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Israel and the NSA Scandal

By Kevin MacDonald | Occidental Observer | June 19, 2013

Steve Sailer has an article on the tie-in between Israeli high tech firms and the NSA spying on American citizens (“Does Israel Have a Backdoor to US Intelligence?“). It’s always seemed very suspicious that Amdocs, an Israeli firm, was responsible for billing for US phone companies, and that two Israeli firms, Narus and Verint, are involved in wiretapping AT&T and Verizon for the NSA. It’s also not surprising that, as noted by James Bamford in his April 2012 article for Wired,  someone with close connections to Israel secretly gave software designed by NSA to Israel:  “the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country.” Bamford’s source describes him as “a very strong supporter of Israel.”

This is likely yet another example of a long list of American Jews who are credibly believed to have spied for Israel, including pretty much the entire roster of prominent neocons (Perle, Wolfowitz, Stephen Bryen, Douglas Feith, and Michael Ledeen; see here, p. 47ff)—none of whom, with the exception of Jonathan Pollard, have been convicted, and many of whom, like the person mentioned here, have never been indicted.  And given this long list, it is certainly reasonable to think that Israel is using its connections with the NSA to mine US data for its own purposes. In fact, it would be silly to think otherwise.

The NYTimes, The Washington Post, and the LATimes have completely ignored the Israeli connection, and you certainly won’t hear about it on FOX news. So, as often happens, one must read Israeli papers. Haaretz (but not neocon The Jerusalem Post) has several articles on the Israeli connection. On the PRISM program that collects data from companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and AOL:

The data, gathered by the U.S. National Security Agency’s PRISM surveillance program, came from email accounts, Internet chats, browsing and search histories. The aim was to amass a database through which the NSA could learn whether terror suspects had been in contact with people in the United States.

In contrast to similar cases revealed in the past, the program involved thorough and continuous collection of data, even when no particular person or communications had aroused the authorities’ suspicions. …

Behind the scenes are a host of Israeli companies that have almost certainly taken part in the program as suppliers of technology. They may yet find themselves in the maelstrom, warns Nimrod Kozlovski, head of Tel Aviv University’s program for cyber studies.

“The exposure of PRISM underscores the feeling that communications networks and Internet companies have become the main tool for governments to gather information,” he says. “It is critical for the United States at all times to put a wall of separation between the government and commercial enterprises in order to quiet concerns that it has secret relationships with these companies.”

The concern is not just that the local government is spying on its citizens but that the manufacturers themselves have the ability to spy from afar.

Telecommunications systems almost always feature components that can be operated remotely so that software can be updated and routine maintenance chores can be conducted. … But these same systems can be used to penetrate the user country’s communications network as well. With the United States at the center of the world’s Internet traffic that problem is magnified. (“In U.S. snooping affair, Israeli firms at risk “)

Right. It’s quite possible that Gen. Keith Alexander is telling the truth when he says that the NSA is not mining these data on American citizens, but there’s nothing to stop the Israelis from doing so. The assumption must be that Israel has access to American’s emails and internet usage—very useful for all kinds of reasons, including providing ammunition for those who would destroy anti-Zionists, providing insider information in financial transactions, stealing technology, etc. When someone like Gen. David Petraeus, who had been targeted by the ADL for his statements on Israel,  is suddenly compromised by leaked emails to his mistress, it’s not surprising  that people are wondering at the involvement of the Lobby.

The  Haaretz article continues:

Israeli companies are particularly vulnerable to such suspicions [of spying] because they have such close ties to the country’s security establishment.

“Graduates of the IDF’s technology units and those who have worked in other security bodies have created business opportunities for themselves based in no small part on their previous employment,” said Udi Shani, a former Defense Ministry director general, at the Herzliya Conference last March.

That’s one way to say it. But it’s also quite reasonable that the MOSSAD decided to allow its programmers to use the technology created for MOSSAD’s Unit 8200 and then set up companies that would be able to secure foreign contracts which would be impossible for MOSSAD itself to secure for obvious reasons. Indeed, “Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the unit, told Forbes magazine in 2007 that Comverse’s technology was directly influenced by the technology of 8200.”

MOSSAD doesn’t seem too worried about its technology falling into the hands of its ex-employees. In other words, these companies are likely to be MOSSAD operations in all but name.

