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For The Record  

FTR #807 Update on the Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Edward Snowden, unplugged

Introduction: This program brings up do date the massive series on “L’Affaire Snowden”–the intelligence operation fronted by “Eddie the Friendly Spook,” the Peach Fuzz Fascist.

An ultra-right winger, as well as a spy, Snowden has been engaged in an “op” with a number of goals in mind, including the destabilization of the Obama administration.

An Atlantic article notes a joint Brazilian/EU effort to build a Transatlantic fiber-optic cable to thwart U.S. surveillance and Merkel’s plans to create a data-secure EU internet structure. All of this supposedly in response to Snowden’s “disclosures.” As we have noted in the past, this is sheer nonsense.

Germany, EU countries and other major intelligence services do the same thing. Germany, Brazil and the EU have known of the NSA’s activities for years. Germany has been a long-standing partner with NSA. Snowden–whom we think is being directed by BND (as well as by an element of CIA)–engaged in his “op” in order to justify a pre-arranged economic offensive against the American IT sector! The article also notes that the invention of the Internet was a huge boon to the U.S. economy. As we noted in our series on Eddie the Friendly Spook, the Snowden “op” is an act of economic and political warfare against the United States.

Another article from Business Insider chronicles serious damage to the U.S. high-tech economy as a result of Snowden’s “op.”

The Turner Diaries and Hunter, published by Greenwald's client, the National Alliance

We also note that, per the latest Washington Post story on L’Affaire Snowden, Eddie the Friendly Spook turned over documents to Citizen Greenwald containing sensitive information about National security matters, as well as intimate information about regular citizens. As we noted in FTR #774, the Snowdenistas are blithely insensitive to the fact that NO ONE has vetted Snowden, Greenwald, Julian Assange and/or Wikileakers as worthy of being in receipt of such sensitive information about national security and private citizens’ intimate lives.

The Pierre Omidyar-funded “Intercept” features an article by Nazi fellow-traveler Citizen Greenwald in which he runs interference for Muslim Brotherhood operatives. The group includes CAIR co-founder Nihad Awad, who blamed the 1993 World Trade Center bombing on the Mossad and Egyptian Intelligence, as well as Faisal Gill, a protege of Grover Norquist and very much in the Al-Taqwa orbit.

Omidyar has supported brutal micro-finance programs in the Third World (acting in conjunction with Phoenix Program veteran Roy Prosterman), helped finance the fascist coup in Ukraine in 2014 and assisted in the election of Hindu nationalist/fascist Narendra Modi in India.

Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner from Luxembourg and an apparent puppet of Martin Selmayr is advocating the creation of an EU spy agency to do exactly the same thing as the NSA! Like Merkel and the other hypocrites and crybabies in Europe, she clearly does NOT object to what NSA and GCHQ do. She wants the EU to do the same thing!

In an attempt to stave off the ousting of CIA station chief in Berlin, Germany was offered inclusion in the Five Eyes Club and turned it down. One wonders what is going on behind the scenes and what they want in return?

In yet another example of the consummate hypocrisy manifested by Germany and the EU, it now emerges that Germany monitored phone calls by both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. It turns out that the material that “Markus R.” was giving to CIA were the transcripts of the BND phone calls by Clinton and Kerry, both relating to the Syrian civil war.

In our series on Eddie the Friendly Spook, we spent much time and discussion highlighting Palantir–the apparent maker of the PRISM software (their disclaimers to the contrary notwithstanding). We noted that the largest stockholder in both Palantir and Facebook is Ron Paul backer Peter Thiel, an explicit opponent of democracy (in part because he thinks women shouldn’t vote). We now learn–unsurprisingly–that Palantir (partly created with funds from the intelligence community) is collecting information on Facebook users for the military. Y-A-W-N.

Facebook’s new Messanger App requires a stunning degree of information surrendered by their users, realizing our forecast of Facebook as a virtual panopticon.

Program Highlights Include: Review of Glenn Greenwald’s Nazi connections; review of Snowden’s far-right political connections and views; review of the profound links between the Snowdenistas and WikiLeaks; review of Julian Assange’s far-right and fascist connections; review of Peter Thiel’s links to Facebook and Palantir.

1. An Atlantic article notes a joint Brazilian/EU effort to build a Transatlantic fiber-optic cable to thwart U.S. surveillance and Merkel’s plans to create a data-secure EU internet structure. All of this supposedly in response to Snowden’s “disclosures.” As we have noted in the past, this is sheer nonsense.

Germany, EU countries and other major intelligence services do the same thing. Germany, Brazil and the EU have known of the NSA’s activities for years. Germany has been a long-standing partner with NSA. Snowden–whom we think is being directed by BND (as well as by an element of CIA)–engaged in his “op” in order to justify a pre-arranged economic offensive against the American IT sector! The article also notes that the invention of the Internet was a huge boon to the U.S. economy. As we noted in our series on Eddie the Friendly Spook, the Snowden “op” is an act of economic and political warfare against the United States.

“The End of the Internet?” by Gordon M. Goldstein; The Atlantic; July/August 2014.

. . . . The Web’s growth has been broadly congenial to American interests, and a large boon to the American economy.

That brings us to Edward Snowden and the U.S. National Security Agency. Snowden’s disclosures of the NSA’s surveillance of international Web traffic have provoked worldwide outrage and a growing counterreaction. Brazil and the European Union recently announced plans to lay a $185 million undersea fiber-optic communications cable between them to thwart U.S. surveillance. In February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the European Union to create its own regional Internet, walled off from the United States. “We’ll talk to France about how we can maintain a high level of data protection,” Merkel said. “Above all, we’ll talk about European providers that offer security for our citizens, so that one shouldn’t have to send e-mails and other information across the Atlantic.”

Merkel’s exploration of a closed, pan-European cloud-computing network is simply the latest example of what the analyst Daniel Castro of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation calls “data nationalism,” a phenomenon gathering momentum whereby countries require that certain types of information be stored on servers within a state’s physical borders. The nations that have already implemented a patchwork of data-localization requirements range from Australia, France, South Korea, and India to Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, and Vietnam, according to Anupam Chander and Uyen P. Le, two legal scholars at the University of California at Davis. “Anxieties over surveillance … are justifying governmental measures that break apart the World Wide Web,” they wrote in a recent white paper. As a result, “the era of a global Internet may be passing.”

Security concerns have catalyzed data-nationalization efforts, yet Castro, Chander, and Le all question the benefits, arguing that the security of data depends not on their location but on the sophistication of the defenses built around them. Another motive appears to be in play: the Web’s fragmentation would enable local Internet businesses in France or Malaysia to carve out roles for themselves, at the expense of globally dominant companies, based disproportionately in the United States. Castro estimates that the U.S. cloud-computing industry alone could lose $22 billion to $35 billion in revenue by 2016.

The Snowden affair has brought to a boil geopolitical tensions that were already simmering. . . .

2. Another article from Business Insider chronicles serious damage to the U.S. high-tech economy as a result of Snowden’s “op.”

“New Report Shows Edward Snowden’s Revelations Are Seriously Damaging U.S. Tech Firms” by Eugene Kim; Business Insider; 7/30/014.

 The nonprofit New America Foundation released a new report this week that summarizes the impact of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelation on U.S. tech firms.
Within weeks of the first NSA revelation last year, companies like Dropbox and Amazon Web Services reported immediate drops in their sales, the report said. Citing a previous report, it said the NSA’s PRISM program could cost cloud-computing companies from $22 billion to $180 billion over the next three years.

“This erosion in trust threatens to do the most immediate damage to the cloud computing industry, which would lose billions of dollars in the next three to five years as a result,” it said.

In particular, U.S. tech firms are being severely hit in overseas markets, the report said. Companies such as Cisco, Qualcomm, IBM, Microsoft, and HP have all reported declines in sales in China following the NSA revelations. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, Cisco said it’s expecting roughly a 10% loss in quarterly revenue because of the “Snowden effect.” A web-hosting company called Servint reportedly lost more than half of its overseas clients following the revelation.

