 Congress suppressed his info, 49:00 spy on reporters, 54:00 young people, 58:00 financial records,  59:00 associates targeted

More information
YouTube – NSA Stellar Wind
From Ao – Utah data center
Wall Street JournalNSA’s Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data  Outdated but useful
 

49 Comments

TreeGap's picture
TreeGap
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Follow the Money

Hi Travlin,

I have been looking into the issue of the increased "security state," particularly the money flow as an incentive to increase the specter of terrorism to justify the continuation of massive amounts of money into the coffers of all those employed/profiting in this sector.  What I've found is that there are a number of firms that contract with the US Department of Homeland Security, et. al. 

There is a "gold rush" afoot.

I would be very interested in information on Stock Market returns on companies that offer security services to DHS and NSA... are these firms experiencing a boom/bubble?  Are they foreign or domestic firms?  If there is anyone with stock market expertise, this info would be interesting to have posted here.

A few things keep cropping up in the "financial motivation/incentive" category.

1).  Israeli contractors as security firms hired by US Department of Homeland Security:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/09/27/an-israeli-trojan-horse/

http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/2093767/homeland_security_expe...

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/27/world/la-fg-israel-homeland-secu...

http://www.thenation.com/article/laboratory-fortressed-world

2).  PsyOps, shock & awe for a freaked-out population.

"Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of the “War on Terror” to Halliburton and Blackwater…. After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts.... New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened…. These events are examples of “the shock doctrine”: using the public’s disorientation following massive collective shocks – wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters -- to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy."

  • This article points to legislation that changed the nature of what propaganda can be targeted at the US population: “New Bill Targets “Psychological Operations” at U.S. Citizens”

“An amendment that has been added to a new defense bill in Congress would make it legal to target propaganda and “psychological operations” directly at U.S. citizens. The latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act would overturn the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987. …..The government would be able to bombard us with propaganda messages on television, on the radio, in our newspapers and on the Internet and ****there would not even be a requirement that those messages be true.*****”

Read more: Family Security Matters http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/new-bill-target...

3). In December 2012, the Senate began looking at Homeland Security an whether it should get so much money.

  • 10 Years After 9/11: How Far Did $635 Billion Spent on Homeland Security Go?

Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released an oversight report, “Safety at Any Price: Assessing the Impact of Homeland Security Spending in U.S. Cities." The report is based on a year-long investigation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant programs and the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI). More than $35 billion has been spent on DHS grant programs since 2003 with the intent to make Americans safer from terrorist attacks. However, 10 years later, DHS has been unable to establish goals or metrics to ensure that funds were used to make Americans safe, and cannot accurately measure how much safer we are today after spending $35 billion.

Sen. Coburn's report is available for download here: http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/oversightaction

  • Other articles questioning spending by Homeland Security Grants:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/05/nation/la-na-terror-waste-20121205

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/10-Years-After-911-Homeland-Security...

http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/the-department-of-homeland-security...

http://homeland.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-assessing-dhs-10-...

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/4/as-a-target-for-terrorist...
 

TreeGap's picture
TreeGap
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Profits

Profitting from Spying: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-11/obama-s-cybersecurity-lifts-che...

The above link is to an article on Check Point, based in Israel, which "got 45 percent of sales from the Americas last year and does as much as 10 percent of its business with the public sector."  The company is expecting a good year in 2013 due to the recently held Senate hearings:

"Obama and intelligence officials have said one of their top policy priorities is preventing cyber attacks that could disrupt banks, telecommunications networks, utilities or other vital services. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism held a hearing on **May 8** on how the government and private sector are responding to cyber threats."

SourceFire of Maryland, another cybersecurity firm, "expects the government to be a “very, very strong customer,” in 2013.

A link to SourceFire's profile, note the upward trend since May 8th: http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/FIRE:US

MarkM's picture
MarkM
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Another dot

To me, the Binney story is chilling, and yet the average American has no idea of him or his ordeal.

Here is another dot to connect.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/05/immigration-reform-dossiers/

“The most worrying aspect is that this creates a principle of permission basically to do certain activities and it can be used to restrict activities,” he said. “It’s like a national ID system without the card.”

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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Thanks for your comments

TreeGap – I think you’re right about the money angle.  When he was at the NSA William Binney developed a working system called Thin Thread for about $3 Million to automate the collection and analysis of foreign intelligence.  NSA rejected that and launched a huge project called Trailblazer for about $1 Billion dollars with defense contractors.  It went way over budget, behind schedule, and did not work.  Congress canceled it and prohibited NSA from managing large technology projects for five years.  Corporate profits, bureaucratic empire building, and lucrative campaign contributions certainly grease the wheels.  But I think control is the driving force.  Thanks for the comments and links.  You’ve obviously studied this issue.

MarkM – “It’s like a national ID system without the card.”  Thanks for the informative link.  That is ominous.  You commented on a thread I did earlier on facial recognition, but I’ll post a link for others who might be interested in knowing more.  http://www.peakprosperity.com/discussion/81308/facial-recognition-systems-%E2%80%93-electronic-police-line

Travlin

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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What do you think?

I’d like to hear more people’s thoughts on this issue.  It’s not necessary to do research.  Just post your comment below.

Travlin

TreeGap's picture
TreeGap
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What I think

I didn't mean to post an information-dump.  I started looking into this because I couldn't believe some of the things I was hearing and seeing, I needed to check into things to be sure I could believe my eyes & ears.

What I think: I think it stinks.  I think it is really awful that we are basically moving to an open-air prison.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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Questions for everyone

Hi TreeGap -- My post 5 was an invitation to people who haven’t commented.  I greatly appreciate your prior posts.  I invited people to do further research and share their findings.  You did that very well, and MarkM added his source as well.  Since no one has commented further I was concerned that people may have thought they were supposed to add research if they wanted to comment.  I just wanted to be clear that was not necessary.  I really want to know what other people make of these issues.

