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Snowden’s Ride, Part 3: Shearing the Piglet (“We’re Shocked, Shocked . . . .”)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: Russ­ian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin had an amus­ing, sub­stan­tive com­ment about the obvi­ous spook oper­a­tion being con­duct­ed by Eddie “The Friend­ly Spook” Snow­den, which we have com­pared with the U‑2 Inci­dent. Putin observed that the whole affair was “like shear­ing a piglet: all squeal­ing and no wool.”

Since the bulk of this has not only been known for years, but has been cov­ered by Mr. Emory in numer­ous broad­casts over the bet­ter part of two decades, the affair is obvi­ous­ly being con­duct­ed for pro­pa­gan­da pur­pos­es. The pri­ma­ry tar­gets appear to be Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, the Unit­ed States and the Unit­ed King­dom. 

(This is not to say that there may be infor­ma­tion on Snow­den’s lap­tops and/or flash­drives that could dam­age U.S. and U.K. intel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties, but the infor­ma­tion sur­fac­ing so far is the squeal­ing of the piglet.)

The squeal­ing reminds us of the famous scene from the movie “Casablan­ca,” in which Inspec­tor Rey­naud (played by Claude Rains) shuts down Rick­’s Cafe because he was; “Shocked, shocked to learn that there is gam­bling going on in this estab­lish­ment!” After he utters that line, the croupi­er approach­es him and says; “Your win­nings, sir.”

In our cov­er­age of this affair, we have not­ed that oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing and espe­cial­ly Ger­many, do the same thing and that this, too, has been known for some time.  (See text excerpts below.) Mr. Emory has cov­ered this as well.

(Pre­vi­ous posts on the sub­ject are: Part I [2]Part II [3]Part III [4]Part IV [5]Part V [6]Part VI [7]Part VII [8], Part VIII [9], Part IX [10].)

We note a num­ber of points to be con­sid­ered in the con­text of this “squeal­ing piglet”:

“Putin Defends Snowden’s Stopover, Rejects U.S. ‘Dri­v­el’” by Anton Doro­shev, Nicole Gaou­ette & Nathan Gill;  bloomberg.com; 6/25/2013.  [15]

EXCERPT: . . . .“Per­son­al­ly I’d pre­fer to keep out of such ques­tions,” he said. “It’s like shear­ing a piglet: all squeal­ing and no wool.” . . . .

“World Brief­ing | Europe: Report On U.S. Spy Sys­tem” by Suzanne Daley; The New York Times; 9/6/2001. [16]

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 . . .

Allied Ser­vices (I); german-foreign-policy.com; 7/2/2013.  [12]

EXCERPT: . . . . From the very begin­ning, the claims by the gov­ern­ment and the BND of hav­ing had no idea about these NSA activ­i­ties have only pro­voked a bored smile from spe­cial­ists. “Experts have known that for a long time,” insists BND expert, Erich Schmidt-Een­boom. “The Ger­man gov­ern­ment must long since have also known about it through BND eval­u­a­tions and Stud­ies by the Fed­er­al Office of Infor­ma­tion Secu­ri­ty (BSI).” The “uproar” in Berlin is, “feigned, in this ques­tion.”[2] . . .

. . . . He [his­to­ri­an Joseph Fos­chep­oth] has found that in 1968, Bonn con­clud­ed a secret admin­is­tra­tive agree­ment, which, based on agree­ments of the 1950s, had oblig­at­ed the Ger­man gov­ern­ment “to car­ry out sur­veil­lance of post and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion for the West­ern vic­to­ri­ous pow­ers, or to allow them to car­ry out this sur­veil­lance them­selves.” Accord­ing to Fos­chep­oth, this admin­is­tra­tive agree­ment “remains unal­tered in force, today.” This pro­vides the legal basis for US mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agen­cies to autonomous­ly exe­cute “sur­veil­lance of the post and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion traf­fic” in Ger­many.[10] . . .

“Attacks from Amer­ica: NSA Spied on Euro­pean Union Offices” by Lau­ra Poitras, Mar­cel Rosen­bach, Fidelius Schmid and Hol­ger Stark; Der Spiegel; 6/29/2013. [11]

EXCERPT: . . . A lit­tle over five years ago, secu­ri­ty experts dis­cov­ered that a num­ber of odd, abort­ed phone calls had been made around a cer­tain exten­sion with­in the Jus­tus Lip­sius build­ing, the head­quar­ters of the Euro­pean Coun­cil, the pow­er­ful body rep­re­sent­ing the lead­ers of the EU’s 27 mem­ber states. The calls were all made to num­bers close to the one used as the remote ser­vic­ing line of the Siemens tele­phone sys­tem used in the build­ing. . . .

“France ‘Has Vast Data Sur­veil­lance’ — Le Monde Report”; BBC; 7/4/2013. [13]

EXCERPT: France’s for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice inter­cepts com­puter and tele­phone data on a vast scale, like the con­tro­ver­sial US Prism pro­gramme, accord­ing to the French dai­ly Le Monde.

The data is stored on a super­com­puter at the head­quar­ters of the DGSE intel­li­gence ser­vice, the paper says.

The oper­a­tion is “out­side the law, and beyond any prop­er super­vi­sion”, Le Monde says.

Oth­er French intel­li­gence agen­cies alleged­ly access the data secret­ly.

It is not clear how­ever whether the DGSE sur­veil­lance goes as far as Prism. So far French offi­cials have not com­mented on Le Monde’s alle­ga­tions.