American firms are also losing the trust of foreign governments because of this. The German government said it would end its contract with Verizon last month, while Brazil picked Swedish firm Saab over Boeing for a deal to replace its fighter jets, according to the report. It said more and more foreign competitors are benefiting from the perceived image of being “NSA-proof” or “safer” than U.S. firms.

As a result, countries like Germany, Brazil, and India are close to enacting a new law that would require companies to use local data centers. For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after refusing to visit the U.S. for months after the NSA disclosures, has called for data localization laws. Brazil and India are proposing IT companies to either set up or keep their data centers within local boundaries, while Greece, Brunei, and Vietnam are following suit with similar measures, the report said.

All of this could slow the growth of the U.S. tech industry by as much as 4% and seriously undermine America’s credibility around the world, the report concluded.

3. We also note that, per the latest Washington Post story on L’Affaire Snowden, Eddie the Friendly Spook turned over documents to Citizen Greenwald containing sensitive information about National security matters, as well as intimate information about regular citizens. As we noted in FTR #774, the Snowdenistas are blithely insensitive to the fact that NO ONE has vetted Snowden, Greenwald, Julian Assange and/or Wikileakers as worthy of being in receipt of such sensitive information about national security and private citizens’ intimate lives.

“Civil Liberties Hero Edward Snowden Commits Massive Civil Liberties Violation” by Charles Johnson; Little Green Footballs; 7/6/2014

I can’t help noticing that the most important and troubling aspect of Barton Gellman’s new NSA story for the Washington Post is not even mentioned in the text: In NSA-Intercepted Data, Those Not Targeted Far Outnumber the Foreigners Who Are.

But first, here’s what is in the text:

Among the most valuable contents — which The Post will not describe in detail, to avoid interfering with ongoing operations — are fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.

Months of tracking communications across more than 50 alias accounts, the files show, led directly to the 2011 capture in Abbottabad of Muhammad Tahir Shahzad, a Pakistan-based bomb builder, and Umar Patek, a suspect in a 2002 terrorist bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali. At the request of CIA officials, The Post is withholding other examples that officials said would compromise ongoing operations.

Secret nuclear weapons projects, aggressive hackers, double-dealing by purported allies — why is it supposed to be evil and wrong for the NSA to uncover these kinds of things? Why in the world would anyone be upset that their communications were intercepted if it helps the US government discover a secret nuclear project?

If my emails are collected by the NSA as part of this effort, I say, “Go ahead, collect away.” Call me crazy, but I want the US government to discover these things before it’s too late.

Also note that this latest release absolutely debunks the constant claims by the Greenwald crew that the NSA’s programs have nothing to do with terrorism, or that they’re ineffective at uncovering terrorists.

But even more to the point, and the reason for my headline above: hasn’t Edward Snowden himself committed a truly massive violation of civil liberties, by handing over these legally collected and properly redacted private communications to journalists — and to Glenn Greenwald?

Many other files, described as useless by the analysts but nonetheless retained, have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless.

And now they’re in the hands of people like Glenn Greenwald, Jacob Applebaum, Julian Assange and who knows who else.

I’m continually amazed at the capacity of the civil libertarian crowd to blithely violate the civil liberties of others in their dead-end quest for a purist libertarian ideal.

4. Not surprisingly, Glenn Greenwald linked–unnecessarily–to Holocaust denier David Irving’s site.

“Glenn Greenwald Uses a Holocaust Denier as a Source, Then Denies It” by Charles Johnson; Little Green Footballs; 8/6/2014.

This morning when I looked in on Twitter, I noticed a tweet by author Jeremy Duns highlighting a comment made by Glenn Greenwald in February of this year:

Duns was actually pointing out Greenwald’s cozy relationship with another shady individual, but when I clicked on the tweet to see what Greenwald had written I was astonished to see it was a link to the website of infamous British Holocaust denier David Irving:

I’ve encountered this vile website many times over the years; Irving often copies entire news articles and posts them here, possibly to get people to link to his site without knowing what kind of site it is.

So it might be possible to call this an honest mistake… except for what happened next. Because when someone then challenged Greenwald about linking to a Holocaust denial site, he didn’t admit an error. Instead, he attacked and mocked the person pointing it out, then claimed he couldn’t find the article anywhere else — implying that he knew all along he was linking to a highly questionable source.

Well. When I saw that last tweet, challenging the object of Greenwald’s derision to find a link at The Independent, I quickly Googled the first sentence of the article, and look what popped up right away, at the Irish Independent: the very same article. Court Endorses Use of Torture to Obtain Terror Evidence – Independent.ie.

What was Greenwald’s response when this was pointed out to him? He just dropped it. No apology, no acknowledgment that he used a disreputable source, nothing.

So apparently, Greenwald quickly searched to find something that backed up his narrative, and didn’t really care what kind of source he found. His own tweets seem to indicate he knew he was sending people to David Irving’s site, but didn’t consider that important. Duns points out that this is a long-running pattern of the Mighty Greenwald’s:

And lest we forget, yours truly has also been a target of this sloppy unprofessional sourcing by Greenwald, when he attacked me by linking to a fake graphic at an extreme right wing site run by crazed stalkers.

Just another day in the life of the Ultimate Alpha, ushering in a brave new era of journalism.

5. The Pierre Omidyar-funded “Intercept” features an article by Nazi fellow-traveler Citizen Greenwald in which he runs interference for Muslim Brotherhood operatives. The group includes CAIR co-founder Nihad Awad, who blamed the 1993 World Trade Center bombing on the Mossad and Egyptian Intelligence, as well as Faisal Gill, a protege of Grover Norquist and very much in the Al-Taqwa orbit.

Omidyar has supported brutal micro-finance programs in the Third World (acting in conjunction with Phoenix Program veteran Roy Prosterman), helped finance the fascist coup in Ukraine in 2014 and assisted in the election of Hindu nationalist/fascist Narendra Modi in India.

“Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On” by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain; The Intercept; 7/9/2014.

. . . .According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the list of Americans monitored by their own government includes:

• Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;

• Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;

• Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;

• Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;

• Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country. [CAIR is very closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood–D.E.]. . . .

6. Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner from Luxembourg and an apparent puppet of Martin Selmayr is advocating the creation of an EU spy agency to do exactly the same thing as the NSA! Like Merkel and the other hypocrites and crybabies in Europe, she clearly does NOT object to what NSA and GCHQ do. She wants the EU to do the same thing!

“EU Should Create Own Spy Agency, Reding Says” by Andrew Rettman; EUobserver; 11/4/2013.

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding has said the Union should create its own intelligence service by 2020.

Speaking on Monday (4 November) to Greek daily Naftemporiki on the US snooping scandal, she said: “What we need is to strengthen Europe in this field, so we can level the playing field with our US partners.”

She added: “I would therefore wish to use this occasion to negotiate an agreement on stronger secret service co-operation among the EU member states – so that we can speak with a strong common voice to the US. The NSA needs a counterweight. My long-term proposal would therefore be to set up a European Intelligence Service by 2020.”

Revelations by US leaker Edward Snowden say America’s National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts millions of Europeans’ emails and phone calls. . . .

7. In an attempt to stave off the ousting of CIA station chief in Berlin, Germany was offered inclusion in the Five Eyes Club and turned it down. One wonders what is going on behind the scenes and what they want in return?

“U.S. Offered Berlin ‘Five Eyes’ Pact. Merkel Was Done With It” by Patrick Don­ahue and John Wal­cott; Bloomberg News; 7/12/2014.

U.S. Ambas­sador John Emer­son made his way to the For­eign Min­istry in Berlin armed with a plan to head off the worst diplo­matic clash of Angela Merkel’s chancellorship.

Emer­son came to the July 9 meet­ing with an offer autho­rized in Wash­ing­ton: pro­vide Ger­many a U.S. intelligence-sharing agree­ment resem­bling one avail­able only to four other nations. The goal was to assuage Merkel and pre­vent the expul­sion of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency’s chief of sta­tion in Berlin.

It wasn’t enough.