TreeGap wrote:

I started looking into this because I couldn't believe some of the things I was hearing and seeing, I needed to check into things to be sure I could believe my eyes & ears.

That’s exactly where I’m coming from TreeGap.  I’ve read a number of items here and other places that were very ominous.  Some sounded pretty far fetched, and often the backing was not very strong in the postings.  But these items made me uneasy and eventually I decided I had to look at them in more depth to see if they had real substance.  That was the genesis of the Civil Liberties group and the series of topics I’ve posted here.  I am very sorry to say that strong evidence was not hard to find for the previous topics.

To all members
This current topic of the NSA capturing all our data is in another league.  This is of monumental importance.  If this is really happening then the Constitution is well and truly dead.  We know of this story primarily because of three men who used to hold high level positions within the NSA.  Given the nature of this issue we aren’t likely to get a lot of corroborating evidence.  They went to Congress with their story and it was ignored.  The Congressional aide they dealt with became a target of retribution.  The critical question is how credible are the whistle blowers?  They seem very credible to me, but for an issue of this importance I would like to have other people share any information they have and discuss what they make of this whole thing.  If I’m mistaken in anything about this I want to know, because I’m hard pressed to find an issue that is more critical.

This is a scary topic, but we all need to look at this seriously and discuss what we think about it.   So I’ll pose some questions to start the conversation.  First, the allegation.

Travlin wrote:

Now this awesome power is being directed against YOU and every other person in the United States according to former NSA insiders who held high level positions.  They report that nearly all domestic electronic communications and internet activity are being captured, recorded, and stored.  Under program Stellar Wind, data will be linked to individuals, and their social networks mapped.  Financial records, and other data from commercial sources may also be included to compile a complete dossier on everyone and their activities.  This will all be continuously updated in a searchable database for easy retrieval from any location.  Software will mine the data looking for anything “suspicious” for further study.  And only “they” get to define what is suspicious.

1  Do you think the NSA has, or soon will have, the technical ability to do this?
2  Do you think the NSA would do this in secret, even if it is supposed to be illegal?
3  Do you think this is a good thing to do?  If so why?
4  How much would it bother you if it is happening?
5  Do you think the whistle blowers are credible?
6  Do you have any trust in the United States Government?

Share your thoughts, or respond to any question – or state that you are afraid to because the allegations may be truefrown

Travlin

 

Petey1's picture
Petey1
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It's not just the NSA

It is your State, City and County government also. Everyone is getting grants and money to fund these projects. They can and do collect a lot of info. Am I concerned? Yes! Take it with a grain of salt though, it still takes very smart people to run and keep up with all this info. Just think about every time you change computers, everything does not always talk to each other and things get lost. This could become a nightmare of crap for someone to keep up with.

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
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They're tracking everything

literally.

I have a couple of contacts that are working in UT on the project, as well as some in the Chantilly offices.  They're tracking 99% of all network, telephone, email, etc...in the United States.  The software is word, phrase, and voice sensative (amongst other things).  Every CCTV camera in the country is being recorded, and faces being recorded for biometric uses.  Yes, it's that bad/scary.

Just think, everything we're typing into this forum is being disected, and recorded for future use (what use is unknown).  EVERYTHING.....PM's included.  That should make people feel warm and fuzzy;-)

Here's a little video from Stormcloudsgathering.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Just Kidding.

Warm is what we are discussing over on the Climate channel. 

They have bigger fish to fry than watching my sex life. (You get it? Fry?)

It's a joke.

I was never very good at them.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Of course everything is tracked

I have known/assumed that all electronic communications are fully tracked, recorded, and probably stored for more than a decade.

I remember reading a Time magazine article about the events on 9/11 and they reported on a cell phone call made between Atta on one plane and a hijacker on another.   They quoted his actual words.

I thought to myself, "wait a minute, in order to have this call recorded that means such systems were in place before the events of 9/11 and since the official story is that they had no foreknowledge of any of this, then Atta's call was recorded as a part of normal operations, not because his line was specifically targeted."

Either that or the official story about not tracking Atta is complete bunk, take your pick.  There's no other way to parse the situation, I didn't like either answer then, and I still don't because I know that any system that can be used and abused for political power and advantage will be used that way.  Maybe not by the well-meaning people who designed it, but certainly by someone later on.   

Yes, we live in a surveillance state and that's just the way it happens to be right now.  Given the recent revelations that the current administration has targeted specific groups by the IRS (no, I do not for a second believe the IRS just decided on its own to launch witch hunts against conservative groups), has broadly gathered phone records of journalists, and refused to prosecute HSBC for overt money laundering activities or any other large banks for any other major crimes, I come away with the impression that you either belong to the "right" team or you keep your head down.

In other words, it's no wonder that some countries resent being lectured by the US about the merits of democracy.

ckessel's picture
ckessel
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Thanks for posting this info

Thanks for posting this info Travlin. It is not a surprise to me that it is occuring as I have 'assumed' as much for quite some time.  While I follow PP very closely I have not been a regular commenter for a variety of reasons, none of which relate to your post as regards being worried about the survalence aspects from the government.

Regarding your questions,

1)Yes

2)Yes

3) No

4) Years ago it did a lot. Now, I accept ther fact that governments will do whatever is necessary to remain in power and in control of populations. The key here is 'whatever' they feel they need to do.

5) Yes

6) Yes. I trust they will continue to maintain a complete dissconnect betweeen what they say and what they do. If they say they are looking 'out' for you, know they are looking 'in' on you!

