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Snowden’s Ride, Part 10: The Beginning of World War III?

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Updat­ed on 8/7/2013.

COMMENT: Before doing sum­ma­ry posts (or, per­haps, broad­casts in lieu of that) we high­light some addi­tion­al, dev­as­tat­ing­ly inter­est­ing devel­op­ments in con­nec­tion with L’Af­faire Snow­den.

We have done numer­ous posts since the begin­ning of this dance macabre, and emphat­i­cal­ly encour­age users of this web­site to study them at length and in detail:  Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VII, Part VIIIPart IXPart X, Part XI, Part XIIPart XIIIPart XIVPart XV, Part XVI. It is well beyond the scope of this arti­cle to sum up the infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed in them. Users of this web­site are emphat­i­cal­ly encour­aged to exam­ine them at length and detail.

In this post, we note more inter­est­ing devel­op­ments in EU defense and intel­li­gence pos­ture, jus­ti­fied as an out­growth of the Snow­den “dis­clo­sures” (note the quotes.) Per­haps even more sig­nif­i­cant­ly, we high­light poten­tial devel­op­ments vis a vis the future of The Inter­net which may dras­ti­cal­ly affect the Amer­i­can econ­o­my and world affairs.

Tak­en togeth­er, these devel­op­ments MIGHT sig­nal the begin­ning of a Third World War–perhaps eco­nom­ic in nature and/or mil­i­tary. The impli­ca­tions for U.S. inter­net busi­ness and the Amer­i­can econ­o­my could not be exag­ger­at­ed.

We note that this mas­sive, crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant series will be “down­loaded” as a series of broad­casts present­ly.

A num­ber of con­sid­er­a­tions to be weighed in this post:

  • In our last post, we spec­u­lat­ed: “Will the col­lab­o­ra­tion between NSA and BND be decou­pled, “by pop­u­lar request” and “in keep­ing with demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ple,” after the dis­clo­sures by Snow­den?”
  • That same day, just such a mea­sure was announced! (See text excerpts below.)
  • We note, again, that Ger­many does EXACTLY the same thing! The Ger­mans are plan­ning on expand­ing their pro­gram!
  • Sup­pos­ed­ly jus­ti­fied by Snow­den’s dis­clo­sures, the EU is devel­op­ing its own mil­i­tary force, inter­net sur­veil­lance and intel­li­gence ser­vice. Will this be used against trou­bled euro­zone aus­ter­i­ty vic­tims, or against the U.S. and/or U.K.? We high­light­ed this in our last post.
  • The dam­age to U.S. inter­net busi­ness–and the U.S. economy–appears more and more like­ly as a result of “Snow­den’s ride.” (See text excerpts below.)
  • A Ger­man min­is­ter has float­ed the idea of ban­ning Google and oth­er U.S. com­pa­nies from doing busi­ness in Europe as a result of the Snow­den dis­clo­sures. (See text excerpts below.)
  •  Beyond dam­age to the U.S. econ­o­my, the reg­u­la­tion of the inter­net may grav­i­tate more toward a U.N.–controlled par­a­digm, much as Chi­na and Rus­sia have been endors­ing. This adds still greater dimen­sion to Snow­den’s decamp­ing first to Chi­na and then to Rus­sia. (See text excerpts below.)
  • In past posts, we have spec­u­lat­ed that the “psy-op” that Snow­den and the Under­ground Reich struc­ture  that com­mands him may intend to alien­ate to younger, more ide­al­is­tic vot­ers from Barack Oba­ma and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. That remains a key part of our analy­sis. We also note that the fall­out from the psy-op may pro­pel the big mon­ey in Sil­i­con Val­ley toward the Naz­i­fied GOP in upcom­ing elec­tions. In addi­tion, focus on the NSA scan­dal will detract atten­tion and sup­port from Oba­ma’s attempts at real­iz­ing his polit­i­cal agen­da.
  • We stress, yet again, that blam­ing all of this on “NSA spy­ing” is mis­placed. This infor­ma­tion has, almost in its entire­ty, been pub­lic for years. Indeed, as we stress, yet again, a Euro­pean Par­lia­ment report on this very phe­nom­e­non (NSA/Echelon/Menwith Hill) was pub­lished short­ly before the 9/11 attacks. (See text excerpts below.)
  • We should also empha­size that the Third World War would be waged in true Von Clause­witz style. It will be done through “Oth­er Means.”
  • Eco­nom­ics and pol­i­tics would be used, on the bal­ance, instead of mil­i­tary means with regard to the Unit­ed States, as expressed to Dorothy Thomp­son in 1940. Proxy war, using the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, seems alto­geth­er like­ly. Drones would make an effec­tive force against dis­si­dent Euro­pean nations and peo­ples, so that Ger­man cit­i­zens would not have to join com­bat­ant ranks. Anoth­er effec­tive device would be Tesla/HAARP tech­nol­o­gy, such as tor­na­do manip­u­la­tion, already “on the table.” 
  • On the day after this post was pub­lished, two devel­op­ments rein­force our work­ing hypoth­e­sis. As report­ed by The New York Times, threats against U.S. embassies in North Africa (made by Al Qae­da) have increased. U.K. facil­i­ties also appear to be threat­ened. This will ramp up divi­sions in the Unit­ed Stats over NSA sur­veil­lance, as well as exac­er­bat­ing ten­sions between the U.S. and oth­er coun­tries over that same issue. As dis­cussed in so many posts and pro­grams, Al Qae­da is an off­shoot of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the Under­ground Reich’s proxy war­riors and Ger­many’s erst­while allies in World War II. In our last post, we spec­u­lat­ed about just such an even­tu­al­i­ty! One won­ders if these threats were real or sim­ply “chat­ter” gen­er­at­ed to test and overex­tend the mon­i­tor­ing capa­bil­i­ties of U.S. and U.K. intel. (See text excerpts below.)
  • In that same issue of The New York Times, there was a sto­ry about the effect of the GOP-man­dat­ed sequester on the U.S. economy–disastrous in a word. Man­i­fest­ing “Kamikaze eco­nom­ics,” the GOP is forc­ing Ger­man-endorsed aus­ter­i­ty on the Unit­ed States at a time when we can­not afford it, in dia­met­ric oppo­si­tion to fun­da­men­tal eco­nom­ic the­o­ry and prac­tice. This will fur­ther dam­age the U.S. econ­o­my and mil­i­tary, real­iz­ing Von Clause­witz’s goals for Ger­many, vis a vis the Unit­ed States. (See text excerpts below.)
  • In an update, we note that a casu­al­ty of Snow­den’s Ride may be plans for U.S. cyberde­fense. Whether this ends up enabling a future cybert­er­ror­ist inci­dent remains to be seen. (See text excerpts below.)
  • Yet anoth­er update by the vig­i­lant “Pter­rafractyl” informs us that both Chi­na and–surprise–Germany and the EU are push­ing for devel­op­ing tech­nol­o­gy to com­pete with U.S. tech­nol­o­gy. This will undoubt­ed­ly dam­age the U.S. econ­o­my.

 “Ger­many Nix­es Sur­veil­lance Pact with US, Britain” by Frank Jor­dans; Asso­ci­ated Press; 8/2/2013.

EXCERPT: Ger­many can­celed a Cold War-era sur­veil­lance pact with the Unit­ed States and Britain on Fri­day in response to rev­e­la­tions by Nation­al Secu­rity Agency leak­er Edward Snow­den about those coun­tries’ alleged elec­tronic eaves­drop­ping oper­a­tions.

Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel had raised the issue of alleged Nation­al Secu­rity Agency spy­ing with Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma when he vis­ited Berlin in June. But with weeks to go before nation­al elec­tions, oppo­si­tion par­ties had demand­ed clar­ity about the extent to which her gov­ern­ment knew of the intel­li­gence gath­er­ing oper­a­tions direct­ed at Ger­many and Ger­man cit­i­zens.

Gov­ern­ment offi­cials have insist­ed that U.S. and British intel­li­gence were nev­er giv­en per­mis­sion to break Germany’s strict pri­vacy laws. But they con­ceded that an agree­ment dat­ing back to the late 1960s gave the U.S., Britain and France the right to request Ger­man author­i­ties to con­duct sur­veil­lance oper­a­tions with­in Ger­many to pro­tect their troops sta­tioned there.

“The can­cel­la­tion of the admin­is­tra­tive agree­ments, which we have pushed for in recent weeks, is a nec­es­sary and prop­er con­se­quence of the recent debate about pro­tect­ing per­sonal pri­vacy,” Germany’s For­eign Min­is­ter Gui­do West­er­welle said in a state­ment. . . .

“Why NSA Sur­veil­lance Will Be More Dam­ag­ing Than You Think” by James Fal­lows; The Atlantic; 7/30/2013.

EXCERPT: This col­umn over the week­end, by the British aca­d­e­mic John Naughton in the Guardian, takes us one more step in assess­ing the dam­age to Amer­i­can inter­ests in the broad­est sense– com­mer­cial, strate­gic, ide­o­log­i­cal — from the panop­ti­con approach to “secu­rity” brought to us by NSA-style mon­i­tor­ing pro­grams.

Naughton’s essay doesn’t tech­ni­cally tell us any­thing new. For instance, see ear­lier reports like this, this, and this. But it does sharp­en the focus in a use­ful way. Who­ever wrote the head­line and espe­cially the sub­head did a great job of cap­tur­ing the gist:

Edward Snowden’s not the sto­ry. The fate of the inter­net is.

The press has lost the plot over the Snow­den rev­e­la­tions. The fact is that the net is fin­ished as a glob­al net­work and that US firms’ cloud ser­vices can­not be trust­ed.

In short: because of what the U.S. gov­ern­ment assumed it could do with infor­ma­tion it had the tech­no­log­i­cal abil­ity to inter­cept, Amer­i­can com­pa­nies and Amer­i­can inter­ests are sure to suf­fer in their efforts to shape and ben­e­fit from the Internet’s con­tin­ued growth.

* Amer­i­can com­pa­nies, because no for­eign­ers will believe these firms can guar­an­tee secu­rity from U.S. gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance;
* Amer­i­can inter­ests, because the Unit­ed States has grave­ly com­pro­mised its plau­si­bil­ity as world-wide admin­is­tra­tor of the Internet’s stan­dards and advo­cate for its open, above-pol­i­tics goals.

Why were U.S. author­i­ties in a posi­tion to get at so much of the world’s dig­i­tal data in the first place? Because so many of the world’s cus­tomers have trust­ed* U.S.-based firms like Google, Yahoo, Apple, Ama­zon, Face­book, etc with their data; and because so many of the world’s nations have tol­er­ated an info-infra­struc­ture in which an out­sized share of data flows at some point through U.S. sys­tems. Those are the con­di­tions of trust and tol­er­a­tion that like­ly will change.

The prob­lem for the com­pa­nies, it’s worth empha­siz­ing, is not that they were so undu­ly eager to coop­er­ate with U.S. gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance. Many seem to have done what they could to resist. The prob­lem is what the U.S. gov­ern­ment — first under Bush and Cheney, now under Oba­ma and Biden — asked them to do. [This, by the way is wrong. It pre­dates both Bush/Cheney and Oba­ma Biden. I dis­cussed this on air, from open sources, well before either team assumed pow­er. This high­lights my state­ment that; “Jour­nal­ists are like a flock of birds. When one lands, they all land. When one flies away, they all fly away.”–D.E.] As long as they oper­ate in U.S. ter­ri­tory and under U.S. laws, com­pa­nies like Google or Face­book had no choice but to com­ply. But peo­ple around the world who have a choice about where to store their data, may under­stand­ably choose to avoid leav­ing it with com­pa­nies sub­ject to the way Amer­ica now defines its secu­rity inter­ests.

Here’s Naughton’s ver­sion of the impli­ca­tions:

The first is that the days of the inter­net as a tru­ly glob­al net­work are num­bered. It was always a pos­si­bil­ity that the sys­tem would even­tu­ally be Balka­nised, ie divid­ed into a num­ber of geo­graph­i­cal or juris­dic­tion-deter­mined sub­nets as soci­eties such as Chi­na, Rus­sia, Iran and oth­er Islam­ic states decid­ed that they need­ed to con­trol how their cit­i­zens com­mu­ni­cated. Now, Balka­ni­sa­tion is a cer­tain­ty....

NSA Blow­back: Ger­man Min­is­ter Floats US Com­pa­ny Ban; Der Spiegel; 8/5/2013.

EXCERPT: With the NSA spy­ing scan­dal con­tin­u­ing to make head­lines in Europe, the Ger­man Jus­tice Min­is­ter, Sabine Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er, has raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty of new, tan­gi­ble mea­sures to pun­ish cor­po­ra­tions that par­tic­i­pate in Amer­i­can spy­ing activ­i­ties. In an inter­view with Die Welt, the lib­er­al Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er called for the cre­ation of EU-wide rules to reg­u­late the pro­tec­tion of infor­ma­tion, and said that, once those rules are in place, “Unit­ed States com­pa­nies that don’t abide by these stan­dards should be denied doing busi­ness in the Euro­pean mar­ket.”

Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er said that a pack­age of EU mea­sures is required in order to fight “the wide­spread spy­ing of for­eign spy ser­vices” and that Ger­man data pro­tec­tion laws should be a yard­stick for the rest of the Euro­pean Union — Ger­man pri­va­cy laws are con­sid­er­ably tighter than those of the Unit­ed States and much of Europe.

Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Hans-Peter Friedrich also raised cor­po­rate account­abil­i­ty in July, when he sug­gest­ed requir­ing Euro­pean firms to report any data they hand over to for­eign coun­tries. Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er, who is run­ning for reelec­tion in Sep­tem­ber as part of the pro-busi­ness Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, did not fur­ther spec­i­fy which kinds of penal­ties she would like Amer­i­can com­pa­nies to face, though it seems unlike­ly that Europe would com­plete­ly ban com­pa­nies like Google, which dom­i­nate the online search mar­ket, or Face­book from doing busi­ness. Both of those com­pa­nies were impli­cat­ed in the doc­u­ments leaked by for­mer intel­li­gence work­er Edward Snow­den.

It is the lat­est devel­op­ment in a Ger­man elec­tion sea­son that has come to be dom­i­nat­ed by online pri­va­cy issues. Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel has faced wide­spread crit­i­cism from the oppo­si­tion for her han­dling of the NSA scan­dal and Peer Stein­brück, the Chan­cel­lor can­di­date of the oppo­si­tion SPD par­ty, recent­ly told Ger­man tele­vi­sion chan­nel ZDF that Merkel should demand writ­ten assur­ances from the Amer­i­cans they will respect Ger­man laws and inter­ests and not engage in indus­tri­al espi­onage . . . .

“U.S. Sur­veil­lance Puts Inter­net Gov­er­nance at Risk” by Michael Geist; Mon­tre­al Gazette; 7.30/2013.

EXCERPT: One year ago, many users were engaged in a con­tentious debate over the ques­tion of who should gov­ern the Inter­net. The debate pit­ted the cur­rent mod­el led by a U.S.-based orga­ni­za­tion known as the Inter­net Cor­po­ra­tion for Assigned Names and Num­bers (ICANN, sup­ported by the U.S.) against a gov­ern­ment-led, Unit­ed Nations-style mod­el under which coun­tries such as Chi­na and Rus­sia could assert greater con­trol over Inter­net gov­er­nance. The dif­fer­ences between the two approach­es were nev­er as stark as some por­trayed since the cur­rent mod­el grants the U.S. con­sid­er­able con­trac­tual pow­er over ICANN, but the fear of greater for­eign gov­ern­ment con­trol over the Inter­net led to strong polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion to UN involve­ment.

While sup­port­ers of the cur­rent mod­el ulti­mately pre­vailed at a UN con­fer­ence in Dubai last Decem­ber where most West­ern democ­ra­cies, includ­ing Cana­da, strong­ly reject­ed major Inter­net gov­er­nance reforms, the issue was fun­da­men­tally about trust. Giv­en that all gov­ern­ments have become more vocal about Inter­net mat­ters, the debate was nev­er over whether gov­ern­ment would be involved, but rather about who the glob­al Inter­net com­mu­nity trust­ed to lead on gov­er­nance mat­ters. . . .

. . . . Not only do the sur­veil­lance pro­grams them­selves raise enor­mous pri­vacy and civ­il lib­er­ties con­cerns, but over­sight and review is con­ducted almost entire­ly in secret with lit­tle or no abil­ity to guard against mis­use. In fact, U.S. offi­cials have now acknowl­edged pro­vid­ing inac­cu­rate infor­ma­tion on the pro­grams to elect­ed politi­cians, rais­ing fur­ther ques­tions about who is watch­ing the watch­ers.

The sur­veil­lance pro­grams have emerged as a con­tentious polit­i­cal issue in the U.S., and there are sev­eral rea­sons why the rever­ber­a­tions are like­ly to extend to the glob­al Inter­net gov­er­nance com­mu­nity.

First, the ele­ment of trust has been severe­ly com­pro­mised. Sup­port­ers of the cur­rent Inter­net gov­er­nance mod­el fre­quently point­ed to Inter­net sur­veil­lance and the lack of account­abil­ity with­in coun­tries such as Chi­na and Rus­sia as evi­dence of the dan­ger of a UN-led mod­el. With the pub­lic now aware of the cre­ation of a mas­sive, secret U.S.-backed Inter­net sur­veil­lance pro­gram, the U.S. has ced­ed the moral high ground on the issue.

Sec­ond, as the scope of the sur­veil­lance becomes increas­ingly clear, many coun­tries are like­ly to opt for a balka­nized Inter­net in which they do not trust oth­er coun­tries with the secu­rity or pri­vacy of their net­worked com­mu­ni­ca­tions. This could lead to new laws requir­ing com­pa­nies to store their infor­ma­tion domes­ti­cally to counter sur­veil­lance of the data as it cross­es bor­ders or resides on com­puter servers locat­ed in the U.S. In fact, some may go fur­ther by resist­ing the inter­op­er­abil­ity of the Inter­net that we now take for grant­ed.

Third, some of those same coun­tries may demand sim­i­lar lev­els of access to per­sonal infor­ma­tion from the Inter­net giants. This could cre­ate a “pri­vacy race to the bot­tom,” where gov­ern­ments around the world cre­ate par­al­lel sur­veil­lance pro­grams, ensur­ing that online pri­vacy and co-oper­a­tive Inter­net gov­er­nance is a thing of the past. . . .

“World Brief­ing | Europe: Report On U.S. Spy Sys­tem” by Suzanne Daley; The New York Times; 9/6/2001.

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 . . .

 “Qae­da Mes­sages Prompt U.S. Ter­ror Warn­ing” by Eric Schmitt; The New York Times; 8/2/2013.

EXCERPT: The Unit­ed States inter­cept­ed elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tions this week among senior oper­a­tives of Al Qae­da, in which the ter­ror­ists dis­cussed attacks against Amer­i­can inter­ests in the Mid­dle East and North Africa, Amer­i­can offi­cials said Fri­day.

The inter­cepts and a sub­se­quent analy­sis of them by Amer­i­can intel­li­gence agen­cies prompt­ed the Unit­ed States to issue an unusu­al glob­al trav­el alert to Amer­i­can cit­i­zens on Fri­day, warn­ing of the poten­tial for ter­ror­ist attacks by oper­a­tives of Al Qae­da and their asso­ciates begin­ning Sun­day through the end of August. Intel­li­gence offi­cials said the threat focused on the Qae­da affil­i­ate in Yemen, which has been tied to plots to blow up Amer­i­can-bound car­go and com­mer­cial flights.