The same morn­ing, across the bound­ary once marked by the Berlin Wall, Merkel con­vened her top min­is­ters fol­low­ing the 9:30 a.m. Cab­i­net meet­ing on the sixth floor of the Chan­cellery and resolved to ask the U.S. intel­li­gence chief to leave Ger­man soil.

Merkel, who ulti­mately deter­mined the government’s course, had to act. Pub­lic and polit­i­cal pres­sure after more than a year of accu­sa­tions of Amer­i­can espi­onage over­reach, stoked by indig­na­tion at the lack of a suf­fi­cient response from Wash­ing­ton, had left the Ger­man gov­ern­ment with no alternative.

“We don’t live in the Cold War any­more, where every­body prob­a­bly mis­trusted every­body else,” Merkel, who has pre­vi­ously reserved her Cold War-mentality accu­sa­tions for Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, said in an inter­view with Ger­man broad­caster ZDF today.

No Trust

The spy­ing scan­dal has blown open a rift between the U.S. and Ger­many, a nation once under Amer­i­can tute­lage in the decades after World War II. The lat­est alle­ga­tions, involv­ing U.S. dou­ble agents, rekin­dled anger over the dis­clo­sure last year that Merkel’s mobile phone had been hacked by the U.S.

“The notion that you always have to ask your­self in close coop­er­a­tion whether the one sit­ting across from you could be work­ing for the oth­ers -– that’s not a basis for trust,” Merkel told ZDF. “So we obvi­ously have dif­fer­ent per­cep­tions and we have to dis­cuss that intensively.”

Merkel also sig­naled dis­plea­sure with U.S. spy­ing at a news con­fer­ence in Berlin on July 10. Within an hour, her office issued a state­ment say­ing that the two new inves­ti­ga­tions into U.S. cloak-and-dagger meth­ods, on top of “ques­tions over the past months” fol­low­ing leaks on National Secu­rity Agency activ­ity, forced the gov­ern­ment to take action.

Invited to Leave

At that point, the U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cer was invited to leave the coun­try rather than suf­fer the diplo­matic ignominy of being declared “per­sona non grata” and expelled under the Vienna Con­ven­tion. Merkel’s spokesman, Stef­fen Seib­ert, said yes­ter­day that the gov­ern­ment expected the uniden­ti­fied offi­cial to leave the coun­try “soon.”

The evic­tion was “a nec­es­sary step and a mea­sured response to the breach of trust that took place,” Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Frank-Walter Stein­meier told reporters yes­ter­day. He’ll meet U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry in Vienna tomor­row to dis­cuss the mat­ter on the side­lines of talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

The onus is on the U.S. to sug­gest solu­tions, and Ger­man offi­cials are wait­ing to hear what Kerry will pro­pose, accord­ing to a Ger­man diplo­mat who asked not to be iden­ti­fied dis­cussing the conflict.

The rev­e­la­tions at once dis­rupt the U.S. secu­rity rela­tion­ship with a core Euro­pean ally and expose Ger­man anx­i­ety over the bal­ance to strike between pri­vacy issues and com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism. Ham­burg was home to three of the Sept. 11, 2001, sui­cide pilots.

Intel­li­gence Sharing

The arrange­ment, ini­ti­ated in 1946 between the U.S. and U.K., calls for the U.S. and the other English-speaking coun­tries to share most of the elec­tronic inter­cepts and some of the other intel­li­gence they col­lect, with the under­stand­ing that they will limit their spy­ing on one another.

“We are not cur­rently look­ing to alter the Five Eyes struc­ture,” said Caitlin Hay­den, a spokes­woman for the White House’s National Secu­rity Coun­cil, in an e-mailed state­ment. “But we remain open to dis­cus­sions with our close allies and part­ners, includ­ing Ger­many, about how we can bet­ter coor­di­nate our intel­li­gence efforts.”

Post­war Ger­many has had a more mod­est intel­li­gence estab­lish­ment than the U.S. or U.K., focused largely on the for­mer East Ger­many and Soviet Union and on ter­ror­ist groups. Ger­man offi­cials balked at expand­ing their col­lec­tion and shar­ing under such an unwrit­ten arrange­ment, accord­ing to the U.S. official.

The alle­ga­tions of snoop­ing have par­tic­u­lar res­o­nance for Merkel, who lived for 35 years in com­mu­nist East Ger­many and who, as the daugh­ter of a Protes­tant pas­tor, endured spe­cial scrutiny from the state-security ser­vice, the Stasi.

Big ’If’

While German-U.S. rela­tions dipped dur­ing the 2003 Iraq war when Merkel’s pre­de­ces­sor, Ger­hard Schroeder, refused to join Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s coali­tion against Sad­dam Hus­sein, ties improved under Merkel. She was awarded the Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Free­dom by Obama in 2011.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest declined to com­ment on the details of the alle­ga­tions, telling reporters at the begin­ning of the week that accu­sa­tions over spy­ing were sub­ject to a “a big ‘if’.”

“We highly value the close work­ing rela­tion­ship we have with the Ger­mans on a wide range of issues,” Earnest said, “but par­tic­u­larly on secu­rity and intel­li­gence matters.”

U.S. law­mak­ers, includ­ing some fre­quently crit­i­cal of Obama, have been sim­i­larly reticent.

Law­mak­ers’ Concerns

“I don’t know how much the admin­is­tra­tion could have done to defuse this,” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ed Royce, the Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can who heads the House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee, said yes­ter­day at a break­fast with reporters hosted by the Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor. “Given the cir­cum­stances, the admin­is­tra­tion is attempt­ing at this time to deal with the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, and I’m hope­ful that they’re successful.”

Sen­a­tor Mark Udall, a Col­orado Demo­c­rat and Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee mem­ber, has told reporters that he was eager to learn more about the sit­u­a­tion at a clas­si­fied brief­ing for the panel mem­bers next week.

“I am con­cerned that we’re send­ing the wrong mes­sage to a key ally,” Udall said.

Before the cur­rent ten­sions, the U.S. and Ger­many had a his­tory of exten­sive intel­li­gence coop­er­a­tion. For many years, much of U.S. elec­tronic spy­ing on Iran was con­ducted out of a CIA sta­tion in Frank­furt known as Tefran, accord­ing to a for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cial who described the coop­er­a­tion on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Review Agree­ments

A num­ber of peo­ple in the U.S. gov­ern­ment say that, more than two decades after the Cold War ended, it’s time to con­sider agree­ments with more coun­tries to help track ter­ror­ists, weapons pro­lif­er­a­tion and espi­onage, accord­ing to U.S. offi­cials who asked not to be identified.

They said the con­flict with Ger­many also has under­scored con­cern that intel­li­gence agen­cies lack any good risk-assessment model to judge the ben­e­fits of oper­a­tions against friendly pow­ers against the poten­tial risks.

“This is so stu­pid,” Ger­man Finance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble, Germany’s longest-serving law­maker, said July 9, reflect­ing frus­tra­tion and amaze­ment about the turn of events in U.S.-German relations.

Schaeu­ble, who helped nego­ti­ate Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion 25 years ago this year, said, “It makes you want to cry.”

8a. In yet another example of the consummate hypocrisy manifested by Germany and the EU, it now emerges that Germany monitored phone calls by both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.

 “Report: German Intel Spied on Kerry, Clinton” by Frank Jordans; Associated Press ; 8/16/2014.

Germany’s for­eign intel­li­gence agency eaves­dropped on calls made by U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and his pre­de­ces­sor Hillary Clin­ton, Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

The respected news weekly reported that the agency, known by its Ger­man acronym BND, tapped a satel­lite phone con­ver­sa­tion Kerry made in 2013 as part of its sur­veil­lance of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in the Mid­dle East. The agency also recorded a con­ver­sa­tion between Clin­ton and for­mer U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan a year ear­lier, Der Spiegel claimed.

The mag­a­zine didn’t give a source for its infor­ma­tion, but said the calls were col­lected acci­den­tally, that the three offi­cials weren’t directly tar­geted, and the record­ings were ordered destroyed imme­di­ately. In Clinton’s case, the call report­edly took place on the same “fre­quency” as a ter­ror sus­pect, accord­ing to Der Spiegel.