As disconcerting as the information is, knowing it is true and simply working toward a disconnect from the 'system' as much as possible can bring about an improved state of mind. Here I am speaking about things like improving soil quality, expanding on basic skill sets, constructing useful energy efficient long term structures, expanding friendships and all of those things which add quality rather than necessarily quantity to life.

Coop

Tim_P's picture
Tim_P
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Not Good Info, But, Good Info To Know...

1  Do you think the NSA has, or soon will have, the technical ability to do this? - Yes

2  Do you think the NSA would do this in secret, even if it is supposed to be illegal? - Yes

3  Do you think this is a good thing to do?  If so why? - NoA government that is unwilling to trust it's citizens is on its way to being a totalitarian regime.

4  How much would it bother you if it is happening? - A great dealThe idea that our government is willing to trample any of our rights as recongnized in The Constitution is very troubling.
 

5  Do you think the whistle blowers are credible? - For the most part, yes.  They have more to lose in divulging this info than they have to gain.  Sure, they could be crackpots, but I don't think they are.  I wish they were, but don't think that they are.
 

6  Do you have any trust in the United States Government? - Not much left.  Fraudulent activities during the election are ignored as long as they support the current adminstration.  Crime is only punished if it is commited by those that are not well connected.  Scandals are commonplace, yet get little attention and it seems that those who think differently are openly persecuted for their thoughts.  These are not the traits of a government that serves the people, but more so of a government that uses the people to serve its own interests.

RoseHip's picture
RoseHip
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Technology

Last time I checked Technology didn't have a horse in this race. So here is some free form thoughts.

Time bomb software technology (that's my term) that issues a termination sequence to each of the users digital information upon creation allowing the user to set preferences for how long the information is allowed to exist.

Or maybe a conscious code that could deliver a knockout punch to any source that captures it and imprison it. That may still need some inventing... And some risk analysis as well...

Rose

treemagnet's picture
treemagnet
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I'm glad

others are digging into stuff as much as they are.  Me, most topics get a thorough reading or seven and once the reality (as I see it) is known, I just check it off the list.  Not to say I'm not angry, worried, alarmed, etc....but once I've learned the governments totality of data collection, I assume the worst.  For me, the most alarming developments are the almost universal agreement amongst the best and most well known writers/authors/bloggers that even a year ago seemed (again, as I see it) to hold out more hope, or maybe, possibility to 'right the ship'.  The fairness doctrine, net neutrality, obamacare, NDAA, stellar wind thing, zirp, tarp, twist, QE, pomo ramps, DHS, TSA and their army of untrained empowered thugs, and on, and on.   But THE thing that I keep thinking about, is what happens when the petrodollar is just not valued.  That reality, that futuristic and coming-to-a-world-near-you certainty, is what I find daunting.  Even if you live within your means currently, it won't matter.  Saved up?....yeah, we're punishing that behavior now, so, sorry.  Thats the topic that to me, makes the great depression - in my mind, look like a rough couple of days.  (and why are thoughts facing reality so often called negative, etc?)

Doug's picture
Doug
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It's history...imagine the worst now

My sense of paranoia became pretty well developed 40 years ago when those of us in the "leftist" community were most decidedly being tracked by authorities despite our largely peaceful and benign intents.  We just wanted to end a criminal war and encourage a new consiousness about these things.

I became aware of the NSA about 25 years ago when I was in grad school.  A fellow student in a seminar class was something of an expert on the topic and bombarded us with more info than most wanted to know.  But, I came away from that class with the certainty that the NSA and all other intelligence agencies had way too much information about my life and would continue to gather such information as long as I stay tied to the "grid" in any sense.  With each new development of technology since then I have assumed that they have another avenue to gather that information.  The survivalists have understood that for a long time, leading some to hole up in the mountains of Idaho and Montana, but even there they are not safe from intrusion and violence of the gov't.

I don't imagine that they are singling me out for special attention, their data is just amassed, waiting for the day that the eye of Mordor focuses on me for some reason.  Then they can just mine the data bases and learn more about me than I know.  We are all ripe for the plucking.

So, how do I remain sane (if, indeed, I am)?  I tend my garden, coach Little League and try to give guidance to my now young adult offspring, and prepare.  Oh yeh, and try not to think about the eye.

Doug

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Doug
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And the beat goes on...

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/28/warrantless-electronic-surveillance-obama_n_1924508.html

Quote:

The documents, released by the ACLU after a months-long legal battle with the Department of Justice, show that in the last two years, more people were spied on by the government than in the preceding decade. The documents do not include information on most terrorism investigations and requests from state and local law enforcers. Nor do they include surveillance by federal agencies outside Justice Department purview, like the Secret Service.

Department of Justice agencies obtained 37,616 court orders for information about phone calls in 2011, according to the documents. That's an increase of 47 percent from the 25,535 orders obtained by the government in 2009. Including Internet and email information requests, more than 40,000 people were targeted in 2011.

"We're seeing a massive increase in requests for what as a technologist I would call metadata, so it's not the what you say, but the who you say it to," said Chris Soghoian, the principal technologist at the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.

people_affected.jpg

The government can legally collect that metadata, about who and when you call, email or instant message, because of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, passed in 1986. Back then, "pen registers," which collect outgoing data like phone numbers, or "trap and trace" devices that collect incoming data, were physical devices that had to be attached to phone lines. It was an arduous process that limited widespread use.

Not so today. From the feds to local Mayberry cops, all that law enforcers need in order to obtain an order allowing surveillance is to file a procedural request with a judge certifying that the information will be used in conjunction with a criminal investigation. With contemporary technology, telecommunications providers can comply with those orders at the push of a button.