The bul­letin to trav­el­ers and expa­tri­ates, issued by the State Depart­ment, came less than a day after the depart­ment announced that it was clos­ing near­ly two dozen Amer­i­can diplo­mat­ic mis­sions in the Mid­dle East and North Africa, includ­ing facil­i­ties in Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Kuwait and Sau­di Ara­bia. Britain said Fri­day that it would close its embassy in Yemen on Mon­day and Tues­day because of “increased secu­ri­ty con­cerns.” . . . .

“U.S. Cuts Take Increas­ing Toll on Job Growth” by Jack­ie Calmes and Cather­ine Ramp­bell; The New York Times; 8/2/2013.

EXCERPT: . . . .Cor­po­rate and aca­d­e­m­ic econ­o­mists say that Washington’s fis­cal fights have pro­duced bud­get poli­cies that amount to a self-inflict­ed drag on the economy’s recov­ery.

Joseph J. Minarik, direc­tor of research at the cor­po­rate-sup­port­ed Com­mit­tee for Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment and a for­mer gov­ern­ment econ­o­mist, said he could not remem­ber in post­war times when fis­cal pol­i­cy was so at odds with the needs of the econ­o­my.

“The macro­eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion is high­ly unusu­al,” he said, adding: “We have to be con­cerned about our debt get­ting total­ly out of hand, so we are con­cerned about the fed­er­al bud­get. But the con­cern has got to be tem­pered by the fact that we have got to get some eco­nom­ic growth going as well.” . . . .

. . . . “The dis­junc­tion between text­book eco­nom­ics and the choic­es being made in Wash­ing­ton is larg­er than any I’ve seen in my life­time,” said Justin Wolfers, an eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor at the Ger­ald R. Ford School of Pub­lic Pol­i­cy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan. “At a time of mass unem­ploy­ment, it’s clear, the eco­nom­ics text­books tell us, that this is not the right time for fis­cal retrench­ment.” 

Giv­en that rough con­sen­sus in an oth­er­wise quar­rel­some pro­fes­sion, he added, “To watch it be ignored like this is exas­per­at­ing, hor­ri­fy­ing, dis­heart­en­ing.” . . . .

“N.S.A. Leaks Make Plan for Cyberde­fense Unlike­ly” by David E. Sanger; The New York Times; 8/13/2013.

EXCERPT: Even while rapid­ly expand­ing its elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance around the world, the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency has lob­bied inside the gov­ern­ment to deploy the equiv­a­lent of a “Star Wars” defense for America’s com­put­er net­works, designed to inter­cept cyber­at­tacks before they could crip­ple pow­er plants, banks or finan­cial mar­kets.

But admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials say the plan, cham­pi­oned by Gen. Kei­th B. Alexan­der, the direc­tor of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency and head of the Pentagon’s Cyber Com­mand, has vir­tu­al­ly no chance of mov­ing for­ward giv­en the back­lash against the N.S.A. over the recent dis­clo­sures about its sur­veil­lance pro­grams.

Senior agency offi­cials con­cede that much of the tech­nol­o­gy need­ed to fil­ter mali­cious soft­ware, known as mal­ware, by search­ing incom­ing mes­sages for signs of pro­grams designed to steal data, or attack banks or ener­gy firms, is strik­ing­ly sim­i­lar to the tech­nol­o­gy the N.S.A. already uses for sur­veil­lance.

“The plan was always a lit­tle vague, at least as Kei­th described it, but today it may be Snowden’s biggest sin­gle vic­tim,” one senior intel­li­gence offi­cial said recent­ly, refer­ring to Edward J. Snow­den, the for­mer N.S.A. con­trac­tor who released doc­u­ments reveal­ing details of many of the agency’s sur­veil­lance pro­grams.

“What­ev­er trust was there is now gone,” the offi­cial added. “I mean, who would believe the N.S.A. when it insists it is block­ing Chi­nese attacks but not using the same tech­nol­o­gy to read your e‑mail?” . . . .


28 comments for “Snowden’s Ride, Part 10: The Beginning of World War III?”

  1. The “balka­niza­tion” of the inter­net has been going on for some time. It may not be as obvi­ous if you live with­in the US but when the inter­net first start­ed every­thing was in Eng­lish and it was indeed a world­wide com­mu­ni­ty. How­ev­er, for the last 6 or 7 years all the may­or search engines detect your IP and will forcibly take you to, for exam­ple: Google.ar (if you live in Argenti­na), Yahoo.mx (If you live in Mex­i­co), youtube.br (if you live in Brazil) and all the pages will appear in Span­ish or Por­tuguese. This hap­pens EVEN IF you set your pref­er­ences to Eng­lish or US. This, of course, is being done for com­mer­cial pur­pos­es and it used to dri­ve me up the wall until I found a way to mask my IP. So, stor­ing infor­ma­tion domes­ti­cal­ly is just the last step in this direc­tion.

    What I don’t under­stand is the FTR 700 pro­gram you ref­er­enced in Snowden’s Ride, Part 9. As you know, I am new to your web site and it will prob­a­bly take me years to get up to speed with all the work you’ve done so I apol­o­gize if you have clar­i­fied this in pre­vi­ous posts but, I see a con­tra­dic­tion in the Under­ground Reich’s desire to debil­i­tate and balka­nize Europe and the US so they can once again con­sol­i­date them­selves as the new world pow­er based in Ger­many.

    First of all it would con­tra­dict Ger­many’s pub­lic image and the image the Ger­mans have of them­selves as you can see in the fol­low­ing arti­cle:


    “The Ger­mans are not yet open­ly angry. That would be out of char­ac­ter in a peo­ple who have, since the sec­ond world war, been eager to atone for the past and be good Euro­pean part­ners. In one recent poll, 34% of Ger­mans even said they empathised with the wrath of the south­ern Euro­peans. ”

    “The Ger­mans are not alone in these views. The Dutch, Finns and Slo­vaks broad­ly share them. What makes Ger­many dif­fer­ent is that it is big and cen­tral. To his­to­ri­ans such as Bren­dan Simms of Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty, author of a new book, “Europe: the Strug­gle for Suprema­cy”, this sounds eeri­ly famil­iar. Europe has long grap­pled with the “Ger­man ques­tion”. Some­times Ger­many was too weak, some­times too strong. Or, as Hen­ry Kissinger, a for­mer Amer­i­can sec­re­tary of state, put it, refer­ring to Ger­many just after uni­fi­ca­tion in 1871, it was “too big for Europe, but too small for the world”. Today, Mr Simms argues, “it sits uneasi­ly at the heart of an EU that was con­ceived large­ly to con­strain Ger­man pow­er but which has served instead to increase it, and whose design flaws have unin­ten­tion­al­ly deprived many oth­er Euro­peans of sov­er­eign­ty.”

    The ques­tion is whether Ger­many can use its pow­er by unapolo­get­i­cal­ly lead­ing. Giv­en Germany’s past, its polit­i­cal cul­ture mil­i­tates against even try­ing. As Josch­ka Fis­ch­er, a for­mer for­eign min­is­ter, jokes, “it’s nice to go to a con­fer­ence of ‘young lead­ers’, but you don’t want a con­fer­ence of ‘junge Führer’.” Most Ger­mans wor­ry that oth­ers might again come to hate or fear them. Their neigh­bours are less con­cerned. As Poland’s for­eign min­is­ter, Radek Siko­rs­ki, put it in a speech in Berlin in 2011, “I fear Ger­man pow­er less than I am begin­ning to fear Ger­man inac­tiv­i­ty.”

    Anoth­er prob­lem would be French and British mis­trust and rejec­tion of Ger­many’s eco­nom­ic suprema­cy as it states in the fol­low­ing arti­cle:


    “The French deliv­ered a loud ”non” to Berlin’s euro poli­cies, hand­ing a first-round vic­to­ry to the social­ist Fran­cois Hol­lande, whose cen­tral cam­paign pledge was to reopen Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s euro­zone fis­cal pact, an inter­na­tion­al treaty signed by 25 EU lead­ers. Almost one-in-five French also vot­ed for the euro­pho­bic Nation­al Front of Marine Le Pen,who wants the sin­gle cur­ren­cy scrapped and the French franc restored.”

    And last but not least, even though fas­cist ele­ments with­in the US (main­ly patri­ot and mili­tia move­ments) have indeed been push­ing for seces­sion, why would fas­cist Amer­i­can politi­cians over­turn the Posse Comi­ta­tus Act, increase mil­i­tary spend­ing and mil­i­ta­rize the police force?


    This does­n’t sound like a fed­er­al gov­ern­ment that would allow seces­sion.

    Maybe I’m mis­tak­en but if the Under­ground Reich were to come out open­ly as the Fourth Reich it would prob­a­bly do so through the US instead of Ger­many. As you said: “Could the recent Snow­den affair and Rus­si­a’s open defi­ance of the US vis-à-vis Syr­ia be the pre­lude to WWIII?”….

    Posted by Shibusa | August 3, 2013, 12:06 pm
  2. @Shibusa–

    You are indeed new to this web­site.

    This site con­tains all the work I have done since 1979, plus a library of anti-fas­cist books that are fun­da­men­tal to under­stand­ing the lines of argu­ment pre­sent­ed here.

    The Man­ning text on the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal orga­ni­za­tion is essen­tial. So are the Reiss text on the Nazis going under­ground and the Tetens text on the re-insti­tu­ion of Nazi ele­ments in Ger­many after the war.

    You ques­tions have been answered already.

    You need to take the time nec­es­sary to come to terms with the mate­r­i­al.

    Admit­ted­ly, the sheer vol­ume of infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed here is daunt­ing.

    On top of that, the analy­sis is sophis­ti­cat­ed, and not for those of super­fi­cial or rigid mind­set.

    The Reich is an Under­ground Reich. It pro­ceeds for­ward using “oth­er means,” as I have stressed time and again.

    You need to read the books and do some key word search­es.

    When you come up with the results of those key­word search­es, take time to digest the posts and broad­casts that they yield.

    Search for “Von Clause­witz”, “oth­er means”, “Ber­tels­mann”, “proxy war”, “Ser­pen­t’s Walk”, “cor­po­racra­cy”, “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood”, “Friedrich List”, “Dorothy Thomp­son”, “Nazi con­nec­tions to 9/11”, “Lof­tus”, “B as in Bush”, “von Bolschwing”, “von Damm”, “Gip­per”, “Under­ground Reich”.

    You are think­ing in old terms. The Under­ground Reich, on the oth­er hand, antic­i­pat­ed the future.

    Using the EMU, Ger­many is already doing what they set out to do.

    Many inside, and out­side, of Europe are begin­ning to under­stand, albeit too late.

    Again, patience and per­se­ver­ance are an absolute must, if you wish to grasp the lines of inquiry pre­sent­ed here.

    Thanks for your atten­tion to this web­site.



    Posted by Dave Emory | August 3, 2013, 3:08 pm
  3. @Shibusa–

    Anoth­er thought: Check out this post;


    It con­tains the last 7 or eight min­utes of a pro­gram I did in May of 1980.

    Then lis­ten to the entire broad­cast, one hour in length.

    See how that cor­re­sponds to what has hap­pened in the more than three decades since it was record­ed.

    Then lis­ten to, and read the descrip­tion for, FTR #186, record­ed in Decem­ber of 1999.


    Sup­ple­ment that with FTR #310. https://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-310-bush-league-associates-and-actions-of-the-georges-bush-part‑1/

    Then lis­ten to, and read the descrip­tion for, FTR #356, record­ed almost two years lat­er, as well as FTR #464, record­ed two years after #356.



    Note my obser­va­tions about BCCI/Bush/FBI direc­tor Mueller.

    In addi­tion check out side “A” of FTR #412, record­ed in June of 2003. See if the dis­cus­sion bears any rel­e­vance to what has hap­pened since then.


    This will give you some per­spec­tive on Yours Tru­ly, as well as the mate­r­i­al itself.

    Thanks again for pay­ing atten­tion to this web­site.



    Posted by Dave Emory | August 3, 2013, 3:36 pm
  4. test

    Posted by participo | August 3, 2013, 9:22 pm
  5. @Participo–

    Your dif­fi­cul­ties post­ing com­ments may well have been due to the fact that I was work­ing on the site.

    Oth­ers have had sim­i­lar prob­lems, under the cir­cum­stances.



    Posted by Dave Emory | August 4, 2013, 2:40 pm
  6. @Dave: Yeah. Well, it hap­pens. No big­gie.

    In any case, I’d like to know one thing, and it con­cerns both Brad Man­ning & Snow­den: Why is it, that Bradley Man­ning is now about to serve 150+ years in prison, while Snow­den, who arguably did far more dam­age, has been allowed to go free, into the hands of the Rus­sians?

    Man­ning, use­ful idiot that he end­ed up being, at least seemed to gen­uine­ly believe that he was doing the world a favor.....but Snow­den? I think we both can agree that he was play­ing us all along, and HE KNEW IT. And yet, the lat­ter man is now roam­ing the streets of Moscow.....

    Posted by Steven L. | August 4, 2013, 4:30 pm
  7. @Steven L.–

    The dif­fer­ence is that Bradley Man­ning is a “use­ful idiot”–a gen­uine­ly trag­ic fig­ure, in the clas­si­cal sense.

    He is not a hero, how­ev­er. He down­loaded a num­ber of doc­u­ments onto a flash dri­ve and leaked them with­out know­ing what was on all of them.

    That is very, very reck­less and could, con­ceiv­ably, have got­ten mil­lions killed. (Sup­pose there was info about access to nukes on there, which, for all B.M. knew, might have been the case.)

    He is a young gay guy sort­ing through iden­ti­ty issues–nothing wrong with that. How­ev­er there is a time and a place for every­thing.

    Mil­i­tary intel­li­gence is NOT the place for that!!

    Man­ning is not a spook on assignment–Snowden is.

    Mannning is not Under­ground Reich. Snow­den is.

    Man­ning stayed in the U.S.–Snowden took off for points dis­tant as his infor­ma­tion was com­ing to light, cour­tesy of an overt Nazi fel­low trav­el­er (Glenn Green­wald.)

    Snow­den is most like­ly BND and/or some Fifth Col­umn Under­ground Reich ele­ment in U.S. intel.

    He was not “allowed” to go free–he had sen­si­tive info and a sup­port struc­ture to trans­port him to Chi­na, then Rus­sia.

    He also had a dooms­day sce­nario in place–IF some­thing hap­pened to him, the pil­lars of the tem­ple would be col­lapsed around him.

    Read the posts I’ve put up at length and in detail.



    Posted by Dave Emory | August 4, 2013, 4:47 pm
  8. @Shibusa: Back in 2010, when Merkel was first push­ing the hard aus­ter­i­ty pol­i­cy pre­scrip­tions, I shared your sur­prise because, as the arti­cle you cite points out, that Ger­many would risk a devel­op­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for dic­tat­ing to its neigh­bors. But that does­n’t change the fact that the poli­cies com­ing out of Berlin have been nuts ever since the finan­cial cri­sis hit. It did­n’t make sense giv­en the bold­ness of the cries for aus­ter­i­ty back then. But it’s less shock­ing now, when you look at just what has been gained in the last three years: it’s basi­cal­ly been a vari­ant on the Rea­gan Rev­o­lu­tion for Europe: The ordolib­er­al far-right eco­nom­ic phi­los­o­phy — with its unhealthy fix­a­tion on debt and sup­ply-side ordolib­er­al eco­nom­ic the­o­ries — is now enshrined as per­ma­nent poli­cies for all mem­ber nations. The Fis­cal Com­pact caps debt and there are going to be new eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy over­sight bod­ies that are going to enforce and “coor­di­nate” eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy. When you take all that into account, the price paid in terms of nation­al image does­n’t seem so high. After all, the price is mere­ly the opin­ion of today’s pop­u­lace. That’s poten­tial­ly just a tem­po­rary thing. But the fun­da­men­tal changes to how the EU/eurozone gov­erns itself that are being dis­cussed could end up being in place for decades to come. There’s a lot at stake.

    Also note that the offi­cial pub­lic stance that Ger­many’s polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment has tak­en is that of depict­ing the South­ern Euro­pean pop­u­laces as being ‘lazy spend­thrifts are try­ing to steal all our hard-earned mon­ey’. This is a reflec­tion of the ten­sions you cite because the Ger­man pub­lic real­ly does need to think that Ger­many is being vic­tim­ized and sucked dry in order to ratio­nal­ize the eco­nom­ic dev­as­ta­tion being caused by the aus­ter­i­ty. It’s the same rhetoric across EU in the nations push­ing for aus­ter­i­ty pol­i­cy and it’s very anal­o­gous to the way the GOP focus­es in the US pub­lic’s atten­tion on “ille­gal aliens” and peo­ple on pub­lic assis­tants as being the source of all eco­nom­ic and social ills. Sim­i­lar­ly, we see near­ly the entire Ger­man eco­nom­ic estab­lish­ment push­ing ordolib­er­al non­sense argu­ment to make the case that Ger­many sim­ply has no choice but to demand aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies. They’re bull­shit argu­ments, in terms of the under­ly­ing eco­nom­ics, but they’re emo­tion­al­ly appeal­ing bull­shit argu­ments and great for mim­ic­k­ing pop­ulist sen­ti­ments.

    In terms of strate­gic objec­tives, get­ting the Euro­pean pop­u­lace to accept ordolib­er­al dog­ma as some sort of meta­phys­i­cal truth would be a HUGE prize. Once a pop­u­lace start take its mon­ey TOO seri­ous­ly, with the kind of reli­gious fer­vor that you find amongst the var­i­ous strains of far-right eco­nom­ic thought, that pop­u­lace is going to be at the mer­cy of the rul­ing oli­garchs that actu­al­ly run the econ­o­my. It’s an ele­gant­ly bru­tal way to take con­trol over peo­ple’s lives under a decen­tral­ized coali­tion of the cor­po­rate enti­ties that run the econ­o­my and dom­i­nate the gov­ern­ment. And it’s been ordolib­er­al non­sense enshrined in the kind of intel­lec­tu­al dis­hon­esty one expects from a Grover Norquist or David Koch that is mak­ing it hap­pen. Don’t for­get that the over­ar­ch­ing goals of the ordolib­er­al econ­o­mists are close­ly shared with their inter­na­tion­al neo-lib­er­al coun­ter­parts of the Aus­tri­an School/Koch/Norquist vari­ety.

