NSA: not OK.
I'm not a US person and as such you can eat a sack of
Senior National Security Agency (NSA) officials have told US news magazine program “60 Minutes” that a foreign nation tried to infect computers with a BIOS-based virus that would have enabled them to be remotely destroyed. NSA Director General Keith Alexander and Information Assurance Director Debora Plunkett both appeared on …
While the NSA *cough** claims to be listening to *cough** 30 "US Persons", in all likely hood there is a good chance you might be on that list. Can't recall but if memory serves you might have, at one time, in the distant past, mentions crApple in a post and that would automatically flag you as a person of interest. Seriously, you *MIGHT* have (choose one) said/thought/heard someone else say/been within a mile of someone whos used a Fleshlight on an iDevice, something negative about them. And we all know that anyone who might have done any of those things, by having certain views about an American company, that could be considered a threat to the USA.
Dont worry though, they only check the metadata so its all fine. *cough**
*is it dry in here or just me?
Don't worry, Trevor probably will be among the ones the NSA has very detailed data on. If he's really like the character he plays in his articles he probably made just about every mistake you can make to play into the hands of secret services. Even the ones which are easy to avoid.
You really need to consider your semantics. "Security" and "privacy" simultaneously? Seriously? The entire debacle is due to a quest for "security." Privacy of individuals is simply the first casualty of that quest. There are others:
I don't fear middle easterners with sand, sticks and more sand. I fear the very real abuses of power by the very fallible humans in positions of power in the countries I actually visit.
"Security" is protection from the overreach of the people in power over you. Privacy is part and parcel of that (but extends to the right to be free from interference and snooping by other proles and companies as well.)
"Terrorists" are just a boogyman. A rock from space could fall on me too. I'm far more likely to get killed by a drunk driver or the toxic (and radioactive) emissions from a dirty coal plant. If the price of freedom (and actual security) is that every now and again we fail to stop a lunatic that we probably wouldn't have been able to stop even in the panopticon...I'll take it.
If an individual is prepared to martyr themselves in order to strike at a target there's not a whole hell of a lot you can do to stop them. Our freedoms are not an acceptable price for the obsession of some with trying.
While I agree there is substantial reason for concern, and wish there were a reasonable way tthat the confident claims of terrorist attack prevention could be verified, it is true that most terror attacks in the recent past have been in Africa and the Middle East, not in Europe and the Americas. Moreover, those attacks were not made with sand and sticks but with machine guns and high explosives.
Whether the probability of some kind of terrorist attack is significant certainly is worth discussion, and so is whether the surveillance being done in the name of reducing it is cost effective. So also is the size of the risk associated with NSA (and CSEC, GCHQ, ASD, and GCSB, among others) surveillance activities. I think we agree on the first two, but probably not on the third.
A tyrannical regime certainly would engage in such data collection and probably more, but it is logically incorrect to conclude that the existence of these programs implies that the responsible government is a tyranny. In the US I see more reason for concern about moral panics such as the war on drugs and the abuse of normal prosecutorial authority exemplified by the Aaron Swartz, Jammie Thomas, and Amish Beard Cutter cases.
"Cost effective" is not a consideration. Our freedoms are not for sale at any price, certainly not as protection against boogymen. Regardless of how large their sticks.
And frankly, yes, I do view the US as a tyranny. As an example: 95% of her people support mandatory background checks on guns. That cannot make it through government. The same amount support restrictions on automatic firearms. *crickets*
The US government murders civilians without trial - their own, as well as civilians. It uses the IRS against political opponents, attacks the freedom of the press, suppresses dissent with violence and imprisons people in perpetuity without trial.
That you have patriotism wrapped up in that nation doesn't change the fact that their so-called "democracy" is a sham, the republic is broken and they are treating both their own citizens and their allies with contempt and outright hostility.
The people with sand and more sand aren't the ones we need to be worried about. The ones in charge of the US government are.
The US (and Canada) have police and military agencies with missions that include protecting residents against various internal and external threats. Their activities inevitably interfere with or limit the actions of those residents and others and cost a lot of money. Contrary to your assertion, it is perfectly reasonable to discuss the extent of those limits, the cost of operating those agencies, and whether they are effective in carrying out their assigned mission.