 

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Jbarney
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It is more than electronic

Just thought I would post this based on an incident I had at the border between Vermont and Canada last October.  I teach civics, and my students were out on the back country roads doing community service.  My job on those days is to drive around to different locations in various towns and keep tabs on the students, make sure they are where they signed up to be, etc.

Well, a mile or so from the border, which is admittedly close, a border patrol SUV was heading west while I was heading east.  My purpose, again, was to check up on my students.

Two minutes or so later the Border Patrol SUV was behind me, lights flashing.  The guy asked me who I was and what I was doing.  It was uncomfortable, but I was polite, just wanting to get out of that situation.

The next day....the same agent was in the same area....and so was I.  I got up the courage to ask him what authority he had to pull me over.  He informed me, nicely, that he had the authority to do so because he didn't recognize my car.  We didn't argue, I just told him that I thought that was too much power for the government to have.  I am a US citizen, traveling in my home country (working in the towns that send students to my highschool) and I was pulled over because the officer didn't know me?  I then asked him if he minded that I had asked (the guy was bored out of his mind) about the incident.  He said no, but that another officer would be justified in considering my questions "an unnecessary escalation of the situation".

I look at the police a little differently now.

 

TreeGap's picture
TreeGap
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Great and Powerful Oz

I think there is a measure of the "Great and Powerful" Wizard in the mix.  There have been so many scare stories of the TSA, DHS, IRS, DOJ, and NSA and the growing (and unchallenged) list of abuses by these agencies... it is not a big jump to think that perhaps one objective is to convince the natives that they're always under the watchful eye of an ominpotent force.... so, we little people will self-correct any "dangerous thoughts."

Another thought that is coming to mind is that an atmosphere of distrust, fear, anxiety and confusion is being generated... on purpose.  Personally, I've recently decided that I'm a free person living in a great and free country and I'm going to be really, really, really happy about it.  I'm going to keep faith that although imbeciles will always think they can control the world, implementing grand plans means actually involving people... who don't always follow the rules, forget to close the door behind them, and generally fumble the ball.

And, lastly, having worked in video and logged a fair amount of transcripts and footage, I can attest that it is a tedious and time-consuming task.  The ratio is roughly one hour of footage will take 2-3 hours of real-time to log.  Computers can speed this up for audio searches, but I'm not aware of any technology that can describe a persons actions that have been captured on video.  It would take a massive amount of person-power to screen all this data...., so most of the data I presume would be left dormant until "needed."

So, perhaps data storage is a good investment to look into!

 

 

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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Thanks everyone

My thanks to everyone for your comments.  They are very helpful.

cmartenson wrote:

I have known/assumed that all electronic communications are fully tracked, recorded, and probably stored for more than a decade.  I remember reading a Time magazine article about the events on 9/11 and they reported on a cell phone call made between Atta on one plane and a hijacker on another.   They quoted his actual words.

Chris – In one of the linked videos one of the guys said that in February 2011, seven months before the 9-11 attacks, the NSA was already starting an initiative to collect massive data from a phone company.  The attacks opened the floodgates.  They have been building this system for 12 years so we can expect it to be very sophisticated by now.

Doug wrote:

I don't imagine that they are singling me out for special attention, their data is just amassed, waiting for the day that the eye of Mordor focuses on me for some reason.  Then they can just mine the data bases and learn more about me than I know.  We are all ripe for the plucking.

Doug nailed it.  That’s the most insidious thing about a fully developed Stellar Wind system.  No one has to sit down and sift through the data.  The process is automated.  It will aggregate the data to each person, then map their relationships and activities.  This includes email, phone voice and text, web searches, sites visited, purchases, travel, and anything else with a digital trail that can be captured.  Software will monitor this to look for programmed warning flags like a pattern of activities, or key phrases.  At some point you would eventually be put on a watch list with human review and find you have a lot of problems.  You don’t have to stand out to get hammered down.  You are walking around with a sword of Damocles hanging over your head all you life.  Even if it hasn’t cut you it is always a threat.

As this system becomes fully developed, automation via technology makes it possible to monitor virtually everyone all the time.  As TreeGap says, “ … we are basically moving to an open-air prison.” 

“Its better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had.”William Binney

Travlin

 

SingleSpeak's picture
SingleSpeak
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This Disgusts Me,

although doesn't surprise me,to learn that we have gone so far from our Constitutional protections, and that (some) fellow citizens are complicit. 

Still, knowing that some others, the whistleblowers, have the courage to oppose these practices and attempt to expose them at great personal risk is encouraging.

So, what I guess we all need to do is to start emailing and phoning and texting those that think these practices are good and necessary (and anyone else we don't like for that matter) and tell them -

"Hi __________,

I have carefully reviewed your plans to overthrow the government. I think that is an insane idea. I want no part in your plot to assassinate the president or target other public officials that support the Patriot Act, gun control, and financial repression with bombs and chemical weapons.

Your tax evasion strategies, although well thought out, are repulsive to me and to all of us that understand that the governement is necessary to protect us.

I totally support the current administration. They have proven without a doubt that they will always be there to take care of us, will always look out for our best interest, while having no regard for their own personal interests.

Please do not send me any more letters or hand-written notes asking for my participation in your anti-government conspiracies.

Signed, Me "

If everyone sends out a few dozen of these a week, it should keep em busy for a little while. wink

Travlin, thanks for helping to expose this subject. It's important more people learn what is happening without their consent/knowledge.

SS

 

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Rob P
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A little anectdotal story

None of it surprises me - having lived through the 60s and 70s - but here's a little recent story.