    Just take a moment, and think about the fact that the fol­low­ing arti­cle was pub­lished a cou­ple of weeks ago, with­out any guf­faw­ing but in an entire­ly self-seri­ous man­ner. It’s about an idea about has to find a long-term solu­tion to Europe’s ongo­ing finan­cial woes get­ting float­ed in pol­i­cy-mak­ing cir­cles by Oliv­er Gar­nier, the chief econ­o­mist at Soci­ete Gen­erale, one of biggest, most lever­aged banks in Europe and a major recip­i­ent of the 2008 AIG bailout. The under­ly­ing prob­lem is that no one can come up with a viable long-term debt reduc­tion solu­tion for the ail­ing euro­zone economies since the aus­ter­i­ty-alone solu­tion has been such a dis­as­ter. Mr Gar­nier’s idea? Set up a “Euro­pean Treu­hand (Trust) Agency”, mod­eled after the state-pri­va­ti­za­tion Treuhan­danstalt agen­cies used after Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion to pri­va­tize East Ger­man assets. The new agency would be cap­i­tal­ized by Ger­man savers and be used to “invest in” the state assets of the ail­ing euro­zone economies. THAT’s the big solu­tion get­ting ped­dled at this point in the cri­sis. And it’s sup­posed to be an improve­ment over the ol’ “let’s pri­va­tize state assets at fire­sale prices”-model that kept get­ting pushed even after it fails. So instead of out­right pri­va­ti­za­tions, we’ll get some sort of weird pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship arrange­ment where Ger­man savers are now direct­ly own­ing the state-assets of their neigh­bors. Some­how no one sees any long-term prob­lems with this approach. This is where we are:

    Euro Zone Still Look­ing for a Han­dle on Cri­sis
    Pub­lished: July 22, 2013

    PARIS — What if Ger­man savers were to help res­cue Greece, Por­tu­gal or Spain by invest­ing in their state assets and com­pa­nies rather than bail­ing them out with tax­pay­er-backed loans? That nov­el idea for recy­cling Berlin’s huge cur­rent account sur­plus, avoid­ing fire-sale pri­va­ti­za­tions in the weak­est euro zone states and fuel­ing growth in south­ern Europe comes from the French econ­o­mist Olivi­er Gar­nier.

    Mr. Gar­nier, the chief econ­o­mist of Société Générale, argues that cre­at­ing an agency in charge of pur­chas­ing, restruc­tur­ing and pri­va­tiz­ing state-owned assets could, over time, solve sev­er­al of Europe’s deep eco­nom­ic prob­lems.

    Such a “Euro­pean Treu­hand (Trust) Agency” would offer a “debt-for-equi­ty con­ver­sion” that could repair the pub­lic finances of the euro zone’s bailed-out states, reduce North-South cur­rent account imbal­ances in the 17-nation cur­ren­cy area and gen­er­ate invest­ment in Europe’s periph­ery.

    Mr. Gar­nier argues that the idea would offer Ger­man savers a bet­ter return than park­ing their sur­plus cash in domes­tic bank deposits earn­ing zero nom­i­nal inter­est, and would be polit­i­cal­ly more palat­able for Ger­mans than risky tax­pay­er loans to gov­ern­ments that might nev­er be able to repay the debt.

    The fact that such long-shot pro­pos­als are doing the rounds four years into the bloc’s debt cri­sis high­lights how few of the under­ly­ing prob­lems that caused it have been resolved.

    This idea may be time­ly as Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel tries to soft­en Berlin’s image as Europe’s stern aus­ter­i­ty enforcer and show a gen­tler side with ini­tia­tives to help fight youth unem­ploy­ment in cri­sis-strick­en euro zone coun­tries. But to bit­ter Greeks or Spaniards, it might look more like an exer­cise in Ger­man col­o­niza­tion than a help­ing hand. While Dutch, Aus­tri­an or Finnish savers might join, the “Euro­pean” agency would inevitably be dom­i­nat­ed by Ger­man mon­ey.

    When the top-sell­ing Ger­man dai­ly news­pa­per Bild ran a head­line at the start of the debt cri­sis in 2010 scream­ing “Sell your islands, you bank­rupt Greeks! — and the Acrop­o­lis, too,” it caused fury, rekin­dling resent­ments smol­der­ing since World War II.

    Quot­ing Finance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schäuble’s com­ment that “we want to show that we are not just the world’s best savers,” Mr. Gar­nier says: “He should have added that the Ger­mans have to show they can be wis­er investors, mak­ing a more effi­cient use of their sav­ings and of their relat­ed tax­pay­ers’ guar­an­tees.”

    His idea has a Ger­man prece­dent. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and Ger­man uni­fi­ca­tion in 1990, a trustee agency known as the “Treuhan­danstalt” was set up to restruc­ture, wind up or sell off East Ger­man state enter­pris­es. Some top tal­ents of West Ger­man busi­ness were recruit­ed to help shake out and spin off east­ern com­pa­nies.

    But this exam­ple points to some of the obsta­cles to Mr. Garnier’s pro­pos­al. The Treuhan­danstalt was crit­i­cized for lay­ing off near­ly 2.5 mil­lion work­ers of the 4 mil­lion it had inher­it­ed and for clos­ing busi­ness­es that crit­ics said were prof­itable. It con­tributed to East-West resent­ment over the social and finan­cial costs of uni­fi­ca­tion, and its first pres­i­dent was assas­si­nat­ed by (West Ger­man) Marx­ists.

    Pri­va­tiz­ing state-owned com­pa­nies and prop­er­ty are a key part of the bailout pro­grams pre­scribed by the Euro­pean Union and the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund for the euro zone’s debt-laden gov­ern­ments. Yet Greece’s con­sis­tent fail­ure to meet its pri­va­ti­za­tion rev­enue goals high­lights just how hard it is to attract seri­ous investors to coun­tries mired in deep reces­sion, and to sell even prof­itable busi­ness­es for a fair price.


    Else­where in the region, so-called vul­ture funds of pri­vate equi­ty investors are look­ing to pick up stakes in blue-chip Span­ish com­pa­nies at knock-down prices after bailed-out banks were forced to divest.

    With Mr. Garnier’s mod­el, a long-term invest­ment vehi­cle fund­ed by both pri­vate sec­tor sav­ings and the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, or with a state guar­an­tee, would buy up the assets, tak­ing them off their gov­ern­ments’ books, then restruc­ture and run them until they could be sold off prof­itably.

    The Ger­man econ­o­mists Daniel Gros and Thomas May­er sug­gest­ed last year that Ger­many should cre­ate a sov­er­eign wealth fund, like those of Nor­way, Sin­ga­pore and Sau­di Ara­bia, to invest excess sav­ings. Such a fund would be a safer and more effi­cient way to place Ger­man sav­ings than in unre­mu­ner­at­ed deposits, they argued, and would have the side ben­e­fit of low­er­ing the euro’s exchange rate, which would ben­e­fit strug­gling south Euro­pean economies.

    Mr. Gar­nier would put that mon­ey to work inside the euro zone. He notes that Germany’s state-owned devel­op­ment bank, KfW, is already dip­ping a toe in these waters by pro­vid­ing loans through its Span­ish coun­ter­part to cred­it-starved small and medi­um-size busi­ness­es.

    Mr. Garnier’s pro­pos­al rais­es three oth­er issues: Would the agency be able to run the assets more effi­cient­ly than cur­rent own­ers? How would the risk to Ger­man savers’ cap­i­tal be mit­i­gat­ed? And how could the assets be val­ued at prices accept­able to all?

    His answer to each ques­tion is that the sta­tus quo is worse: The assets are molder­ing while gov­ern­ments des­per­ate­ly need the mon­ey. Ger­mans face risks from the bailed-out coun­tries as tax­pay­ers, so why not get some return on their sav­ings? And the assets could be priced in a way that allowed for some upside for south Euro­pean states if they fetch more on the mar­ket.

    “I see all the hur­dles, but it would be ill-advised to rely only on fis­cal trans­fers to share risks among euro zone economies,” Mr. Gar­nier said in an inter­view. “A Euro­pean fis­cal union rais­es even big­ger obsta­cles than this — aban­don­ing bud­get sov­er­eign­ty — and writ­ing off offi­cial debt would be fraught with legal and polit­i­cal obsta­cles.”

    Notice Mr. Gar­nier’s final argu­ment comes down to ‘yeah, there are seri­ous prob­lems with this plan, but just look at the sta­tus quo and the prospect of the aban­don­ment of bud­get sov­er­eign­ty with the pro­posed Euro­pean fis­cal union.’ That’s how bad the options are right now because bad options are the only options avail­able due to Bun­des­bank-derived eco­nom­ic BS. Now Mr. Gar­nier’s idea is the kind of idea that ends up in pub­li­ca­tions like the Finan­cial Times as a real, seri­ous pro­pos­al to sell one nation to anoth­er as part of a long-term debt-solu­tion. Nation-state usury is now appar­ent­ly the solu­tion to ‘mal-inte­gra­tion’.

    July 29, 2013 9:12 am
    The Finan­cial Times
    Mar­kets Insight: Cross-bor­der equi­ty own­er­ship is key to euro­zone risk-shar­ing

    By Olivi­er Gar­nier
    The euro­zone has been suf­fer­ing ‘mal-inte­gra­tion’

    Accord­ing to the new “Brus­sels con­sen­sus”, the only viable solu­tion to low­er the risk of bal­ance of pay­ments crises with­in the euro­zone is by mov­ing clos­er to fis­cal union. There is lit­tle doubt that cross-coun­try risk-shar­ing is required in a mon­e­tary union. But it would be ill-advised to rely on mutu­al­i­sa­tion mech­a­nisms through fis­cal trans­fers only, as opposed to mar­ket-based mech­a­nisms.

    In large fed­er­a­tions such as the US or Ger­many, the fed­er­al bud­get is nei­ther the sole nor even the main chan­nel of risk-shar­ing among states. Indeed, stud­ies show the largest absorber against state-spe­cif­ic shocks is cross-own­er­ship of equi­ty cap­i­tal, far ahead of the fed­er­al tax-trans­fer sys­tem.

    Advo­cat­ing increased reliance on mar­ket-based risk-shar­ing mech­a­nisms could appear coun­ter­pro­duc­tive since cross-bor­der pri­vate finan­cial flows have exac­er­bat­ed the boom and bust in periph­ery economies. How­ev­er, the euro­zone has been suf­fer­ing from “mal-inte­gra­tion”: flows from the core to the periph­ery large­ly took the form of debt, as opposed to direct and equi­ty invest­ment. Mean­while, equi­ty cap­i­tal has been flow­ing “uphill”: over the past 12 years, Ger­many has been a net importer of equi­ty cap­i­tal from the rest of the euro­zone.

    As a com­ple­ment to bank­ing union, it is thus key to pro­mote a gen­uine and com­plete finan­cial inte­gra­tion by enhanc­ing cross-bor­der cap­i­tal own­er­ship of banks and cor­po­rates. In the­o­ry, this process should take place spon­ta­neous­ly through mar­ket mech­a­nisms. In periph­er­al economies, the fall in share prices and labour costs should cre­ate attrac­tive invest­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for core coun­try com­pa­nies and investors. In prac­tice, how­ev­er, this process is hin­dered by many obsta­cles both in the periph­ery and in the core. There­fore, more cen­tralised solu­tions com­bin­ing pri­vate and pub­lic funds are nec­es­sary, at least as cat­a­lysts in the ini­tial stage of this process.

    First, the Euro­pean offi­cial sec­tor could help in restruc­tur­ing the for­eign lia­bil­i­ties of periph­er­al coun­tries by a sort of debt-to-equi­ty con­ver­sion. So far, finan­cial assis­tance to mem­ber states has been pro­vid­ed through loans, thus adding to their debt bur­den. As a result, a sub­stan­tial share of the periph­ery gov­ern­ment debt is now held by gov­ern­ments and inter­na­tion­al organ­i­sa­tions. Exchang­ing debt for equi­ty would be an alter­na­tive to offi­cial sec­tor involve­ment, pro­vid­ing imme­di­ate and sub­stan­tial relief to periph­ery states while being more accept­able by core states than “vol­un­tary” debt hair­cuts.

    This could be done by estab­lish­ing an agency in charge of buy­ing, restruc­tur­ing and pri­vatis­ing state-owned assets. Stronger exper­tise, polit­i­cal inde­pen­dence and a longer time span (10–15 years, thus pre­vent­ing “fire sales” and giv­ing time to restruc­ture assets), would make this agency more effec­tive than exist­ing nation­al pri­vati­sa­tion schemes, which have so far achieved dis­ap­point­ing results.


    Since one of the fun­da­men­tal prob­lems with the pri­va­ti­za­tion schemes has been the lack of inter­est­ed buy­ers and the extreme­ly low bids, notice that for Mr. Gar­nier’s scheme to work the new Euro­pean invest­ment agency is going to have to pay sub­stan­tial­ly more for state assets than what coun­tries like Greece have been able to fetch in the mar­kets. So some­how nations will have to “sweet­en the deal” enough to gar­ner those high­er prices. Or the scheme could unfold, but at much low­er prices than Mr. Gar­nier is pre­dict­ing, thus not solv­ing the under­ly­ing debt prob­lem.

    Also note that it appears that Mr. Gar­nier is imag­ing that this agency will invest in, and take con­trol of, state assets, and then spend the next 10–15 years “restruc­tur­ing” those assets with the long-term plan of even­tu­al full pri­va­ti­za­tion. So, basi­cal­ly, we’re look­ing at a scheme where Ger­man pub­lic funds get invest­ed in a giant account that forms pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships with the state-assets of ail­ing economies, then makes the invest­ments over the next 10–15 years required to turn them into prof­itable enter­pris­es, and then sells them off to pri­vate investors. In oth­er words, this is the pri­va­ti­za­tion DREAM for Europes oli­garchs: Instead of out­right pri­vaiza­tion, where investors buy the state-assets, warts and all, and pay the costs of new invest­ments and restruc­tur­ing, the Euro­pean is going to pay the price instead and only even­tu­al­ly sell off the assets after all the expen­sive invest­ments have been made. By putting the Ger­many pub­lic’s sav­ing direct­ly at risk, it guar­an­tees a hyper-aus­ter­i­ty atti­tude will be tak­en dur­ing any restruc­tur­ing because now the Ger­mans can be told “these are your com­pa­nies and assets that you have at risk and there­fore [insert pro-aus­ter­i­ty argu­ment]”. And once the com­pa­nies have been “restruc­tured”, they get sold off, hope­ful­ly for a prof­it. At best, the Ger­man pub­lic might make an ok return on its invest­ments under this scheme, but the even­tu­al own­ers of the pri­va­tized assets could end up mak­ing WAY more in the long run by dodg­ing the ini­tial “restruc­tur­ing costs”. Pret­ty sweet.


    Sec­ond, a greater share of the struc­tur­al Ger­man exter­nal sur­plus should be recy­cled through direct and equi­ty invest­ment in the rest of the euro­zone. By lend­ing its excess sav­ings to the oth­er euro­zone mem­bers, Ger­many has been able to accu­mu­late record-high cur­rent account sur­plus­es with­out fac­ing the risk of exchange rate appre­ci­a­tion and cur­ren­cy loss­es on for­eign asset hold­ings.

    But the debt cri­sis has been a bru­tal reminder that cred­it risk replaces exchange rate risk with­in a mon­e­tary union. As a result, Ger­man pri­vate cap­i­tal out­flows have reversed, while deposits at the Bun­des­bank have surged. In oth­er words, Ger­man excess sav­ings are now pri­mar­i­ly inter­me­di­at­ed by the eurosys­tem.


    A more ambi­tious idea would be to cre­ate a Ger­man long-term invest­ment vehi­cle fund­ed by both pri­vate and gov­ern­ment sav­ings (or ben­e­fit­ing from a gov­ern­ment guar­an­tee), and designed to take equi­ty stakes in periph­ery economies. The involve­ment of gov­ern­ment mon­ey would be key to entice risk-averse Ger­man savers.

    Such asset prop­er­ty trans­fers would face major polit­i­cal obsta­cles, espe­cial­ly in the periph­ery. But bear in mind that hur­dles to fis­cal union would be much high­er.

    This is the new “hot” idea get­ting bandied about in the lat­est phase of the euro­zone cri­sis. And the “fis­cal untion” Mr. Gar­nier warns is worse than his pro­pos­al just might be worse because it would almost cer­tain­ly involve some sort of “econ­o­my czar” that will have sweep­ing pow­ers over nation­al gov­ern­ments. And those pow­ers will be used to enforce an ordolib­er­al, anti-pop­ulist vision. Part of the rea­son there’s been such unwa­ver­ing sup­port of aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies by Europe’s lead­er­ship is that there’s a gen­er­al con­sen­sus amongst Europe’s elite (and the glob­al elite gen­er­al­ly) that harsh aus­ter­i­ty mea­sures tied to eco­nom­ic per­for­mance is the only accept­able mod­el going for­ward. That’s the con­sen­sus. Both the Grover Norquist/David Koch-style of eco­nom­ics AND the Jens Wei­d­man­n/Bun­des­bank-style of eco­nom­ic fit very well in that kind of eco­nom­ic par­a­digm because they both have the prop­er­ties of fetishiz­ing low-infla­tion and mar­ket-place suprema­cy for deter­min­ing life out­comes (it’s just less exreme under ordolib­er­al­ism). It’s hor­ren­dous­ly stu­pid unless you want to ensure mad­ness. But it’s a great mind­set for turn­ing the econ­o­my into a giant debtor’s prison. And Europe’s elites are real­ly deter­mined to imple­ment some sort of eco­nom­ic death trap where unelect­ed offi­cials get vast pow­ers to “coor­di­nate pol­i­cy” in a way that enforces a far-right-lite (one-hopes) pol­i­cy-frame­work:

    Paris, Berlin look to shake up euro zone lead­er­ship

    ri May 31, 2013 10:03am EDT

    * France, Ger­many open debate over Eurogroup pres­i­dent

    * Paris and Berlin favour a per­ma­nent appoint­ment to post

    * Pro­pos­al calls into ques­tion job of cur­rent chair­man

    * Dutch Eurogroup head has unset­tled mar­kets over Cyprus

    By Luke Bak­er

    BRUSSELS, May 31 (Reuters) — France and Ger­many have thrown their weight behind cre­at­ing a per­ma­nent pres­i­dent for eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy in the euro zone, a role that would mark a fun­da­men­tal over­haul of how the cur­ren­cy bloc is man­aged.

    Their back­ing calls into ques­tion the per­for­mance of Dutch Finance Min­is­ter Jeroen Dijs­sel­bloem, who was appoint­ed chair­man of the Eurogroup of finance min­is­ters of the 17-nation cur­ren­cy area in Jan­u­ary, to serve ini­tial­ly for 2–1/2 years.

    Dijs­sel­bloem, who suc­ceed­ed Lux­em­bourg Prime Min­is­ter Jean-Claude Junck­er, has unset­tled finan­cial mar­kets since tak­ing office, espe­cial­ly with com­ments about Cyprus and how bank depos­i­tors could finance future bailouts.

    Those views, while sup­port­ed by some at the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, have irked oth­er offi­cials in Paris, Berlin and Brus­sels.

    At a meet­ing in Paris on Thurs­day, Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande and Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel agreed to pro­pose to fel­low lead­ers appoint­ing a per­ma­nent Eurogroup head, which France has long favoured.

    “A full-time pres­i­dent of the Eurogroup with rein­forced pow­ers, includ­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of del­e­gat­ing pow­er to oth­er euro zone min­is­ters,” their joint “con­tri­bu­tion” to next mon­th’s EU sum­mit said under the head­ing “Rein­forc­ing euro zone gov­er­nance and legit­i­ma­cy”.

    Merkel’s spokesman said the aim was to cre­ate a posi­tion with a much more ded­i­cat­ed focus on euro zone issues.