And in the U.S., because of the power of the Israel Lobby, there would be no outcry in the media, from politicians, or even from the defense establishment when an Israeli company is awarded a contract to do the spying for the NSA. James Petras says as much:

The domestic spy apparatus operates with impunity because of its network of powerful domestic and overseas allies. The entire bi-partisan Congressional leadership is privy to and complicit with its operations. Related branches of government, like the Internal Revenue Service, cooperate in providing information and pursuing targeted political groups and individuals. Israel is a key overseas ally of the National Security Agency, as has been documented in the Israeli press (Haaretz, June 8, 2013). Two Israeli high tech firms (Verint and Narus) with ties to the Israeli secret police (MOSSAD), have provided the spy software for the NSA and this, of course, has opened a window for Israeli spying in the US against Americans opposed to the Zionist state. The writer and critic, Steve Lendman points out that Israeli spymasters via their software “front companies” have long had the ability to ‘steal proprietary commercial and industrial data” with impunity . And because of the power and influence of the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish organizations, Justice Department officials have ordered dozens of Israeli espionage cases to be dropped. The tight Israeli ties to the US spy apparatus serves to prevent deeper scrutiny into its operation and political goals – at a very high price in terms of the security of US citizens. In recent years two incidents stand out: Israeli security ‘experts’ were contracted to advise the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security in their investigation and ‘Stasi-like’ repression of government critics and environmental activists (compared to ‘al Queda terrorists’ by the Israelis) – the discovery of which forced the resignation of OHS Director James Powers in 2010. In 2003, New Jersey governor, Jim McGreevy appointed his lover, an Israeli government operative and former IDF officer, to head that state’s ‘Homeland Security Department and later resigned, denouncing the Israeli, Golan Cipel, for blackmail in late 2004. These examples are a small sample illustrating the depth and scope of Israeli police state tactics intersecting in US domestic repression.

From hearing media accounts of NSA spying, the only data on Americans that are collected are the times of phone calls and the identities of the parties in the phone call. But, as noted above, the data collected go well beyond that to include “email accounts, Internet chats, browsing and search histories.” Another Israeli company mentioned in the Haaretz article with very broad-based spying capabilities is NICE, yet another Israeli company with close ties to the Israeli government. NICE “has technology that is used to monitor some 1.5 billion people. In a brochure published by the company itself, it describes how its system can analyze conversations (including technology to make transcripts of phone calls), and gather and analyze data from public sites. With these tools it can build an intelligence file from millions of communications.” NICE’s website describes itself:

NICE solutions capture interactions, transactions and video surveillance from multiple sources, including telephones, CCTV video feed, emergency services radio communications, emails, chat, social media, and more.

In other words, pretty much all communications can be monitored and, if you represent a threat to the people with access to these operations, you must assume that you are being monitored. (I know of no evidence that the NSA employs NICE.)  Although the company claims that its operations are aimed at “customers, criminals and terrorists, or fraudsters,” it’s not at all far-fetched to be suspicious that the information obtained could be used in a very wide range of operations, including insider information on financial affairs. Sailer suggests that fear of having conversations recorded may account for the concentration of elites in urban centers like Washington, DC and New York, and he pointedly links to  his previous article on Jewish wealth, implying that insider information is a key to Jewish wealth. However, even voice conversations are susceptible to NICE’s technology. And the other side of the coin is that it would not be at all surprising to learn that Jewish trading networks are privy to information obtained by companies like NICE.

The situation with the NSA is yet another example of what it means to have a Jewish elite in the  U.S.: Jewish  spies who deliver vital computer  programs to Israel are not indicted. And despite a long history of aggressive spying against the U.S., the NSA hires Israeli firms to do its data collection, with nary a word heard in Congress or the media about the obvious problems that  presents.

It’s good to be king.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What We Have Learned From Afghanistan

By Ron Paul | June 23, 2013

Last week the Taliban opened an office in Doha, Qatar with the US government’s blessing. They raised the Taliban flag at the opening ceremony and referred to Afghanistan as the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”—the name they used when they were in charge before the US attack in 2001.

The US had meant for the Taliban office in Doha to be only a venue for a new round of talks on an end to the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban opening looked very much like a government in exile. The Karzai government was annoyed that the US and the Taliban had scheduled talks without even notifying Kabul. Karzai’s government felt as irrelevant to negotiations on post-war Afghanistan as they soon will be on the ground. It seemed strangely like Paris in 1968, where the US met with North Vietnamese representatives to negotiate a way out of that war, which claimed nearly 60,000 Americans and many times that number of Vietnamese lives.

