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Photo by: joanneleon.  May, 2013.


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Graham Parker and the Rumour - Stupefaction



News & Opinion


Update: Today's Guardian Liveblog Link

This is so reminiscent of the violent and coordinated "eviction" of Occupy Wall Street protesters from public parks.

Turkish police oust Taksim protesters with tear gas as Erdogan cheers removal of ‘rags’

Hundreds of Turkish police clashed with protesters after taking over Taksim Square in Istanbul. The raid allowed removal of barricades and banners. PM Erdogan praised the troops for removing the ‘rags’ as he branded the revolutionary symbols.
[...]
While the square itself saw relatively low level of violence during the first hours of the operation, the surrounding streets have become a place of serious confrontation, RT’s crew reports from the scene.


Tim Shorrock, author of "Spies for Hire" (which he says MSM is now ripping off without crediting him). This article is a must read, and after reading it, I think the book probably is too.  There are many billions at stake for the intelligence private sector, and those are the billions that we know about.  They suck at least 6 billion dollars from the taxpayers every year.  I think all of this would fall under the defense budget and we know that the Pentagon still cannot account for trillions spent there, so I think it is reasonable to believe that it's much more than 6 billion per year.  That is what is on the line for the people who want to convince you that turning this country and this world into a surveillance state is essential for your safety.  I'm dumbfounded by the fact that we're doing this and even more shocked that we would outsource so much of it.  I'll be writing a lot more about this "Digital Blackwater".

Meet the contractors analyzing your private data
Private companies are getting rich probing your personal information for the government. Call it Digital Blackwater

The revelation is not that surprising. With about 70 percent of our national intelligence budgets being spent on the private sector  – a discovery I made in 2007 and first reported in Salon – contractors have become essential to the spying and surveillance operations of the NSA.

From Narus, the Israeli-born Boeing subsidiary that makes NSA’s high-speed interception software, to CSC, the “systems integrator” that runs NSA’s internal IT system, defense and intelligence, contractors are making millions of dollars selling technology and services that help the world’s largest surveillance system spy on you. If the 70 percent figure is applied to the NSA’s estimated budget of $8 billion a year (the largest in the intelligence community), NSA contracting could reach as high as $6 billion every year.

But it’s probably much more than that.
[...]
With many of these contractors now focused on cyber-security, Hayden has even coined a new term — “Digital Blackwater” – for the industry. “I use that for the concept of the private sector in cyber,” he told a recent conference in Washington, in an odd reference to the notorious mercenary army. “I saw this in government and saw it a lot over the last four years. The private sector has really moved forward in terms of providing security,” he said. Hayden himself has cashed out too: He is now a principal with the Chertoff Group, the intelligence advisory company led by Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of Homeland Security.

[Emphasis added.]

Barton Gellman published this story about how Snowden came to him, and how he went to the government.  I think there is a lot more to it.  Glenn Greenwald said that what he said about Snowden going to Gellman first and then Greenwald afterward, is not true.  Charlie Savage of the NYT looked into that, and tweeted yesterday that he no longer believes Gellman's version of it.  The way that Gellman wrote this story, with the aura of a spy novel, is interesting.  During the past day, there are a lot of people trying to make this a story about Edward Snowden rather than a story about what he revealed.  
Code name ‘Verax’: Snowden, in exchanges with Post reporter, made clear he knew risks.

He called me BRASSBANNER, a code name in the double-barreled style of the National Security Agency, where he worked in the signals intelligence directorate.

Verax was the name he chose for himself, “truth teller” in Latin. I asked him early on, without reply, whether he intended to hint at the alternative fates that lay before him.
[...]
To effect his plan, Snowden asked for a guarantee that The Washington Post would publish — within 72 hours — the full text of a PowerPoint presentation describing PRISM, a top-secret surveillance program that gathered intelligence from Microsoft, Facebook, Google and other Silicon Valley giants. He also asked that The Post publish online a cryptographic key that he could use to prove to a foreign embassy that he was the document’s source.

I told him we would not make any guarantee about what we published or when. (The Post broke the story two weeks later, on Thursday. The Post sought the views of government officials about the potential harm to national security prior to publication and decided to reproduce only four of the 41 slides.)

Snowden replied succinctly, “I regret that we weren’t able to keep this project unilateral.” Shortly afterward he made contact with Glenn Greenwald of the British newspaper the Guardian.

Defeatism is Premature: You Better Fight for Your Right to Privacy
The pervasive surveillance state isn't inevitable unless we give up on opposing it.

Perhaps that is the future. But I grow frustrated with everyone resigning themselves to its inevitability. Nowhere is it written that we cannot protect our privacy going forward. As fully as was typical before the Internet era? Perhaps not. But can we avoid a pervasive surveillance state?

It is reasonable to suppose so if the present defeatism is shelved.

It isn't inconceivable to imagine significant advances in encryption, and a public thirst for dealing with firms who offer it; or a scandal that precipitates a new Church Committee report; or vesting Americans with a property right in their data; or mandating that Internet firms annually wipe clean most of what they collect; or simply putting severe restrictions on the types of data that government is permitted to access. I am painfully aware of the obstacles to these measures; I understand the seductive logic of permitting the security state to grow and grow.  



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