    It should not be a euro zone finance min­is­ter but a pres­i­dent whose job would be to coor­di­nate work inten­sive­ly,” said Stef­fen Seib­ert. “It will be a very demand­ing job.”

    The Fran­co-Ger­man doc­u­ment said the pro­pos­al should be imple­ment­ed with­in two years. It also said euro zone lead­ers should hold more fre­quent sum­mits than the two annu­al ses­sions they already have and be able to instruct spe­cial­ist min­is­ters of the euro zone to work more close­ly on issues such as employ­ment, social affairs, research and indus­try.

    Both moves could widen the gap between a euro zone core and oth­er mem­ber states of the Euro­pean Union that are not in the sin­gle cur­ren­cy, and put nation­al gov­ern­ments rather than the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in the dri­ver’s seat.


    There isn’t much more infor­ma­tion pub­licly avail­able so far about what these new Eurogroup Pres­i­den­tial pow­ers will entail, but it looks like that vision vague­ly dis­cussed by Merkel and Hol­lande that “would mark a fun­da­men­tal over­haul of how the cur­ren­cy bloc is man­aged” has sort of already been adopt­ed by the larg­er euro­zone pol­i­cy-mak­ing com­mu­ni­ty:

    EU Insid­er
    EU — between the Cen­trifu­gal and Cen­tripetal Forces
    Pub­lished on 30 July 2013 16:07, Adeli­na Mari­ni, Zagreb, Twit­ter: @AdelinaMarini
    Last change on: 30 July 2013 16:07

    The past Euro­pean polit­i­cal sea­son can be remem­bered with the iso­la­tion of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and in par­tic­u­lar its pres­i­dent — Jose Manuel Bar­roso, who is serv­ing a sec­ond term after the will of the prin­ci­ple of the least resis­tance. In the past year, the for­mer prime min­is­ter of Por­tu­gal demon­strat­ed exces­sive ener­gy and high ambi­tions not only for the deep­en­ing of the EU inte­gra­tion, with the euro­zone at the epi­cen­tre, but to hold the reins of that inte­gra­tion in his hands. A zeal that was poured with cold water by the Fran­co-Ger­man polit­i­cal cen­tre and also by the Dutch-British loos­en­ing actions. Pres­i­dent Bar­roso hoped that the June sum­mit in Brus­sels will dupli­cate the ambi­tion and vision of the last year’s Euro­pean Coun­cil in June when the lead­ers of the mem­ber states decid­ed to begin the con­struc­tion of the bank­ing union and also to be pre­sent­ed with ideas for the deep­en­ing of the Eco­nom­ic and Mon­e­tary Union (EMU), which is the euro­zone.


    In terms of eco­nom­ic poli­cies at the euro area lev­el, Angela Merkel and Fran­cois Hol­lande direct­ly respond to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s ques­tions, say­ing that in order to have strong coor­di­na­tion of the eco­nom­ic poli­cies it is first need­ed to devel­op a set of indi­ca­tors that will be able to make a com­mon­ly accept­ed diag­no­sis of the euro­zone and of all the mem­bers that share the com­mon cur­ren­cy. These indi­ca­tors should be able to iden­ti­fy the weak­ness­es and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of the econ­o­my at large, but also of the mar­kets of goods, labour and ser­vices. Merkol­lande agree with the Com­mis­sion that the areas of com­mon coor­di­na­tion should be the labour mar­kets; unem­ploy­ment and social inclu­sion; but also pen­sion poli­cies; prod­uct mar­kets; com­mon tax­a­tion; effi­cien­cy of the pub­lic sec­tor; edu­ca­tion sys­tems.

    Regard­ing the con­trac­tu­al agree­ments, Hol­lande and Merkel are firm that the con­cept of these agree­ments needs to be defined more specif­i­cal­ly first, tak­ing into account the spe­cif­ic sit­u­a­tion in every mem­ber state. But lead­ing in this will be the mem­ber states, not the Com­mis­sion. France and Ger­many are not against the cre­ation of a new sys­tem for “lim­it­ed and con­di­tion­al finan­cial assis­tance” for the euro area, but any new enhance­ment of the euro­zone should be left for after the Euro­pean elec­tions next year when the Euro­pean insti­tu­tions will have new pres­i­dents. Among the oth­er ideas the two coun­tries offer for con­sid­er­a­tion are more fre­quent euro­zone sum­mits; appoint­ment of a per­ma­nent Eurogroup chief; build­ing of sep­a­rate struc­tures with­in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, espe­cial­ly for the euro­zone to ensure “ade­quate demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol and legit­i­ma­cy” of the deci­sion-mak­ing process.

    Notice how Merkel and Hol­lande (some­one who is sup­pos­ed­ly sort of opposed to the per­ma­nent aus­ter­i­ty-regime) first talk about the need to coor­di­nate poli­cies across a broad array of areas: labour mar­kets; unem­ploy­ment and social inclu­sion; but also pen­sion poli­cies; prod­uct mar­kets; com­mon tax­a­tion; effi­cien­cy of the pub­lic sec­tor; edu­ca­tion sys­tems. And then there’s vague dis­cus­sion about agree­ment over the need for a per­ma­nent Eurogroup pres­i­dent and build­ing sep­a­rate struc­tures with­in the euro­zone to ensure “ade­quate demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol and legit­i­ma­cy” of the deci­sion-mak­ing process. That’s a pret­ty strong indi­ca­tion that the vague plans Merkel and Hol­lande are talk­ing about for the expan­sion of pow­ers of the Eurogroup pres­i­dent to are prob­a­bly going to fur­ther threat­en “ade­quate demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol and legit­i­ma­cy” of the deci­sion-mak­ing process. This is where we are, and it’s only been a few years since these over-the-top­ic pow­er-play antics have begun.



    Tomor­row begins in Octo­ber

    The out­come of the June 27–28 sum­mit shows that the Fran­co-Ger­man vision has def­i­nite­ly pre­vailed, but the time­line for the bold­er reforms is left for after the elec­tions in Ger­many in the end of Sep­tem­berd. In their con­clu­sions, the lead­ers have writ­ten down that they will hold close con­sul­ta­tions and the issue will again be reviewed in Octo­ber when will the set of indi­ca­tors be dis­cussed and the areas the ex ante coor­di­na­tion will cov­er. And in Decem­ber will be tak­en the final deci­sion about how and where to go. In the mean­time, the social dimen­sion fo the EMU will be enhanced for which the Com­mis­sion is expect­ed to present con­crete pro­pos­als this autumn.


    There will be plen­ty of ongo­ing attempts to imple­ment some form of far-right nut­ti­ness in the US but it will take a Tea Par­ty-ish form. In Europe, where the US far-right’s brand of eco­nom­ic Lib­er­tar­i­an­ism isn’t near­ly as palat­able, it’s going to be Bun­des­bank-brand nut­ti­ness. But it’s no longer long a ques­tion of whether or not we can fea­si­bly see fas­cist-natured lead­er­ship com­ing from Berlin and Frank­furt over the future of Europe. It’s what we’ve been see­ing for sev­er­al years now. Fas­cist/­far-right lead­er­ship emanates from tons of gov­ern­ments around the world all the time. And that includes plen­ty of oth­er nations inside and out­side the EU. The austerity/union-busting/“structural reform” phe­nom­e­na is transna­tion­al. The EU/eurozone lead­er­ship entered The Twigh­light Zone soon after the finan­cial cri­sis and The Twigh­light Zone is not exit­ed eas­i­ly. And they were led by the ordolib­er­al­ist ideals so at this point it’s just a mat­ter of try­ing to under­stand how it is that Ger­many’s dom­i­nant eco­nom­ic posi­tion is being used to cre­ate a strange far-right tomor­row for Europe. Psy-op-ing the Ger­man pop­u­lace with far-right eco­nom­ic dog­ma that man­dates aus­ter­i­ty as the only viable solu­tion has been one of the tools used by Merkel & Friends from the begin­ning. It’s the sim­i­lar to the far-right dog­ma ped­dled by the GOP in the US and else­where.

    Sor­ry for the long rant! Got car­ried away there.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 4, 2013, 11:20 pm
  9. Thank you so much for all the tips and point­ers. I will check them out. I know at a vis­cer­al and intu­itive lev­el (not to men­tion the per­son­al expe­ri­ence I had with some of the peo­ple and insti­tu­tions you’ve men­tioned) that every­thing you say is true. Under­stand­ing it at an intel­lec­tu­al lev­el is not that easy. As you said, I need time to process all the info. I lis­ten to 4 or 5 of your pro­grams every day but the mate­r­i­al is so vast I did­n’t know where to start.

    You’re absolute­ly right when you said one needs an open mind to under­stand all of this. Before I came across your web site I was con­vinced the prob­lem was Israel and Zion­ism until I lis­tened to one of your shows where you said the US was open­ly sup­port­ing Israel while secret­ly sus­tain­ing a true alle­giance with Sau­di Ara­bia. It was like a buck­et of cold water had fall­en on my head and all of a sud­den many things made sense. It should have been obvi­ous since 911 con­sid­er­ing all the hijack­ers were from Sau­di Ara­bia but that just goes to show how the media can make any­one think a dog is a cat when one can clear­ly see it is not!

    “The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood” was pre­cise­ly the key­word search which led me to your web site. After the Boston marathon bomb­ing Glenn Beck cre­at­ed a HUGE media sen­sa­tion by say­ing he would reveal some­thing with­in the next few days that would “bring down the US gov­ern­ment”. (God! He’s such a dra­ma queen!)…. Well, his big rev­e­la­tion was the con­nec­tion between the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and the “Mus­lim Broth­er­hood”. And of course, his dis­clo­sure did­n’t bring down the US gov­ern­ment (Sur­prise! Sur­prise!) but it did make me curi­ous about this orga­ni­za­tion of which I knew noth­ing about. Have you noticed increased traf­fic to your web site since the Boston Marathon bomb­ing? If you have, this could very well be the rea­son. In his effort to “shock the nation” Beck may have inad­ver­tent­ly sent many peo­ple your way.

    Bless your heart and thank you for so self­less­ly shar­ing your work with every­one. If I can ever be of ser­vice please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact me.

    Posted by Shibusa | August 5, 2013, 8:24 am
  10. And once again the Amer­i­can pub­lic gets a friend­ly reminder that declar­ing a “War on Drugs” against their fel­low cit­i­zens was­n’t just a cal­lous exam­ple of col­lec­tive cru­el­ty, it was also a real­ly stu­pid self-inflict­ed injury to the fab­ric of the civ­il soci­ety:

    More Sur­veil­lance Abuse Exposed! Spe­cial DEA Unit Is Spy­ing On Amer­i­cans And Cov­er­ing It Up
    Rick Ungar, Con­trib­u­tor

    8/05/2013 @ 11:21AM

    As Amer­i­cans sort through their feel­ings regard­ing the dis­clo­sure of the mas­sive col­lec­tion of meta­da­ta by the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion, we are now learn­ing of what may be a far more insid­i­ous vio­la­tion of our con­sti­tu­tion­al rights at the hands of a gov­ern­ment agency.

    Reuters is report­ing that a secret U.S. Drug Enforce­ment Admin­is­tra­tion branch has been col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion from “intel­li­gence inter­cepts, wire­taps, infor­mants and a mas­sive data­base of tele­phone records” and dis­sem­i­nat­ing the data to author­i­ties across the nation to “help them launch crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions of Amer­i­cans.”

    In this case, the Amer­i­cans who are being sub­ject­ed to these inves­ti­ga­tions are sus­pect­ed drug deal­ers.

    The unit of the DEA that is con­duct­ing the sur­veil­lance is known as the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Divi­sion (“SOD”) and is made up of a part­ner­ship of numer­ous gov­ern­ment agen­cies includ­ing the NSA, CIA, FBI, IRS and the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty.

    While there are sug­ges­tions that ele­ments of the pro­gram may be legal, there is obvi­ous con­cern on the part of those run­ning the program—a con­cern that has not pre­vent­ed them from going ahead with the col­lect­ing and using of covert­ly gath­ered data—that the sur­veil­lance effort may not be entire­ly kosher. We know this to be true because, accord­ing to doc­u­ments reviewed by Reuters, DEA agents are specif­i­cal­ly instruct­ed nev­er to reveal nor dis­cuss the exis­tence and uti­liza­tion of SOD pro­vid­ed data and to fur­ther “omit the SOD’s involve­ment from inves­tiga­tive reports, affi­davits, dis­cus­sions with pros­e­cu­tors and court­room tes­ti­mo­ny. Agents are instruct­ed to then use ‘nor­mal inves­tiga­tive tech­niques to recre­ate the infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by SOD.’”

    The last line of the direc­tive is par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turb­ing.

    By instruct­ing agents to use “nor­mal inves­tiga­tive tech­niques to recre­ate the infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by SOD”, law enforce­ment is being instruct­ed to flat out lie when dis­clos­ing how they came across the tips or oth­er infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by SOD lead­ing to an arrest. These agents are direct­ed to give sub­stance to the lie by fab­ri­cat­ing a false source or method uti­lized to gain infor­ma­tion lead­ing to an arrest.

    In law enforce­ment par­lance, it is called “par­al­lel con­struc­tion.”

    Accord­ing­ly to a for­mer fed­er­al agent, the SOD ‘tip’ sys­tem works as fol­lows:

    “You’d be told only, ‘Be at a cer­tain truck stop at a cer­tain time and look for a cer­tain vehi­cle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehi­cle, and then have a drug dog search it.”

    When the SOD tip leads to an arrest, the agents then pre­tend that the drug bust was the sur­prise result of pulling the vehi­cle over as a rou­tine traf­fic stop.

    So secre­tive is the pro­gram, SOD requires that agents lie to the judges, pros­e­cut­ing attor­neys and defense attor­neys involved in a tri­al of a defen­dant bust­ed as a result of SOD surveillance—a com­plete and clear vio­la­tion of every American’s right to due process, even when that Amer­i­can is a low-life drug deal­er.

    Every crim­i­nal defen­dant is enti­tled to the legit­i­mate data and facts sur­round­ing their arrest so that their coun­sel can exam­ine the pro­pri­ety of the arrest and attack pro­ce­dures that may be improp­er and ille­gal under the law in defense of their client. When sen­si­tive, clas­si­fied data is involved in such a case (data pos­si­bly col­lect­ed in sur­veil­lance of a for­eign nation­al that reveals incrim­i­nat­ing evi­dence involv­ing an Amer­i­can), it is the pre­rog­a­tive of the judge to decide what should and should not be admit­ted into evi­dence.

    As for the pros­e­cu­tors, not every­one is enam­ored with the idea of such deceit, even if it pro­duces con­vic­tions. Reports Reuters:

    One cur­rent fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent mis­led him, the pros­e­cu­tor told Reuters. In a Flori­da drug case he was han­dling, the pros­e­cu­tor said, a DEA agent told him the inves­ti­ga­tion of a U.S. cit­i­zen began with a tip from an infor­mant. When the pros­e­cu­tor pressed for more infor­ma­tion, he said, a DEA super­vi­sor inter­vened and revealed that the tip had actu­al­ly come through the SOD and from an NSA inter­cept.

    “I was pissed,” the pros­e­cu­tor said. “Lying about where the infor­ma­tion came from is a bad start if you’re try­ing to com­ply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of prob­lems with dis­cov­ery and can­dor to the court.” The pros­e­cu­tor nev­er filed charges in the case because he lost con­fi­dence in the inves­ti­ga­tion, he said.

    Now, before you get car­ried away with this being some fur­ther proof of the Oba­ma Jus­tice Department’s (the DOJ over­sees the activ­i­ties of the DEA) desire to infringe upon the pri­va­cy rights of Amer­i­cans, you should know that the pro­gram has been active since 1994. Thus, while one could legit­i­mate­ly crit­i­cize the Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion for con­tin­u­ing the pro­gram, lay­ing it all at the feet of the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion would sim­ply be wrong.

    The dis­clo­sure of the SOD pro­gram is upset­ting a great many legal and con­sti­tu­tion­al experts through­out the nation. Speak­ing to Reuters, Har­vard Law Pro­fes­sor, Nan­cy Gertner—who also spent sev­en­teen years on the bench as a fed­er­al judge—said,

    “I have nev­er heard of any­thing like this at all. It is one thing to cre­ate spe­cial rules for nation­al secu­ri­ty. Ordi­nary crime is entire­ly dif­fer­ent. It sounds like they are pho­ny­ing up inves­ti­ga­tions.”

    Oth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al and legal experts point out that the pro­gram is more dis­turb­ing than the recent NSA dis­clo­sures involv­ing the col­lec­tion of phone meta­da­ta as the NSA effort is geared towards catch­ing ter­ror­ists while the DEA pro­gram is tar­get­ing com­mon crim­i­nals who, as Amer­i­cans, are enti­tled to their con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­tec­tions no mat­ter what their alleged crimes.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 5, 2013, 12:21 pm
  11. @Dave: Well, yeah.

    In any case, I guess it would­n’t hurt to re-read some of this stuff, espe­cial­ly thanks to recent devel­op­ments.

    Posted by Steven L. | August 5, 2013, 3:19 pm
  12. @Shibusa–

    My com­ment is NOT an indict­ment or attack.

    The fact that you had been so thor­ough­ly and eas­i­ly mis­lead about Jews/Israel/Zionism is as good an indi­ca­tion as any about The Under­ground Reich’s suc­cess in its efforts.

    Jews and Israel are com­plete­ly irrel­e­vant to any sub­stan­tive dis­cus­sion of world affairs.

    (Analy­sis of Israel/Arab con­flict gen­er­al­ly ignores the impor­tant considerations–the tri­par­tite clan con­trol used by the Ottoman Empire and then the British Empire to main­tain con­trol in that part of the world–Nashashibis and Hamshemites sub­sumed to the Hus­sei­ni clan. It also ignores oth­er key con­sid­er­a­tions such as the Treaty of Sam Remo of 1920 and the Mizrahi–the Jews eth­ni­cal­ly cleansed from Arab coun­tries fol­low­ing Israel’s found­ing and the 1948 war of inde­pen­dence. More than twice the num­ber of Jews were eth­ni­cal­ly cleansed from Arab lands [over a rough­ly 30-year peri­od] as “Pales­tini­ans” were eth­ni­cal­ly cleansed in Israel. The land deed­ed to the Mizrahi was more than FIVE times the ter­ri­to­ry of mod­ern Israel. Many of those Jews set­tled in Israel and they are the foun­da­tion of the elec­toral base of the Israeli right wing and very, very right wing they are.)

    The Jews are 0.2% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion with 0.0% of the world’s oil.

    Despite man­i­fest­ing a large­ly medieval cul­ture, the Arabs, who DO con­trol the world’s oil sup­ply and have been aligned with the Reich in both its above-ground and Under­ground phas­es, have manip­u­lat­ed world opin­ion very suc­cess­ful­ly.

    As dis­cussed in the Dorothy Thomp­son arti­cle and excerpt I have ref­er­enced so often, eco­nom­ic con­trol auto­mat­i­cal­ly leads to polit­i­cal con­trol.

    Note, also, my empha­sis on “Ser­pen­t’s Walk,” a man­i­festo and far more than the “nov­el” it pur­ports to be.

