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.)
COMMENT: We experienced a mixture of genuine amusement and revulsion at the screeching over “disclosures” that NSA and GCHQ (the U.K. equivalent of NSA) are engaged in a massive data mining and surveillance program involving cell phones and internet communications.
For openers, this isn’t new, to say the least. It’s been going on for decades, scrutinizing phone calls at first, and then internet communications. On top of that, other countries do the same thing, including Germany. (See excerpted article below.)
The internet itself was developed by DARPA. DARPA also developed the GPS. The smart phones people have so enthusiastically embraced have a GPS function that can’t be disabled. That GPS function permits the user to be pinpointed to within 30 feet of their exact location at any time. Users of these phones think nothing of putting their financial information, their tastes in recreation and just about everything else on these devices.
In the Bay Area, radio ads are hyping a new “app” which will permit smart phone users to physically monitor their premises and their children’s whereabouts, as well as locking doors. Smart phone are not secure. Cyber criminals must be licking their chops in anticipation of co-opting that function.
Google and Yahoo make no bones about tracking and monitoring people’s e-mail and internet use. Google is putting the whole world online with their Google Earth function. They make no bones about sharing this information with other institutions, governmental and corporate.
With the development of social networks (also aided by the intelligence community), those smart phones and the internet have made any concept of privacy fundamentally obsolete! People have enthusiastically embraced these developments! They would do well to stop their whining.
It is also interesting to note that none of the critics of Echelon/Menwith Hill/PRISM have raised any objection whatsoever to T-Mobile, owned by Deutsche Telekom, which is controlled by the German government. This was authorized by the Bush administration. (See excerpt below.) It is a safe bet that BND-German intelligence–monitors all calls made on T-mobile. Deutsche Telekom–parent company of T-Mobile and MetroPCS–is used by the BND. BND does the same thing. Not incidentally, T-mobile owns Metro PCS. (See excerpted text below.) If you use T-Mobile or Metro PCS, you are being spied on by the German government. Enjoy, civil libertarians!
It is of more than a little significance that the initial attacks on the Echelon system and the Menwith Hill GCHQ/NSA station in the U.K. came largely from the Free Congress Foundation (inextricably linked with the far right and the Underground Reich) and Germany (which has the same capability!) Those attacks intensified after 9/11.
There are indications that the 9/11 attacks may have much to do with the German-driven negative publicity about NSA/GCHQ signals intelligence. A report by the European Parliament about Menwith Hill and Echelon was released just before 9/11. (Be sure to see excerpts below.)
We suspect that much of the negative publicity the Obama administration is receiving recently comes from GOP/Underground Reich elements seeking to alienate the so-called “progressive sector” from the Democrats, in anticipation of upcoming elections. (Obama continues to prove “gamable” in his efforts to placate the GOP. Comey’s appointment–see below–is typical and will likely prove disastrous.)
From the disclosure of this operation to the publicity surrounding the “Olympic Games” creation of Stuxnet to the WikiLeaks torrent, we are seeing information/programs begun under the Bush administrations surfacing to create embarrassment for Obama.
The Nazified GOP surely knows how unpopular their agenda is with most Americans–they seek to gut Social Security and Medicare. Their best hope at the polls is to generate sufficient apathy, particularly among younger voters, to enable them to game another election.
If the GOP does get back into office with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, watch out!
They will not wait for the wave of populist outrage over their programs to sweep them out of office. Some sort of monstrous event will be allowed to happen–or created–that will eclipse the outrage and send us into war and bankruptcy at the same time.
Perhaps the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ new cyber-warfare unit–created in the wake of the disclosures concerning the creation of Stuxnet–will cause (or be SAID to cause) a nuclear power plant to melt down or something along those lines. (Ptech’s software is used by the Department of Energy, which oversees the nuclear power plants.)
Such an event will collapse our economy and we will all be called upon to “put aside our differences” and pitch in to defeat the common enemy. Hezbollah operatives reliably reported to be in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America might very well infiltrate the U.S. to add to the “emergency.”
Whatever horror show is cooked up, it will have to be worse than 9/11.
Think about it, people, and get off your butts.
As noted by the vigilant “Pterrafractyl,” what is really significant about the PRISM function is its probable dual use by Palantir, developed by German-born Peter “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible . . . the extension of the franchise to women . . . . rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron” Thiel. A financial wizard behind the capitalization of Facebook, Thiel gives every appearance of being Underground Reich.
Thiel was also the biggest contributor to the Super-PAC of Nazi fellow-traveler Ron Paul. Paul’s Tea-Party son Rand Paul has been leading the anti-Obama charge on this.
Although Palantir denies that its PRISM is the same used by the data mining program, it seems highly unlikely, given Palantir’s close relationship with the intelligence community. (See excerpted article below.)