For years many of us had argued the need to get out of Afghanistan. To end the fighting, the dying, the destruction, the nation-building. To end the foolish fantasy that we were building a Western-style democracy there. We cannot leave, we were told for all those years. If we leave Afghanistan now, the Taliban will come back! Well guess what, after 12 years, trillions of dollars, more than 2,200 Americans killed, and perhaps more than 50,000 dead Afghan civilians and fighters, the Taliban is coming back anyway!

The long US war in Afghanistan never made any sense in the first place. The Taliban did not attack the US on 9/11. The Authorization for the use of force that we passed after the attacks of 9/11 said nothing about a decade-long occupation of Afghanistan. But unfortunately two US presidents have taken it to mean that they could make war anywhere at any time they please. Congress, as usual, did nothing to rein in the president, although several Members tried to repeal the authorization.

Afghanistan brought the Soviet Union to its knees. We learned nothing from it.

We left Iraq after a decade of fighting and the country is in far worse shape than when we attacked in 2003. After trillions of dollars wasted and tens of thousands of lives lost, Iraq is a devastated, desperate, and violent place with a presence of al Qaeda. No one in his right mind speaks of a US victory in Iraq these days. We learned nothing from it.

We are leaving Afghanistan after 12 years with nothing to show for it but trillions of dollars wasted and thousands of lives lost. Afghanistan is a devastated country with a weak, puppet government—and now we negotiate with those very people we fought for those 12 years, who are preparing to return to power! Still we learn nothing.

Instead of learning from these disasters brought about by the interventionists and their failed foreign policy, the president is now telling us that we have to go into Syria!

US Army Col. Harry Summers told a story about a meeting he had with a North Vietnamese colonel named Tu while he visiting Hanoi in 1975. At the meeting, Col. Summers told Tu, “You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield.” Tu paused for a moment, then replied, “That may be so. But it is also irrelevant.”

Sadly, that is the story of our foreign policy. We have attacked at least five countries since 9/11. We have launched drones against many more. We have deposed several dictators and destroyed several foreign armies. But, looking around at what has been achieved, it is clear: it is all irrelevant.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia Offers Iran New Replacement for S-300 – Paper

RIA Novosti | June 22, 2013

MOSCOW – Moscow made a new attempt to dodge a $4-billion lawsuit from Tehran over a failed deal to supply S-300 missile systems by offering another type of air defense system to Iran, Kommersant daily said Saturday.

The new offer on the table is Antei-2500, aka S-300VM, or SA-23 Gladiator in NATO nomenclature, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources in the Russian arms trade industry. The missile defense system can simultaneously destroy up to 24 aircraft within the range a range of 200 kilometers or intercept up to 16 ballistic missiles.

The deal can be formalized during the visit of outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Moscow on July 1, an unnamed Iranian diplomat told Kommersant.

Iran was initially interested in the S-300 missile complexes, signing in 2007 a contract worth $800 million for five missile defense systems of this make.

But the deal was scrapped in 2010 by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was unilaterally expanding on sanctions against Iran imposed by the UN Security Council.

Iran filed a $4-billion lawsuit against Russia in the international arbitration court in Geneva, which is currently pending review.

Moscow has struggled to have the lawsuit dropped, including by offering the Tor anti-aircraft systems as replacement, media reported earlier this month, adding that the offer was rejected by Tehran.

The Antei-2500, however, may be a better solution. The system does not formally fall under the existing sanctions against Iran while still being useful for the Middle Eastern country, which wants to have protection against a possible missile strike by its enemy Israel, Kommersant said.

While the S-300 was developed for the use by missile defense forces, the Antei-2500 was specifically tailored for the needs of ground forces, which could also be an advantage for Iran, known for its large land force.

Russia is already exporting the Antei-2500, having delivered two missile systems to Venezuela earlier this year. India and Turkey were also named as potential buyers, though no deals were formalized so far.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

New Snowden leak reveals US hacked Chinese cell companies, accessed millions of sms – report

RT | June 23, 2013

US government has been hacking Chinese mobile operator networks to intercept millions of text messages, as well as the operator of region’s fibre optic cable network, South China Morning Post writes citing Edward Snowden.