    Pub­lished by the Nation­al Alliance–one of Glenn Green­wald’s Nazi clients–it refers to con­trol­ling the opin­ion-form­ing media.

    The rea­son I dis­cuss the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work so often is deriv­a­tive of the fact that it is–as one banker called it–“the great­est con­cen­tra­tion of mon­ey pow­er under a sin­gle con­trol in all of world history”–(see FTR #152).

    In FTR #99, the Bor­mann net­work is dis­cussed in the con­text of the tides of 20th cen­tu­ry cap­i­tal flow.

    An impor­tant analy­sis, that.



    Posted by Dave Emory | August 5, 2013, 4:43 pm
  13. It’s inter­est­ing that the com­ments com­ing from offi­cials on all sides are that the can­cel­la­tion of treaty was com­plete­ly irrel­e­vant because the treaty had­n’t invoked in years. It rais­es the obvi­ous ques­tion “Ok, so if it’s irrel­e­vant, is that because there are new­er treaties in place that also ensure the same lev­el of exten­sive intel­li­gence-shar­ing?” And if there ARE oth­er treaties or poli­cies still in place, does­n’t that mean Merkel just bla­tant­ly tried to deceive the Ger­man elec­torate into think­ing some mean­ing­ful change took place just months before the elec­tion? It’s a curi­ous polit­i­cal move:

    Ger­many ter­mi­nates Cold War spy pact
    August 4, 2013

    BERLIN (AP)–Germany can­celed a Cold War-era sur­veil­lance pact with the Unit­ed States and Britain on Fri­day in response to rev­e­la­tions by U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency leak­er Edward Snow­den about those coun­tries’ alleged elec­tron­ic eaves­drop­ping oper­a­tions.

    The move appeared large­ly sym­bol­ic, designed to show that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment was tak­ing action to stop unwar­rant­ed sur­veil­lance direct­ed against its cit­i­zens with­out actu­al­ly jeop­ar­diz­ing rela­tions with Wash­ing­ton and Lon­don. With weeks to go before nation­al elec­tions, oppo­si­tion par­ties had seized on Snowden’s claim that Ger­many was com­plic­it in the NSA’s intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing oper­a­tions.

    Gov­ern­ment offi­cials have insist­ed that U.S. and British intel­li­gence were nev­er giv­en per­mis­sion to break Germany’s strict pri­va­cy laws. But they con­ced­ed last month that an agree­ment dat­ing back to the late 1960s gave the Unit­ed States, Britain and France the right to request Ger­man author­i­ties to con­duct sur­veil­lance oper­a­tions with­in Ger­many to pro­tect their troops sta­tioned there.

    “The can­cel­la­tion of the admin­is­tra­tive agree­ments, which we have pushed for in recent weeks, is a nec­es­sary and prop­er con­se­quence of the recent debate about pro­tect­ing per­son­al pri­va­cy,” Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Gui­do West­er­welle said in a state­ment.

    British For­eign Office brushed off the sig­nif­i­cance of the Ger­man move. “It’s a loose end from a pre­vi­ous era which is right to tie up,” the For­eign Office said in a state­ment, not­ing that the agree­ment had not been used since 1990.

    A spokes­woman for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Ruth Ben­nett, con­firmed that the agree­ment had been can­celed but declined to com­ment fur­ther on the issue.

    A Ger­man offi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, also said the can­cel­la­tion would have lit­tle prac­ti­cal con­se­quences. He said the agree­ment had not been invoked since the end of the Cold War and would have no impact on cur­rent intel­li­gence coop­er­a­tion between Ger­many and its North Atlantic Treaty Orga­ni­za­tion allies. The offi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because he was not autho­rized to pub­licly dis­cuss the issue.

    Ger­many is cur­rent­ly in talks with France to can­cel its part of the agree­ment as well.


    You have to won­der if France’s gov­ern­ment is like “WTF? Us too?” or if this was all expect­ed.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 5, 2013, 6:46 pm
  14. @Dave: Well said con­cern­ing Israel. About now the Snow­den Affair cov­ered in this series of posts, I agree with every­thing that has been said so far but I have one inter­ro­ga­tion remain­ing. What about inter-agency competition/rivalry/jealousy in all this? We know that since 9/11 the NSA and the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty have been tak­ing more and more space and pieces of the action in the intel­li­gence mat­ters of the coun­try. Is that con­ceiv­able that some peo­ple in the old­er agen­cies feel that some­how they are the losers in that con­text? That they have lost, in their esti­ma­tion, “the edge”, have been put aside, down­grad­ed, etc? It is just a thought but maybe there is some­thing there.

    Keep going.

    Posted by Claude | August 7, 2013, 7:11 am
  15. Via zero­hedge:


    NSA Pricked The “Cloud” Bub­ble For US Tech Com­pa­nies


    Wolf Richter http://www.testosteronepit.com http://www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter

    The cloud is a growth indus­try. And a reli­gion in Sil­i­con Val­ley: you’re bet­ter off with all your data and soft­ware stored in a data cen­ter some­where on the plan­et. It’s at the core of Big Data. It’s a bea­con of growth that rev­enue-chal­lenged tech giants like Ora­cle and IBM wave in the faces of antsy investors.
    What we thought had been encrypt­ed and secured on US servers, pro­tect­ed by trust­wor­thy Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions, has been made acces­si­ble, as we now know from the Snow­den leaks, not only to com­pa­nies that are will­ing to pay for it, but also to the NSA, oth­er mem­bers of the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty, gov­ern­ment agen­cies in the US, state and local law enforce­ment agen­cies, as well as allied for­eign gov­ern­ments. Made pos­si­ble by for­mer­ly secret pro­vi­sions in the Patri­ot Act and the For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Act.
    But there is a price to pay. Tens of bil­lions of dol­lars, it turns out. The reac­tions by for­eign com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ments to these rev­e­la­tions have “an imme­di­ate and last­ing impact” on the US cloud com­put­ing indus­try, deter­mined the Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy & Inno­va­tion Foun­da­tion.
    In a sur­vey con­duct­ed after the Snow­den leaks, 10% of the for­eign com­pa­nies using cloud com­put­ing ser­vices said they’d already can­celled a project with a US cloud provider and 56% said they’d be less like­ly to use US-based providers. Con­verse­ly, among US stake­hold­ers in the cloud sec­tor, 36% said that the NSA leaks would make it more dif­fi­cult doing busi­ness out­side the US. The report esti­mat­ed that if US cloud com­pa­nies lose between 10% and 20% of their for­eign busi­ness over three years, it will cost them between $21.5 bil­lion to $35 bil­lion.

    But the report cau­tions it could get much more expen­sive “if for­eign gov­ern­ments enact pro­tec­tion­ist trade bar­ri­ers that effec­tive­ly cut out US providers.” In Europe, momen­tum in that direc­tion is grow­ing.

    Ger­man Fed­er­al Data Pro­tec­tion com­mis­sion­ers threat­ened with new bureau­crat­ic hur­dles. Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Hans-Peter Friedrich announced that “who­ev­er fears their com­mu­ni­ca­tion is being inter­cept­ed in any way should use ser­vices that don’t go through Amer­i­can servers.” And Jus­tice Min­is­ter Jörg-Uwe Hahn called for an out­right boy­cott of US com­pa­nies.

    More at link

    Posted by Swamp | August 7, 2013, 10:25 am
  16. Glenn Green­wald recent­ly con­firmed that that he was giv­en 15–20,000 clas­si­fied docu­muents by Snow­den and what he’s released so far is a tiny por­tion of what he’s plan­ning on releas­ing. He also claims that Wik­iLeaks prob­a­bly does­n’t have the full set of doc­u­ments but that only he and Lau­ra Poitras have them (pre­sum­ably this does­n’t include the mys­tery indi­vid­u­als with the encrypt­ed doc­u­ments). Out­side experts have also been hired to help inter­pret the doc­u­ments. In anoth­er week or so, accord­ing to Green­wald, there should be anoth­er major rev­e­la­tion about US spy­ing in Latin Amer­i­ca:

    Glenn Green­wald: Snow­den Gave Me 15–20,000 Clas­si­fied Doc­u­ments

    Reuters | Post­ed: 08/06/2013 8:45 pm EDT

    * Jour­nal­ist says he speaks to Snow­den almost dai­ly

    * For­mer NSA con­trac­tor hap­py with debate on inter­net pri­va­cy

    By Antho­ny Boa­dle

    BRASILIA, Aug 6 (Reuters) — Glenn Green­wald, the Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist who pub­lished doc­u­ments leaked by fugi­tive for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den, plans to make new rev­e­la­tions “with­in the next 10 days or so” on secret U.S. sur­veil­lance of the Inter­net.

    “The arti­cles we have pub­lished so far are a very small part of the rev­e­la­tions that ought to be pub­lished,” Green­wald on Tues­day told a Brazil­ian con­gres­sion­al hear­ing that is inves­ti­gat­ing the U.S. inter­net sur­veil­lance in Brazil.

    “There will cer­tain­ly be many more rev­e­la­tions on spy­ing by the U.S. gov­ern­ment and how they are invad­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tions of Brasil and Latin Amer­i­ca,” he said in Por­tuguese.

    The Rio de Janeiro-based colum­nist for Britain’s Guardian news­pa­per said he has recruit­ed the help of experts to under­stand some of the 15,000 to 20,000 clas­si­fied doc­u­ments from the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency that Snow­den passed him, some of which are “very long and com­plex and take time to read.”

    Green­wald told Reuters he does not believe the pro-trans­paren­cy web­site Wik­iLeaks had obtained a pack­age of doc­u­ments from Snow­den, and that only he and film­mak­er Lau­ra Poitras have com­plete archives of the leaked mate­r­i­al.

    Green­wald said Snow­den, who was in hid­ing in Hong Kong before fly­ing to Rus­sia in late June, was hap­py to leave a Moscow air­port after being grant­ed tem­po­rary asy­lum, and pleased that he had stirred up a world­wide debate on inter­net pri­va­cy and secret U.S. sur­veil­lance pro­grams used to mon­i­tor emails.

    “I speak with him a lot since he left the air­port, almost every day. We use very strong encryp­tion to com­mu­ni­cate,” Green­wald told the Brazil­ian leg­is­la­tors. “He is very well.”


    Last month, in an arti­cle co-authored by Green­wald, the Brazil­ian news­pa­per O Globo report­ed that the NSA spied on Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries with pro­grams that can mon­i­tor bil­lions of emails and phone calls for sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty. Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries fumed at what they con­sid­ered a vio­la­tion of their sov­er­eign­ty and demand­ed expla­na­tions and an apol­o­gy.


    In Brazil, the largest U.S. trad­ing part­ner in South Amer­i­ca, angry sen­a­tors ques­tioned Pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rouss­ef­f’s planned state vis­it to Wash­ing­ton in Octo­ber and a bil­lion-dol­lar pur­chase of U.S.-made fight­er jets Brazil is con­sid­er­ing.

    Mem­bers of the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee pep­pered Green­wald with ques­tions on Tues­day, such as whether the NSA was capa­ble of spy­ing on Brazil’s com­mer­cial secrets, includ­ing the dis­cov­ery of promis­ing off­shore oil reserves, and the com­mu­ni­ca­tions of the coun­try’s pres­i­dent and armed forces.

    Green­wald had no details on spe­cif­ic tar­gets and said the doc­u­ments did not name telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and inter­net com­pa­nies in the Unit­ed States and Brazil that might have col­lab­o­rat­ed with the NSA’s col­lec­tion of inter­net users’ data.


    Mean­while, Wash­ing­ton is work­ing through diplo­mat­ic chan­nels to per­suade gov­ern­ments to stop com­plain­ing about the sur­veil­lance pro­grams, he said.

    “The Brazil­ian gov­ern­ment is show­ing much more anger in pub­lic than it is show­ing in pri­vate dis­cus­sions with the U.S. gov­ern­ment,” Green­wald told reporters. “All gov­ern­ments are doing this, even in Europe.”

    In a speech at the Unit­ed Nations on Tues­day, Brazil­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Anto­nio Patri­o­ta called the inter­cep­tion of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and acts of espi­onage in Latin Amer­i­ca “a seri­ous issue, with a pro­found impact on the inter­na­tion­al order.” But he did not men­tion the Unit­ed States by name.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 8, 2013, 8:07 pm
  17. The GOP is being pre­dictably ‘help­ful’ with the task of defus­ing grow­ing ten­sions in US inter­na­tion­al rela­tions:

    The Hill
    GOP sen­a­tors want Oba­ma to take fur­ther steps against Rus­sia

    By Jere­my Herb — 08/08/13 01:45 PM ET

    Pres­i­dent Oba­ma should expand sanc­tions against Russ­ian human rights vio­la­tors, Sens. John McCain (R‑Ariz.) and Lind­sey Gra­ham (R‑S.C.) said Thurs­day.

    The two sen­a­tors issued a joint state­ment that said they “obvi­ous­ly agree” with Obama’s deci­sion to can­cel a planned meet­ing next month with Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

    But the two said Oba­ma should go much far­ther.

    They called on the pres­i­dent to fin­ish the last phase of a Euro­pean mis­sile defense shield that’s been scrapped and push for a new round of NATO expan­sion to include Geor­gia.

    “Now we must move beyond sym­bol­ic acts and take the steps nec­es­sary to estab­lish a more real­is­tic approach to our rela­tions with Rus­sia,” McCain and Gra­ham said. “That means demon­strat­ing to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment that there will be con­se­quences for its con­tin­ued actions that under­mine Amer­i­can nation­al inter­ests.”


    Oba­ma earned praise from Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats alike on Wednes­day for skip­ping the sum­mit, as hawks from both par­ties have been incensed with Putin for sup­port­ing Syr­i­an Pres­i­dent Bashar Assad, as well as the Snow­den affair.

    But Thursday’s state­ment from McCain and Gra­ham high­lights the fact that the bipar­ti­san sup­port is like­ly to be short-lived unless there is a change in the U.S.-Russia rela­tion­ship, whether it’s pol­i­cy changes from Moscow or fur­ther U.S. actions against the Krem­lin.

    Oba­ma has an uneven rela­tion­ship with Gra­ham and McCain on for­eign pol­i­cy. They have been his biggest detrac­tors on issues like Syr­ia, but he dis­patched the pair to Egypt this week to speak with mem­bers of the mil­i­tary, the inter­im gov­ern­ment and Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    How­ev­er, McCain said Mon­day in Egypt that the over­throw of Pres­i­dent Moham­mad Mor­si was a coup — a des­ig­na­tion the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion has resist­ed.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 8, 2013, 8:58 pm
  18. It looks like the grand plan by the NSA to improve secu­ri­ty is to announce a 90% reduc­tion in the num­ber of Sys­tem Admin­is­tra­tors. They’ll be replaced with more com­put­ers?

    Busi­ness Insid­er
    NSA to cut sys­tem admin­is­tra­tors by 90 per­cent to lim­it data access
    By Jonathan Allen

    Filed Aug 9th, 2013

    The Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency, hit by dis­clo­sures of clas­si­fied data by for­mer con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den, said Thurs­day it intends to elim­i­nate about 90 per­cent of its sys­tem admin­is­tra­tors to reduce the num­ber of peo­ple with access to secret infor­ma­tion.

    Kei­th Alexan­der, the direc­tor of the NSA, the U.S. spy agency charged with mon­i­tor­ing for­eign elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tions, told a cyber­se­cu­ri­ty con­fer­ence in New York City that automat­ing much of the work would improve secu­ri­ty.

    “What we’re in the process of doing — not fast enough — is reduc­ing our sys­tem admin­is­tra­tors by about 90 per­cent,” he said.

    The remarks came as the agency is fac­ing scruti­ny after Snow­den, who had been one of about 1,000 sys­tem admin­is­tra­tors who help run the agen­cy’s net­works, leaked clas­si­fied details about sur­veil­lance pro­grams to the press.

    Before the change, “what we’ve done is we’ve put peo­ple in the loop of trans­fer­ring data, secur­ing net­works and doing things that machines are prob­a­bly bet­ter at doing,” Alexan­der said.

    Using tech­nol­o­gy to auto­mate much of the work now done by employ­ees and con­trac­tors would make the NSA’s net­works “more defen­si­ble and more secure,” as well as faster, he said at the con­fer­ence, in which he did not men­tion Snow­den by name.

    These efforts pre-date Snow­den’s leaks, the agency has said, but have since been accel­er­at­ed.


    It’s looks like Skynet Jr. or one of its sib­lings is going to be respon­si­ble for an increas­ing num­ber of deci­sions in how this sen­si­tive data is inter­pret­ed and han­dled. This also means Skynet Jr’s is going to get ‘aquaint­ed’ with human­i­ty via tasks like pars­ing Cha­troulette ses­sions for signs of ter­ror­ism. And now you know the rest of the sto­ry...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 12, 2013, 7:17 pm
  19. Tak­ing a page from Rus­si­a’s recent rum­blings about US elec­tron­ics, it looks like Chi­na might be mov­ing away from US IT tech­nol­o­gy:

    Chi­na to probe IBM, Ora­cle, EMC for secu­ri­ty con­cerns — paper

    SHANGHAI | Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:49am EDT

    (Reuters) — Chi­na’s Min­istry of Pub­lic Secu­ri­ty and a cab­i­net-lev­el research cen­tre are prepar­ing to inves­ti­gate IBM Corp, Ora­cle Corp and EMC Corp over secu­ri­ty issues, the offi­cial Shang­hai Secu­ri­ties News said on Fri­day.

    The report fol­lows rev­e­la­tions by for­mer U.S. spy agency con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den of wide­spread sur­veil­lance, includ­ing a pro­gram known as PRISM, by the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency and his asser­tion that the agency hacked into crit­i­cal net­work infra­struc­ture at uni­ver­si­ties in Chi­na and in Hong Kong.

    Doc­u­ments leaked by Snow­den revealed that the NSA has had access to vast amounts of Inter­net data such as emails, chat rooms and video from large com­pa­nies, includ­ing Face­book and Google, under a gov­ern­ment pro­gram known as Prism.

    “At present, thanks to their tech­no­log­i­cal supe­ri­or­i­ty, many of our core infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy sys­tems are basi­cal­ly dom­i­nat­ed by for­eign hard­ware and soft­ware firms, but the Prism scan­dal implies secu­ri­ty prob­lems,” the news­pa­per quot­ed an anony­mous source as say­ing.

    Chi­na’s Min­istry of Pub­lic Secu­ri­ty declined to com­ment on the report­ed probe, and the State Coun­cil’s Devel­op­ment Research Cen­tre, one of the groups report­ed­ly involved, told Reuters they were not car­ry­ing out such an inves­ti­ga­tion.

    A spokesper­son for the Min­istry of Indus­try and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy (MIIT), which over­sees Chi­na’s IT indus­try, said it could not con­firm any­thing because of the mat­ter’s sen­si­tiv­i­ty. Anoth­er MIIT offi­cial told Reuters they were unaware of the report­ed probe.

    IBM said in an emailed state­ment to Reuters that the com­pa­ny was unable to com­ment. Ora­cle and EMC were not imme­di­ate­ly avail­able for com­ment.

    Chi­na, repeat­ed­ly accused by the Unit­ed States of hack­ing, was giv­en con­sid­er­able ammu­ni­tion by Snow­den’s alle­ga­tions, which Bei­jing has used to point the fin­ger at Wash­ing­ton for hypocrisy.

