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I heard part of this on Allan Loudell’s noonday news, … the radio was on and I caught just a snippet.  I hope someone will clue me in on who it was who said it….

In discussing spying through evesdropping, he said probably the quote of the year.  

“There was a reason we spied on the Soviet Union.  There was a reason they spied on us.  We didn’t trust each other…….”

He may have gone on, or maybe it was myself carrying the conversation forward in my head…. “but that would explain why the Soviets spied on their own people; why the East Germans spied on their own people, why the North Koreans and the Chinese are currently still spying on their own people…”

They don’t trust their people….

So, the question must be asked. Why does the NSA, or Obama administration, or the Illuminati, or the Galactic Battlestar Cruiser,… whoever it is who makes the big decisions these days, not trust the American people?

For this would not occur otherwise, would it.

Now it stands upon all reason, that if there is nothing wrong with you…. I’ll take your word for it, and there is nothing wrong with me, ..take my word for it… and we are being spied upon…. then there has to be something wrong with the NSA….

Now if we open all our minds, and look at all possibilities, possibility number one could be that they are sinister. They are gathering information to be used against us at a later date, when it suits them.

However there are more logical possibilities. My favorite is that if you give someone unlimited power, and no oversight, they will exercise all capacities open to them. After all, to them, there are no consequences. With unlimited funding, and no oversight, it becomes very easy to say: lets do one better than what we have.

In the real world, when we get ideas like that, someone steps up to challenge us, and if we can’t defend ourselves adequately, .. it simply doesn’t get done. But the NSA doesn’t live in the real world, now do they? In their bubble, once you realise you can suck up all the information out of a state, you build to suck it all up out of all the states… When done, you realize your territories are wide open, so you suck them up too. Basically it is an ongoing process that like cancer, once started will grow unless some outside influence kills it.

Third, these people could just innocently mean well. Having every transaction or conversation on record, even if one does not use any of it, can be very useful if a bomb goes off to backtrack and find who is connected to it…. It would be a shame to launch a missile strike at Russia, when Somalia was the culprit. These phone records would prevent such a mistake from occurring.

So in synopsis, the motivation behind collecting everything could be a) sinister; b) a natural progression because of no oversight; or c) innocently benign and even well meaning.

Those are some of the causes. What are some of the consequences?

Mistrust. As mentioned in my initial thought process, knowing that someone does NOT trust you, makes you immediately question why and therefore not trust them. Everyone who picks up a phone these days, volunteers as a joke mostly, but still volunteers: “Oh, I have to be careful; the NSA is listening.”

That has a chilling effect; just knowing that a stranger is listening. Those elders who are familiar with state-run societies, are familiar with how the Soviets behaved, the huge difference between the West Germans and the East Germans, how much different North Koreans were and still are from South Koreans…. One does not live their lives as fully, when they can be whisked off for something someone thought they heard them say….

Creativity is ruined; productivity dries up; patriotism turns into hatred of one’s country; and thoughts of revolution swill in the air. Consequently, life becomes black and white, devoid of color. Soviet bloc cities were all gray.

Trust is vital. Spying dissolves it.

Currently Europe is serious debating the future of doing business with the US. Knowing the US negotiators have been briefed in advance what the Europeans are going to offer. Safer to make those deals with China; one can still argue in good faith.

And remember all those encrypted banks broken into and money siphoned out of accounts? Everyone suspected Russian criminals. We now know the NSA has had the access codes for years. Of course we’d trust that no one in the NSA would steal money out of Bank of America or Citibank, especially to pay for cost overruns in their data mining efforts. But oops… for some reason… that trust is not there anymore.

So, how can we get that trust back?

A) All those who lied to Congress = fired, goodbye.

B) Remove legal protection for Version, Comcast, ATT, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and all other telecommunications companies that enabled the NSA. If someone gets hurt by information taken and given to a third party, those companies with deep pockets may again be sued. The point is not to hurt the companies, but to make sure they keep a tighter control over what reach they give the NSA. If they can be sued, it will be much tighter.