In 2002-2004 my wife and I were the principle organizers for the anti (Iraq) war movement here in our little university town.  We had a small group of very vocal people adamantly opposed to the war for various reasons. We did a lot of public demonstration etc.  Well, one day Dick Cheney was coming to town to stump for GWB.  We were planning a demonstration at the airport where he was to speak.  Just as a side note, we were relegated to a special "protest pen" far from the airport and monitored from the roof of the hanger by secret service with some sort of machine guns or maybe it was automatic rifles.  Well, prior to the event I was on the home phone talking to organizers from a near by big city who were planning to come over to the event, possibly in large numbers and possibly "in busses".  Well, I never had that converstion with anyone in our group, only on the phone with the people out of town.  Well, next day the cheif of police here in town gives me a call from out of the blue and just point blank asks "how many bus loads are coming over". 

Later we heard through telephone company employees that the "feds" had been at the phone company in the week prior to the event doing something with the hardare.

As I said, I'm not naive about this sort of thing, but there was my recent evidence of the reality of it. In the last ten years I'm sure it's all progressed with the technology and all.

Sucks big time. Always has.

I can say this categorically: government will always end up as a self perpetuating power elite no matter what the origins or founding ideals.

I think the founders of this country did an amazing job of trying to create a limited government that would resist all of this - with checks and balances - and so forth. However, in the end and gradually, over time, the constitution has eroded.  At the same time the general, consumer-oriented, pop-media public has grown complacent (maybe I should say stupid), and way out of touch with the constitution or the issues at hand. It's a bread and circuses moment.

I used to wonder: Well is it going to be an Orwellian world or Huxley's world?     Answer: both.

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If you have the eyes and ears,

you must have the stick as well.

http://www.longislandpress.com/2013/05/14/u-s-military-power-grab-goes-into-effect/

The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.

1 Do you think the NSA has, or soon will have, the technical ability to do this? Absolutely, and, most likely, things we have no idea about.
2 Do you think the NSA would do this in secret, even if it is supposed to be illegal? Our government has proven time and time again that lies are the order of the day. Why would this be any different?
3 Do you think this is a good thing to do? If so why? No, and we will eventually see the ultimate result of this mindset of government agencies.
4 How much would it bother you if it is happening? Yes.
5 Do you think the whistle blowers are credible? Yes.
6 Do you have any trust in the United States Government? Absolutely none. They have spent years filling agency after agency with authoritarians or useful idiots and we are seeing the results.

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Fundamental Question

Why, with all this capacity to spy, collect and collate data; with all the undermining of the constitution, routing of due legal process and warrantless arrests, can't these agencies manage to just violate prior restraint and get the enemies of freedom *before* they strike?

Answer - I don't think they know half as much as they purport. 
This kind of amassing of information is definitely inconsistent with everything our nation stands for, don't get me wrong, but how many times do you think the NSA gets a ping about a bomb plot, and it ends up being a phone conversation about "Arlington Road", or some equally crappy Hollywood creation? 

As external threats increase, budgets decrease and American primacy is challenged, I think project like this will end up under-manned, though probably still functional, and what you'll end up with is a really accurate "after the fact" picture of whoever the daily evil happens to be.

I recall a similar outcry about the tracking of debit card sales. With literally hundreds of millions of debit transactions per day, it will take a pretty momentous purchase to 'flag' a person in that venue. This, I think, is probably pretty similar. 

This is not to say that it's not a flagrant abuse of our existing laws and a total and complete departure from ethical and moral use of technology - it is. But even the eye of sauron is pretty useless unless you've got an army of trolls with which to enforce your will. I'd say there's a good bit of evidence to suggest that local police departments are not in lock-step with these matters, and if we can increase knowledge of simple things such as:
1. The judicial branch and executive branch are entirely seperate entities, and therefore;
2. The executive branch has no obligation to enforce court issued warrants.
3. Unconstitutional requests are illegal to enforce
4. Most of this enforcement is tolerated because of federal dollars pouring into state authorities (and therefore greater state autonomy is the only real answer to the federalist problem).

It will go a long way in decreasing the amount of iron in the legal glove. Look at what's happening with the Justice department... The nations attorney general has been caught selling arms to Mexican drug lords. He's swept testamony quietly aside regarding criminal negligence that cost American lives in Benghazi and Afghanistan, and seems pretty satisfied allowing the IRS to go on with business as usual, now that the director has stepped down. Nevermind that the Bailout era criminals were never prosecuted, and the civilian populace is encumbered by an ever-increasing cycle of penalties for non-violent, victimless crimes.

I'm sure that this is totally subversive, and it might even be logged and monitered.
But, it doesn't change the baseline contention that greater dependence on the federal government means less stable and sustainable communities. 

This trend is self-destructive, and just as the Nazi and Soviet systems, will implode when people are no longer productive. 

It might still be a good idea to keep secondary citizenship in mind... If I were a German Jew in 1936, I'd be thinking about other places to be.

Cheers,

Aaron

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sand_puppy
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High Tech Dictatorships

 

“After all, most civilized and semi-civilized countries known to history had a large class of slaves or serfs completely subordinate to their owners. There is nothing in human nature that makes the persistence of such a system impossible. And the whole development of scientific technique has made it easier than it used to be to maintain a despotic rule of a minority. When the government controls the distribution of food, its power is absolute so long as they can count on the police and the armed forces. And their loyalty can be secured by giving them some of the privileges of the governing class. I do not see how any internal movement of revolt can ever bring freedom to the oppressed in a modern scientific dictatorship…”

- Bertrand Russell, The Impact Of Science On Society

 

Well, THIS is discouraging.

Bankers Slave's picture
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Matt Damon in "Good Will Hunting" on the NSA

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They did it before

As multiple members have said various federal agencies have been proven to have illegally spied on citizens on a large scale over many years.  Examples include the NSA, CIA, FBI, and even the US Army.  This is historical fact, not speculation.  The 1975 Church Committee investigations lead to increased oversight and restrictions that are now effectively ignored.  Here a good short summary.  

