Sunday READ – 14 July 2013
Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* WE ARE THE ENEMY: WHISTLEBLOWERS, JOURNALISTS, DISSENTERS, AND THE PEOPLE
By Dennis Loo
Obama says that his prosecution of whistleblowers is necessary because whistleblowers have aided America’s enemies by informing them of secrets that will harm America. With precious few exceptions, the rest of this nation’s political leadership and media pundits join in this chorus of condemnation of whistleblowing and call for the metaphorical or literal heads of these dastardly whistleblowers.
A close examination of what is going on here, however, points to a very different picture than what officialdom declares. The real target of the NSA’s ubiquitous surveillance isn’t terrorists. The NSA’s target is the entire world’s population and foreign governments; its purpose is dominance and oppressive social control.
There are two core facts that make this point. Both of these facts have been studiously and religiously concealed from the public by mainstream media and public officials.
First, the NSA’s universal spying on whole populations predate 9/11 and were not instigated for the purpose of detecting and preventing terrorist incidents. Terrorism had not become a central or even secondarily important issue, either in the corridors of power or in the public consciousness, when the NSA and other intelligence gathering agencies instituted universal surveillance. In its present form, the NSA spying on us all was imposed in the first few weeks after Bush took office in 2001, seven months before 9/11. The warning signs that the 9/11 attacks were coming were present in abundance several months before 9/11 but universal surveillance had nothing to do with those warnings. The warnings – which were spurned and dismissed with contempt by Bush and Cheney – were obtained through traditional intelligence gathering techniques, not universal surveillance. That information was obtained by surveilling those who the FBI, CIA, and NSA et al had reason to suspect, putting pieces of various data together through detective work and investigative thinking, warnings from other nation’s intelligence services, and informants on the ground. Torture was not used. Warnings to Bush and Cheney of a spectacular terrorist attack on the U.S. were numerous, definitive, and universally ignored by the White House. The problem was not a lack of intelligence. The problem was that the White House refused to act upon the intelligence they had. In the wake of 9/11, Bush et al, the same individuals responsible for spurning those dire and explicit warnings, reacted by claiming that they were given no warnings about the attacks and that they needed more data and needed to clamp down on civil liberties, including engaging in the war crime of torture in order to avoid another such attack. Others have chronicled the story of Bush et al’s failure to prevent or at least mitigate 9/11 in great detail. See here for example.
Second, it is simply absurd and dramatically counter-productive to carry out anti-terrorist intelligence by collecting all of the world’s electronic communications. This would be like a detective who was trying to solve a murder case by treating the entire world as suspects rather than focusing his or her efforts on those with a motive and those who were in some way connected to the victim. It would be like trying to treat a small tumor by exposing the entire body to continuous radiation therapy. It is simply ludicrous to toss out probable cause and institute improbable cause as the standard of governmental policy. You cannot reasonably connect the dots to identify the threads of pending terrorist plots if you are systematically collecting all the data there is to collect on everyone and everything: to do so means that you are purposely drowning yourself in oceans of irrelevant data. U.S. intelligence is daily collecting more than four times the data contained in the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world. The government isn’t doing these illogical things because they are stupid. They are doing these things because their real purpose is not to detect terrorist incidents. Their real purpose is to control and repress whole populations. That is the only reason why you would collect all there is to know about everyone and everything: because you want to control and manipulate everyone and everything.
The enemy as the U.S. government sees it, in other words, is not al-Qaeda. The enemy is the people. We are the enemy.[…]
* WE ARE THE ENEMY, PART 2: WHAT ARE THE AUTHORITIES SO AFRAID OF?
By Dennis Loo
The public relies upon the information and exposés that whistleblowers, investigative journalists, and dissenters provide. Without these the public is vulnerable to being preyed upon by tyrants. What whistleblowers et al do is look behind the curtain and under the surface of official pronouncements. They have more highly developed abilities, training, instincts, courage, and/or access to inside information that allows them to reveal the actual interests and actions in play better than the average citizen can.