Idle thought: Given that Peter Thiel hates Obama and is associated with the Koch brothers’ Cato Institute, one wonders if the classified information made it to the media courtesy of–Peter Thiel and/or associates?!
The NSA/Prism story was broken in considerable measure by Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian [UK]. In addition to his association with the left-leaning Guardian, Greenwald is professionally networked with–the Cato Institute! (See excerpted story below.)
At the time of 9/11 and afterward, eagle-eye Greenwald had a high regard for George W. Bush’s behavior! (See excerpted article below.) He may just be a naif being manipulated by Cato Institute/Palantir/Thiel etc. He is definitely proving useful, and one must wonder if “Team Thiel” had anything to do with the leaking.
Note the relationship between Bridgewater Associates and Palantir. Bridgewater Associates former general counsel is James Comey, who has been nominated by the “Lee Harvey Obama” (as we call him) to be head of the FBI.
Deutsche Telekom–parent company of T-Mobile and MetroPCS–is used by the BND. BND does the same thing.
EXCERPT: I want to stress this is a reader email, not TPM reporting. But I’m sharing it because after reading it through and doing some googling of my own there’s little doubt that Palantir is doing stuff like what the government is doing with those tech companies, even if they’re not part of ‘prism’ itself. Give this a read.
From an anonymous reader …
I don’t see anyone out there with this theory, and TPM is my favorite news source, so here goes:
“PRISM” is the government’s name for a program that uses technology from Palantir. Palantir is a Silicon Valley start-up that’s now valued at well over $1B, that focuses on data analysis for the government. Here’s how Palantir describes themselves:
“We build software that allows organizations to make sense of massive amounts of disparate data. We solve the technical problems, so they can solve the human ones. Combating terrorism. Prosecuting crimes. Fighting fraud. Eliminating waste. From Silicon Valley to your doorstep, we deploy our data fusion platforms against the hardest problems we can find, wherever we are needed most.” http://www.palantir.com/what-we-do/
They’re generally not public about who their clients are, but their first client was famously the CIA, who is also an early investor.
With my theory in mind, re-read the denials from the tech companies in the WSJ (emphasis mine):
Apple: “We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers…”
Google: “… does not have a ‘back door’ for the government to access private user data…”
Facebook: “… not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers…”
Yahoo: “We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network…”
These denials could all still be technically true if the government is accessing the data through a government contractor, such as Palantir, rather than having direct access.
I just did a quick Google search of “Palantir PRISM” to see if anyone else had this theory, and the top results were these pages:
Apparently, Palantir has a software package called “Prism”: “Prism is a software component that lets you quickly integrate external databases into Palantir.” That sounds like exactly the tool you’d want if you were trying to find patterns in data from multiple companies.
So the obvious follow-up questions are of the “am I right?” variety, but if I am, here’s what I really want to know: which Palantir clients have access to this data? Just CIA & NSA? FBI? What about municipalities, such as the NYC police department? What about the governments of other countries?
What do you think?
FWIW, I know a guy who works at Palantir. I asked him what he/they did once, and he was more secretive than my friends at Apple.
PS, please don’t use my name if you decide to publish any of this — it’s a small town/industry. Let them Prism me instead.
Late Update: Another reader notes that Bridgewater Associates LLP, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, is also a major client of Palantir, which appears to be confirmed by many press reports. . .
EXCERPT: Palantir is a company founded by Peter Thiel — of Paypal and Facebook renown — that has software which absolutely changes the game with intelligence.
It’s one of the best programs at coordinating the vast databases accumulated by the U.S. intelligence apparatus. It’s already in use in federal domestic security.
But it’s also caused a massive fight inside the Army intelligence command.
Palantir is one of the first Silicon Valley companies to view the government as a customer rather than an annoyance and — after stepping into a game dominated by top contractors like Lockheed Martin, IBM, and Raytheon — it’s proven controversial in both what it does and if it should be used.
What it does is assemble comprehensive dossiers on objects of interest, collated from the sprawling databases of intelligence agencies.
If that sounds over-broad, it’s intentional.
The databases and dossiers in question are on everything from Afghan villages to crooked bankers. The can pull crime information and collate it with recent debit card purchases.
The software was developed with the idea that had it existed in 2001, 9/11 would have been obvious. Palantir would have been able to identify the pilots as people of interest from countries that harbor terrorists, connecting that with money wired around, and connecting that with one-way airline tickets to create actionable intelligence.
One controversy comes with the civil liberties issues that come with that particular business model.
The other controversy is much less philosophical: The Army intelligence community is full of infighting over this Valley competitor to defense contractor tech.
The Army Intelligence community is split over software. The $2.3 Billion DCGS-A system, developed by the standard crowd of defense contractors, is either panned by some as complicated and slow or defensed by others as the future of military distributed intelligence.