The tap­ping of Clinton’s call was reported Fri­day by Ger­man pub­lic broad­caster ARD and Munich daily Sued­deutsche Zeitung.

If true, the rev­e­la­tions would be embar­rass­ing for the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, which has spent months com­plain­ing to Wash­ing­ton about alleged Amer­i­can spy activ­ity in Ger­many. Last year Ger­man media reports based on doc­u­ments leaked by for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den prompted a sharp rebuke from Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, who was allegedly among the U.S. intel­li­gence agency’s targets.

A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Berlin and the State Depart­ment in Wash­ing­ton declined to com­ment on the lat­est reports.

In its report Sat­ur­day, Der Spiegel also cited a con­fi­den­tial 2009 BND doc­u­ment list­ing fel­low NATO mem­ber Turkey as a tar­get for Ger­man intel­li­gence gathering.

The Ger­many intel­li­gence agency didn’t imme­di­ately respond to a request for com­ment Saturday.

8b. Here’s an inter­est­ing twist to the recent uproar over the BND spy that was caught sell­ing secrets to the CIA (lead­ing to the expul­sion of the CIA chief in Ger­many): One of the doc­u­ments the BND agent–Markus R–sold to the CIA was the tran­script of the recorded phone calls that the BND picked up between Hillary Clin­ton and Kofi Annan when Annan was giv­ing Hillary a brief­ing fol­low­ing nego­ti­a­tions with Syria.

After the chem­i­cal weapons attacks of August 2013, there was quite a bit of dis­cus­sion of Syr­ian offi­cial con­ver­sa­tions picked up by Ger­man intel­li­gence, and both Kerry’s and Clinton’s phone calls were appar­ently get­ting picked up while they were fly­ing over con­flict areas. So the CIA knew these satel­lite phone calls were get­ting picked up by the BND. Note that 2012 phone call between Clin­ton and Kofi Annan report­edly involved a brief­ing of Annan’s nego­ti­a­tions with Syria. Also note that Annan announced his res­ig­na­tion as the envoy to Syria in early August, 2012 and that Markus R. approached the CIA via email with his offer to sell the doc­u­ments in 2012.

If true, that would sug­gest that the CIA knew these phone calls were get­ting picked up by 2012, and yet the “acci­den­tal” cap­ture of Clinton’s and Kerry’s phone con­ver­sa­tions kept tak­ing place while they fly­ing over con­flict areas.

Those inercepted calls involved quite a bit of dis­cus­sion over how to address the Syr­ian chem­i­cal weapons sit­u­a­tion.

 The Ger­man For­eign Intel­li­gence Agency has admit­ted tap­ping “at least one” phone call each by cur­rent U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clin­ton while they were aboard United States gov­ern­ment jets, accord­ing to Ger­man media reports.

The reports claim Kerry’s inter­cepted com­mu­ni­ca­tion was a satel­lite phone call from the Mid­dle East in 2013. Clinton’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion was also a satel­lite call, in 2012, and was report­edly to then-United Nations Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Kofi Annan. Both calls were reported to have been inter­cepted acci­den­tally while Ger­man intel­li­gence was tar­get­ing ter­ror sus­pects in the Mid­dle East and north­ern Africa.

The intel­li­gence agency (the Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst or BND) told Ger­man media that ter­ror groups often use the same fre­quen­cies that the sec­re­taries’ phone calls were made over, so the calls were picked up. The calls were among what the Ger­man news­pa­per Sud­deutsche Zeitung said intel­li­gence sources described as sev­eral cases of U.S. offi­cial phone calls being picked up acci­den­tally dur­ing anti-terror com­mu­ni­ca­tions monitoring.

The BND is the Ger­man equiv­a­lent of the Amer­i­can Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. German-American rela­tions have chilled in the past year — since for­mer National Secu­rity Agency worker Edward Snow­den began leak­ing doc­u­ments detail­ing the extent of America’s global elec­tronic spy­ing and eaves­drop­ping pro­grams. Media reports about Snowden’s leaked doc­u­ments led to the rev­e­la­tion that Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s pri­vate cell­phone had been tappedsince the years when she was a lower rank­ing Ger­man min­is­ter, and con­tin­u­ing at least until the sum­mer of 2013.

The spy scan­dal includes the elec­tronic spy­ing on mil­lions of pri­vate emails and elec­tronic com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the tap­ping of offi­cial phones and even the hir­ing of Ger­man offi­cials to act as Amer­i­can agentsand pass on secret Ger­man gov­ern­ment information.

The news reports out­raged Ger­mans, lead­ing to favourable atti­tudes about the United States falling to their low­est lev­els in years and cre­at­ing a pub­lic and pri­vate sense of mis­trust. Merkel has repeat­edly called the U.S. spy pro­gram a breach of trust and noted that “friends don’t spy on friends.”

In a twist that con­nects this tale to the broader spy­ing scan­dal, the new reports note that after Clinton’s phone call was picked up, an order from the BND lead­er­ship was sent out to delete the com­mu­ni­ca­tion. But the Ger­man charged with delet­ing the con­ver­sa­tion was Markus R, who has been charged with sell­ing 218 secret offi­cial doc­u­ments to U.S. intel­li­gence and, rather than delet­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, sold the tran­script to his Amer­i­can con­tacts. Markus R, who under Ger­man law can­not be fully iden­ti­fied unless he is con­victed, allegedly made a total of €25,000, or about $32,500, by sell­ing the doc­u­ments to the CIA.

He has been charged with spy­ing for a for­eign intel­li­gence agency.

The BND denied that there was any sys­tem­atic phone tap­ping of U.S. offi­cials while admit­ting other phone calls had been swept up. Ger­man intel­li­gence offi­cials have told Ger­man media that the fre­quen­cies the Amer­i­can offi­cials use are also favourites of ter­ror groups in north­ern Africa and the Mid­dle East.

Both Kerry’s and Clinton’s phone calls were picked up while they were fly­ing over con­flict areas. The Ger­man phone-tapping pro­gram in the Mid­dle East is well known to U.S. offi­cials. Dur­ing the Syr­ian con­flict, and par­tic­u­larly after the chem­i­cal weapons attacks of August 2013, there was quite a bit of dis­cus­sion of Syr­ian offi­cial con­ver­sa­tions picked up by Ger­man intelligence.

9. In our series on Eddie the Friendly Spook, we spent much time and discussion highlighting Palantir–the apparent maker of the PRISM software (their disclaimers to the contrary notwithstanding). We noted that the largest stockholder in both Palantir and Facebook is Ron Paul backer Peter Thiel, an explicit opponent of democracy (in part because he thinks women shouldn’t vote). We now learn–unsurprisingly–that Palantir (partly created with funds from the intelligence community) is collecting information on Facebook users for the military. Y-A-W-N.
“The US mil­i­tary is Already Using Face­book to Track Your Mood” by Patrick Tucker; Quartz; 7/3/2014.

Crit­ics have tar­geted a recent study on how emo­tions spread on the pop­u­lar social net­work site Face­book, com­plain­ing that some 600,000 Face­book users did not know that they were tak­ing part in an exper­i­ment. Some­what more dis­turb­ing, the researchers delib­er­ately manip­u­lated users’ feel­ings to mea­sure an effect called emo­tional con­ta­gion.

Though Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity, home to at least one of the researchers, said the study received no exter­nal fund­ing, but it turns out that the uni­ver­sity is cur­rently receiv­ing Defense Depart­ment money for some extremely similar-sounding research—the analy­sis of social net­work posts for “sen­ti­ment,” i.e. how peo­ple are feel­ing, in the hopes of iden­ti­fy­ing social “tip­ping points.”

The tip­ping points in ques­tion include “the 2011 Egypt­ian rev­o­lu­tion, the 2011 Russ­ian Duma elec­tions, the 2012 Niger­ian fuel sub­sidy cri­sis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey,” accord­ing to the web­site of the Min­erva Ini­tia­tive, a Defense Depart­ment social sci­ence project.