More information on National Security Agency activity in China and Hong Kong has been revealed by SCMP on Sunday, shedding light on statements Snowden made in an interview on June 12.

“The NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cell phone companies to steal all of your SMS data,” Snowden was quoted as saying on the SCMP website.

In a series of reports the paper claims Snowden has provided proof of extensive US hacking activity in the region.

The former CIA technician and NSA contractor reportedly provided to the paper the documents detailing specific attacks on computers over a four-year period, including internet protocol (IP) addresses, dates of attacks and whether a computer was still being monitored remotely. SCMP however did not reveal any supporting documents.

The US government has been accused of a security breach at the Hong Kong headquarters of the operator of the largest regional fibre optic cable network operator, Pacnet. Back in 2009, the company’s computers were hacked by the NSA but since then the operation has been shut down, according to the documents the paper claims to have seen.

Pacnet’s network spans across Hong Kong, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore and provides connections to 16 data centers for telecom companies, corporations and governments across the region.

The whistleblower has also allegedly revealed the US had viewed millions of text messages by hacking Chinese mobile phone companies. That is a significant claim since the Chinese sent almost billion text messages in 2012 and China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile network carrier.

In his very first leak to the media, Snowden had already exposed the scale of the American government spying operation on its domestic mobile network operators. He later revealed that the US and the UK possessed technology to access the Blackberry phones of delegates at two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009.

In a third article, SCMP claims that the US on a regular basis has been attacking the servers at Tsinghua University, one of country’s biggest research institutions. The whistleblower said that information obtained pointed to hacking activities, because it contained such details as external and internal IP addresses in the University’s network, which could only have been retrieved by a security breach.

Tsinghua University is host to one of Chinas’ six major backbone networks, the China Education and Research Network (CERNET) containing data about millions of Chinese citizens.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bush’s Foiled NSA Blackmail Scheme

By Dennis J Bernstein | Consortium News | June 21, 2013

In early 2003, as the U.S. and British governments were seeking international acquiescence to their aggressive war on Iraq, an unexpected cog thrown into the propaganda machine was the disclosure that the National Security Agency was spying on UN Security Council members in search of blackmail material.

The revelation received little attention in the mainstream U.S. news media, which was almost fully on board the pro-war bandwagon, but the disclosure received wide international attention and stopped the blackmail scheme. U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were forced to abandon a UN resolution and invade Iraq with a ragtag “coalition of the willing.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Several months later, the identity of the leaker was revealed, a young woman named Katharine Gun who worked as a linguist at the NSA’s UK counterpart, British Government Communications Headquarters. Gun lost her job and was charged under British secrecy laws, but the case was dropped because the court would have required the Blair government to disclose that it also had twisted the arms of legal advisers to extract an opinion endorsing the invasion.

Now, a decade later, Edward Snowden, a young American systems analyst working for the NSA, has leaked documents revealing a global surveillance network and prompted another international debate – about government spying vs. personal privacy. Katharine Gun joined Pacifica’s “Flashpoints” host Dennis J Bernstein to discuss both cases.

DB: What exactly was your position when you decided to leak a certain document?

KG: My title was linguist analyst. I was a Mandarin Chinese speaker. We translated interceptions and produced reports for the various customers of GCHQ, which are normally the Foreign Office or MI-5 and MI-6.

DB: Can you explain the document you released and the significance of the timing?

KG: It was released at the end of January 2003, just before the invasion of Iraq. I saw an email that had been sent from the NSA to GCHQ. It was a request for GCHQ to help the NSA intercept the communications of six nations that sat on the Security Council at that time. It was to intercept their domestic and office telecoms in order to obtain all the information we could about the delegates, which the U.S. could then use to achieve goals favorable to U.S. interests. They called for the whole gamut of information, which made me think they would potentially use the information to blackmail or bribe the U.N. delegates.

DB: This bugging took place at the United Nations?

KG: Presumably, yes. Or it could involve the United Nations headquarters or also their domestic residence.

DB: The idea was to get the necessary information one way or the other to influence the key members to support the U.S. quest for war in Iraq?

KG: Yes. At the time, if you were not working for the intelligence services or the foreign offices of the U.S. or U.K. you would probably assume that the goal of [President George W.] Bush and [Prime Minister Tony] Blair at that time was to work diplomatically to reach a solution. But we now know, after several leaks over the years about the run-up to the war in Iraq, that war was the agenda all along. When I saw the email it made me think, “This is evidence that war is the agenda.” That’s why I decided the public needed to know.