Tyrants, after all, don’t announce themselves to the people about their true goals to those that they seek to seduce. They don’t declare openly their intentions to exploit, deceive, and suppress. Instead they present themselves as the people’s greatest friends and defenders, wrap themselves in the flag and call their critics treasonous. They become outraged when they encounter disagreements. This last behavior is a sure indicator of someone who cannot be trusted. Those who get excited about those who disagree with them and try to shut them up rather than engage in open debate are the ones to worry about. These are the people you want to keep from holding positions of power. Anyone who says that you shouldn’t look too closely at what they’re doing, that they have your best interest in mind, and that you can rely on them implicitly, are the very ones you need to be most wary of. Those who open their books to you and insist that you supervise them and participate directly in politics and other affairs, on the other hand, so that you can become a leader yourself, are acting in the manner that the people can rely upon. Such leadership encourages others to engage themselves personally and intensely in the details as well as in the larger picture because they want the people to be involved and not passive spectators. When such leaders are wrong they want to be told this so that they can correct what they’re doing instead of shutting their critics up. Critics are indispensable to any good society. Even when specific criticisms are mostly wrong, they can still offer insights, provide important feedback, and shed light on areas that can otherwise escape attention. Critics are to be cherished rather than eliminated.
A must read article appeared in The Nation in June 2013, “The Strange Case of Barrett Brown.” It discusses not only the government’s alarming suppression of investigative journalist Barrett Brown with trumped up charges and prison but also Anonymous’ uncovering the plans by security firm HBGary to destroy Wikileaks’ and Glenn Greenwald’s credibility on behalf of Bank of America. As Peter Ludlow describes it:
[The emails included] a plan to neutralize Glenn Greenwald’s defense of Wikileaks by undermining them both. (“Without the support of people like Glenn, wikileaks would fold,” read one slide.) The plan called for “disinformation,” exploiting strife within the organization and fomenting external rivalries—“creating messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization,” as well as a plan to submit fake documents and then call out the error.” Greenwald, it was argued, “if pushed,” would “choose professional preservation over cause.”
Other plans targeted social organizations and advocacy groups. Separate from the plan to target Greenwald and WikiLeaks, HBGary was part of a consortia that submitted a proposal to develop a “persona management” system for the United States Air Force, that would allow one user to control multiple online identities for commenting in social media spaces, thus giving the appearance of grassroots support or opposition to certain policies.
Here is HBGary’s “persona management” system as HBGary itself describes it:
Persona management entails not just the deconfliction of persona artifacts such as names, email addresses, landing pages, and associated content. It also requires providing the human actors technology that takes the decision process out of the loop when using a specific persona. For this purpose we custom developed either virtual machines or thumb drives for each persona. This allowed the human actor to open a virtual machine or thumb drive with an associated persona and have all the appropriate email accounts, associations, web pages, social media accounts, etc. pre-established and configured with visual cues to remind the actor which persona he/she is using so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate personas during use…
To build this capability we will create a set of personas on twitter, blogs, forums, buzz, and myspace under created names that fit the profile (satellitejockey, hack3rman, etc). These accounts are maintained and updated automatically through RSS feeds, retweets and linking together social media commenting between platforms. With a pool of these accounts to choose from, once you have a real name persona you create a Facebook and LinkedIn account using the given name, lock those accounts down and link these accounts to a selected of previously created social media accounts, automatically pre-aging the real accounts…
Using the assigned social media accounts we can automate the posting of content that is relevant to the persona. In this case there are specific social media strategy website RSS feeds we can subscribe to and then repost content on twitter with the appropriate hashtags. In fact using hashtags and gaming some location based check-in services we can make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise, as one example. There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas.
When you rule as our rulers do, they can see that what they are doing and what its actual effect will be will spark mass disaffection if they don’t work extremely hard at derailing the blowback to their policies by propaganda, infiltration, disruption, diversion, dirty, underhanded, and covert tricks, and repression. This is why both major parties are carefully and relentlessly outlawing facts and truth and developing the means and rationales for violent repression (e.g., drones, preventive and indefinite detention, labeling as terrorists anyone who interferes with business as usual, mass incarceration, police running amok, violently suppressing women). […]
* STASI VS. THE NSA: COMPARE AND CONTRAST
By Tyler Durden, zerohedge
The German President, Joachim Gauck, concluded in a recent interview, that the NSA was not to be compared with the Stasi, because, [paraphrasing] “it is not like it was with the Stasi, where there exist big filing cabinets in which all our conversations are written down.” No, indeed, nothing like that. As OpenDataCity notes, at the NSA, conversation contents are neither written down nor filed – but digitally recorded, saved and can be searched and found within seconds.