It’s the sort of work that the US mil­i­tary has been fund­ing for years, most famously via the open-source indi­ca­tors pro­gram, an Intel­li­gence Advanced Research Projects Activ­ity (IARPA) pro­gram that looked at Twit­ter to pre­dict social unrest.

If the idea of the gov­ern­ment mon­i­tor­ing and even manip­u­lat­ing you on Face­book gives you a cold, creep­ing feel­ing, the bad news is that you can expect the intel­li­gence com­mu­nity to spend a great deal more time and money research­ing sen­ti­ment and rela­tion­ships via social net­works like Face­book. In fact, defense con­trac­tors and high-level USin­tel­li­gence offi­cials say that social net­work data has become one of the most impor­tant tools they use in the col­lect­ing intelligence.

Defense One recently caught up with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the direc­tor of the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency who said the US mil­i­tary has “com­pletely revamped” the way it col­lects intel­li­gence around the exis­tence of large, openly avail­able data sources and espe­cially social media like Face­book. “The infor­ma­tion that we’re able to extract form social media—it’s giv­ing us insights that frankly we never had before,” he said.

In other words, the head of one of the biggest US mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agen­cies needs you on Facebook.

“Just over a decade ago, when I was a senior intel­li­gence offi­cer, I spent most of my time in the world of ‘ints’—signals intel­li­gence imagery, human intelligence—and used just a lit­tle bit of open-source infor­ma­tion to enrich the assess­ments that we made. Fast for­ward to 2014 and the explo­sion of the infor­ma­tion envi­ron­ment in just the last few years alone. Open-source now is a place I spend most of my time. The open world of infor­ma­tion pro­vides us most of what we need and the ‘ints’ of old, they enrich the assess­ments that we’re able to make from open-source information.”

Open-source intel­li­gence can take a vari­ety of forms, but among the most volu­mi­nous, per­sonal and use­ful is Face­book and Twit­ter data. The avail­abil­ity of that sort of infor­ma­tion is chang­ing the way that DIA trains intel­li­gence oper­a­tives. Long gone are the spooks of old who would fish through trash for clues on tar­gets. Here to stay are the eyes look­ing through your vaca­tion pictures.

“We train them dif­fer­ently even than we did a year ago because of the types of tools we have. There are adjust­ments to the trade craft, and that’s due to the amount of infor­ma­tion we can now get our hands on,” Flynn said.

The growth of social media has not just changed day-to-day life at agen­cies like DIA, it’s also given rise to a mini gold rush in defense con­tract­ing. The mil­i­tary will be spend­ing an increas­ing amount of the $50 bil­lion intel­li­gence bud­get on pri­vate con­trac­tors to per­form open-source intel­li­gence gath­er­ing and analy­sis, accord­ing to Flynn. That’s evi­denced by the rise in com­pa­nies eager to pro­vide those services.

Some of them are well known like Palan­tir, the Sil­i­con Val­ley data visu­al­iza­tion giant that’s been fea­tured promi­nently in Bloomberg Busi­ness­week and has graced the cover of ForbesCol­lect­ing or ana­lyz­ing social net­work data wasn’t some­thing they orig­i­nally wanted to get into accord­ing to Bryant Chung, a Palan­tir employee. Palan­tir doesn’t mar­ket itself as a data col­lec­tion com­pany. They pro­vide a tool set to help agen­cies visu­al­ize and share data.

The com­pany wor­ried that part­ner­ing with the intel­li­gence com­mu­nity to do social net­work data col­lec­tion could hurt their rep­u­ta­tion among the tech com­mu­nity, increas­ingly wary of the gov­ern­ment, accord­ing to Chung. When the com­pany was approached by NATO and some US intel­li­gence groups, they decided to explore the mar­ket­place for sen­ti­ment analy­sis of social net­work data.

“There are a lot of other com­mer­cial com­pa­nies already in that space. Unless we know we’re going to crush it, we don’t want to get in,” Chung said. “I think we have a dif­fer­en­ti­ated capa­bil­ity, espe­cially at a macro level. For exam­ple, you are inter­ested in mon­i­tor­ing an elec­tion some­where in Africa and you want to know who are the peo­ple tweet­ing on one side of an elec­tion ver­sus the other, or who are the most influ­en­tial tweet­ers or you what if you have intel­li­gence that an explo­sion is about to hap­pen at a par­tic­u­lar square, can you con­firm that using Tweets?” That’s the sort of thing Palan­tir wants to help you with.

Many of the groups doing this sort of work on behalf of the gov­ern­ment are small out­fits you prob­a­bly have never heard of. And ide­ally, you never would.

One of them is a com­pany out of Austin, Texas, called Snap­Trends, founded in 2012. They pro­vide a “social lis­ten­ing” ser­vice that ana­lyzes posts to pro­vide insights about the cir­cum­stances of the poster, one of the most impor­tant of which is the poster’s loca­tion. The com­pany uses cell tower den­sity, social net­work knowhow, and var­i­ous other ele­ments to fig­ure out who is post­ing what and where. Are you some­one who refuses to geo-tag your tweets out of con­cerns for pri­vacy? Do you turn off your phone’s GPS receiv­ing capa­bil­ity to stay under the prover­bial radar? It doesn’t mat­ter to SnapTrends.

One tweet and they can find you.

“If it’s a dense envi­ron­ment. I can put you within a block. If it’s a [bad] envi­ron­ment I can put you within two or three blocks,” said Todd Robin­son, direc­tor of oper­a­tions for Defense Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence for the com­pany Gen­eral Dynam­ics Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, GDIT, and Snap­Trends pres­i­dent for Mid­dle East­ern oper­a­tions. GDIT part­nered with Snap­Trends to sell their ser­vices to the gov­ern­ment. “Once I do have you, I click this but­ton right here, I can go back five years [of social media posts.]”

Snap­Trends says that the tool was extremely help­ful in the inves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb attacks. Using social net­work analy­sis, “we found the col­lege kids that had access to the com­put­ers [owned by the sus­pects]. We were able to get to them first,” said Robins.

The use of social net­work data for intel­li­gence isn’t just fair, Rob­bins says, it’s a no-brainer. Scrawl­ing Face­book for clues about human behav­ior doesn’t require break­ing in via back­doors or other elab­o­rate pieces of tech­no­log­i­cal trick­ery. “When you join Twit­ter and Face­book, you sign an agree­ment say­ing you will post that to a pub­lic web page. We just pull data from that web page.”

”I’m a retired intel­li­gence guy,” he said. “This is not that dif­fi­cult, people.

But while social data may be an impor­tant tool in intel­li­gence col­lec­tion, it’s hardly a per­ma­nent one.

In the same way that observ­ing the behav­ior of some sub­atomic par­ti­cles changes the behav­ior of those par­ti­cles (called the observer effect), watch­ing the tweets and posts of tar­gets can cre­ate an envi­ron­ment where peo­ple tweet less. You poi­son your own well by draw­ing from it. That hap­pens on an indi­vid­ual level in terms of spe­cific human tar­gets but also on a larger, soci­etal level.

“We’ve seen that already,” Robin­son said. “There is always a risk that as peo­ple under­stand this, they’ll quit putting [posts] on there.”

The view was sec­onded by Snap­Trends co-founder and­ CEO, Eric Klas­son. “The more the ‘bad guys’ know about what is pos­si­ble, the less they will use social media. This under­mines state, local, fed­eral and inter­na­tional law enforce­ment efforts,” he told Defense One.

When asked if he was con­cerned that peo­ple might stop using Face­book, Twit­ter and other social net­works as a result of US intel­li­gence activ­i­ties, Flynn answered matter-of-factly: “Yes.” . . . .

10. In a breathtakingly creepy invasion of privacy, Facebook is forcing all smartphone users to install a new messaging app. The Android version of the app — and to a lesser extent the iPhone version as well — allows Facebook to access your phone camera and record audio, call and send messages without your permission, identify details about you and all your contacts, and send that info on to third parties.