The DGSE alleged­ly analy­ses the “meta­data” — not the con­tents of e‑mails and oth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tions, but the data reveal­ing who is speak­ing to whom, when and where.

Con­nec­tions inside France and between France and oth­er coun­tries are all mon­i­tored, Le Monde reports.

The paper alleges the data is being stored on three base­ment floors of the DGSE build­ing in Paris. The secret ser­vice is the French equiv­a­lent of Britain’s MI6. . . .

The oper­a­tion is designed, say experts, to uncov­er ter­ror­ist cells. But the scale of it means that “any­one can be spied on, any time”, Le Monde says. . . .

 “Europe’s Spy­ing Busi­nesses Thrive Amid Sur­veil­lance Uproar” by Chris Bryant;  Finan­cial Times; 7/1/2013. [14]

EXCERPT: Europe’s politi­cians are out­raged about alleged US mon­i­tor­ing of EU tele­phone and com­puter com­mu­ni­ca­tions. But when it comes to build­ing and export­ing spy equip­ment, few are as capa­ble as Europe.

That much was evi­dent last month when the world’s lead­ing sell­ers of elec­tronic sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy gath­ered in Prague at the ISS World trade show.

Police and spy agency offi­cials lis­tened to closed-door pre­sen­ta­tions by a suc­ces­sion of Euro­pean com­pa­nies about their high­ly sophis­ti­cated inter­net and tele­phone com­mu­ni­ca­tion inter­cep­tion wares.

Hack­ing Team, a Milan-based mak­er of eaves­drop­ping soft­ware, demon­strated in Prague its remote­ly con­trolled spy­ware that can tap encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Skype calls and instant mes­sen­ger chats. The sys­tem also has audio and video capa­bil­ity, which allows police to spy using the target’s own web­cam.

Munich-based Tro­vi­cor schooled agents on its “cell-based mon­i­tor­ing solu­tion” to han­dle mass record­ings while Gam­ma Inter­na­tional, a UK-Ger­man com­pany, demon­strated its con­tro­ver­sial “Fin­Fisher” spy­ware tool for remote­ly mon­i­tor­ing mobile phone com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

At a time when Euro­pean coun­tries are loud­ly con­demn­ing the US and UK’s spy­ing activ­i­ties, Europe’s spy tech­nol­ogy exper­tise is a poten­tial source of embar­rass­ment.

Pri­vacy activists and politi­cians fear that, if left unreg­u­lated, sales of Euro­pean sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy could infringe human rights over­seas, as well as dam­ag­ing the cyber secu­rity of peo­ple in Europe. . . .

. . . .This means that more than 50 per cent of the almost $6bn a year mar­ket for off-the-shelf sur­veil­lance equip­ment – the kind favoured by near­ly all gov­ern­ments except the US – is con­trolled by west­ern Euro­pean com­pa­nies, accord­ing to Mr Lucas. . . .

. . . . In fact, it was James Clap­per, US direc­tor of nation­al intel­li­gence, who told the US Sen­ate in March that for­eign gov­ern­ments had begun using sur­veil­lance tech­nolo­gies orig­i­nally mar­keted for “law­ful inter­cep­tion” to tar­get US sys­tems. . . .

“Ger­man Intel­li­gence Scrubs Euroean Records after Wik­iLeaks Expo­sure” by Wik­iLeaks staff; wikileaks.org; 11/16/2008. [17]

EXCERPT: Between Fri­day night and Sun­day morn­ing, a mas­sive dele­tion oper­a­tion took place at the Euro­pean Inter­net address reg­is­ter (RIPE) to scrub ref­er­ences to a cov­er used by Ger­many’s pre­mier spy agency, the Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst, or BND.

The cleanup oper­a­tion comes the night after Wik­ileaks revealed over two dozen covert BND net­works pro­vid­ed by T‑Systems (Deutsche Telekom). The IP address­es were assigned to an unreg­is­tered com­pa­ny at a Munich-based PO box linked to T‑Systems.

T‑Systems purged the RIPE data­base of all address­es exposed by Wik­ileaks, mov­ing the address­es into a sev­er­al giant anony­mous “Class B” address pools.

The move comes just a few hours after T‑Systems Com­put­er Emer­gency Response Team (CERT) con­tact­ed Wik­ileaks to demand removal of an inter­nal T‑Systems memo list­ing the BND cov­er address­es. Wik­ileaks refused and T‑System did not respond to requests for fur­ther detail by the time of writ­ing.

Yet an inves­ti­ga­tion into the address­es over the week­end reveals key infor­ma­tion about the BND’s Inter­net activ­i­ties. . . . .

Web­site ref­er­ences reveal that in 2006 numer­ous hosters of Inter­net web­sites com­plained about out of con­trol “data min­ing” robots from two of the BND-linked IP address­es. One of the hosters ran a pop­u­lar dis­cus­sion forum on counter-ter­ror­ism oper­a­tions.

The integri­ty and trans­paren­cy of the RIPE sys­tem is not assist­ed by the T‑Systems dele­tion. Ger­man cit­i­zens may won­der at the dou­ble stan­dard. At a time when the pop­u­la­tion’s Inter­net address­es are being record­ed by ISPs under laws deri­sive­ly referred to as “Stasi 2.0”, the “real Stasi”—the BND, has had the largest tel­co in Ger­many scrub its address­es from the Euro­pean record with­in 24 hours of their expo­sure.