C) Scale back funding. With less income, less chance to do harm. Even if one eliminated the NSA completely and let the CIA take over the monitoring, we would have more accountability than we do now.

D) Create and ensure that jail time is used for any Federal employee who uses information for reasons other than national security. Really, why ARE we listening to Merkle’s cell phone?

E) Have hearings on the NSA. open its culture to the sun. Let people know the workings that go on. We do for the FBI. We do for the CIA.

The big one is B). If we can just get the telecommications companies to say… “no, unh-unh, too riskey” a huge chunk of spying is removed at once.

The problem is not the government spying on you. The problem is individual members of the government spying on you, then trying to figure how to rip you off…. Americans have the right not to be ripped off….

If the NSA were a company, say like a division of DuPont, and were asked the questions of what did you do, how did you spend your money, what results can you show for our investment, they would have been sold off long time ago….

To hear Jack Markell speak, you would think so.  On his interview with Chuck Todd, he and Chuck scoffed at people opposed to higher standards…

Well, it is not higher standards they are opposed to.  It is all the “crap” tied to those higher standards…

Image

One can find it in both the SBA and PARCC agreements…… (page 10, number 6 on the SBA)

There are reports among many parents of their children, even at a very young age, asking parents how much they make.  When questioned, they say they need it for school.

There are reports of children asking what guardians are, what single parents are, what kind of cars they have; again for the information to be given to the school.

There are reports of children asking what is divorce; what “living together not married means”; what incest is. Again, they supposedly need to know this at school.

The government has ways of finding out this already of course, simply checking your tax forms.  Are they trying to use children to trip up adults not entirely truthful on those very tax forms?

Probably not.  But guaranteed if allowed to continue, someone is definitely going to think of mining that information for their nefarious purposes…..

The Gates Foundation is funding a huge public affairs drive to diffuse this issue.  They state, and cite 4 laws upon which this inclusion is on all 4.

“Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize the development of a nationwide database of personally identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this paragraph.”

Despite this disclaimer which stresses a nationwide database of personal identifiable information from school children is yet authorized. it still allows for the sharing of all information with the Feds.

When it comes to their own children, the Right Wing is not really that Looney after all….   One must instead wonder about the motives of the Gate’s funded organizations  and the US Department of Education which are behind all this wide sweep of personal information about each and every one of us…

When computers first started, vulnerabilities were not made public. Instead one alerted the maker of the vulnerability privately, so the bad guys would not find out about it.  But most often, those receiving the alert in secret, would be in no hurry to fix it.

Then vulnerabilities started to became public. As soon as one was found, it was posted and the makers were forced by public pressure to scramble and fix the flaw. So once a vulnerability was found, a temporary fix could be slapped together even if it meant taking the server off line.  Publishing made the Internet safer for us all.

The NSA does just the opposite.  Not only was it collecting data as it passed through its servers, but it has compromised a huge number of user’s computers and phones just like any hacker.  It has the potential to control almost any computer around the globe, according to the most recent release of data coming from Edward Snowden.

It has the unique ability to do so by its strategic location in the middle of the data stream. Many of the “401 File not found”s you have received from what you thought were up-and-running sites,  innocuously came from the NSA according to Snowden’s released data.  Once connected, the NSA then installs it’s own data directing all your flow to its secret servers, first before it gets passed on to where you were intending.

The ease with which your servers are compromised comes from NSA’s collusion it has with Verizon, Comcast, and the other servers who have access to the internal workings of your machine.  This, coupled with back doors manufactured expressly for the NSA, makes any computer susceptible to infiltration.

There is no way your IT guys can block them, because it is so secret.

And that is the problem.  Edwards Snowden left the NSA with tremendous amounts of information, and fortunately decided to make it public.  Computer surveillance has been in effect 10 years now.  One must wonder, how many service technicians working with the NSA, have left with that information, and who have not gone public, but chose to sell it to those to whom such information is important?