If you want to carry on sending and receiving messages on Facebook you now have no choice but to install Facebook Messenger – and give the company access to a wealth of personal data stored on your phone.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has also admitted that his long-term plan is to ‘monetize’ the app.

 “Facebook’s Messenger App Has a Significant Amount of Access to Your Smartphone” by Patrick O’Rourke; o.canada.com; 7/31/2014.

Facebook’s Messenger app, which will soon be the only way to use the social media platform’s popular messaging service, apparently wants access to a great deal of the personal information stored on your smartphone, just like many popular free messaging and social applications.

Facebook says their Messenger app is designed to improve the user’s experience and that it will actually increase messaging speed by 20 per cent; it will also likely make your life slightly more complicated.

Facebook’s Messenger application, requires more memory, data and battery life than the standalone Facebook application, according to recent tests, and also, at least according to the app’s terms of service, has the ability to view a significant amount of your personal data.

Below is a copy of the privacy concerns you likely clicked through without reading when you first downloaded the application; because who reads those anyways (although we all should):

Identity: Uses one or more of: accounts on the device, profile data

Contacts/Calender: Uses one of more of: Calender contact information

Location: Uses the device’s location

Uses one or more of: SMS, MMS. Charges may apply

Phone: Uses one of more of: phone, call log. Charges may apply

Photos/Media/Files: Uses one or more of: Files on the device such as images, videos or audio, the device’s external storage

Camera/Microphone: Uses one or more of: Camera(s), microphone(s)

Wi-Fi connection information: Allows the app to view information about Wi-Fi networking, such as whether Wi-Fi is enabled and names of connected Wi-Fi devices.

Device ID & call information: Allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active and the remote number connected by a call

Also, it’s important to point out that since the app’s initial release, the wording in Facebook Messenger’s terms of service has been changed to sound slightly less ominous: here’s what it used to look like, according to the Huffington Post.

facebook permissions

Facebook Messenger’s permissions, just like many free messaging apps, are invasive.

While the invasive nature of Facebook Messenger is nothing new, since no free app is ever truly “free,” the level of access Messenger has to the your phone remains shocking. Popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Yo, SnapChat and even Canadian-developed messaging application Kik, as well as most messaging services, all demand similar access to information, a requirement of Android’s permission system, which can be found at this link. . . .

Discussion

7 comments for “FTR #807 Update on the Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook”

  1. Der Spiegel quoted Turkey’s former deputy head of government Ertugrul Yalcinbayir as saying his country had long suspected they were being spied on by Germany and other nations. “Now we need a no-spy deal,” he said:

    REPORT: Germany Has Been Spying On Turkey For The Past Four Decades
    Madeline Chambers, Reuters

    Aug. 24, 2014, 8:12 AM

    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey for nearly four decades, Focus magazine said on Saturday in a report which could raise tensions further between the NATO allies.

    The details about the duration of possible surveillance and on the decision-making surrounding it go further than first reports earlier this week.

    Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador in Ankara on Monday after media reports that Berlin had identified Ankara as a top target of surveillance in a government document from 2009 and had been spying on Turkey for years.

    Focus magazine said the BND intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey since 1976 and that the German government under the then Social Democrat chancellor Helmut Schmidt had expressly approved the step.

    The magazine also cited government sources as saying the BND’s current mandate to monitor Turkish political and state institutions had been agreed by a government working group. That included representatives of the chancellor’s office, the defence, foreign and economy ministries.

    A spokesman for the German government declined to comment on the report.

    The report is a further embarrassment for Angela Merkel’s government which faces accusations of hypocrisy because of its outrage over allegations of widespread surveillance by the United States on Germans, including the tapping of the chancellor’s phone.

    However, conservative lawmaker Hans-Peter Uhl told Focus there were “good reasons” for the BND to bug Turkey. He cited human trafficking, drugs and terrorism as issues of concern and his comments chime with the views of many German politicians.

    “We need to know what is coming to us from EU-applicant Turkey,” Focus quoted him as saying.

    Germany is Turkey’s largest trading partner in the European Union and home to at least three million Turks. But relations are not always smooth. Merkel’s conservatives are sceptical about Turkish EU membership.

    Der Spiegel quoted Turkey’s former deputy head of government Ertugrul Yalcinbayir as saying his country had long suspected they were being spied on by Germany and other nations.
    “Now we need a no-spy deal,” he said.

    Der Spiegel magazine reported that the BND has also targeted Albania, another member of NATO, for surveillance.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 27, 2014, 9:36 am
  2. It looks like the spying row between Germany and Turkey has moved past the “we want a no-spy agreement”-phase and arrived at the “ok, we’re just going to counter-spy in retaliation”-phase:

    Hit back if Germany is spying on Turkey, Turkish minister tells intel agency

    DENIZLI – Dogan News Agency
    August/30/2014

    A Turkish minister has criticized the country’s national intelligence agency over recent reports of German spying, urging them to fight back the espionage attempts.

    “If the German intelligence eavesdrops on Turkey, the job of our intelligence agency is to prevent them from doing so,” Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi told reporters in the western province of Denizli late Aug. 29.

    And in retaliation, our intelligence should eavesdrop on them. Although we are allies [with Germany], this is what I think on the issue. If there is an order to spy on the prime ministers, the ministers, this has no place in friendship, but you shall not let them spy on you,” the minister said.

    Meanwhile, Interior Minister Efkan Ala met his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, in Ankara Aug. 30, and voiced Ankara’s concerns over the spying reports.

    “I told the esteemed minister that such things cannot be accepted,” Ala said at a joint press conference after the meeting. “We agreed [with Maiziere] that our intelligence units will come together to resolve the issue.”

    Maiziere said he understood the questions and concerns of Ankara.

    “Intelligence is never openly shared with the public,” the German minister said. “It is also not possible to discuss such an issue openly in press conferences. Our intelligence units will come together and take the issue off the agenda as soon as possible,” he added.

    Ala said Turkey and Germany have strong ties and the interior ministers of the two countries will meet once a year to directly resolve problems.

    On Aug. 18, Turkey summoned the German ambassador and called for a full explanation following Der Spiegel magazine’s report that the BND foreign intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey for years and identified Ankara as a top surveillance target in an internal government document from 2009.

    Turkey’s Foreign Ministry described the report as “absolutely unacceptable,” if true.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 1, 2014, 3:21 pm
  3. No comment redux:

    TODAY’S ZAMAN
    US refuses to comment on alleged spying on Turkey
    September 02, 2014, Tuesday
    17:50:28
    ISTANBUL

    The United States government has refused to respond to claims that it spied on Turkey made based on documents from the archive of US whistleblower Edward Snowden seen by German magazine Der Spiegel.

    White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden stated that she would not comment on issues related to US intelligence on Tuesday.

    According to the documents, Turkey was both a partner of the US — with Washington closely cooperating with Ankara in its fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — and a leading target of US spying.

    An official from the US State Department, who wished to remain anonymous, told Cihan News Agency on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama had previously ordered officials to review their intelligence methods after spying scandals broke in the country. The official claimed that Obama had expressed concerns about eavesdropping issues during his speech at the US Department of Justice on Jan. 17.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan downplayed the allegations that Germany and the US have been eavesdropping on Turkey, saying that such eavesdropping is relatively normal and adding that Turkish officials will discuss the subject with the leaders of these countries.

    Before paying his first official visit as president to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), Erdogan told journalists at the airport on Monday: “I’ll tell you there is no such thing, for a country with a strong intelligence organization, as not eavesdropping on various countries in the world. All of them do it somehow.

    Erdogan also said that what is important is who is doing what, with which methods, and how they disclose this intelligence. Recalling that this week he will be meeting with world leaders during a NATO summit in Wales, as well as later in the month at the United Nations summit in New York, Erdogan stressed that he will raise these issues.

    Erdogan added that he thinks such allegations that threaten world peace should be kept under control, but chose not to elaborate further.

    On Sunday, Der Spiegel published a lengthy report claiming that Germany is not the only Western country whose intelligence agency has spied on Turkey, according to documents from the archive of US whistleblower Snowden. The Der Spiegel report claimed that the US and the UK have also spied on Turkey.