Travlin

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Add the IRS to the list

ZeroHedge article from a while back:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-13/irs-may-be-reading-your-emails-right-now

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Google Glass.

A group of US lawmakers has asked Google to answer questions on the privacy implications and possible "misuse of information" of its Google Glass project.



Read more at:

I think that the idea is to turn Google Glass into a lot of mobile video cameras. Surely there has to be information overload.

Perhaps the idea is to be as boring as possible.

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I think the idea is to make

I think the idea is to make us all pay for our own surveillance equipment. Now GPS on cellphones can track anyone anytime, even with the phone turned off, and all that privilege for a mere 500 bucks.

the genius here is making us pay, dare I say demand, the method for our own tracking and surveillance.

Brilliant.

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About Google glass...

http://stopthecyborgs.org/

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Thoughts

Working against them:

A. Centralization (as implied in some posts above).  While the internet may or may not, given the quanitity of data, be easily used to monitor people, enforcement and control from such a distance will prove challenging.  Yes, I think  it would have to involve state and even local government participation - especially in regard to military and police. Hard to say how that will go, but I'd guess not-so-well in many areas. Also, economic conditions may lead to a weakening of centralization in its various aspects and strengthening of the local and idenitification with the local.  Which leads me to:

B. Lot's of people in some parts of the country with what you might euphimistically call hyper sensitivity to the issues of governemnt, especially big-government, control.  There are, for instance, lots of libertarian types around here where I live.  While not one of them personally, I have a lot of friends in that camp and I can tell you that many are just waiting for the day.  I would never deny that are lots of sheeple in this country - but there are also lots of people who adamantly are not, and many are armed and vigilant too.

C. The perennial  ineptitude of government.  I mean honest to God; Sure they can single out a few people and use them as examples - and that might work for a while - but really, can the Federal government actually get it together enough to control large populations who are conscious and resisting?  I'm not so sure they could actually do it on such a scale. There is a difference between having information and having the organization and resources to act on it.

D. While the internet and computers allow monitoring as never before, wholesale dependence on this technology may eventually prove a vulnerability.  It only takes a couple of clever boys and girls with a nights worth of pizza  to hack the thing - or, as was previously suggested, people could sabatoge it with millions of junky emails or through other such stratagies.  It has vulnerabilities.

With that said, I would note: Further attacks on "our country and our freedoms" projected ad infinitum on the MSM are always helpful in coralling EVERYONE (pretty much) into a mindless, moldable, "patriotic" mass of human protoplasm. It's important to never, ever forget that one. All bets are off when that happens.

From the far southeast corner of Missouri.

Side note: It's been a cold spring, but my little permaculture paradise is a really  lookin good today.

Cheers, ya'll

 

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my granfather taught me to

my granfather taught me to never put into writing anything i did not want to come back to me....i have always assume that included the internet.

i have been undersurveillence for decades because one of my brothers has a high security clearance for his work.

i think what is important for me is how i think about things and what i believe. my emotional resilency relies on not expecting high ideals to be reality.  nice to strive for, but not necessarily the case for now. i also look at what i can do...what freedoms i do have at the moment.and focus and act on those things.

i do not believe i live in a democracy, i do not believe in fair. life is not fair(it is what it is) so why even think for a second that it might be or should be. what i hear is shock and alarm to the end of a concept that we all once thought was true.(when it wasn't) finding out there is no santa claus can be upsetting.

.adapting to being watched, i've come to the point where i don't even think about it. i live such a boring life, if they want to watch me, let them. the easiest way for me to adapt to my enviroment, is to stop believing silly stuff taught me in elementary school. what i see is what i get.

i do see signs that the administration expect civil unrest in the future....the new gas meters they can turn off from a far. swat teams practicing out here in the country. all those cameras along the freeways.if they expect it then i expect it. and i've prepared as best i can for it.

i live on a 14 acre homestead, not off the grid but i could do so anytime they turn the power off. i have material for all my hobbies and i now live the life that will not change that much as the society erodes. i have dial up internet, over the air tv(one station), no cell phone. i just don't see the need to have a minute by minute blow of things that are mostly untruths anyway, i listen to the birds singing not the president.

at 60, aging and adapting to that is more of a concern than someone listening  and watching me.i accept reality and find the quicker i accept things and find how to live under the changes, the happier i am.

 

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This is why I despise electronic health records

I see no way to fight this unless providers refuse to take insurance, as all insurance companies are headed towards requiring completely electronic communications and records ( no paper ) per the example set by medicare/medicaid.  However, I know many going in this direction but mostly in the spirit of serving the wealthy. The very wealthy may look down their nose at healthcare providers who would accept their insurance.

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/irs-face-lawsuit-over-theft-60-mill...

"The Internal Revenue Service could now be facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges. (bolding min)

According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data."

snip

just variations on a theme

 

 

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tinfoil hat day today

Is it just me, or has anyone else ever had the thought that Google and Facebook are not private corporations but rather secret arms length operations of the government? Maybe the Facebook IPO flopped cuz they wanted it to (fewer shareholders, less oversight?). Maybe Android, with constant evolution to enable fast & easy uploads to Facebook, is just one more way to use Google as an info gathering op. The sheeple have become so enamored with Facebook that there is no longer any need to spy on them - they give up the most intimate details for free! Hmmm, strange thoughts, which having me wondering whether I am a kook or they are really "spooks"!

Okay, time to take my tin foil hat off now and go back to my garden, where the only cameras I have to worry about are from the curious onlookers who like my innovativeness in my small growing space. wink

Jan

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Q
ferralhen wrote:

i have been undersurveillence for decades because one of my brothers has a high security clearance for his work.