DB: GCHQ is the British Government Communications Headquarters, the equivalent to the NSA [National Security Agency]. You were working there in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Can you remind us what governments were bugged?

KG: Six nations, smallish countries: Angola, Cameroon, and Pakistan, I think. Mexico was mentioned, and possibly Chile as well. They were countries that are generally not known for their big powerful positions at the U.N.

DB: What went through your mind leading up to the decision to leak this information? This big decision changed history a bit. How did you make this courageous decision that also changed your own life?

KG: I was very concerned. I had informed myself about the realities of Iraq and the situation there because I grew up during the first Gulf War and the following years of sanctions. It was in the back of my mind that Iraq was a country that was virtually destroyed, and that the people were living in impoverished conditions. It made me think that another attack on them would not be fair and justified because there was nothing about Iraq that was a threat to either the U.S. or the U.K.

So when I saw the email and realized what was going on behind closed doors was an attempt to get the U.N. to authorize what would then have become a pre-emptive strike on a country, I thought the public should know about this because it angered me.

DB: What happened after you made this information available? What happened with your position? Were you intimidated, attacked?

KG: Initially I tried to remain anonymous, but when I realized the information revealed in the newspaper at the time was identifiable to GCHQ, I decided I didn’t want to lead a double life at GCHQ and pretend I had nothing to do with it. I confided to my line-manager and said it was my leak. Then I was arrested under suspicion of breaking the Official Secrets Act, questioned, and released on bail for eight months.

In November 2003, much to our surprise, they decided to charge me, despite having waited so long. After discussions with my legal team, which included Liberty, an organization very similar to the U.S. ACLU, we decided I would plead non-guilty, because I personally felt that although I did the act, I didn’t feel guilt, because I didn’t feel I had done anything wrong. Our defense would have been to establish the defense of necessity, which is not yet tested in a court of law. My legal team then asked for all the legal advice leading up the war, and at that point, the prosecution decided to drop all charges against me.

DB: What do you think made them decide to prosecute you, and what information made them drop the charges? Were they trying to backpedal? Were they trying to make sure no other folks in positions like you would do it again?

KG: It’s speculation on my part because obviously they haven’t disclosed. I suspect one of the reasons they charged me was to make an example of my actions to try to deter people from it. On the other hand, when they dropped the charges, I suspect there may have been a variety of reasons. When we asked for the legal advice from the then-Attorney General, at that time his legal advice had not been fully disclosed.

During the run-up to the war, Blair asked for legal advice, obviously. The first draft was about 13 pages long. The language was very cautious – it didn’t say there was a definite reason for war. There were many legal terms of caution, but at some point Blair was told the legal advice was not good enough. He needed a watertight case. The Attorney General then re-drafted his advice, and condensed it to a single page that was then issued to the House of Commons.

That is what persuaded all the MPs in the House of Commons to vote for Britain’s involvement in the war. Eventually information came out, not from myself, but from other means and it became apparent that the legal advice had not been at all watertight to start with.

DB: Daniel Ellsberg said your most important and courageous leak is the only one made in time to avert an imminent possible war. Was your desire to avert war?

KG: Yes, I was hoping the British ministers would see the truth and question the actions of Blair and the secret negotiations he was having with Bush at the time. I wanted more transparency on the issue. I wanted people to question what was going on and to generally challenge this bandwagon for a preemptive strike against a country that was already very impoverished and no threat to anybody whatsoever.

DB: Did you ever hear from folks who based on your revelations, learned they were bugged?

KG: No.

DB: So there were no thank yous coming across from that part of the world?

KG: No. At the time of the leak, my name didn’t come out. Eight months later my name was made public.

DB: Did it change your life?

KG: I lost my job. The secure, full-time, long-term employment was no longer possible. That has made an impact, primarily financially, on my life and my family’s life.

DB: We are now seeing extraordinary NSA leaks from Edward Snowden in the British Guardian. What are your thoughts on this?

KG: I think Snowden is probably is a lot more clued-up than I was at the time. My leak was a single issue. Snowden has had a long period of time working within the U.S. intelligence services. He’s obviously a very technically savvy professional. I admire him for taking this tremendous step, which he thought out very carefully and methodically. He has made some very good points. These kinds of issues should be in the public domain because it involves innocent members of the public. We, the public, should be able to have a measure of a say in these matters.