Likewise, the culty following of Palantir’s alternative have been dismissed as on the take from the Silicon Valley firm. That tech has been deployed by data mining Wall Street banks interested in tracking down fraud, and an early investor in the company was the CIA. The Army, however, isn’t sold. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,” Thiel wrote in a 2009 manifesto published by the libertarian Cato Institute. “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . A few years ago, Cato invited Greenwald to participate in a Cato Unbound exchange on government surveillance. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction to his essay:
The digital surveillance state is out of control. It intercepts our phone calls, keeps track of our prescription drug use, monitors our email, and keeps tabs on us wherever we go. For all that, it doesn’t appear to be making us safer. Accountability has been lost, civil liberties are disappearing, and the public-private partnerships in this area of government action raise serious questions about the democratic process itself. It’s time we stood up to do something about it.
Cato also hosted an event for Greenwald’s second book, A Tragic Legacy, which focused on the policies of the Bush administration. That event can be viewed here.
And, though not directly related to government spying, Greenwald authored Cato’s highly acclaimed study, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal.
American policymakers too often serve up Bread & Circuses. Congratulations to Greenwald for starting a real debate on one of the most important issues of our time. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . As Mr. Greenwald tells it, the last decade has been a slow political awakening. “When 9/11 happened, I thought Bush was doing a good job,” he said. . . .
EXCERPT: [Notice when this was published–9/6/2001.–D.E.] . . . The United States-led spying system known as Echelon can monitor virtually every communication in the world — by e-mail, phone or fax — that bounces off a satellite, the European Parliament was told. But in reporting on a yearlong study of the system that was prompted by concern that American companies were using data from the system to gain a competitive edge, Gerhard Schmid, a German member of the Parliament, said that many European countries had similar abilities . . .
EXCERPT: A German hacker organization claims to have cracked spying software allegedly used by German authorities. The Trojan horse has functions which go way beyond those allowed by German law. The news has sparked a wave of outrage among politicians and media commentators.
It sounds like something out of George Orwell’s novel “1984” — a computer program that can remotely control someone’s computer without their knowledge, search its complete contents and use it to conduct audio-visual surveillance via the microphone or webcam.
But the spy software that the famous German hacker organization Chaos Computer Club has obtained is not used by criminals looking to steal credit-card data or send spam e-mails. If the CCC is to be believed, the so-called “Trojan horse” software was used by German authorities. The case has already triggered a political shockwave in the country and could have far-reaching consequences.
On Saturday, the CCC announced that it had been given hard drives containing a “state spying software” which had allegedly been used by German investigators to carry out surveillance of Internet communication. The organization had analyzed the software and found it to be full of defects. They also found that it transmitted information via a server located in the US. As well as its surveillance functions, it could be used to plant files on an individual’s computer. It was also not sufficiently protected, so that third parties with the necessary technical skills could hijack the Trojan horse’s functions for their own ends. The software possibly violated German law, the organization said.
So-called Trojan horse software can be surreptitiously delivered by a harmless-looking e-mail and installed on a user’s computer without their knowledge, where it can be used to, for example, scan the contents of a hard drive. In 2007, the German Interior Ministry announced it had designed a Trojan horse that could be used to search the hard drives of terror suspects.
Beyond the Limits
The hard drives that the CCC analyzed came from at least two different German states. It was unclear whether the software, which is said to be at least three years old, had been used by state-level or national authorities. In a Sunday statement, the Interior Ministry denied that the software had been used by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), which is similar to the American FBI. The statement did not explicitly rule out the possibility that the software could have been used by state-level police forces.
If the CCC’s claims are true, then the software has functions which were expressly forbidden by Germany’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court, in a landmark 2008 ruling which significantly restricted what was allowed in terms of online surveillance. The court also specified that online spying was only permissible if there was concrete evidence of danger to individuals or society. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Three years before the Sept. 11 attacks, Germany’s domestic intelligence service was tracking prominent members of the Hamburg terrorist cell that planned and executed the aircraft hijackings, according to newly obtained documents. The documents, including intelligence reports, surveillance logs and transcripts of intercepted telephone calls, appear to contradict public claims by the German authorities that they knew little about the members of the Hamburg cell before the attacks.
As early as 1998, the records show, the Germans monitored a meeting between men suspected of plotting the attacks. The surveillance would lead a year later to the Hamburg apartment where Mohamed Atta and other main plotters were living while attending universities. While the records do not indicate that authorities heard any mention of a specific plan, they depict a surveillance mission extensive enough to raise anew the politically sensitive question of whether the Germans missed a chance to disrupt the cell during the initial stages of planning the attacks. Some American investigators and officials have argued that the Germans in the past missed evidence that could have stopped the plot. The Germans have maintained steadfastly that the information they had was too scanty to warrant serious alarm, and that their police and intelligence agencies were not focused on Al Qaeda at the time.