I am employed at a national laboratory (weapons lab) and have the 'appropriate' clearance.  The background check included a visit to my childhood home (several states away), interviewing many current neighbors, past employers, and current employees.  Every 5 years this process is repeated.  Pastors are never interviewed - their answers to questions won't reveal anything.  Current neighbors, both adults and children (18 years or older), were interviewed and asked probing questions in an attempt to tease out anything.  And I mean anything.

There are cameras placed on many buildings and tesa locks on most doors at work.  All computer use and phone use are monitored. Restrooms? - don't want to know.  I'll share 2 situations that illustrate surveillance.

Several years ago a female summer student used a coworkers computer (a security violation) and checked out porn sites (not the sharpest tool in the shed).  The coworker caught her doing this and immediatly contacted security.  Security said "we know, we're watching".  The summer student was warned, stripped of computer use but not sent home.

About 1 year ago another coworkers (2 office doors down from me) was.....doing things that were illegal.  One afternoon security walked in, took him to an interrogation room, and questioned him (without council) until 8 PM.  They had phone transcripts and computer logs. He was suspended immediately, stripped of his badge, and within 1 week fired.  His lawsuit went nowhere.  They did not strip him of his pension, but he has not found employment since then.  FWIW - he was quilty as hell and IMHO deserved some jail time.

So how do I deal with this?  My former boss provided this guidance - if anything you do anywhere anytime were to be on the front page of the NYT and embarrass the lab, you have a problem.  So I live a squeaky clean life.  Period.

FWIW, I read and post on this site from home and work.  There is information I would like to add to some of the discusion groups but have stayed away. 

Time to get back to my garden (currently a safe topic).

 

BeingThere's picture
BeingThere
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Stasi meets reality TV

I call this Orwellian moment affectionatly as Stasi meets reality TV. When the fur gloves come off and the metalic hand of oppression is reaveled is anyone's guess. Margaret Thatcher gave us TINA---There are no alternatives.

They will continue to tell you this is a democracy--see we can vote!---only there are no alternatives. A two- party system that serves the top 5%. Kleptocracy reigns supreme and the untouchables at the top have no laws, no regulations.--Not so for the rest of us.

See we have a capitalist system, but the only alternative is global neoliberalism or you're a socialist and an isolationist. So just put u[p with low level jobs taken by immigrants and high level jobs being taken by immigrants, since they don't demand a high standard of living.

See how great the stock market is? There's no other place to put your money. Look, you need to go back to school to get a job, only there are no jobs for young people. Oh, but you have to go into debt and spend your life paying it back.

Oh, and the standard of living is just fine, if you think cat food is an even exchange for sirloin steak. You can thank Clinton for that one.....

Electronics are cheap even when the essentials like food and shelter aren't, so I imagine someday many of us will be watching flat screen TV in weather-treated cardboard boxes. Isn't that special!

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KathyP
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Willing Surrender of Privacy
westcoastjan wrote:

Is it just me, or has anyone else ever had the thought that Google and Facebook are not private corporations but rather secret arms length operations of the government? Maybe the Facebook IPO flopped cuz they wanted it to (fewer shareholders, less oversight?). Maybe Android, with constant evolution to enable fast & easy uploads to Facebook, is just one more way to use Google as an info gathering op. The sheeple have become so enamored with Facebook that there is no longer any need to spy on them - they give up the most intimate details for free! Hmmm, strange thoughts, which having me wondering whether I am a kook or they are really "spooks"!

Okay, time to take my tin foil hat off now and go back to my garden, where the only cameras I have to worry about are from the curious onlookers who like my innovativeness in my small growing space. wink

Jan

Jan,

I've had the same thought about Facebook - who needs gov't spying when they already have Facebook.  It has amazed me that so many people surrender their privacy with this tool.  But, I think the surrender of privacy has been going on for decades.  How many of us have  grocery store "awards" cards attached to our keychains that we hand to the cashier to swipe so that we can "earn" pennies of discounts on our purchases while the data about our purchases is stored by the store's computers.  Gosh, I bought that many bottles of wine last month?!!!  Or, I must really be putting on the pounds with all of the sweets I've been buying!!  I'll probably receive a promotion for diet aids in the next mailing I receive from the store.  And maybe the store will put me into touch with AA on the wine thing.  (Probably not - the store wants to sell me more wine).

I despair that the small number of citizens who actually care about the protection of privacy are greatly outnumbered by the vast numbers who smugly claim, "I don't have anything to hide.  They can monitor me all they want." 

Forgive me if I've repeated content other commenters have already offered.  I've been following this thread sporadically this week, choosing instead to get my sailboat ready for launch - my escape to sanity.

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Thanks again

Thanks for the additional posts.  It is clear that many of you have been thinking about government surveillance for a long time.  I appreciate your thoughts and insights.  I find this subject deeply disturbing and your discussions are helpful.  While the current capabilities of Stellar Wind are buried in secrecy, it seems clear the possibilities for data gathering and management are staggering.

I find it interesting that no one here has argued that Stellar Wind isn’t happening.  The evidence is not conclusive.  It is primarily based on the word of a few former insiders, and a few events like the NSA data feeds from major phone companies that were retroactively legalized.  It is telling that these very high level whistle blowers went to the intelligence committees of the House and Senate, but no hearings or investigations were held.  Binney has said NSA is spying on everybody, including members of Congress.

President Nixon was driven from office during Watergate for activities that look like college pranks in comparison.  As I remember, the “smoking gun” from the White House tapes was Nixon directing that the NSA tell the FBI to drop its Watergate investigation because it endangered a “matter of national security”.  There was genuine outrage by citizens and Congress.  40 years later many people seem inclined to accept that this is just how things are.  And Congress seems too corrupt, too complicit, or too intimidated to even look at the issue.