DB: We hear that people like you, who were leaking before the war, and Snowden now, are putting people’s lives in jeopardy, endangering the people. We hear that secrecy is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, and that many have been prevented by this kind of secrecy, investigation, wiretapping and bugging that’s going on now.

KG: There is absolutely no evidence that my leaks in any way endangered anybody else.

DB: But you were accused of that.

KG: Yes, they love to throw accusations around, there’s no doubt about that. But in my case, the majority of views supported my actions. In Snowden’s case, people who have a fair and just understanding of the issues at-large are supportive of his actions, as they would be of Private Manning, who is currently on trial.

DB: Did you lose any friends or associates, over this?

KG: Ironically, not really. Many of my friends and colleagues from GCHQ have also left GCHQ, partly to progress in their professions. They didn’t see much chance for their linguistic skills progressing much further within GCHQ and I continue to be in touch with them.

DB: If you had it all to do over again, would you?

KG: That’s a difficult question. Now I’m married and have a child. I would hope that I would still do it, but perhaps I would be more savvy about how I did it. Snowden was very clued-up and seems to know exactly what he should be doing – how to stay safe and keep out of the way of being unjustly arrested and tried without due process of law.

DB: Your language skills. Are you using them now?

KG: Not now. I’m only fluent in Mandarin Chinese. I speak some Japanese and am now trying to learn Turkish.

DB: That may in handy in the next decade or so. Thank you for talking to us.

~

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spying on the World From Domestic Soil

By Katitza Rodriguez | EFF | June 21, 2013

The world is still reeling from the series of revelations about NSA and FBI surveillance. Over the past two weeks the emerging details paint a picture of pervasive, cross-border spying programs of unprecedented reach and scope: the U.S. has now admitted using domestic networks to spy on Internet users both domestically and worldwide. The people now know that foreign intelligence can spy on their communications if they travel through U.S. networks or are stored in U.S. servers.

While international public outrage has justifiably decried the scope and reach of these revelations, carte blanche foreign intelligence surveillance powers over foreigners are far from new. In the U.S., foreign intelligence has always had nearly limitless legal capacity to surveil foreigners because domestic laws and protections simply don’t reach that surveillance activity.

This legal framework, with no protection for foreigners and little oversight besides, has been exacerbated by the growth in individuals now living their lives online, who conduct their most intimate communications in cloud services that are hosted in the U.S. and across different jurisdictions. To make matters worse, the vast amount of Internet traffic globally is routed through the U.S. Last but not least, logistical barriers to powerful, mass surveillance have lowered and the application of existing legal principles in new technological contexts has become unclear and shrouded in secrecy, especially in a extra-territorial surveillance context. The US government’s FISA powers, which in 2008 opened the door to broad surveillance of communications where one side is an American and the other side is a foreigner, represent just an example of an increasing state capacity to conduct nearly limitless invasive extra-territorial surveillance from domestic soil.

International Backlash

On June 18, Germans rallied at a well-known Berlin Wall crossing point called Checkpoint Charlie. Under the motto: “Yes We Scan!” German activists protested against PRISM and NSA surveillance in response to President Barack Obama’s Berlin visit. Pictures of the rally show protest signs claiming that the Obama administration has become “Stasi 2.0” with the quote “All your data belong to us”.

The Stasi 2.0 campaign was originally designed in 2007 to fight Germany’s mandatory data-retention law, a law implementing an EU Directive that force ISPs and telecom providers to continuously collect and store records documenting the online activities of millions of ordinary Europeans. Roughly 34,000 citizens filed a lawsuit against the mandatory data retention in protest. The campaign was successful and in March 2010 a German court declared the law unconstitutional and ordered the deletion of the collected data. Now, the Stasi 2.0 campaign has shifted focus on calling upon their government to protect them against overreach scope of NSA foreign surveillance practices, Sandra Mamitzsch from Digitale Gesellschaft told EFF.

Germany has also increased its capacity to conduct sweeping and invasive extra-territorial surveillance from its domestic soil. As we noted, the German government has leveraged its ability to remotely compromise computer systems in order to spy on its citizens. The government has used commercial malware to hack private data. While there has been no confirmation that Germany is deploying these investigative techniques against persons outside German territories, extra-territorial surveillance is feasible because infection occurs via email and other Internet transmissions.