It is not clear how failure to have universal background checks on private citizen gun purchases or to restrict ownership of semiautomatic weapons is evidence of a tyrannical regime; the natural interpretation would seem to be quite the opposite. Ownership of automatic weapons has, in fact, been tightly controlled for a very long time in the US.
Targeted killing of civilians, citizens or not, is to be condemned, as is perpetual imprisonment without due process. It is not, however very common and to describe it as the norm for the US is a rather extreme overstatement.
"The people with sand and more sand" killed quite a few, almost all civilians, in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, London, and Madrid between late 2001 and mid 2005. I don't offer that to justify anything but the proposition that they may be worth worrying about, just a bit.
No, those people with sand and more sand aren't worth worrying about. Yes, they killed some people> It was tragic. Futile attempts to prevent this from recurring are not an acceptable excuse for giving up our rights.
That our countries have organisations whose mission it is to conduct clandestine operations doesn't mean they should have those organisations or that if we must have said organisations that they should be given the kinds of panopticon powers that they have obtained.
That you are unable to comprehend how both regular abuses of power (everything from NSA operatives using their access to track lovers to the IRS targeting political opponents) and elected representatives not bowing to the overwhleming will of the people makes a democracy is pretty fucking sad. The people in charge aren't listening to those who elected them and many are abusing their privileges. This seems perfectly okay by you, business as normal, no need to question it or demand change.
Shut up and like it, eh?
It doesn't matter how many extrajudicial killings there have been. One is too much. One torture is too much. One abuse of power that occurs without consequence to those performing the abuse is too much.
You propose to not only allow those in power to keep their privileges, but to heap upon them more? For what? The 9/11 boogyman?
You have allowed yourself to buy into the propaganda. For reasons incomprehensible you actually seem to thing those in charge of the US are "the good guys." They aren't. They're people, no different form most of us. (Well, actually, statistically you'd find a far higher percentage of sociopaths in the halls of power, but let's set that to one side for a moment.)
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. They have too much power and they use for ill far too often. I do not want them having that power over me. Plain and simple.
I don't find it okay for them to have the power of dragnet surveillance at all. No discussion about "appropriate use" is possible because no appropriate use of dragnet surveillance is possible.
I have no issue with targeted surveillance, but that is a world away from the shit going on now.
""The people with sand and more sand" killed quite a few, almost all civilians, in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, London, and Madrid between late 2001 and mid 2005. I don't offer that to justify anything but the proposition that they may be worth worrying about, just a bit."
Just to puncture the balloon of your self-satisfied faith in 'why things are done', why don't you do a minimum of 'research' and look at one of the many aerial photographs of the WTC being built. Please note the HUGE core columns that were designed to stop the building collapsing after five or six simultaneous airliner strikes.
Yet both the WTC's and Building 7 (not hit by a plane) fell straight down in 10 seconds at free-fall speed, as though those massive supports did not exist, into their own footprints, the path of most resistance. Nothing larger than a phone cover was found, so where did the heavy stuff, the security safes, kitchen equipment, data-centre racks and high-speed lift winches actually go? Look at the height of the rubble pile compared to the amount of steel, concrete, wood and glass that was in the towers before.
19 men, armed with box-cutters, who could not fly Cessna's managed to evade the USAF and hit fairly narrow targets at a faster speed than the civil versions of those planes were designed to fly at. Before 911 the AVERAGE time it took for the military interception of an airliner that had turned off its transponder was 10 minutes. There was no 'confusion' between the FAA and the military as they sit in the same rooms and look at the same screens.
"The people with sand and more sand" killed the people in the towers? REALLY?
Just do some simple, basic research yourselves, and you'll start noticing that the official explanations about the various parts of 911 (WTC, Pentagon and Shanksville) don't just start adding up, they start completely unravelling.
Read "Where did the Towers go" by Dr Judy Wood. It's expensive but you can get your local library to order it for you.
Think about the consequences of 911 for everyone in the world. War is very good for business, especially those who manufacture military and security equipment. War and attacks give governments great excuses to take liberties.
""Terrorists" are just a boogyman. A rock from space could fall on me too. I'm far more likely to get killed by a drunk driver or the toxic (and radioactive) emissions from a dirty coal plant. If the price of freedom (and actual security) is that every now and again we fail to stop a lunatic that we probably wouldn't have been able to stop even in the panopticon...I'll take it."
And in the UK lee Rigby wasmurdered by 2 crazies who were known to the "Panopticon."