    Indicating the depth of the cooperation, Der Spiegel wrote: “The [National Security Agency] NSA even delivered its Turkish partners the mobile phone location data of PKK leaders on an hourly basis. … The US government also provided the Turks with information about PKK money flows and the whereabouts of some of its leaders living in exile abroad.”

    Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç told the Turkish press on Monday that the outgoing chargé d’affaires at the US Embassy in Ankara, Jess Bailey, was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry early on Monday morning to discuss the allegations of eavesdropping on Turkey.

    Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç issued a statement saying that the relevant Turkish authorities are looking into the allegations about the intelligence activities of the US government on Turkey that were published in the German press. “If the allegations are true, clearly such activities cannot be accepted in any way between two friends, or indeed any countries,” said Bilgiç.

    He also said that Turkey expects the US to investigate these allegations, and if they are true, then the US must end these activities that directly target Turkey’s state institutions and foreign missions.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 2, 2014, 10:44 am
  4. “I would say of all the facts that have driven this episode over the last year, the most under-appreciated one is this: what a conservative whistleblower Edward Snowden is,” says Greenwald. “The reason for that is because he was so adamant about what his goal was: not to unilaterally destroy the NSA or the programs he revealed but to let Americans meaningfully debate them. That’s why he feels so vindicated. … I probably would have been more aggressive if I’d had a different source.” It sounds like Greenwald has been going easy on the NSA this whole time. Yowza:

    Politico
    Has Greenwald, Inc. Peaked?

    Thanks to Ed Snowden, Glenn Greenwald went from blogging to the big time. But his stock may be dropping fast.

    By MICHAEL HIRSH

    September 03, 2014

    For about a year, the global enterprise you might call Glenn Greenwald, Inc. has been taking off like a red-hot app. The question now is whether the sudden rise of Greenwald—a 47-year-old lawyer-cum-activist from Queens by way of George Washington University—will soon follow the course of most Information Age startups: Boom. Bust. Bye.

    Only a year and a half ago, Greenwald was a left-wing blogger who was known mainly to a devoted band of online followers for his invariably harsh view of American national security policy and fierce advocacy of openness in government. Among those who was said to follow Greenwald’s writings was a discontented digital operative working deep inside what both he and Greenwald viewed as a Big Brother-style surveillance state. That guy’s name was Edward Snowden.

    Looking back, Greenwald believes that he and Snowden have profoundly changed the global conversation about state surveillance and how the media covers it. “There’s been a really significant consciousness shift in the way people see the role that the United States plays in the world,” Greenwald said in a telephone interview from his office in Brazil over the summer. He pointed to a Pew Research poll in July that detailed the impact of “the Snowden effect,” noting that because of the NSA revelations “admiration for America’s respect for the personal freedoms of its own people has gone down significantly in 22 of 36 nations.” Asked whether it bothered him that he had helped to damage America’s brand — considering that the successor to claimant of sole superpower someday could be China or some even less freedom-loving country than the United States—Greenwald suggested that he has a higher calling than mere patriotism. “I look at the work I do and the effect it has on world, not as an American citizen,” he said.

    Greenwald also believes that his kind of “activist journalism” is coming to be seen as a legitimate alternative to the pretensions of the traditional media, which still tries for an objectivity and even-handedness that, he said, can’t ever be achieved. Increasingly, whistleblowers like Snowden will leak to journalists like him who have an agenda, rather than to traditional organizations that strive to be fair to governments as well as to those who expose their secrets, Greenwald says. As evidence, he pointed to a much-shared debate he had last year with Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times, over the “future of journalism.”

    “Five years ago Bill Keller never would have acknowledged that someone like me, who got his start on the Internet, even existed,” Greenwald said.That’s changing now because today’s leakers, like Snowden, want a sympathetic ear—like him. “Snowden decided the Times had been too accommodating and close to the government,” he said. Not surprisingly, Greenwald, Inc. is now laying grand plans for the future production of Snowdens. “I think one of most exciting things about the Snowden revelations is that we created a template for other people to come forward with blowing the whistle,” he says. “I provided the template for vigorously defending my source and story, and aggressive reporting, and a big part of what I want to do is nurture that model.”

    In late July Omidyar announced on his blog that he was no longer as intent on creating a “big flagship website” for First Look Media, saying, “We have definitely rethought some of our original ideas and plans.” The founder said that instead he wanted to “test more ideas” for reaching a “mass audience.” Asked whether the new company was wavering or uncertain of its mission, Greenwald said that Omidyar is “more committed than ever to building the Intercept … People instinctively look for evidence of ‘wavering’ with new enterprises — it’s the human desire to see others fail — but anyone looking for that here is going to be sorely disappointed.”

    Greenwald also denies deliberately dribbling out information to promote himself or his book, saying the sporadic nature of the Snowden disclosures has a lot more to do with the time it takes to understand them. “One of things I don’t think is quite appreciated by some people is that the archive we were given is vast in size,” he said. “The documents are extremely complicated. Many of them take multiple times to read before you can understand what they are.” (He added that there is no conflict of interest in the Omidyar fund’s legal support of his domestic partner, saying he merely asked Omidyar to take up the funding of the lawsuit when his former employer, the Guardian, said it could no longer pay the legal fees after Greenwald left the newspaper.)

    Greenwald, however, admits that he’s ready to move onto other stories besides the NSA.

    Snowden, of course, won’t be able to do that—perhaps ever. He may spend the rest of his life as a Russian exile (his visa was extended at the end of July, and given Putin’s current animus toward Washington over Ukraine, it wouldn’t be surprising if it were renewed again). Still, Greenwald says, he finds that Snowden is considered a hero wherever he goes (outside of the United States), and both of them only want to give the public what it deserves to know. “I would say of all the facts that have driven this episode over the last year, the most under-appreciated one is this: what a conservative whistleblower Edward Snowden is,” says Greenwald. “The reason for that is because he was so adamant about what his goal was: not to unilaterally destroy the NSA or the programs he revealed but to let Americans meaningfully debate them. That’s why he feels so vindicated. … I probably would have been more aggressive if I’d had a different source.”

    If you’re wondering how much more “aggressive” Greenwald could get in his reporting….he could probably get a lot more aggressive.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 4, 2014, 7:21 pm
  5. It looks like Switzerland’s booming data privacy industry might be getting a local mascot:

    The Independent
    Switzerland ‘could grant Edward Snowden asylum if he testifies against NSA’

    Natasha Culzac Author Biography

    Monday 08 September 2014

    Switzerland would grant Edward Snowden asylum if he revealed the extent of espionage activities by the US government, recommendations by the Swiss Attorney General reportedly conclude.

    According to Swiss newspaper Sonntags Zeitung, an official has said that Mr Snowden should be guaranteed safe entry and residency in the country, in return for his knowledge on America’s intelligence activities.

    Last month, Mr Snowden was told he was told he could remain in Russia for another three years.

    He was not granted political asylum, but again awarded temporary residence as an extension of the one-year visa given to him last summer.

    In the Swiss document, the question “What rules would apply if Edward Snowden is brought to Switzerland and the United States makes an extradition request?” was posed, leading officials to consider the diplomatic headache that would follow their acceptance of Mr Snowden as political refugee.

    In it, four possibilities were reportedly examined, with the Attorney General stating that he would be interested in a testimony by Mr Snowden against the National Security Agency (NSA) and his full disclosure of its widespread surveillance.

    Mr Snowden’s participation could be part of criminal proceedings or as part of a parliamentary inquiry, Swiss paper Le Matin says, and that extradition would be rejected if the country thinks it is being sought on political grounds or if the former assistant at the CIA faces the death penalty at home.

    The report also states that the Swiss Office of Attorney General’s Ministry of Public Confederation (MPC) is investigating the activities of “foreign states in Switzerland” including activities such as espionage.

    As reported by Der Bund, however, the report does acknowledge that “upper-level government commitments” could create an obstacle.