The documents come from the files of various German police and intelligence agencies. They detail how close an investigation of Qaeda contacts in Hamburg begun in 1997 by the Constitutional Protection Agency, Germany’s domestic intelligence service, came to the main cell members. They were provided to The New York Times by someone with official access to the files of the continuing investigation into the events leading to the Sept. 11 attacks. When the documents were described to officials at the German Interior Ministry and the constitutional protection police, they declined to answer any questions about them but did not dispute their authenticity . . .
Mr. Motassadeq admitted that he knew Mr. Atta and other plotters and had attended Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. He has maintained in trial testimony that he did not know that his friends were planning to attack the United States. No evidence has been presented at his three-month trial that would reveal when the police first opened an inquiry into Mr. Motassadeq. But the intelligence agency documents show that by August 1998 he was under surveillance and that the trail soon led to most of the main participants in the later attacks. [It was in August of 1998 that President Clinton ordered the cruise missile strike against Bin Laden and the same month that Bin Laden went to a courier system instead of using his cell phone. Note, also, that the head of the Hamburg police at the time the surveillance of the Hamburg cell was in place is now head of the BND!–D.E.]
According to the documents, the surveillance was in place on Aug. 29, 1998, when Mr. Motassadeq and Mohamed Haydar Zammar, who had already been identified by police as a suspected extremist, met at the Hamburg home of Said Bahaji. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s] The police monitored several other meetings between the men in the months that followed, the documents said. The record of the meeting shows that police had identified Mr. Bahaji, another person suspected of being a cell member and believed to have been intimately involved in the planning and logistics of the plot, who fled to Pakistan days before the attacks. Mr. Bahaji later moved in with Mr. Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shibh in the now-infamous apartment at 54 Marienstrasse in the Harburg section of Hamburg. [There are profound indications of a link between Mohamed Atta and the BND–D.E.]. . .
EXCERPT: T-Mobile has been slowly inching closer to closing its acquisition deal with MetroPCS, and the day for inking that contract is finally here. Less than a week after MetroPCS shareholders approved the merger, which would give them a total cash payment of $1.5 billion, the deal is done, and T-Mo is a publicly traded company. In addition to giving Deutsche Telekom [a subsidiary of THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT!–D.E.] a 74 percent stake in the new company, the deal will bring nine million new prepaid customers to T-Mobile. . . .
“US Ruling on Telekom Could Lead to Wave of Investment” by Peter Spiegel in Washington; Financial Times; 5/2/2001; p. 8.
EXCERPT: . . . . Although extended regulatory debates can frequently lead to documents full of mealy-mouthed bureaucratese, the 97-page order issued by the FCC is as sweeping and precedent-setting as Mr. Powell had wanted. It goes further than any previous ruling in the agency’s 66-year history to open up the U.S. telecommunications market to foreign competitors. ‘This is the green light. This is the paved road.
This is the autobahn,” said Rudy Baca, an analyst of international telecoms regulation with the Precursor Group. ‘It’s more definitive than most people expected.’
At the heart of the debate over the deal was a discreet section of the Communications act that contains seemingly contradictory guidance on how to deal with foreign telecoms owned by their governments. One part of the law states flatly that no U.S. phone licenses can be held ‘by any foreign government or representative thereof.’ But another section allows a company to buy the license if the FCC rules it in the public interest. The interpretation of the language is crucial, since outside the UK, most big overseas companies remain at least partially in the hands of governments.
After the VoiceStream deal closes, for instance, Telekom will still be 45 per cent-owned by the German government. . .
EXCERPT: Between Friday night and Sunday morning, a massive deletion operation took place at the European Internet address register (RIPE) to scrub references to a cover used by Germany’s premier spy agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND.
The cleanup operation comes the night after Wikileaks revealed over two dozen covert BND networks provided by T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom). The IP addresses were assigned to an unregistered company at a Munich-based PO box linked to T-Systems.
T-Systems purged the RIPE database of all addresses exposed by Wikileaks, moving the addresses into a several giant anonymous “Class B” address pools.
The move comes just a few hours after T-Systems Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) contacted Wikileaks to demand removal of an internal T-Systems memo listing the BND cover addresses. Wikileaks refused and T-System did not respond to requests for further detail by the time of writing.
Yet an investigation into the addresses over the weekend reveals key information about the BND’s Internet activities. . . . .
Website references reveal that in 2006 numerous hosters of Internet websites complained about out of control “data mining” robots from two of the BND-linked IP addresses. One of the hosters ran a popular discussion forum on counter-terrorism operations.
The integrity and transparency of the RIPE system is not assisted by the T-Systems deletion. German citizens may wonder at the double standard. At a time when the population’s Internet addresses are being recorded by ISPs under laws derisively referred to as “Stasi 2.0”, the “real Stasi”—the BND, has had the largest telco in Germany scrub its addresses from the European record within 24 hours of their exposure.