Campaigns against the NSA spying overreach are now being planned for July 6 all around Australia. Australians can get involved here: http://ourprivacy.org.au/

Micheal Vonn, policy director at the B.C. Civil Liberties Association in Canada, told to the Global News in Canada: “[w]e fully intend to get some pointed questions to the Canadian government about knowledge, complicity, alliance with this program. And whether, in fact, very, very quietly, the Canadian security establishment has been harvesting the fruits of this program for some time.”

EFF is demanding Internet companies to join our cause and protect the privacy of their international customers calling on Congress to create a committee to uncover the truth about the NSA alarming allegations. You can take action here. Current foreign intelligence surveillance targetting foreigners must be challenged to ensure strong human rights safeguards, transparency and accountability across the world. A global dialogue on extra-territorial foreign intelligence surveillance among all nations is much needed.

EFF will continue blogging about the impact of the NSA leaks on Internet users abroad in our Spies Without Borders series. Next, we will examine what implications the government’s use of these FISA powers has for Internet users abroad, with an eye to other jurisdictions and the requirements of international law.

This is the 5th article of our Spies Without Borders series. The series are looking into how the information disclosed in the NSA leaks affect Internet users around the world whose private information is stored in U.S. servers, or whose data travels across U.S. networks.

Image: Digitale Gesellschaft, licensed under a Creative Commons BY SA 3.0 license.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Regime Change for Canada

By Greg Felton | June 23, 2013

In the wee hours of June 17, 1972, a security guard at the Watergate Hotel found some door latches taped over to prevent them from locking. He removed the tape but later found it had been replaced. He called Washington D.C. police, who proceeded to catch five “burglars” conducting an illegal surveillance operation inside the office of the Democratic National Committee. As it happened, the name of President Richard Nixon’s White House security consultant E. Howard Hunt was in the address book of two of the burglars.

Ultimately, the burglars along with two White House functionaries, were convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and violation of federal wiretapping laws. On Aug. 9, 1974, Nixon resigned the presidency to avoid inevitable impeachment, but not for the break-in itself. He faced impeachment for his attempt to cover it up.

From this event 41 years ago this month, “Watergate” entered the language as a metonymy for “self-destructive illegal act of political hubris”. Now, Canada’s reigning autocrat Stephen Harper has created his own “Watergate” nightmare by trying to cover up a Senate spending scandal.

It all started when the glabrous Sen. Mike Duffy got caught claiming $90,172 in illegitimate living expenses, much of which was incurred during the last election campaign. In the grand fiscal scheme of things the amount was rather minor; not so minor was the image of a senator, a Harper-appointed senator, causing scorn and shame to rain on Harper and his imperious reign.

Harper runs the country like his personal fiefdom, dictating policy like, well, a dictator, which means that anything that might shed a critical light on his hyper-centralized, unconstitutional despotism cannot be tolerated. Therefore, instead of admitting Duffy’s venial impropriety and throwing him under the bus, Harper, like Nixon, thought he could cover it up, such is the hubris that infects those who think themselves invulnerable and above the law.

Harper might not have been aware of Duffy’s illegitimate expense claims, just as there was no conclusive evidence that Nixon ordered the Watergate break in, which turned out to be largely the doing of White House counsel John Dean. Yet for reasons of ego, paranoia or both, both leaders felt threatened and proceeded to obstruct justice.

What Harper and his minions did to disguise Duffy’s dubious declarations is no less criminal than what Nixon and his staff did to cover up the Watergate break in. From the following it will be clear that Harper must be charged under Section 119 of the Criminal Code of Canada. If the rule of law is still operable in Canada, Harper, like Nixon, must face impeachment.

CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA

CORRUPTION AND DISOBEDIENCE
119. (1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years who

(a) being the holder of a judicial office, or being a member of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, directly or indirectly, corruptly accepts, obtains, agrees to accept or attempts to obtain, for themselves or  another person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by them in their official capacity, or
(b) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives or offers to a person mentioned in paragraph (a), or to anyone for the benefit of that person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by that person in their official capacity. (Emphases mine)

Even though impeachment in the U.S and Canada are constitutionally different matters, a comparison between the Watergate cover up and the Duffy scandal is apt and instructive.