    Mr Snowden’s Swiss lawyer Marcel Bosonnet reportedly welcomed the conclusions, saying: “The legal requirements for safe conduct are met”, and said that Mr Snowden is interested in applying for asylum.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 8, 2014, 2:37 pm
  6. Here’s an update on Snowden’s odds of finding asylum in Switzerland: According to the Swiss public prosecutor, Snowden would probably not be extradited to the US because of the “political character” of charges of treason and divulging state secrets. But he also probably wouldn’t be granted political asylum because he has already been given a three-year residency from Russia, although that decision would ultimately be up to the government and justice officials. So will Snowden have future adventures in Switzerland? The message from the Swiss prosecutors sure sound like a big “maybe, possibly, we’ll see…”:

    Swiss say would shield Snowden from ‘political’ extradition to U.S.

    ZURICH Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:55pm EDT

    (Reuters) – Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden could be granted safe passage in Switzerland if he helped a potential criminal inquiry into U.S. spying there, the Swiss public prosecutor’s office said on Monday.

    He would probably not be extradited to the United States if Washington asked, but it was also unlikely that he would be granted political asylum, according to a document laying out Switzerland’s legal options if Snowden were to visit.

    The prosecutor’s office, which provided the document to Reuters, stressed the issue was “purely hypothetical” because Snowden had not been invited to come from his current refuge in Russia. It had no further comment.

    The document was leaked last week and prompted a lively debate in the Swiss media.

    GENEVA CIA ACTIVITIES

    According to the three-page Swiss document, “Edward Snowden could be assured of free movement by the federal prosecutor if he cooperated with a criminal investigation” into U.S. spy activities he says he learned about while working in Geneva.

    Switzerland would not comply with a U.S. extradition request if he is accused of treason or divulging state secrets because such charges would have a “political character” under Swiss law, the document said.

    The guarantee for Snowden’s free passage in Switzerland could be trumped by “higher state obligations” such as a treaty, the document said, adding this required more study.

    Marcel Bosonnet, Snowden’s lawyer in Switzerland, did not comment on the document.

    The prosecutors said Snowden was not likely to be granted asylum in Switzerland because he has already been given a three-year residency in Russia last month.

    The decision on whether to grant Snowden asylum in Switzerland ultimately lies with the government and with justice officials.

    Snowden worked as a computer technician for the Central Intelligence Agency in the U.S. mission to the United Nations in Geneva between 2007 and 2009.

    He has told London’s Guardian newspaper he had a “formative” experience in the Swiss city when the CIA deliberately got a Swiss banker drunk and encouraged him to drive home.

    When he was arrested, a CIA operative offered to intervene and later recruited the banker, Snowden has claimed. Some Swiss officials have questioned if the incident ever happened.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 16, 2014, 4:41 pm
  7. Here’s another reminder that the anti-NSA policies of foreign governments may not necessarily be anti-surveillance policies: “Foreign suppliers may be able to avoid replacement if they share their core technology or give China’s security inspectors access to their products, the people said. The technology may then be seen as safe and controllable, they said.”:

    Bloomberg News
    China is Planning to Purge Foreign Technology and Replace With Homegrown Suppliers
    By Bloomberg News Dec 18, 2014 3:13 AM CT

    China is aiming to purge most foreign technology from banks, the military, state-owned enterprises and key government agencies by 2020, stepping up efforts to shift to Chinese suppliers, according to people familiar with the effort.

    The push comes after a test of domestic alternatives in the northeastern city of Siping that was deemed a success, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public. Workers there replaced Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Windows with a homegrown operating system called NeoKylin and swapped foreign servers for ones made by China’s Inspur Group Ltd., they said.

    The plan for changes in four segments of the economy is driven by national security concerns and marks an increasingly determined move away from foreign suppliers under President Xi Jinping, the people said. The campaign could have lasting consequences for U.S. companies including Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), Intel Corp. (INTC) and Hewlett-Packard Co.

    “The shift is real,” said Charlie Dai, a Beijing-based analyst for Forrester Research Inc. “We have seen emerging cases of replacing foreign products at all layers from application, middleware down to the infrastructure software and hardware.”

    Security Panel

    China is moving to bolster its technology sector after Edward Snowden revealed widespread spying by the U.S. National Security Agency and accused the intelligence service of hacking into the computers of Tsinghua University, one of the China’s top research centers. In February, Xi called for faster development of the industry at the first meeting of his Internet security panel.

    Foreign suppliers may be able to avoid replacement if they share their core technology or give China’s security inspectors access to their products, the people said. The technology may then be seen as safe and controllable, they said.

    China ranks second behind the U.S. in technology spending, with outlays rising 8.1 percent to $182 billion last year, according to research firm IDC. The U.S. spent $656 billion, a 4.2 percent increase over 2012.

    The push to develop local suppliers comes as Chinese regulators have pursued anti-trust probes against western companies, including Microsoft and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) Recent months have seen Microsoft’s China offices raided, Windows 8 banned from government computers and Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPads excluded from procurement lists.

    Trade War

    “I see a trade war happening. This could get ugly fast, and it has,” said Ray Mota, chief executive officer of Gilbert, Arizona-based ACG Research, who expects the issue to result in direct talks between the U.S. and China. “It’s not going to be a technology discussion. It’s going to be a political discussion.”

    In September, the China Banking Regulatory Commission ordered banks and finance agencies to ensure that at least 75 percent of their computer systems used safe technology by 2019. The regulator called on financial institutions to dedicate at least 5 percent of their IT budgets towards the goal.

    While the CBRC policy doesn’t make a distinction between foreign and domestic products, it says banks must favor companies who share their “core knowledge and key technology.” It also cautions banks from relying too heavily on one supplier.

    Chinese firms, like Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. (000063), have already begun to gain local market share at foreign rivals’ expense.

    Inspur Group’s Inspur Electronic Information Industry Co. (000977) rose as much as 2.6 percent in Shenzhen before closing 1.5 percent higher at 39.54 yuan.

    Beijing Orient National Communication Science & Technology Co. (300166), a provider of software products to phone companies and financial institutions, climbed 9.9 percent to the highest since its January 2011 listing. Sinodata Co. (002657), which provides technology services to the banking sector, added 9.8 percent.

    Military Order

    About 80 percent of banks’ core servers and systems are made by foreign brands, Yan Qingmin, a CBRC vice chairman, said Nov. 27 at a conference in Beijing sponsored by the news magazine Caijing.

    “Most of China’s financial IT systems are from foreign countries,” Yan said. “From the perspective of national security, it poses potential threats to us.”

    The CBRC may start accounting for banks’ use of Chinese technology in its regulatory reviews, the Shanghai Securities News reported Dec. 4.

    Xi’s Central Military Commission issued a similar, although less detailed, order in October, according to a report in the party-run People’s Liberation Army Daily. That document described information security as key to winning battles.

    Intel, Microsoft, HP, Cisco and Qualcomm declined to comment. IBM said it isn’t aware of any Chinese government policy against using its servers in the banking industry.

    Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the country’s biggest bank, deployed a new IBM mainframe in August, the two companies said.

    Domestic Software

    Similar efforts were confirmed by one provincial-level worker and two local government workers in Jilin’s capital of Changchun, who asked not to be named while discussing internal matters. The two local government workers said some specialized software was swapped for domestic versions, including a tax program designed by the Harbin Institute of Technology.

    China faces obstacles in replacing foreign software and hardware on a national scale. Almost three decades after paramount leader Deng Xiaoping approved his State Hi-Tech Development Plan, Chinese companies hold a fraction of global market share. They’re still unable to match the most advanced products, such as high-end bank servers.

    “A key government motivation is to bring China up from low-end manufacturing to the high end,” said Kitty Fok, China managing director for IDC.

    National security provides China a powerful rallying cry, particularly within its sprawling state sector. China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s largest energy producer, announced Nov. 26 — during China’s first Cybersecurity Week — that it had replaced its Microsoft e-mail with the homegrown eYou program to improve security.

    “The technology gap is closing,” said Mota, who advises Cisco and HP, as well as Huawei and ZTE. “In China, they have the patience to figure it out.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 18, 2014, 12:44 pm

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