What if the Chinese already have all the codes the NSA uses to get into any American’s computer?  (All we have is the NSA’s words that they don’t.  But the NSA has rarely told the truth.)

In other words… because all these NSA codes and methods are top secret, any bad agent possessing that powerful secret, can wreak havoc far longer than he could if the IT community were able to pounce and scramble out a fix right away….

We are now at the point, where cyber infiltration is a far more serious threat to the USA than ragged desert terrorists jumping through hoops of fire in training videos.

The NSA needs to recognize this and turn to the IT community and publish their back doors and vulnerabilities.

It would make everyday spying on Americans much harder, but would protect our system of electronics against a devastating attack.

In layman’s terms, it is much easier to get away with murdering someone in a mountain cabin far from other people, than it is to do so in the middle of a police station…  If everyone is a cop, we are much safer than if we have something we think is a secret, but is turns out it is not.

Balanced against spying on American citizens, i think sealing up the NSA caused vulnerabilities to our system, is a no-brainer.

Snow Den in Winter
Courtesy of the Nature Files

So says the following:

FISA Court:  ordered the government to review for declassification a set of secret rulings about the National Security Agency’s bulk trawls of Americans’ phone records.,” acknowledging that disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden had triggered an important public debate.”

The Fisa court ordered the Justice Department to identify the court’s own rulings after May 2011 that concern a section of the Patriot Act used by the NSA to justify its mass database of American phone data. The ruling was a significant step towards their publication.

It is the second time in a week that a US court has ordered the disclosure of secret intelligence rulings. 

James Clapper:  the director of national intelligence, on Thursday conceded that the NSA is likely to lose at least some of its broad powers to collect data on Americans.

 “As loath as I am to give any credit to what’s happened here, I think it’s clear that some of the conversations this has generated, some of the debate, actually needed to happen.”

In other words, according to the secret FISA court itself, and James Clapper himself, what Snowden did was for this nation’s good and well being.

YOU CAN’T CRIMINALIZE SOMEONE WHO DOES SOMETHING FOR HIS NATION’S WELL BEING.,,,,

Drop the Charges, Now.

There are times when the “rules” are wrong or are put in place to protect “wrong” being done by “wrong” people.  Those times, breaking the “wrong” rules and following a higher moral code, is the right thing to do.

But when a court, and the head of Intelligence both say what you did was good, and was needed, it is impossible for you to prosecute him and not still be… “wrong”….

 

Released today, was information that the NSA was tapping Brazil’s Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant partly owned by the state of Brazil,

These new disclosures contradict statements made as recently as today,  by the NSA denying espionage for economic purposes.  The disclosures were buried in the Snowden documents handed over to the Guardian, and Brazil’s Fanstastico.

“A top-secret presentation dated May 2012 is used by the NSA to train new agents step-by-step how to access and spy upon private computer networks – the internal networks of companies, governments, financial institutions – networks designed precisely to protect information.  The name of Petrobras – Brazil’s largest company – appears right at the beginning, under the title: “MANY TARGETS USE PRIVATE NETWORKS.”   Besides Petrobras, e-mail and internet services provider Google’s infrastructure is also listed as a target. The company, often named as collaborating with the NSA, is shown here as a victim..”

Additional targets include French diplomats, with access to the private network of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France; the SWIFT network, the cooperative that unites over ten thousand banks in 212 countries and provides communications that enable international financial transactions. All transfers of money between banks across national borders goes through SWIFT.

Petrobras has two supercomputers, both hacked, used mainly for seismic research – which evaluate oil reserves from samples collected at sea. This is how the company mapped the Pre-salt layer, the largest discovery of new oil reserves in the world in recent years.