In contrast to the Stasi, the NSA can count on new technologies and can therefore collect information in gigantic quantities.
According to a report by the NPR, the data center of the NSA in Utah will be capable of saving 5 Zettabytes (5 billion Terabyte). Assuming that a filing cabinet with 60 files (30.000 pages of paper) uses up 0,4 m², which would correspond to 120 MB of data, the printed out Utah data center would use up 17 million square kilometers.
Thereby the NSA can capture 1 billion times more data than the Stasi!
To get the picture, OpenDataCity compared the data volume in this little app: […]
* WHY ARE AMERICANS SO PASSIVE?
By RJ Eskow, AlterNet
From the first breaths of life to the last, our lives are being stolen out from under us. From infant care and early education to Social Security and Medicare, the dominant economic ideology is demanding more lifelong sacrifices from the vulnerable to appease the gods of wealth.
Middle-class wages are stagnant. Unemployment is stalled at record levels. College education is leading to debt servitude and job insecurity. Millions of unemployed Americans have essentially been abandoned by their government. Poverty is soaring. Bankers break the law with impunity, are bailed out, and go on breaking the law, richer than they were before.
And yet, bizarrely, the only Americans who seem to be seething with anger are the beneficiaries of this economic injustice – the wealthiest and most privileged among us. But those who are suffering seem strangely passive.
As long as they stay that way, there will be no movement to repair these injustices. And the more these injustices are allowed to persist, the harder it will be to end them.
Where the hell is the outrage? And how can we start some?
John and Paul
Paul Krugman  ruminated about inflation-free unemployment the other day, and he was feeling pretty grim. Krugman is frustrated that clear prescriptions for this kind of economy – prescriptions born in John Maynard Keynes’ day – aren’t being followed. What John proposed then, Paul’s proposing now.
But he’s not optimistic. “We can probably have high unemployment and stable prices in Europe and America for a very long time,” writes Krugman, “and all the wise heads will insist that it’s all structural, and nothing can be done until the public accepts drastic cuts in the safety net.”
One source for Krugman’s pessimism is the extensive political science research showing that “the level of unemployment matters hardly at all for elections; all that matters is the rate of change in the months leading up to the election.”
Krugman concludes that “high unemployment could become accepted as the new normal,” and worries that we’ll come to accept “a more or less permanent depression” as the norm – adding that “we could suffer endless, gratuitous suffering, yet the political and policy elite would feel no need to change its ways.”
Quiet in the streets
He’s right. A number of studies have linked political participation with economic conditions, typically with results like those Krugman describes. But that doesn’t explain why Brazilians took to the streets in such large numbers recently.
A majority of Brazilians believe that their economy’s improving, according to a recent Pew survey . 59 percent of Brazilians rate their economy positively and 74 percent say their personal financial situation is good. By contrast, the same organization’s most recent US polling  showed that only 46 percent of Americans said they believe the economy’s getting better, while 50 percent think it’s getting worse.
The polling says that Brazilian political unrest is driven by a divergence in goals and priorities between political leaders and the population, triggered by poor public services, bus fare increases, and the cost of hosting the World Cup.
A similar divergence of priorities exists in this country. Washington’s been focused on deficit reduction, while the public wants more job creation and economic growth. But Americans are quiescent.
US voter turnout is extremely low when compared to other developed nations, even though we rank among the highest in terms of income inequality. And other forms of political expression are also under-used. The Occupy movement was originally very popular, for example, but most people were easily persuaded to abandon it and return to a state of quiet desperation.
Wealth inequity and other economic injustices are the product of deliberate policy choices – in taxation, Social Security, health care, financial regulation, education, and a number of other policy areas. So why aren’t Americans taking action? […]
* ERDOGAN’S CHIEF ADVISER KNOWS WHAT’S BEHIND TURKEY’S PROTESTS – TELEKINESIS
By Flachra Gibbons, Guardian
From Lufthansa to the CIA, Turkey’s government has come up with some worrying conspiracy theories to explain Gezi Park
It has to be said that when the Turkish government began to flail around for the “real reasons” behind the Gezi protests, their initial conspiracy theories lacked imagination – the CIA, Europeans jealous of their economic success, unspecified foreign forces in cahoots with terrorists, Twitter, the “interest rate lobby”, and, of course, the international Jewish conspiracy. What would a search for a scapegoat be in Turkey (or indeed Greece) without our old friends the Elders of Zion?