    Chi­nese reg­u­la­tors and the police have begun a series of inves­ti­ga­tions in recent weeks into how for­eign and domes­tic com­pa­nies do busi­ness in the world’s sec­ond-biggest econ­o­my.


    Dit­to Europe:

    Merkel Urges Euro­pean Inter­net Push to Blunt U.S. Sur­veil­lance
    By Arne Delfs & Tony Czucz­ka — Jul 19, 2013 7:06 AM CT

    Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel said Europe should pro­mote home-grown Inter­net com­pa­nies to avoid U.S. sur­veil­lance as she sought to keep the spy­ing affair out of her re-elec­tion cam­paign.

    Merkel, at a 90-minute news con­fer­ence in Berlin today before she goes on sum­mer vaca­tion, said she is press­ing U.S. offi­cials for infor­ma­tion on the scale of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency’s spy­ing on glob­al com­mu­ni­ca­tions in Ger­many. That includes the Prism pro­gram, which mines data from tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies.

    “In view of this debate, we have to look at what we’re able to do in Europe,” Merkel said. Just as Euro­pean com­pa­nies build Air­bus planes to com­pete with Boe­ing Co., “we have to ask our­selves which tech­ni­cal abil­i­ties we want to have in Europe in the Inter­net. Oth­er­wise, we become depen­dent. A con­ti­nent like Europe should have this ambi­tion.”

    Germany’s oppo­si­tion, trail­ing in polls before the Sept. 22 fed­er­al elec­tion, is crit­i­ciz­ing Merkel as slow to inves­ti­gate the sur­veil­lance alle­ga­tions by ex-NSA con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den. While a poll for ARD tele­vi­sion today said 69 per­cent of Ger­mans aren’t sat­is­fied with her government’s efforts to obtain infor­ma­tion from Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s admin­is­tra­tion, 70 per­cent said her response has lit­tle or no effect on how they will vote as Merkel seeks a third term.

    Merkel expressed under­stand­ing today for U.S. secu­ri­ty needs after the Sept. 11 ter­ror­ist attacks on New York and Wash­ing­ton, say­ing Obama’s state­ment that pri­va­cy must be weighed against secu­ri­ty “is right.” Yet that doesn’t jus­ti­fy turn­ing Ger­many into a “sur­veil­lance state,” she said.
    ‘Not My Job’

    Queried repeat­ed­ly by reporters about the U.S. response to Ger­man con­cerns, Merkel said that she is wait­ing for answers and let­ting her cab­i­net min­is­ters take the lead. “It’s not my job to get into the details of Prism,” she said. While she has a “100 per­cent inter­est” in dis­clo­sure, “to some degree this is out of my hands.”

    Ger­man law­mak­ers across par­ty lines are call­ing for Europe to build up rivals to com­pa­nies such as Google Inc. (GOOG) and Face­book Inc. (FB) “Europe has to do some­thing against the Amer­i­cans’ mar­ket pow­er,” Wolf­gang Bos­bach, a mem­ber of Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­t­ic Union who heads parliament’s Inte­ri­or Affairs Com­mit­tee, said yes­ter­day in an inter­view. “I refuse to accept U.S. dom­i­nance of the indus­try,” oppo­si­tion Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic law­mak­er Dieter Wiefel­spuetz said.

    Gov­ern­ment aid prob­a­bly won’t ease Euro­pean fears, Dieter Kempf, the head of the Bitkom indus­try group in Ger­many, said in an e‑mailed state­ment. It’s hard to imag­ine that “projects financed with tax­pay­er mon­ey can even remote­ly keep up with U.S. com­pa­nies that have invest­ed bil­lions in tech­nol­o­gy devel­op­ment over the years,” he said.


    One would think that Sil­i­con Val­ley would be a wee bit more con­cerned about the glob­al plum­met in trust in US busi­ness. But, if you think about it, there’s no rea­son today’s Sil­i­con Val­ley firms can’t sim­ply move out of Sil­i­con Val­ley and then par­tic­i­pate in what could be a glob­al boom in invest­ment in new IT secu­ri­ty tech­nolo­gies:

    IT Secu­ri­ty Indus­try To Expand Ten­fold
    Richard Sti­en­non, Con­trib­u­tor
    8/14/2013 @ 11:38AM

    Gov­ern­ments around the world have com­man­deered the Inter­net, as Bruce Schneier so suc­cinct­ly points out in The Atlantic. How is that going to impact the IT secu­ri­ty indus­try? This $60 bil­lion indus­try research­es, devel­ops, and sells fire­walls, anti-mal­ware, authen­ti­ca­tion, encryp­tion, and 80 oth­er cat­e­gories of prod­ucts. With each advance in the threat lev­el rep­re­sent­ed by hack­ers, cyber crim­i­nals, and cyber spies there has been a new batch of ven­dors which come on the scene to counter threats that bypass pre­vi­ous tech­nolo­gies and spend­ing has increased.

    Spend­ing on IT secu­ri­ty is poised to grow ten­fold in ten years. Every orga­ni­za­tion from the largest oil and gas refin­er, to the small­est bank has under­spent on secu­ri­ty. Clas­sic risk man­age­ment method­olo­gies call for trade-offs in secu­ri­ty. Unlike­ly events, Black Swans, are not account­ed for. This pro­tect-against-the-known phi­los­o­phy is what led to most defense con­trac­tors and even the Depart­ment of Defense being com­plete­ly vul­ner­a­ble to sophis­ti­cat­ed tar­get­ed attacks from for­eign spy agen­cies. The recent rapid growth of tech­nol­o­gy ven­dors to ward off cyber attacks is a blip com­pared to what is com­ing.

    Even the most sophis­ti­cat­ed Chi­nese cyber spies do not appear to be well fund­ed. They use shelf ware and their teams work reg­u­lar hours. The NSA on the oth­er hand is shock­ing­ly replete with funds. The US Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty bud­get of $70 bil­lion is twice the size of the Aus­tralian mil­i­tary bud­get. The NSA has donat­ed $160 mil­lion to its sis­ter agency, GCHQ, in the UK for intel­li­gence gath­er­ing. The invest­ment in cre­at­ing Total Infor­ma­tion Aware­ness over the last decade has stunned the indus­try.

    There will be a response to this threat against all com­mu­ni­ca­tions. That response will be hun­dreds of new IT secu­ri­ty ven­dors crop­ping up all over the world. Thanks to a dra­mat­ic increase in dis­trust of US com­pa­nies this boom in tech­nol­o­gy will not be cen­tered on Sil­i­con Val­ley. Just as the dra­con­ian anti-encryp­tion mea­sures of the ‘90s drove devel­op­ment off­shore, major cloud providers will have to push their engi­neer­ing and research into coun­tries that are more open and con­sid­er­ate of pri­va­cy and trans­paren­cy.

    As engi­neers do, great minds around the world are today fig­ur­ing out the tech­nol­o­gy to route around sur­veil­lance. The mar­ket is there. Fund­ing will be read­i­ly avail­able. It will be the ulti­mate irony if a tech giant like Huawei becomes a trust­ed provider of infra­struc­ture because there is less chance that its exec­u­tives are secret­ly work­ing with the NSA.


    It would indeed be an ulti­mate iron if Huawei becomes a glob­al­ly trust­ed provider of IT infra­struc­ture for han­dling sen­si­tive data. It also seems kind of unlike­ly, but who knows.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 16, 2013, 11:31 am
  20. Pre­sum­ably there must be some­thing on Mr. Miran­da’s lap­top that some­one REALLY REALLY REALLY wants to get their hands on, because it’s real­ly hard to see how detain­ing Glenn Green­wald’s part­ner for nine hours as part of an “anti-ter­ror­ism” inquiry was deemed to be a good idea. When Green­wald says “I don’t under­stand why they don’t realise that all it’s going to accom­plish is the exact oppo­site effect,” he’s prob­a­bly right. Act­ing like some weird police-state towards Green­wald’s part­ner is kind of exact­ly the oppo­site of what one would have thought the UK would want to be doing right now:

    Snow­den case: Brazil ‘con­cerned’ after UK deten­tion
    18 August 2013 Last updat­ed at 21:50 ET

    Brazil says the deten­tion under British ter­ror laws of one of its cit­i­zens at Lon­don’s Heathrow air­port caused “grave con­cern” and was “unjus­ti­fied”.

    David Miran­da, the part­ner of Guardian jour­nal­ist Glenn Green­wald who pub­lished doc­u­ments leaked by Edward Snow­den, was held at Heathrow for nine hours on his way to Rio de Janeiro.

    He report­ed­ly had his mobile phone, lap­top, DVDs and oth­er items seized.

    Mr Miran­da was lat­er released by British author­i­ties.

    Mr Green­wald called his part­ner’s deten­tion an “intim­i­da­tion” and a “pro­found attack on press free­doms”.

    Under the Ter­ror­ism Act 2000, UK police can hold some­one at an air­port for up to nine hours — but the pow­er must be used appro­pri­ate­ly and pro­por­tion­ate­ly and is sub­ject to inde­pen­dent scruti­ny.

    Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al says the inci­dent shows the law can be abused for what it described as “pet­ty and vin­dic­tive rea­sons”.

    ‘Seri­ous threat’

    “At 08:05 on Sun­day 18 August 2013 a 28-year-old man was detained at Heathrow Air­port under Sched­ule 7 of the Ter­ror­ism Act 2000. He was not arrest­ed. He was sub­se­quent­ly released at 17:00,” said a state­ment issued by the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police.

    Mr Green­wald said the British author­i­ties’ actions in hold­ing Mr Miran­da amount­ed to “intim­i­da­tion and bul­ly­ing”.

    “They nev­er asked him about a sin­gle ques­tion at all about ter­ror­ism or any­thing relat­ing to a ter­ror­ist organ­i­sa­tion,” he told the BBC World Ser­vice’s News­day pro­gramme.

    “They spent the entire day ask­ing about the report­ing I was doing and oth­er Guardian jour­nal­ists were doing on the NSA sto­ries.

    “The prin­ci­ple point, since they kept him for the full nine hours, is to try and send a mes­sage of inti­ma­tion and bul­ly­ing.

    “I don’t under­stand why they don’t realise that all it’s going to accom­plish is the exact oppo­site effect — I’m going to report more aggres­sive­ly and with a more embold­ened mind,” Mr Green­wald told the BBC.

    The Brazil­ian gov­ern­ment issued an offi­cial state­ment soon after the release of Mr Miran­da.

    The for­eign min­istry doc­u­ment says there was no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for detain­ing an “indi­vid­ual against whom there are no charges that can legit­i­mate the use of that [anti-ter­ror] leg­is­la­tion”.

    It also says Brazil expects inci­dents “such as the one that hap­pened to the Brazil­ian cit­i­zen today” not to be repeat­ed.

    Mr Miran­da was fly­ing back from the Ger­man cap­i­tal, Berlin, to Rio de Janeiro, where he lives with Mr Green­wald, when he was detained in tran­sit through Heathrow.

    In Ger­many, he had met US film-mak­er Lau­ra Poitras, who has also been work­ing on the Snow­den files with Mr Green­wald and The Guardian. accord­ing to the news­pa­per.

    Fol­low­ing his deten­tion at Heathrow, Brazil­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials and Guardian lawyers were called to the air­port, The Guardian says.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 18, 2013, 7:52 pm
  21. @Pterrafractyl–

    Actu­al­ly, the Miran­da inci­dent does­n’t sur­prise me, for all its super­fi­cial clum­si­ness.

    Miran­da was trans­fer­ring doc­u­men­ta­tion from Poitras to Green­wald. That’s why they con­fis­cat­ed his elec­tron­ic equip­ment.

    Why is Poitras in Ger­many?

    There are plen­ty of oth­er places for her to be.

    Same place as Peter Sunde–founder of Pirate Bay and joined at the hip with far-right, Nazi-linked spook net­work Wik­iLeaks.

    Sunde began PB while work­ing for Siemens, itself inex­tri­ca­bly linked with BND at one lev­el and the Bor­mann network/Underground Reich at anoth­er.

    The more time pass­es, the more this is look­ing like a BND pen­e­tra­tion and psy-op, using the pow­er­ful “deep fifth col­umn” in U.S. and prob­a­bly U.K.

    Also: I coun­sel you pay some seri­ous atten­tion to Grup­pen­fuhrer Green­wald.



    This scum­bag is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what he is made out to be.

    I have not­ed G‑wald’s 11-year rela­tion­ship with Aus­tri­an-born lawyer Achatz.

    He was vaca­tion­ing in Brazil to get over his bro­ken heart–or so we’re told–when he met Miran­da, with whom it was love at first sight.

    I won­der if Achatz MIGHT have been a case offi­cer of sorts for G‑wald.

    They were part­ners and prac­ticed law togeth­er. Maybe that was all there was to it–practicing law togeth­er by day and but­ter­ing each oth­er’s buns by night.

    Per­haps there was more to it, how­ev­er.

    I do have a sug­ges­tion for Poitras, Green­wald and Miran­da. Why don’t they move to Rus­sia, that way they can be clos­er to their icon/guru Snow­den.

    Rus­sia is a world renowned bas­tion of civ­il lib­er­ties, free­dom of expres­sion and inter­net free­dom, in par­tic­u­lar. (I don’t pass judge­ment here–like Egypt, Rus­sia is fac­ing a desta­bi­liza­tion pro­gram, using Islamist com­bat­ants of the Under­ground Reich direct­ed by the Under­ground Reich/GOP fac­tion of U.S. intel. Nonethe­less, I would­n’t want to live there.)

    And they just LOVE gay peo­ple in Rus­sia! Hey what’s not to like Lau­ra, Glenn and David?! Off to Moscow with you!



    Posted by Dave Emory | August 19, 2013, 12:34 pm
  22. @Dave: You have to won­der if this is part of what prompt­ed the UK’s Heathrow freak­out: Wik­ileaks pub­lished a ~400GB encrypt­ed “insur­ance file” Sat­ur­day morn­ing, sim­i­lar to Snow­den’s “dead man’s swich”. No one knows what’s in the file. Just that there’s 400GB of some­thing in it:

    The Dai­ly Dot
    Is Wik­iLeaks bluff­ing, or did it real­ly just post all its secrets to Face­book?
    By Aja Romano on August 17, 2013

    Some­one remind Wik­iLeaks that the U.S does not respond well to black­mail.

    We’d think this was some kind of inter­ac­tive Inter­net mys­tery if we did­n’t know bet­ter, but in fact Wik­iLeaks has released about 400 giga­bytes’ worth of mys­te­ri­ous data in a series of encrypt­ed tor­rent files called “insur­ance.” And no one can open it.


    With noth­ing bet­ter to go on, the Inter­net has decid­ed that “insur­ance” may be code for “back off” to the U.S. government—coming just before the sen­tenc­ing of Wik­iLeaks cause célèbre Bradley Man­ning.

    File encryp­tion means that the data is hid­den and no one can see what’s in the shared files with­out a key to unlock them—which, of course, has­n’t been pub­licly released.

    The size of one of the files is 349 giga­bytes, which means that there’s either A) enough tex­tu­al data inside to pow­er a nation­wide secu­ri­ty cri­sis for the next 300 years or so, or B) a few very incrim­i­nat­ing pieces of video footage.


    But the most pop­u­lar the­o­ries between the com­ments of Face­book, Red­dit, and Hack­er News, are that the data con­tains infor­ma­tion about the iden­ti­ties of U.S. secret agents cur­rent­ly serv­ing around the world.

    Wik­iLeaks has always anonymized the names of any agents asso­ci­at­ed with the data in its leaks in order to pro­tect their iden­ti­ties. But with a file­name like “Insur­ance,” a few peo­ple are bet­ting that the web­site is prepar­ing for a fight with any gov­ern­ments who want to keep its info out of the hands of the pub­lic.

    Anoth­er pop­u­lar the­o­ry is that the files con­tain the entire­ty of a dump that came from the lat­est Wik­iLeaks hero, Edward Snow­den.

    “[C]ould it be that Snow­den did a data­base dump of their entire main­frame, like Man­ning essen­tial­ly did?” spec­u­lat­ed a user called swid­die on Red­dit. “The file could con­tain the per­son­al infor­ma­tion on every­one, aka stasi files, the NSA ever spied on.”

    That file, if it exist­ed, could be far big­ger than 400 gigs.

    The files, which were seed­ed as tor­rents pub­licly, went up around 1:30am East­ern, rough­ly 12 hours or so after a sen­tenc­ing judge called the actions of for­mer U.S. sol­dier Bradley Man­ning in leak­ing clas­si­fied data to Wik­iLeaks “wan­ton and reck­less.”


    As long as the files are released with­out the keys that unlock them, it’s impos­si­ble for any­one, even the gov­ern­ment, to get inside.

    But if Wik­iLeaks releas­es the keys to the public—and all the gov­ern­ments of the world at once—then it’s pos­si­ble that the war on unau­tho­rized access to gov­ern­ment secrets could get a lot more dan­ger­ous.

    Or a lot more inter­est­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 19, 2013, 12:56 pm
  23. There’s an inter­est­ing admis­sion in Green­wald’s response to the UK detain­ment: Green­wald says Britain will be “sor­ry” for the act, stat­ing “I will be far more aggres­sive in my report­ing from now. I am going to pub­lish many more doc­u­ments. I am going to pub­lish things on Eng­land too. I have many doc­u­ments on Eng­land’s spy sys­tem. I think they will be sor­ry for what they did”. So Green­wald was hold­ing back, for what­ev­er rea­son, info on the UK’s spy­ing that he now deems news­wor­thy after his part­ner’s arrest. Are there oth­er coun­tries that Green­wald has lots of “in case you piss me off”-info on that we have yet to learn about?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 19, 2013, 1:32 pm
  24. In the lat­est Snow­den leak, we’re learn­ing that the NSA was spy­ing on the pres­i­dents of Brazil and Mex­i­co, lead­ing to the expect­ed out­rage from both gov­ern­ments. Brazil is also call­ing for inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tions on cyber espi­onage:

    US-Brazil ten­sions rise after new NSA spy report

    The Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    RIO DE JANEIRO — The Brazil­ian gov­ern­ment con­demned a U.S. spy pro­gram that report­ed­ly tar­get­ed the nation’s leader, labeled it an “unac­cept­able inva­sion” of sov­er­eign­ty and called Mon­day for inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tions to pro­tect cit­i­zens and gov­ern­ments alike from cyber espi­onage.

    In a sign that fall­out over the spy pro­gram is spread­ing, the news­pa­per Fol­ha de S.Paulo report­ed that Pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rouss­eff is con­sid­er­ing can­cel­ing her Octo­ber trip to the U.S., where she has been sched­uled to be hon­ored with a state din­ner. Fol­ha cit­ed uniden­ti­fied Rouss­eff aides. The pres­i­den­t’s office declined to com­ment.

    The For­eign Min­istry called in U.S. Ambas­sador Thomas Shan­non and told him Brazil expects the White House to pro­vide a prompt writ­ten expla­na­tion over the espi­onage alle­ga­tions.

    The action came after a report aired Sun­day night on Globo TV cit­ing 2012 doc­u­ments from NSA leak­er Edward Snow­den that indi­cat­ed the U.S. inter­cept­ed Rouss­ef­f’s emails and tele­phone calls, along with those of Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent Enrique Pena Nieto, whose com­mu­ni­ca­tions were being mon­i­tored even before he was elect­ed as pres­i­dent in July 2012.