The obvious conclusion one must make, is that information regarding the world’s largest potential oil deposits were leaked to US firms, allowing them to get to those exact spots,  before Brazil’s Petrobras could make their claims…

Unfortunately this will remain in the realm of speculation, because the Snowden documents do not describe what information was taken.  They just show evidence that the NSA was inside their computer systems browsing around. On those computers listed by IP’s in the Snowden documents,  were the details of each lot in an auction set for next month opening Brazil’s Libra Field, located in the Bay of Santos, part of the Pre-salt Oil Deposit.

The President of Brazil was also direct target of espionage.  She demanded explanations.  Lastly, another document obtained by Fantastico shows who are the spies’ clients – who gets the information obtained: American diplomats, the intelligence agencies, and the White House. It proves that spying doesn’t have as its sole purpose the fight against terrorism. On this list of objectives are also diplomatic, political and economic information.

In response, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence stressed “that the collected intelligence is not used “to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”

The Brits were much more coy. declaring they do not comment on intelligence-related issues.

 

Breaking stories on the NSA…

New Zealand reveals the NSA used PRISM to capture Kim Dot Com of Megaload a year and a half ago.  Proving that despite all insistence that this would only be used for terrorists, it was not.  It was used to satisfy huge democratic donors (movie studio magnates) after SOPA/PIPA was defeated and pulled.

The Independent broke a story about how the NSA spliced mid-eastern cables to read data from the mid-east.  Remember those cables cut in the MId East say around 2008?  Snowden has commented that he’s never talked to the Independent.  Which means, the UK is now leaking information for two reasons.  One, to possibly show that what they do is vital to fight against terrorism, and perhaps to nudge public opinion against Snowden, and two, since they obviously know the information that is to be leaked, (after all, it’s their’s) …  they are leaking it themselves to control the dissemination of information…. What that means is you shut this unnecessary operation down, then leak it. You shut that unnecessary operation down, you leak it.  That keeps any surprises from catching you off guard….  I’m glad they’re getting smart down the road at Ft. Meade..

Third.  The New York Times now has the tape.  Smuggled from the Guardian, there iw a secure copy in the United States officially.   This is the same New York Times whose editor gleefully stated that Snowden needed to fry, and of whom Snowden, capable of listening to anyone in the world, was definitely afraid of giving information due to leaks back upwards to the White House.  That said, there is really no other paper in the US capable of holding on to such a high risk object, than the New York Times.  We will get some information; but not all.  It is a US paper, and by that alone, is not independent at all to report what it wants.  I would have chosen Der Spiegel. Someone who would read it with outrage.

Total take away is this:

  • There IS massive spying on US Citizens.
  • They know everything about you, and will use it to protect or enhance any corporation.
  • It is stored and can be pulled by anyone with or without clearance at any time so… BE GOOD……

But we knew that already.   Still, it is nice to have it confirmed, so everyone else knows as well.

Is it time to close the NSA down?  What do you think?  Maybe force them to live off their hedge funds for a while?….

Maybe one has to live through both to see the similarities.  Going to Vietnam was wrong. We killed a lot of Americans for nothing, then gave the country over to the North Vietnamese.  Spying on American citizens, and storing every piece of electronic data, is wrong as well. Not doing so is one of the founding principles of our government. Two wrongs don’t make it right.

Lyndon Baines Johnson escalated the war, then quit, leaving others to finish it.  The winner created a tag “peace with honor” and with that we tucked our tails and bugged out.  There were a lot of protests. Four died in Ohio during one.

Back then, those defending the military machine, all had hidden agendas.  Back then, a big effort was to turn those protesting into thugs who had to be killed to be eliminated.  So intent was the defense of the war, that bugging the hotel room of the Democratic conventioineers was deemed proper and approrpiate.  They were, after all against the war, and therefore traitors to the nation.

But in our history as a world power, sometimes those real traitors to our nation, are those who most fervently support the hard knuckle tactics being done.  The US was blemished over 5 presidencies because of the Vietnam War.  We are currently doing significant damage to our reputation as we speak.  Take Dick Cheney.  Imagine if we had not gone to fight and borrow $1 Trillion in Iraq?  We did it for oil.