Since it was obviously inconceivable that the Turkish people themselves – knowing they were living through a golden age of good governance, piety and profit – would ever take to the streets, there must have been a plot.
Well now we have the answer – it was all a giant telekinetic attack by dark forces to discredit Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, because he had made Turkey a “model for the world”. Quite rightly, the man who made this astonishing discovery, Yi?it Bulut, has just been made Erdo?an’s chief adviser. No, this is not a joke. Telekinesis, you may have noticed, is a Greek word.
Ministers, and the majority of Turkey’s media, have been outdoing each other for the last month with outrageous theories and often outright lies to mask Erdo?an’s staggering mishandling of a minor planning dispute over an Istanbul park that brought millions on to the streets in protest at his authoritarian style and police violence against demonstrators. […]
* “IT IS A CRIME WHEN THE POLICE CARRIES OUT AN ORDER WHICH ITSELF CONSTITUTES A CRIME” SAYS PROF. FEYZIOGLU, PRESIDENT OF UNION OF TURKISH BAR ASSOCIATIONS
Translated from Turkish by Translators for Justice
It is a crime when the police carries out an order which itself constitutes a crime. People you are dealing with are not the enemies (It is not the enemy you are dealing with)As the reactions increase steadily against the excessive use of tear gas, gas bombs and water cannons towards people on the order of Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, the chairman of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations Prof. Dr. Metin Feyzio?lu stated “The ones who are not talking about these incidents and not fulfilling their duties regarding them will have no right to speak afterwards.” Feyzio?lu talked to Sözcü about the incidents that took place in Gezi Park and the related events which came afterwards, the politics that government pursue, the juridical fallacies and the attitude of the police. Here is that interview:
They refused to see what the whole world saw, they denied the facts and declared everyone who seek liberty as terrorists and had the police forces attack on them.
Police officers cry for help, saying “Please do not leave us face to face with the people”. They are given unlawful orders. Political powers are pre-eminently declaring war against people. One segment of the people on the streets are provoked against the other.
The Police are not safe either.
Nobody’s personal rights are safe, their promotions and preferences are between the lips of the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Prime Minister. The police shoots the ones who are pointed by the government, catches whoever the government chooses. The removal of the identification numbers from the uniforms and helmets of the police forces is the most striking evidence of their pre-determined decision to commit crimes against their own people.
They have tear gassed people who took shelter at the hotels, conducted raids at infirmaries that were installed out of desperation. They have prostrated and beaten little children, young boys and girls. The country have been turned out to be a concentration camp. […]
* CRAZED MEN WITH MACHETES TRY TO TERRORIZE TURKISH PROTESTERS
A group of men with knives and sticks attacked a Gezi Park forum in the late hours of July 11, in the neighborhood of the conservative Istanbul district Fatih.
The group was commemorating the death of the latest victim of the police crackdown on protesters.
19-year-old Ali Ismail Korkmaz died of his wounds in hospital on Wednesday. He was badly beaten by unidentified people in plane clothes during protests on June 2. It is widely believed the attackers were wither plain-clothes police or protested by police.
A threatening campaign against protesters is sweeping Turkey as cameras caught a man in Taksim on July 8th in plain clothes chasing protesters with a machete and even kicking one woman in her back. On July 11th another machete-wielding man got out of a cab and chased protesters in Ankara.
In the mean time 12 protesters including members of the Taksim solidarity platform have been released from prison for lack of evidence after being accused of forming illegal groups to commit crime. However the group says they will continue their resistance.
The Taksim solidarity platform is a leading organization against the construction of the shopping mall project in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, which triggered a wave of protests across Turkey. The protests left several people dead and thousands injured. Meanwhile the protests remain unabated across the country.
Not only has Turkish security turned a blind eye to the men carrying machetes intending to intimidate protesters, but according to local media they may even be considered terror victims and paid compensation. This is seen here in Turkey as a clear double standard, and has upset a large amount of the Turkish population as well as the opposition.