    Mex­i­co’s gov­ern­ment said it had expressed its con­cerns to the U.S. ambas­sador and direct­ly to the U.S. admin­is­tra­tion.

    Brazil­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Luiz Alber­to Figueire­do said, “We’re going to talk with our part­ners, includ­ing devel­oped and devel­op­ing nations, to eval­u­ate how they pro­tect them­selves and to see what joint mea­sures could be tak­en in the face of this grave sit­u­a­tion.”

    He added that “there has to be inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tions that pro­hib­it cit­i­zens and gov­ern­ments alike from being exposed to inter­cep­tions, vio­la­tions of pri­va­cy and cyber­at­tacks.”

    Jus­tice Min­is­ter Eduar­do Car­do­zo said at a joint news con­fer­ence with Figueire­do that “from our point of view, this rep­re­sents an unac­cept­able vio­la­tion of Brazil­ian sov­er­eign­ty.”

    “This type of prac­tice is incom­pat­i­ble with the con­fi­dence nec­es­sary for a strate­gic part­ner­ship between two nations,” Car­do­zo said.

    Ear­li­er, Sen. Ricar­do Fer­ra­co, head of the Brazil­ian Sen­ate’s for­eign rela­tions com­mit­tee, said law­mak­ers already had decid­ed to for­mal­ly inves­ti­gate the U.S. pro­gram’s focus on Brazil because of ear­li­er rev­e­la­tions that the coun­try was a top tar­get of the NSA spy­ing in the region. He said the probe would like­ly start this week.

    “I feel a mix­ture of amaze­ment and indig­na­tion. It seems like there are no lim­its. When the phone of the pres­i­dent of the repub­lic is mon­i­tored, it’s hard to imag­ine what else might be hap­pen­ing,” Fer­ra­co told reporters in Brasil­ia. “It’s unac­cept­able that in a coun­try like ours, where there is absolute­ly no cli­mate of ter­ror­ism, that there is this type of spy­ing.”

    Dur­ing the Sun­day night TV pro­gram, U.S. jour­nal­ist Glenn Green­wald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro and first broke the sto­ry about the NSA pro­gram in Britain’s Guardian news­pa­per after receiv­ing tens of thou­sands of doc­u­ments from Snow­den, told the news pro­gram “Fan­tas­ti­co” that a doc­u­ment dat­ed June 2012 shows that Pena Nieto’s emails were being read. The doc­u­men­t’s date is the month before Pena Nieto was elect­ed.

    The doc­u­ment indi­cat­ed who Pena Nieto would like to name to some gov­ern­ment posts, among oth­er infor­ma­tion.

    It’s not clear if the spy­ing con­tin­ues.

    As for Brazil’s leader, the NSA doc­u­ment “does­n’t include any of Dil­ma’s spe­cif­ic inter­cept­ed mes­sages, the way it does for Nieto,” Green­wald told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press in an email. “But it is clear in sev­er­al ways that her com­mu­ni­ca­tions were inter­cept­ed, includ­ing the use of DNI Pre­sen­ter, which is a pro­gram used by NSA to open and read emails and online chats.”


    So we seem to be head­ing towards a fas­ci­nat­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty that there will be calls for inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tions on spy­ing. It could actu­al­ly be a won­der­ful turn of events if such a debate unfolds because part of what’s made the glob­al response to the Snow­den Affair such a missed oppor­tu­ni­ty is the gen­er­al atti­tude in the reports and com­men­tary that only the NSA and GSHQ are the only one’s doing the spy­ing. If we were, instead, dis­cussing the glob­al phe­nom­e­na of mass sur­veil­lance by vir­tu­al­ly every gov­ern­ment that can afford to do it cou­pled with ubiq­ui­tous cor­po­rate spy­ing that takes place by cor­po­ra­tions all over the globe, well now THAT would be real­ly a use­ful glob­al dis­cus­sion. Because even if the NSA and the rest of the “Five Eyes” dis­ap­peared tomor­row it’s hard to see how there still would­n’t be mass spy­ing still tak­ing place all over. So could we actu­al­ly see coun­tries like France, for instance, vol­un­tar­i­ly call for aggres­sive inter­na­tion­al enforce­ment of anti-cor­po­rate espi­onage rules? And will Chi­na agree to nev­er ever spy in the UN again with some expect­ed inter­na­tion­al penal­ty if they get caught?

    And what about domes­tic mass spy­ing? Can we can gov­ern­ments around the world to agree to inter­na­tion­al sanc­tions if they’re ever found to be engag­ing in wide­spread sur­veil­lance? Because while NSA spy­ing cer­tain­ly isn’t help­ful for the peo­ple of Rus­sia, Chi­na, Brazil, the EU, or any­where else, it’s still domes­tic spy­ing by one’s own gov­ern­ment that puts indi­vid­u­als in the great­est dan­ger. For exam­ple, as we also learned today, the US Drug Enforce­ment Agency and oth­er law enforce­ment agen­cies have been pay­ing AT&T for access to a secret phone-record data­base for use in crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tions since 2007. And the data­base con­tains records going back to 1987. This is in addi­tion to theoth­er secret mass-sur­veil­lance data­base estab­lished in 1994 for use by US law enforce­ment. Could we see a call for every UN mem­ber to end domes­tic spy­ing by all their law enforce­ment agen­cies too? Because that would be pret­ty neat.

    And then there are some real­ly inter­est­ing ques­tions that could arise from this kind of dis­course: For instance, let’s say...
    1. There exists a hor­ri­bly point­less and destruc­tive glob­al set of laws that should have nev­er exist­ed in the first place and only fuels police-state trends but some­how became the sta­tus quo large­ly though the efforts of a hypo­thet­i­cal Coun­try A.
    2. And let’s say this hor­ri­ble set of laws inevitably leads the emer­gence of pow­er orga­nized crim­i­nal syn­di­cates across the globe includ­ing in Coun­try A’s neigh­bor, Coun­try B.
    3. And let’s say Coun­try A has also been spy­ing on Coun­try B’s pres­i­dent.
    4. And let’s say Coun­try B’s pres­i­dent turns out to be deeply tied to those same orga­nized crim­i­nal forces that prob­a­bly nev­er would have exist­ed if it was­n’t for Coun­try A’s insis­tence on the inter­na­tion­al adop­tion of the afore­men­tioned hor­ri­ble laws.

    What should Coun­try A do after find­ing out that Coun­try B’s pres­i­dent is friends with orga­nized crim­i­nals in this, uh, hypo­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tion?

    Anoth­er inter­est­ing ques­tion that might arise: If the new envi­sioned glob­al rules are going to involve things like expec­ta­tions that gov­ern­ments that are offi­cial­ly allies should­n’t ever spy on each oth­er, what does the glob­al com­mu­ni­ty do about the fact that vir­tu­al­ly every gov­ern­ment, soci­ety, and major insti­tu­tion is gen­er­al­ly run by peo­ple that are utter­ly untrust­wor­thy? Because a “no spy­ing” pact has a major trust fac­tor involved. That’s one of the big open ques­tions that has yet to be answered although it’s been an open ques­tion since the dawn of civ­i­liza­tion so it prob­a­bly should­n’t be sur­pris­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 2, 2013, 6:57 pm
  25. @Pterrafractyl–

    This one is gen­uine­ly fun­ny. An inter­na­tion­al treaty/agreement/regulatory doc­u­ment or body to “reg­u­late” cyberes­pi­onage?! Or any oth­er kind of espi­onage?

    Real­ly? How fun­ny. Does any­one real­ly think that any major intel­li­gence ser­vice would abide by such a thing?

    Anoth­er hilar­i­ous ele­ment to L’Af­faire Snow­den con­cerns the shock­ing, shock­ing “rev­e­la­tion” that NSA spied on EU, the U.N. and oth­er indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions that EVERY MAJOR INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ON EARTH SPIED ON, as a mat­ter of course.

    A sub­stan­tive point of con­tem­pla­tion con­cerns the obses­sion of jour­nal­ists and politi­cos with NSA.

    Since Ger­many, France and oth­er NATO coun­tries do the same thing, WHY do you sup­pose they aren’t focal points of crit­i­cism?

    That’s one of the indi­ca­tions that BND/Underground Reich is prob­a­bly the exec­u­tive author­i­ty here.

    You would think that some­one gen­uine­ly con­cerned about such things would be equal­ly con­cerned with Ger­man abus­es, as well.

    Yet Lau­ra Poitras, Peter Sunde (founder of Pirate Bay and a big sup­port­er of WikiLeaks)live in Ger­many.

    Anoth­er point: Snow­den leaked 58,000 pages of doc­u­ments on NSA, et al.

    Do you think he actu­al­ly read those 58,000 pages?

    That’s the equiv­a­lent of 100 books of 580 pages each.

    I seri­ous­ly doubt it.

    Note the sto­ry I men­tioned in a response to GK, which I will include in an upcom­ing post.


    If what Oliv­er Rob­bins is say­ing is true, then what’s going on here is some­thing fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent.



    Posted by Dave Emory | September 2, 2013, 7:56 pm
  26. Heh, just in time for Oba­ma’s trip to Swe­den Julian Assange made a request to Swe­den to inves­ti­gate new alle­ga­tions of US spy­ing on Wik­ileaks going back to 2009. It includes a pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed theft of three lap­tops at an air­port in Sep­tem­ber 2010 while Assange was trav­el­ing from Stock­holm to Berlin. Assange’s 186 page includes claims that “an intel­li­gence source” told him that an Aus­tralian intel­li­gence orga­ni­za­tion respond­ed to a Swedish Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice request for infor­ma­tion about him­self in August 2010. Assange is said to be plan­ning on mak­ing sim­i­lar requests for inves­ti­a­tions into US spy­ing in Ger­many and Aus­tralia:

    The Age
    Julian Assange seeks inves­ti­ga­tion into FBI, US intel­li­gence activ­i­ty
    Sep­tem­ber 3, 2013
    Philip Dor­ling

    Wik­iLeaks pub­lish­er and Sen­ate can­diq­date Julian Assange has lodged a for­mal com­plaint ask­ing Swedish police to open a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion into alleged ille­gal Unit­ed States intel­li­gence activ­i­ty in Europe direct­ed against Wik­iLeaks and him­self.

    Mr Assange also says that “through an intel­li­gence source” he became aware that an Aus­tralian intel­li­gence organ­i­sa­tion respond­ed to a Swedish Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice request for infor­ma­tion about him­self in August 2010.

    In a signed affi­davit Mr Assange presents evi­dence in rela­tion to US mil­i­tary intel­li­gence inves­ti­ga­tions into Wik­iLeaks and him­self as far back as 2009 and US Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion search­es as recent­ly as 2012–13.

    The 186-page doc­u­ment lodged by Mr Assange’s lawyers with Swedish police on Sun­day reviews evi­dence of US intel­li­gence and crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions tar­get­ing Wik­iLeaks, includ­ing details dis­closed in the tri­al of US Army pri­vate Bradley Man­ning (now known as Chelsea Man­ning) who last month was sen­tenced to 35 years’ impris­on­ment for leak­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of secret US mil­i­tary and diplo­mat­ic reports.

    The affi­davit also high­lights pre­vi­ous­ly unre­port­ed events includ­ing phys­i­cal sur­veil­lance of Mr Assange by US mil­i­tary intel­li­gence at a con­fer­ence in Berlin in Decem­ber 2009 and the sus­pect­ed ille­gal seizure on Sep­tem­ber 27, 2010 of the Wik­iLeaks pub­lish­er’s suit­case while he was fly­ing from Stock­holm to Berlin in Sep­tem­ber 2010.

    Mr Assange alleges the lost lug­gage car­ried three lap­tops con­tain­ing Wik­iLeaks infor­ma­tion, data and com­mu­ni­ca­tions between Wik­iLeaks and the organ­i­sa­tion’s lawyers. Mr Assange believes his suit­case may have been “seized unlaw­ful­ly, as part of an intel­li­gence oper­a­tion with the pur­pose of gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion about me, Wik­iLeaks, and/or our upcom­ing pub­li­ca­tions and in an attempt to unllaw­ful­ly estab­lish the iden­ti­ty of Wik­iLeaks’ sources”.

    Mr Assange refers to reports that the Aus­tralian Secu­ri­ty Intel­li­gence Organ­i­sa­tion assist­ed the US FBI espi­onage probe direct­ed against him­self. He fur­ther alleges that an Aus­tralian intel­li­gence organ­i­sa­tion pro­vid­ed infor­ma­tion to the Swedish Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice – SAPO – in August 2010. Mr Assange does not iden­ti­fy the agency, but it is under­stood he is refer­ring to ASIO.

    It is a mat­ter of pub­lic record that the US gov­ern­ment began a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion focused on Wik­iLeaks and Mr Assange in 2010. Aus­tralian diplo­mat­ic cables released to Fair­fax Media under free­dom of infor­ma­tion laws revealed that senior US Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cials described the inves­ti­ga­tion as being “unprece­dent­ed in scale and nature”.

    Mr Assange has been iden­ti­fied by US pros­e­cu­tors as an alleged co-con­spir­a­tor, guid­ing and direct­ing Pri­vate Man­ning’s dis­clo­sure of clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion. The US Jus­tice Depart­ment recent­ly con­firmed that its inves­ti­ga­tion of Wik­iLeaks is active and ongo­ing.

    Mr Assange’s com­plaint has been lodged by his lawyers with Swedish police to seek an “effec­tive rem­e­dy” to alleged ille­gal activ­i­ties direct­ed against him­self and Wik­iLeaks.

    “I am informed by my legal advis­ers that this for­mal doc­u­ment may trig­ger an inves­ti­ga­tion and that inde­pen­dent judi­cial bod­ies may seek expla­na­tions of the respon­si­ble author­i­ties as a result,” Mr Assange says. “I file this affi­davit in the knowl­edge that there will like­ly be pres­sures for this mat­ter not to be inves­ti­gat­ed, but in the knowl­edge that the law requires an inves­ti­ga­tion. I request that Swedish judi­cial author­i­ties act swift­ly to ques­tion and arrest if nec­es­sary those who are like­ly to have infor­ma­tion about or bear crim­i­nal respon­si­bil­i­ty for the actions tak­en against Wik­iLeaks and my per­son as detailed in this affi­davit.”

    Mr Assange notes that US Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma is sched­uled to trav­el to Swe­den on Mon­day and that his del­e­ga­tion in like­ly to include senior offi­cials from the White House and the State Depart­ment which have been direct­ly involved in the US response to Wik­iLeaks’ pub­li­ca­tions.

    “Mem­bers of the del­e­ga­tion may have infor­ma­tion rel­e­vant to an inves­ti­ga­tion of this mat­ter,” Mr Assange sug­gests.

    It is under­stood that Mr Assange intends to lodge a sim­i­lar request for a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion in Ger­many, and that a relat­ed com­plaint may also be lodged in Aus­tralia.


    While it would­n’t be sur­pris­ing if the US was some­how involved it’s worth point­ing out that the con­tent of those lap­tops would have been of inter­est to just about any­one. It’s also a reminder of a wave of lap­top thefts from gov­ern­ment employ­eees back in 2007–2010-ish. Do an news search for “stolen lap­top” from those years, and you’ll see arti­cle after arti­cle kind of like this one:

    Cyber attacks con­tin­ue to grow
    Hack­ing, virus­es breach gov­ern­ment, indus­try, uni­ver­si­ty fire­walls

    msnbc.com news ser­vices
    updat­ed 5/29/2009 12:41:36 PM ET

    Cyber espi­onage, attacks, breach­es, virus­es — they are all among the con­cerns Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma cit­ed Fri­day when he announced he will cre­ate a new White House office of cyber secu­ri­ty, with that cyber czar report­ing to the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil as well as to the Nation­al Eco­nom­ic Coun­cil.

    The nation’s vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty to cyber attacks has long been a con­cern. The Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies said in a Decem­ber report that the U.S. Defense Depart­ment alone has said its com­put­ers are probed hun­dreds of thou­sands of times each day.

    These pub­licly known cas­es of hacks, thefts and virus­es at gov­ern­ment, mil­i­tary, util­i­ties and edu­ca­tion­al sites are just some exam­ples:

    Law enforce­ment com­put­ers were struck by a mys­tery com­put­er virus last week, forc­ing the FBI and the U.S. Mar­shals to shut down part of their net­works as a pre­cau­tion. The U.S. Mar­shals said it dis­con­nect­ed from the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s com­put­ers as a pro­tec­tive mea­sure after being hit by the virus; an FBI offi­cial said only that that agency was expe­ri­enc­ing sim­i­lar issues and was work­ing on the prob­lem. “We too are eval­u­at­ing a net­work issue on our exter­nal, unclas­si­fied net­work that’s affect­ing sev­er­al gov­ern­ment agen­cies,” said FBI spokesman Mike Kor­tan, who did not elab­o­rate or iden­ti­fy the oth­er agen­cies.

    Spies have hacked into the elec­tric grid of the Unit­ed States, a for­mer gov­ern­ment offi­cial said last month, and they left behind com­put­er pro­grams that would let them dis­rupt ser­vice. The intru­sions were dis­cov­ered after elec­tric com­pa­nies gave the gov­ern­ment per­mis­sion to audit their sys­tems, said the ex-offi­cial. In April, offi­cials in the U.S., Britain and Ger­many accused Chi­nese hack­ers backed by Chi­na’s mil­i­tary of intrud­ing into their gov­ern­ment and defense com­put­er net­works. Chi­na has denied the accu­sa­tion.

    Amer­i­ca’s air traf­fic con­trol sys­tems are vul­ner­a­ble to cyber attacks, and sup­port sys­tems have been breached in recent months to allow hack­ers access to per­son­nel records and net­work servers, accord­ing to an audit released this month by the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s inspec­tor gen­er­al. The audit con­clud­ed that although most of the attacks dis­rupt­ed only sup­port sys­tems, they could spread to the oper­a­tional sys­tems that con­trol com­mu­ni­ca­tions, sur­veil­lance and flight infor­ma­tion used to sep­a­rate air­craft. The report not­ed sev­er­al recent cyber attacks, includ­ing a Feb­ru­ary inci­dent, in which hack­ers gained access to per­son­al infor­ma­tion on about 48,000 cur­rent and for­mer FAA employ­ees, and an attack in 2008 when hack­ers took con­trol of some FAA net­work servers.

    The Nation­al Archives this month report­ed it is miss­ing a com­put­er hard dri­ve con­tain­ing mas­sive amounts of sen­si­tive data from the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion, includ­ing Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers, address­es, and Secret Ser­vice and White House oper­at­ing pro­ce­dures, con­gres­sion­al offi­cials said. The dri­ve, from the Archives facil­i­ty in Col­lege Park, Md., was lost between Octo­ber 2008 and March 2009 and con­tained 1 ter­abyte of data — enough mate­r­i­al to fill mil­lions of books. One of for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore’s three daugh­ters is among those whose Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers were on the dri­ve, but it was not clear which one. Oth­er infor­ma­tion includes logs of events, social gath­er­ings and polit­i­cal records.