The world was so relieved that Dick Cheney was gone, they gave the Nobel Peace Prize to the man who pushed him out of relevancy.

In the end, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War did not create a better world.  In fact, we made it worse.  Likewise, as we are struggling to create jobs, our computer cloud technologies are cutting back because no one trusts them anymore.  The cost is going to be a thousand times more than any benefit.

And what has the benefit been?  Allegedly, … the benefit came not in the terrorist arena. The benefit is that large multinational corporations have benefited from the inside news gleaned by the NSA… For this reason, every call you make, every email sent, every text you type, is buried on a disc somewhere, pulled up at a moments notice.

Just so we will have an unfair advantage…   Time to pull all NSA funding, just like we shut down our involvement in Vietnam.  The problem back then, was we waited too long.  We can shut it down before Utah opens.

On the day Obama said he would reach out to Congress to assess and damp down the amount of data collected, the NSA and FISA court release a report claiming they only touch 1.6% of the internet traffic in one day!

Of course. I asked myself, isn’t that a lot, and began the search to find how much data is collected off the internet in one day.

Sources say there is 1862 petabytes of daily internet traffic.  Translate to megabytes that comes out to 1,960,652,570,625.0073 megabytes.  

The NSA touches 1.6% of that….  So 1,960,652,570,625.0073 times 0.016 gives us

31,370,441,130 megabytes are collected by the NSA in one day.  That is 31 billion megabytes. 

Or simpler, 1862 petabytes times 0.016 equals 29,21 petabytes or 29,911.04 terrabytes.

The top of the line laptops today can hold 2.5 terrabytes of data.  So the NSA is collecting by their own omission,  the equivalent of 11,964 laptops of data. every day. 

This is collected, stored for later perusal if needed.  In todays world, who has laptops anymore, that translates to 957,153  full smartphones worth of data. 

They further clarify this to say that of the 1.6% of the data, only 0.025% is actually selected for review. Meaning that although the full amount is stored for future reference, they can only look at look at 0.00004% of the world’s traffic or 38 full smartphones each day, or half of one full laptop of data on any given day.

Before  you breathe a sigh of relief, and think you are off the hook, remember these are the exact same people just this past March, who sat in a hearing room in the US capital and told Congress that the US was not collecting and storing any data on US citizens, and that the US had no plans to ever do so….. Just 5 months ago! 

Good chance that number is very low-ball of their capabilities.  Telling the truth is not one of the NSA’s strong points. 

 

“Watching you watching me / It’s so easy to see…/ Watching me watching you / It’s so obviously true”  Lyrics by Bill Withers… 

If there is anything one can gather from the Snowden release, it is that American media is severely compromised.

Here is the news we are constantly being given:

  • Interest and speculation on what Snowden must feel.
  • Speculation on where he might or might not go.
  • Speculation on what it must be like to live in an airport.
  • Breaking news of what Snowden’s father thinks and feels.
  • Reports on who back in Washington, feels he needs or needs not to be punished.
  • Accepting without question, the US Government’s case he is a spy, not a whistle blower.

=====

So here is what is not getting told.

A) Internet freedom is over.  Revelation that the US has the ability to read everything passing through the US, means that this connection is no longer trusted by the Chinese, the Russians, our economically competitive nations, those pirate sympathizers or people like you and me, who don’t want strangers accessing what we like to do when we have stripped off our professional skins and get down to being ourselves.

B) The Chinese have moved to seal off their own system. The Russians will have theirs up and running shortly. There will be soon be private enterprises who will set up secure connections that guarantee that no records will be given out based on the  model of the Swiss system of financial secrecy.