So in reality no security and no peace.
The comment was directed at me, personally. Where have I been plotting to kill people? I was told that I, personally, should be on one of those lists for non-conformance. Why?
You're the pro NSA scaremonger. Explain to me why I deserve to be monitored, tracked, and have my rights removed?
“Less than 60 people globally who are considered U.S. Persons"
Once you're one of them, you're no longer considered a US Person, simple.
The US has admitted killing - under Obama, not the moronic Bush Jr - four US citizens via drone strikes. At least two of those were extra-judicial killings, more usually known as murders. And while it may not have happened yet, the US Justice Department believes the US President has the legal authority to order a targeted strike against an American citizen located within the United States.
And while it may not have happened yet, the US Justice Department believes the US President has the legal authority to order a targeted strike against an American citizen located within the United States.
I don't think they care about whether he has the legal authority or not. I think they're just confident that Americans will never take up their guns to do anything about it if he did, so they feel free to advise him he can do whatever the hell he likes, cause no one can/is going to stop him.
"I think they're just confident that Americans will never take up their guns to do anything about it if he did..."
Let's consider that one for a bit.
So, Americans pick up their guns in outrage over a terrorist being assassinated.
And somehow manage to prevail against B52 bombers, AC130 gunships, AH64 gunships, AH1 gunships, 105mm and 155mm howitzers, 120mm and 81mm mortars, smart bombs, dumb bombs, cluster bombs, nuclear warheads, guided missiles, smart munitions, drones, satellite surveillance, rockets, then we move toward infantry mopping up the mess.
Or more accurately, collecting the body parts and laying them into a mass grave, along with their dinky little AR15's and AK47's.
So much for Mr "I have my guns to fight government tyranny".
If you honestly believe - or worse, would encourage - that your military would turn B52 bombers, AC130 gunships, AH64 gunships, AH1 gunships, 105mm and 155mm howitzers, 120mm and 81mm mortars on their own civilian population and choose to do nothing about it then you're a fucking sociopath.
"The US has admitted killing - under Obama, not the moronic Bush Jr - four US citizens via drone strikes."
And the US and UK both did the same, via dumb bombs, assassins or snipers during WWII.
Work with the enemy, you are an enemy in wartime.
Apparently, many, many people forget that the US *is still* at war.
In the past 235 calendar years the US has been at peace for only 21 of them. Who cares if the US is at war? That doesn't remove from them the requirement to act with honour. After all, they're always at war. If being at war removes the requirement for them to behave we need to, as a planet, cut them the fuck off. Blockade, isolate, cease trading with, you name it.
They can't be allowed to act with impunity just because they can't seem to learn to leave others alone.
"If being at war removes the requirement for them to behave we need to, as a planet, cut them the fuck off. Blockade, isolate, cease trading with, you name it"
You should start by getting your fellow Canucks to stop coming into the US to buy a full shopping cart of milk, 50+ gallons of fuel per trip, etc.
"In the past 235 calendar years the US has been at peace for only 21 of them."
If you look closely, you will see that the US tried very hard to stay out of WWI and WWII and only started poking it's nose into everyone's business after it was the lone superpower and found it had the power to prevent WWIII.
I'm not quite sure why you hate America so much when the Canadian government plays the good cop to the USA's bad cop. The two countries may seem opposite of one another but they are on the same team.
You're delusional. Canada is subjugated by the US. The US isn't "on our team" in any way. Were we on the same team as the US they would treat us as equals, not serfs. They do not.
Fro the record, I lobby my government strongly to distance ourselves from the US, politically, economically and militarily. I don't view the US as remotely trustworthy and I sure as hell don't view them as a Canadian ally.
Even if our government is complicit in selling the rights and freedoms of Canadians off to the US for a pat on the head, there's a fair amount of cultural difference between the two nations; far more than I am going ot get into here. Suffice ti to say that I would cheerfully accept a much lower standard of living if it meant that my country would cut ties with the USA.
After all, unlike you, I'm fully capable of understanding that the only "team" the US is on is the one where the very elite of the elite in the US win and everyone else loses. Though i can understand how you could be blind to it if you're raised amongst enough nationalism and propaganda.
You have heard of the Five Eyes, which is one of I can only assume projects where the two governments work together? You do know that the US/Canada border is the longest undefended border in the world? You do not get that type of trust unless you are working very closely with one another.