    A six-month hack­ing effort at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley result­ed in 97,000 Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers being stolen, said Shel­ton Waggen­er, UC Berke­ley’s asso­ciate vice chan­cel­lor for infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy, said this month. Hack­ers infil­trat­ed restrict­ed com­put­er data­bas­es from Octo­ber 2008 to April 9, putting at risk health and oth­er per­son­al infor­ma­tion on 160,000 stu­dents, alum­ni and oth­ers. In addi­tion to Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers, data includ­ed birth dates, health insur­ance infor­ma­tion and some med­ical records dat­ing back to 1999.

    USAJobs.gov, the offi­cial job site of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, was hacked, along with career site Monster.com in Jan­u­ary. “It appears that Monster.com’s data­base and USAJobs.gov’s data­base were com­pro­mised and con­tact and account infor­ma­tion was stolen,” said Sophos, a secu­ri­ty soft­ware firm. “Data stolen includ­ed users’ login names, pass­words, email address­es, names, phone num­bers and some demo­graph­ic data.” The sites’ mil­lions of users were advised to imme­di­ate­ly change their pass­words.

    In March, 2008, Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty said a com­put­er hack­er gained entry to its serv­er and that about 10,000 of the pre­vi­ous year’s grad­u­ate stu­dents and appli­cants may have had their per­son­al infor­ma­tion com­pro­mised, with 6,600 hav­ing their Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers exposed. The school said it would pro­vide the appli­cants with free iden­ti­ty theft recov­ery ser­vices and help them with cred­it mon­i­tor­ing and fraud alerts.

    As many as 1,500 Defense Depart­ment com­put­ers were tak­en offline in June 2007, because of a cyber attack, Pen­ta­gon offi­cials said. Defense Sec­re­tary Robert Gates said the Pen­ta­gon sees hun­dreds of attacks a day, and this one had no adverse impact on depart­ment oper­a­tions. He said the Pen­ta­gon shut the com­put­ers down when a pen­e­tra­tion of the sys­tem was detect­ed.

    At the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­souri, a com­put­er hack­er accessed the Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers of more than 22,000 cur­rent or for­mer stu­dents in May 2007, the sec­ond such attack that year, offi­cials said. The hack­er obtained the infor­ma­tion through a Web page used to make queries about the sta­tus of trou­ble reports to the uni­ver­si­ty’s com­put­er help desk, which is based in Colum­bia. The infor­ma­tion had been com­piled for a report, but the data had not been removed from the com­put­er sys­tem.

    The U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s com­put­er sys­tem was breached in June 2006, when a hack­er broke in over a week­end and may have obtained names, Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers and pho­tos of 26,000 Wash­ing­ton-area employ­ees and con­trac­tors, the depart­ment said. The infor­ma­tion was used for staff or con­trac­tor badges in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. and the sur­round­ing area, spokes­woman Ter­ri Teu­ber said. Those who might have been affect­ed were noti­fied by e‑mail and were being sent let­ters.

    The Vet­er­an’s Admin­is­tra­tion lost track of a lap­top in May 2006 that held per­son­al data about 26.5 mil­lion Amer­i­can vet­er­ans. The sto­ry of the miss­ing files hit just as U.S. news was pep­pered with oth­er tales of miss­ing or stolen com­put­ers that year con­tain­ing 100 mil­lion pieces of data, includ­ing Social Secu­ri­ty and cred­it card num­bers. The VA said the lap­top, recov­ered a month lat­er, had been tak­en home by a sub­con­trac­tor, and that no data was tak­en from the com­put­er. Ear­li­er this year, the VA agreed to pay up to $20 mil­lion in class-action law­suit to vet­er­ans whose data was on the lap­top.

    In 2004, an FBI com­put­er con­sul­tant gained access to the secret pass­words of Direc­tor Robert Mueller and oth­ers using free soft­ware found on the Inter­net. The con­sul­tant, Joseph Thomas Colon, was sen­tenced in 2006 to six months of home deten­tion after a fed­er­al judge said Colon was not try­ing to harm nation­al secu­ri­ty or use the infor­ma­tion for finan­cial gain. In his guilty plea, Colon acknowl­edged that he made his way into the deep­est reach­es of the FBI’s inter­nal com­put­er net­work on four occa­sions in 2004.


    There’s the stan­dard espi­onage/i­den­ti­ty-theft motives for steal­ing lap­tops and hack­ing into gov­ern­ment and insti­tu­tion­al sys­tem. But anoth­er inter­est­ing poten­tial motive for steal­ing large datasets of per­son­al data linked to things like email address­es, tele­phone num­bers, social secu­ri­ty num­bers, etc, is for con­nect­ing the dots in the large meta­da­ta set that are now col­lect­ed as a rou­tine legal and com­mer­cial activ­i­ty. So you have to won­der just how many enti­ties all over the world have legal access to large vol­umes of anonymized meta­da­ta and how much of that data could be deanonymized using the kind of data that might be on one of those many stolen gov­ern­ment lap­tops or just legal­ly pur­chased. Google and Microsoft are team­ing up to sue the US gov­ern­ment for per­mis­sion to pub­licly dis­close more infor­ma­tion about the rules they have to abide by in shar­ing infor­ma­tion with gov­ern­ments. So it would be nice if this law­suit could shed more light on the extent of non-NSA enti­ties that also have access to large vol­umes of meta­da­ta:

    Europe vs NSA: Know thy­self, know thy neigh­bor
    Date 03.09.2013
    Author Michael Knigge
    Edi­tor Rob Mudge

    For Euro­peans, Edward Snowden’s rev­e­la­tions about mass sur­veil­lance con­duct­ed by the US and the UK beg an obvi­ous ques­tion: Do oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries engage in sim­i­lar activ­i­ties? The answer is telling.

    Thanks to the dis­clo­sures of Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) leak­er Edward Snow­den, Euro­pean cit­i­zens now know more about how they are being mon­i­tored by Amer­i­can and British intel­li­gence agen­cies than by their own Euro­pean ser­vices.

    That, in a nut­shell, is the iron­ic out­come of the Snow­den rev­e­la­tions from a Euro­pean per­spec­tive.

    “There is just so much we don’t know,” is how Jan­neke Slöet­jes of Dutch dig­i­tal rights group Bits of Free­dom sums up the sen­ti­ment among Euro­pean data pri­va­cy advo­cates about sur­veil­lance efforts by Euro­pean intel­li­gence ser­vices.

    Com­pared to what we have recent­ly learnt about US and UK ser­vices, Euro­pean intel­li­gence agen­cies still oper­ate in total dark­ness, says Eric King, head of research at Lon­don-based Pri­va­cy Inter­na­tion­al. “And I think that that in itself is a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem.”

    To be sure, Euro­pean gov­ern­ments, in response to the Snow­den dis­clo­sures, were quick to con­demn the NSA’s behav­ior and to assure cit­i­zens that they will address the mat­ter with the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. But that was only lip ser­vice, says Jérémie Zim­mer­mann, co-founder of the French pri­va­cy group La Quad­ra­ture du Net:

    “In the wake of the PRISM rev­e­la­tions we would expect from all gov­ern­ments here in the EU not only to ask the US for an apol­o­gy for this behav­ior, but also to active­ly engage in pro­tect­ing us against such behav­ior. What we see is the oppo­site.

    Lack of response

    No one in the EU had pushed for any real con­se­quences for the NSA’s behav­ior, for instance revok­ing the transat­lantic safe har­bor agree­ment which stip­u­lates that the data of Euro­pean cit­i­zens is appro­pri­ate­ly pro­tect­ed by the US, notes Zim­mer­mann.

    But even on their home turf, when Euro­pean intel­li­gence ser­vices them­selves were direct­ly impli­cat­ed by the Snow­den rev­e­la­tions — like the British GCHQ or Ger­many’s BND — Euro­pean gov­ern­ments remained tight-lipped.

    In Ger­many, fol­low­ing dis­clo­sures that the BND shares huge amounts of data with the NSA, Berlin assured the pub­lic that the infor­ma­tion trans­fer did not include data of Ger­mans cit­i­zens. In an attempt to put an end to the mat­ter for good, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment then float­ed the idea of a bilat­er­al no-spy agree­ment.

    And in the UK — a self-described major play­er in glob­al sur­veil­lance — the behav­ior of the GCHQ caused hard­ly a stir. “In Britain there has not been a pub­lic debate about this,” says King. “There have not been any promis­es to fix this issue. Indeed our main over­sight mech­a­nism, the Intel­li­gence and Secu­ri­ty Com­mit­tee, put out a report just two weeks after the rev­e­la­tions about PRISM and basi­cal­ly gave it a clean bill of health. They said it was com­plete­ly law­ful and there were no con­cerns at all.”

    Lack of debate

    Giv­en this com­bi­na­tion of gov­ern­men­tal ret­i­cence and pub­lic dis­in­ter­est, it is no sur­prise that the next obvi­ous ques­tion in light of the Snow­den affair — what is being col­lect­ed by Euro­pean intel­li­gence agen­cies and how is this done — has, so far, not been addressed.

    The clos­est thing to find­ing out what kind of infor­ma­tion Europe’s nation­al spy ser­vices are col­lect­ing on cit­i­zens was prob­a­bly trig­gered in France by a piece in the dai­ly Le Monde. Accord­ing to the un-sourced arti­cle pub­lished in ear­ly July, French exter­nal intel­li­gence ser­vice DGSE runs its own mass data sur­veil­lance oper­a­tion. Accord­ing to the paper, DGSE col­lects “all e‑mails, SMSs, tele­phone calls, Face­book and Twit­ter posts” and stores the meta­da­ta in a mas­sive three-floor under­ground bunker at the DGSE’s head­quar­ters in Paris.

    And in Ger­many, Der Spiegel report­ed that the BND plans to invest 100 mil­lion euros ($132 mil­lion) over the next five years to beef up its own Inter­net sur­veil­lance capa­bil­i­ties.


    But in both cas­es the dis­clo­sures failed to spark a broad­er debate about the meth­ods, capa­bil­i­ties and goals of the respec­tive nation­al intel­li­gence ser­vices.

    And yet a vig­or­ous debate about sur­veil­lance is des­per­ate­ly need­ed, argues Slöet­jes of Bits of Free­dom. “One of the most trou­bling issues here is, even though our gov­ern­ment con­demned what the NSA did ini­tial­ly, that behind the scenes the Dutch gov­ern­ment is work­ing on a pro­pos­al to allow a whole­sale tap of the Inter­net.” That, notes Slöet­jes, would mir­ror the British approach detailed by Snow­den. The mea­sure could be intro­duced in the Dutch par­lia­ment this fall.


    Shared inter­ests

    “Euro­pean intel­li­gence ser­vices have the exact same inter­ests as the Amer­i­cans do,” says Slöet­jes. “They want to know as much as they can. And your pri­va­cy is going to take a back­seat.”

    French dig­i­tal rights advo­cate Zim­mer­mann agrees and notes that this is not a new phe­nom­e­non. Euro­pean sur­veil­lance mea­sures increased in line with US efforts fol­low­ing the 9/11 ter­ror­ist attacks, he says. That trend has con­tin­ued: “It is quite obvi­ous that gov­ern­ments all across Europe are also engaged in mass sur­veil­lance.”

    Still, there are two key dif­fer­ences. The first is that fund­ing for Euro­pean intel­li­gence pales in com­par­i­son to their US coun­ter­parts. And the sec­ond, and more impor­tant dis­tinc­tion, is that all major Inter­net and many major telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies are based in the US and there­fore fall under the juris­dic­tion of US intel­li­gence agen­cies.

    The point made at the end of the arti­cle — that there still exists a large dif­fer­ence in the intel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties of US and its Euro­pean coun­ter­parts because the major inter­net com­pa­nies and tele­coms are all based in the US — is a valid point. But that’s only true for now because it’s look­ing like one of the biggest con­se­quences like­ly to result from the Snow­den Affair is the devel­op­ment of a much larg­er EU IT indus­try and that means a lot more peo­ple around the world are going to have to be con­cerned about which EU spy agen­cies are going to have access to that data. The push to over­haul the EU’s data pri­va­cy laws is expect­ed to be com­plet­ed next year and there’s no short­age of hap­py-talk about all the great new pro­tec­tions that could be put in place. But as we saw above, there’s also no short­age of EU intel­li­gence ser­vices that would love to get their dig­i­tal hands on all that data. Folks con­cerned about the future of data pri­va­cy need to keep an eye on the debate over those new rules. Good luck with that!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 5, 2013, 9:06 pm
  27. The gov­ern­ments of France and Mex­i­co are once again pissed off about spy­ing:

    The Dai­ly Dot
    New Snow­den leak: The U.S. spied on French cit­i­zens

    By Patrick How­ell O’Neill on Octo­ber 21, 2013

    New leaks from whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den reveal that the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency made 70.3 mil­lion record­ings of French cit­i­zens’ tele­phone calls in a peri­od of just 30 days. From Dec. 10, 2012, to Jan. 8, 2013, as report­ed in the French news­pa­per Le Monde, NSA was able to auto­mat­i­cal­ly record French phone calls and SMS mes­sages based on each target’s key­words, com­mu­ni­ca­tions his­to­ry, and meta­da­ta.

    All this info is list­ed under an NSA espi­onage pro­gram called US-985D. It names tech­niques used to inter­cept French com­mu­ni­ca­tions as “DRTBOX” and “WHITEBOX.” Tech­ni­cal details on the pro­grams are sparse, but the results speak for them­selves: DRTBOX col­lect­ed 62.5 mil­lion pieces of data and WHITEBOX record­ed “7.8 mil­lion ele­ments.”

    Tar­gets include peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with ter­ror­ism and “peo­ple tar­get­ed sim­ply because they belong to the worlds of busi­ness, pol­i­tics or French state admin­is­tra­tion.”

    French Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Manuel Valls called the rev­e­la­tions “shock­ing” and demand­ed “pre­cise expla­na­tions by US author­i­ties in the com­ing hours.”

    On Mon­day morn­ing, France sum­moned the U.S. ambas­sador to answer ques­tions about the report just as U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry land­ed in Paris to hold meet­ings about Syr­ia.

    The new leaks, pub­lished today by Glenn Green­wald and Jacques Fol­lor­ou at Le Monde, are accom­pa­nied by a set of slides that illus­trate the NSA’s sur­veil­lance capa­bil­i­ties. Graphs show an aver­age of 3 mil­lion inter­cepts per day with peaks of 7 mil­lion on Dec. 24, 2012, and Jan. 7, 2013.


    Pri­va­cy researcher Christo­pher Soghoian and Le Monde’s Damien Leloup hypoth­e­sized that the phone calls inter­cept­ed by the NSA were like­ly inter­na­tion­al rather than domes­tic.

    This news comes right on the heels of rev­e­la­tions that the NSA hacked into the emails of Mex­i­can pres­i­dents Felipe Calderon and Enrique Peña Nieto for sev­er­al years to pro­vide “deep insight into pol­i­cy­mak­ing and the polit­i­cal sys­tem” of Mex­i­co.

    News of NSA spy­ing around the globe has made waves from Brazil to the Nether­lands. In Ger­many, Amer­i­can and Ger­man intel­li­gence col­lab­o­rat­ed to spy on Ger­man cit­i­zens.

    “This sort of prac­tice between part­ners that invades pri­va­cy is total­ly unac­cept­able,” French For­eign Min­is­ter Lau­rent Fabius said, “and we have to make sure, very quick­ly, that this no longer hap­pens.”

    One of the inter­est­ing memes that appears to have formed in the glob­al response to the NSA spy­ing is that domes­tic spy­ing by non-NSA gov­ern­ments appears to by pret­ty ok based on the sub­dued glob­al response to all of the news about non-NSA/GSHQ domes­tic spy­ing. But since “we have to make sure, very quick­ly, that this no longer hap­pens”, it seems rather impor­tant that gov­ern­ments start a glob­al dia­logue on what, exact­ly, gov­ern­ment s are going to be allowed to do in the future? After all, if “this sort of prac­tice between part­ners that invades pri­va­cy is total­ly unac­cept­able”, then this kind of calls for a mas­sive GLOBAL reduc­tion in all spy agen­cies every­where since spy­ing between gov­ern­ments is ram­pant. Espe­cial­ly with more and more glob­al free trade agree­ments on the horizon...everyone is a trade part­ner with every­one else now and any spy­ing between trade part­ners is now a pos­si­ble act of indus­tri­al espi­onage. So, accord­ing to these new rules, the US is prob­a­bly allowed to spy on North Korea, maybe Iran, and...any­where else?

    But the ques­tion of just how much spy­ing activ­i­ty is allow­able in the future we’re all going to cre­ate in glob­al part­ner­ship with each oth­er real­ly needs to become part of the glob­al con­ver­sa­tion. Because if the trend in grow­ing glob­al spy­ing capac­i­ties con­tin­ues, but the tar­gets for that spy­ing keep shrink­ing down to just domes­tic audi­ences, there’s going to be a lot more domes­tic spy­ing in the future due, in part, to an incred­i­ble capac­i­ty to spy and noth­ing but domes­tic tar­gets. So if inter­na­tion­al spy­ing by gov­ern­ments is no longer going to be part of the world order (except on North Korea...that coun­try will be every­one’s spy­ing free­bie), we had bet­ter alert gov­ern­ments about this devel­op­ment pret­ty soon so they can start dis­man­tling the grow­ing glob­al Intel­li­gence Indus­tri­al Com­plex right away.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 21, 2013, 11:56 am
  28. Here’s a pre­view of what’s com­ing up from Green­wald & Friends: sep­a­rate reports on NSA spy­ing for every Latin Amer­i­can nation:

    Agence France-PresseOc­to­ber 22, 2013 06:18
    All Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries spied on by US

    Glenn Green­wald, the for­mer Guardian reporter who broke many of the recent sto­ries about secret US sur­veil­lance pro­grams, claimed Mon­day that all Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries had been spied on by Wash­ing­ton.

    Speak­ing to a press asso­ci­a­tion, he said he would report about each case in the region and warned that more spy­ing with­in the Unit­ed States would also be revealed.

    Green­wald’s com­ments came as France and Mex­i­co angri­ly demand­ed swift expla­na­tions Mon­day about fresh leaks by for­mer US secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den.


    Mul­ti­ple Latin Amer­i­can meet­ings were mon­i­tored, Green­wald said, includ­ing those of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­can States (OAS), as well as talks on free trade treaties, although he did not go into more details.

    Accord­ing to Green­wald, dis­clo­sures released Mon­day by the French news­pa­per Le Monde, which cre­at­ed con­tro­ver­sy between Paris and Wash­ing­ton, had been in the hands of the French dai­ly for some time.

    The alle­ga­tions, the lat­est from leaks by Snow­den, marred a vis­it to Paris by US Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry, where he dis­cussed moves to try to end the war in Syr­ia.

    The reporter, who resigned last week from British dai­ly The Guardian, told the assem­bly that doc­u­ments being leaked by Snow­den are kept in dif­fer­ent parts of the world.


    Green­wald also stat­ed that “the major­i­ty of sto­ries that are sig­nif­i­cant remain to be report­ed” so, at the cur­rent pace, we’ll maybe see the bulk of the “sig­nif­i­cant” sto­ries for the NSA trea­sure trove exhaust­ed some time around the mid­dle of 2014? Maybe?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 23, 2013, 9:31 am

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