C) What this means, is that we revert back to the library system.  If you want to look up something in China, you will send a query, it will be approved as it leaves the US, it must be approved by the Chinese in order to enter, and it then gets directed to your party.  This requires human oversight, and will slow queries to weeks, instead of nano-seconds.  Same if you wish to find out something in Russia.  Heaven help us if a Chinese satellite breaks off course and drifts towards collision with the International Space station manned by Russians and Americans…  We’d never get the message.

D) We are hoping the US will be one monolithic entity under this, but imagine if it wasn’t.   Imagine if nothing liberal could be searched up in Texas?  Or nothing Conservative in Connecticut?

E) This is being effectively done, right now, and no news service in the US is reporting it.

F) Without Snowden we would not know that the NSA has been able to bend nine US internet companies to its demands for access to their users’ data.

G) Without Snowden we would not know that analysing data was not done by the NSA< but was  turned over to un-vetted private operators, such as employees of Booz Allen Hamilton.  Their employees had access to every email, every phone call,  every facebook account.   We would not know that half a million fellow citizens have high security clearances who shouldn’t.

H) Nor would there be a debate between Europe and the US over where the line between Freedom and security should lie.

i)  Control of the internet is about to get very contentious.  Knowing how the US and its internet corporations abused their control, certainly means the US cannot be counted on to oversea almost all of the junctions upon the net.   Google instead of being world wide, independent of the US government, is now seen as an express arm of that same government.  Yahoo, Verizon, AOL, Time-Warner, Microsoft, Comcast, all certainly cannot be trusted either…

J)  These revelations also damage the Obama administration’s credibility to its core. Proclaiming internet freedom in words, to cover up deeds on this gigantic scale, was an attempt to mislead.  Fully aware of the extent, and arguing for full internet freedom is equivalent of George Bush arguing for gentleness and amnesty towards Iraqi prisoners  to cover the atrocities of Abu Ghraib.

K)  Snowden’s revelations tell us that NO United States- based internet provider can be trusted with your privacy.  Nothing that is stored in their “cloud” services can be guaranteed to be safe from surveillance or from illicit downloading by employees of the consultancies employed by the NSA.  If you are a company thinking of using a US company for servicing your IT needs, you now know that all your trade secrets will be up for sale.

This means the golden years for US internet companies may have come to an end.  If not their end, then at least these companies must now scramble to quickly evolve into different entities if they wish to survive.

Perhaps Swiss law might be tweaked to allow secure servers to set up camp somewhere in the beautiful Alps, who for NO reason, will give out any information….

More jobs going overseas.

Why is this not being mentioned in American media?  Are our reporters really that stupid?  Is our press truly nothing but Luddites who blindly go where authority directs them to go and look for clues?

That could explain why we constantly hear about  speculation about Snowden’s travel plans, asylum requests, state of mind, physical appearance, etc. The “human interest” angle over here, has trumped the real story.

The real story is that the NSA revelations expressly tell us how our networked world actually works and they portend the direction to which it is heading.

I hope you enjoyed your freedom while you had it.  The internet is through,.. Welcome to the Age of Internets…..   That is the real story.

The sub-story is that the NSA lied in March and emphatically said: this program flat-out did not exist.  So when they say they only see phone numbers… ?

cough, cough…

The NSA does not yet have your passwords.  We know this because today word broke they were asking internet providers for them.  Whether this was for one or two suspects, or passwords for all the data they collect, no one is yet saying.

All the internet providers said no, thank goodness.   This will have to go through Congress now if it ever is to take place.  Perhaps with this revelation, it is the proper time for another House defunding bill to be proposed against the NSA… After all, how many attempts have been made to defund Obamacare or Planned Parenthood?  Unlimited. 

If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user!

Government orders demand not only a user’s password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt,  A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password.

Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google all confirmed they would not divulge this information. Not responding were Apple, Facebook, AOL, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast so you may have already been compromised.  There is a good chance these little companies don’t have the clout to stand up to government requests.

The big companies resisted the government’s requests by arguing that “you don’t have the right to operate the account as a person,” 

 

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