A Stellar Wind type operation is obviously a blatant violation of the Constitution.  If it is really happening as described, and is conclusively revealed, the government loses its legitimacy.  The Constitution is the contract that defines the relationship between citizens and the federal government.  Those in power who don’t honor it lose their authority to govern, and must be driven from office.  The results could be calamitous, but allowing massive violations would be worse.  And I don’t care who hears me say this.

Travlin

 

BeingThere's picture
BeingThere
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congress?

Travlin says: Those in power who don’t honor it lose their authority to govern, and must be driven from office.  The results could be calamitous, but allowing massive violations would be worse.  And I don’t care who hears me say this.

Government was formed in this country to be a representation of the people and do their work....

These global neoliberals-corporatists should all be escorted to jail for the zillions of infractions against the people. The lobbyists should also be barred from influencing these dolts and the Supreme court should be cleaned out as well.

Let's just say that the emergence of the privatized sucurity complex growing around  9/11 is one big nightmare sucking taxpayer money and the congress is not allowed to know the budget for these entities.

I highly recommend people watch PBS Frontline's "Top Secret America" featuring Dana Priest. You can watch the group of programs concerning this issue on their website....

Notice how little congress does. Why are they getting paid when they've already got the insider trading deal going....

 

 

Doug's picture
Doug
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Important story

As James Comey is apparently the Administration's nominee for FBI director, a peek at his background is illuminating.  This story illustrates how having a few good people in positions of power when the Constitution is under assault can be critical.  Too bad there aren't more like him.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-30/james-comey-understands-fbi-can-say-no-.html

Quote:

The number of people who knew the facts was exceedingly small. But Comey was among them.

Comey thought Stellar Wind violated the Constitution’s protections against warrantless searches and seizures. He convinced Mueller, who saw no evidence that the surveillances had saved a life, stopped an imminent attack or discovered an al-Qaeda member in the U.S.

Secrecy Showdown

Now the two men had to confront the president in a showdown over secrecy and democracy.

On March 4, 2004, Comey told Ashcroft, his boss, that he couldn’t reauthorize Stellar Wind as it stood. Ashcroft agreed. That night, the attorney general was struck with a potentially fatal case of gallstone pancreatitis, sedated and set for surgery. Comey became the acting attorney general.

On March 10, Bush ordered White House chief of staff Andrew Card and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to get Ashcroft’s signature for the reauthorization of Stellar Wind. Ashcroft was in intensive care after surgery, drifting in and out of consciousness. The president called and insisted on talking to Ashcroft on a matter of national security. His wife took the call. She wouldn’t hand over the phone.

Alerted by FBI agents guarding Ashcroft, Comey raced to the hospital. Card and Gonzales entered holding a manila envelope with the presidential authorization inside and demanded a signature. Ashcroft lifted his head off his pillow and denounced the program as illegal.

Then he sank down and said: “I’m not the attorney general. There is the attorney general.” And then he pointed at Comey -- the leader of the rebellion against Stellar Wind and the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.

Although POTUS overroad objections and signed the bill anyway, at least he had to go on record as a rogue against the judgment of his intelligence community.

Doug

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NSA hard at work

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order?guni=Network%20front:network-front%20main-2%20Special%20trail:Network%20front%20-%20special%20trail:Position1

 

"The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April."

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MarkM
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All content is stored as well

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/is-the-government-also-monitoring-the-content-of-our-phone-calls.html

"On Thursday night, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with host Carol Costello, and she asked him about those remarks. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that “all digital communications in the past” are recorded and stored:"

Doug's picture
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Yep, I thought so

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jun/09/nsa-whistleblower-edward-snowden-interview-video

The whistleblower has outed himself.  What happens now?  I listened to the self serving legislators this morning justifying these horrendous programs.  I believe they were lying and this young man supports that belief.  Will there be enough outrage to change the intelligence community, the elected officials and the private sector that is actually doing much of the snooping for the gov't?  I doubt it.  We seem to have lost the capacity for outrage.

Doug

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Comey

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/james-comey-fbi-bush-nsa

Doug,

I seriously don't know what to think anymore. I just don't trust anyone that has been part of the "machine" for any length of time.

 

 

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Capacity for Outrage

Doug wrote:

 Will there be enough outrage to change the intelligence community, the elected officials and the private sector that is actually doing much of the snooping for the gov't?  I doubt it.  We seem to have lost the capacity for outrage.

 

Doug, I agree, and am profoundly perplexed.  I wonder if most Americans have ever even heard of "the right to privacy," or, if they have, what it actually means to them.  People express outrage when their homes are broken into by burglars, and say they feel "violated."  Yet they calmly state that they have nothing to hide when it comes to the government doing the equivalent of breaking in their houses and pawing through their underwear drawers and even trying on the underwear.  I just don't get it.

 

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Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Even our printers are spying on us.

Even our printers are spying on us.

Imagine that every time you print a document, it automatically includes a secret code that could be used to identify the printer -- and, potentially, the person who used it. Sounds like something from a spy movie, right?

Unfortunately, the scenario isn't fictional.

See this article for more.

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rhare
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Brazil

I just finished watching Brazil.  I hadn't watched it in years and it really seemed apropos considering recent events.  Some of the signs on the various ministries were right out of today's government play book:

  • Information Is The Key To Prosperity
  • Be Safe: Be Suspicious
  • Help The Ministry Of Information Help You
  • Suspicion Breeds Confidence
  • Don't suspect a friend, report him
  • Mind that parcel.  Eagle eyes can save a life.

Very prophetic for a movie from 1985.

 

The first comment on the clip above: Dark humor in 1985. Everyday reality in 2011.

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