The US and Canadian governments are in a scratch my back and I'll scratch yours relationship. You might hear about how the US is keeping you down while, in the room in the back, they are in fact sharing who knows what and passing money back and forth. Openly, some politicians might bad mouth the US/Canada but the people with the real power are shaking hands and having drinks with their US/Canadian counterparts.
After all, unlike you, I'm fully capable of understanding that the only "team" EVERY GOVERNMENT is on is the one where the very elite of the elite in <INSERT COUNTRY> win and everyone else loses. Though i can understand how you could be blind to it if you're raised amongst enough nationalism and propaganda.
You mean the militarized border partrolled by drones? It hasn't been "the world's longest undefended border" for some years now. Also, In case you hadn't noticed, Canadians have to present passports and go through all manner of security theater today that we didn't have to 20 years ago. Things have changed, buddy.
I do understand entirely how the conservative assholes currently in charge of our nation have sold us down the river, but that doesn't make America our friend. It just means America has co-opted out leadership. America is very much the enemy of the Canadian people. Just ask anyone who has had their livelihood destroyed by the US refusing to abide by NAFTA while simultaneously using any minor Canadian oversight of that same treaty as a an excuse for extortionate economic protectionism.
Participation in things like "five eyes" is not exactly with the consent of the Canadian people. It is largely against the will of the people but often done to ensure our survival. Not from the threat of the Muslim boogyman...but from that of America.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. (Try reading it slowly, maybe they'll help your comprehension.)
America is not Canada's friend. It is our master. The slave is never friends with one who would purport to own them.
The US/Canada border is not militarized. Do you see military bases, watchtowers, fences, guard dogs, etc along the border? No. What you see is a toll booth looking crossing where you have to present a passport, say why you are coming into the US, and maybe get your car searched if the border guard feels like being an ass. I guess to you that is a highly militarized border.
As for drones, I have not seen, read about, or heard of any drones patrolling the border so sources are needed. I can only assume law enforcement are using them for patrolling for drug smugglers since the US public would go nuts if a loaded drone was flying around above their heads. <joke>Besides, I'm sure the Girl Scouts could defend the border from Canadians, and make a few bucks selling cookies while they're at it so I doubt the US needs drones </joke>
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again. (Try reading it slowly, maybe they'll help your comprehension."
I think you meant "it'll help your comprehension"...
You mean like these drones?
I never said it was a highly militarized border, only that it was a militarized border. It is not one of trust. It is one where drones track you and men with guns prevent you from driving (or flying) across as you choose. It as once the world's longest undefended border. In my youth. Now it's not. Simple as.
And yes, to me, that's militarized. Maybe it's not to you, but you've had so much kool-aid who the fuck knows how you interpret things? "Other borders are more militarized this this doesn't count" would be my guess. It seems to be the kind of logic you've been employing this far.
As for "they'll help your reading comprehension", no I don't mean "it'll". I was referring to the voices in your head. Do they come in via transmitter? CONFORM. CONSUME. OBEY. Seems about right.
Maybe if you have to put up with being hauled into the room with the overly bright lights and the condescending people with loaded guns every time you cross the border you'd see things differently. Maybe not.
"If you look closely, you will see that the US tried very hard to stay out of WWI and WWII and only started poking it's nose into everyone's business after it was the lone superpower and found it had the power to prevent WWIII."
That can only be true if you ignore stuff like supplying arms to the UK & donating huge sums of cash to the Nazi party.
"A true patriot ignores everything except that which makes the current power elite look good."
Depends on how you define patriotism. Some folks think that patriotism requires unquestioning obedience to the government of the day, although I think most people think of it as "doing right" by the country (and it's citizens). Personally I'm not sure Patriotism serves much of a purpose beyond waging war, I would rather people focussed on treating the people around them well.
I was going to say "treat others as you would like to be treated" - but there are some seriously twisted people out there. For example from the way the British Cabinet decided the fate of the Iraqis I am guessing that they would like to be lied to, be ignored, have all their assets stolen (including family heirlooms), locked up without charge and beaten to death with an option of being shot or blown up at random.
Personally I believe every word they say on this one.
The US are only spying on a minimal amount of US citizens. However, their sock puppets in the UK are probably doing the dirty work for them.
Plausible deniability innit, reciprocity in management speak.
When the Brits say they are only spying on 2 men, 1 woman and a cat that lives in a mosque we can assume that our American friends are dealing with all the rest of you / us.
T'would be nice to know how many Brits, Aussies, Canucks and Kiwis the Yanks are spying on.
"The US are only spying on a minimal amount of US citizens. However, their sock puppets in the UK are probably doing the dirty work for them."
The probability of that being true approaches unity.
"T'would be nice to know how many Brits, Aussies, Canucks and Kiwis the Yanks are spying on."
Join the military, get a clearance and you can find out.
Of course, then you shan't be permitted to tell anyone.
You spy for me, I spy for you.
That way, Agency A and Agency B can say quite categorically and truthfully that they are not intercepting the communications of their own citizens. If Agency A happens to have intercepted communications of the citizens of the country of Agency B and happens to hand it over to Agency B as part of their cooperation agreement, does the original interception come under the jurisdiction of country B? And visa-versa.
There's no longer 2 certainties in Life.
Death, taxes and being spied upon.
"Why hasn't Obama stopped any of this like he promised he would?"
That is a multiple choice question, probably with more than one correct answer. Anyone who has watched "Yes Minister" knows that elected officials: presidents, prime ministers, etc., come and go, and so do their appointees: heads of the NSA, CIA, FBI, etc. So, regardless of "promises" made by politicians, there are always permanent employees in the background who simply carry on carrying on. So, perhaps he made a "politician's promise," possibly, he made a promise he thought he could keep, possibly .....
Apparently civics are no longer taught in any detail in US schools, or most citizens here would know precisely how limited, constitutionally, presidential authority is. Primarily he signs or vetoes congressional bills - never really uses the veto nearly enough, and he can start a war (but not declare one), which can paint congress into a corner where they either follow along or trigger a political crisis. He can also declare a state of emergency which can suspend many constitutional rights within a "limited" purview related to the putative "emergency" a limited but renewable period and make an end run around congressional authority without having them actually declare war.
"Why hasn't Obama stopped any of this like he promised he would?"
Because, like many other ill informed promises he made, he learned the classified version, aka reality of the war and what is incessantly being attempted.
Sorry, but as much as I hate the program, it does work to stop things being blown up.
Note the lack of massive outrage in the US Congress. Note the sparse few comments about holding hearings. Note the sparse few hearings conducted.
Congress has oversight on such programs. Congress has a SCIF in both houses. Committee members have clearance and full access to the data from those programs.
The reason is really simple and relatively innocuous. The programs work, they stop attacks against US citizens and especially US citizens on US soil.
The same is true in the UK and Commonwealth nations.
What is the capability, courtesy of both the war in Afghanistan and the surveillance of Al Qaeda to attack a western target today?
Diaper bomb, shoe bomb, printer bomb. None of which functioned, the latter being intercepted.
Compared to before, with a dozen embassies bombed, the WTC bombed, then aircraft rammed into it.
So, take your choice for reality. Either Al Qaeda all went off and retired or their operational capabilities are significantly eroded and are undermined by multiple methods, this being one of them.
I know as a fact that it is the latter.
BillG, for the same reason JohnE Hoover was able to stay in power for 40 years.
They have the pictures.
And this isn't necessarily of Obama himself doing anything all that bad. They have pictures on everyone and everybody, close to him and politically connected. And the "pictures" nowadays aren't just photos, it's stuff t they're hoovering up from phone calls and emails.
"You want a budget of *how much* to track 60 people?"
Actually, what they told 60 minutes was that they were only tracking 60 US citizens. They never mentioned how many foreign nationals were on their monitor list. I think the most interesting thing that was stated was that in effect there should be no surprise that they listened to foreign heads of state when those very same states do the very same thing "to us." The only important difference would be that the NSA "saved" money by hiring outside contractors who were - ah - unreliable.
"You want a budget of *how much* to track 60 people?"
Actually, it was 60 of what the NSA *considers* US people.
That means that pretty much 7 billion are also tracked.
Remember, the NSA is not permitted to act in a law enforcement capacity within the US, nor can it monitor communications of US citizens without a warrant. Everyone else is open under US law and the NSA charter.
What was amusing was the bit about "60 minutes seems to want to play along", as if CBS, Fox or NBC would stray from the GOP party line of everything military is good, godlike and must receive the lions share of federal funding.
While the educational system, elderly, disabled, children and needy get to suck the hind tit.