Nixon
As a result of the break-in, the public learned that Nixon secretly taped all conversations in the oval office. Citing executive privilege, Nixon steadfastly refused to turn over any tapes to the Senate Watergate Committee. That privilege ended on July 24, 1974, when the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Nixon had to surrender the tapes. One tape, dated June 23, 1972a mere six days after the break-in—showed Nixon and his aide H.R. “Bob” Haldeman discussing how to obstruct the FBI investigation into the burglary to prevent the money trail being traced back to the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP).

This admission of obstruction became known as “the smoking gun” that led to one of the three articles of impeachment. It proved that Nixon not only lied when he claimed not to know anything about the break in, but that he had obstructed justice from the outset. The consistent lying led the clamour for his resignation, and the proof of obstruction forced it.

Harper
1) On Feb. 17, 2013, nine days after the Senate initiates an outside audit of three senators’ expenses, Stephen Harper declares in the House of Commons that Sen. Mike Duffy met the residency requirements to be a senator from Prince Edward Island. Five days later, Duffy reports that he and his wife would voluntarily repay living expenses claimed against their primary residence in Ottawa. The repayment makes no sense if the residency claim were valid as Harper claimed.

Clearly Harper misled the House, which is defined as Contempt of Parliament, and for that he can be censured. By convention any minister found guilty of misleading the House resigns although Harper could continue in office even if censured since censure does not amount to a vote of non-confidence.

2) Not only did Harper mislead Parliament, but his senators obstructed justice and sanitized a critical report. First, the Senate reported on May 7 that Duffy violated “very clear [and] unambiguous” residency rules. The next day, two Harperites on The Senate Committee on Internal Economy forced a rewrite to remove condemnation of Duffy and to claim (absurdly) that the Senate’s long-standing residency rules are “unclear.” One key senator, Carolyn Stewart-Olsen, is a former press secretary to Harper and was his political advisor for more than 10 years, so a conflict-of-interest investigation into her conduct is also in order.

Nixon
This deliberate excision of key information reminds us somewhat of the infamous missing 18.5 minutes from one of the Nixon tapes. Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, claimed that she was stretching to reach something one day and her leg “accidentally” erased part of an incriminating tape. John Dean, remembers that it was the day he told Nixon the burglars wanted hush money:

“The president said, ‘Well, how much will it cost?’ and I said, ‘It’s gonna cost $1 million.’ And the president said to me, ‘Well, John, I know where we can get that.’ As soon as I left the office, he went in to see Rose Mary and ask her if she had any money. It got picked up on the taping machine.”

Harper
Payment of hush money to obstruct justice and protect the government leader, or at least the appearance thereof, can also be seen in the Duffy scandal. On March 26 Deloitte received a letter from Duffy’s lawyer stating that the expenses had been repaid and that Duffy would no longer co-operate with the audit into his finances. He later stated (May 14) that he took out a loan to repay the debt. However, on May 17, Harper’s office admitted that Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright cut Duffy a personal cheque for the full amount, calling it a “personal gift”. Harper denies any knowledge of the cheque, even though his office knows of, and confirms, its existence.

The ineptitude is mind boggling:

1) Duffy’s own government, in effect, calls him a liar.
2) No rational explanation exists for Wright going out-of-pocket to the tune of $90,000-odd to bail out someone he barely knew. What was his motive? Wright’s actions do make sense if Harper wanted to use him to provide a clandestine, untraceable way to pay off Duffy’s debt as a quid pro quo for Duffy’s refusal to continue co-operating with the audit, which would, among other things, expose Harper’s lie in the House.
In fact this is what happened.

During a withering attack during Question Period on May 28, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair grilled Harper on an e-mail from Duffy stating that after being paid $90,000 Duffy stayed silent on orders of the prime minister’s office. Mulcair asked Harper to tell the House who told Duffy to remain silent. Harper begged ignorance, claiming he wasn’t privy to the e-mail, though this strains credulity to the breaking point.

Nixon
An embarrassing cheque and sacrificed subordinates also featured in the Watergate scandal. On the June 23 tape, we learn that a $25,000 cashier’s cheque from a Nixon campaign donor wound up in the bank account of Watergate burglar Bernard Barker:

Haldeman: “They’ve traced it to a name, but they haven’t gotten to the guy yet.”
Nixon: “Who is it? Is it somebody here?”
Haldeman: “Ken Dahlberg.”
Nixon: “Who the hell is Ken Dahlberg?”
Haldeman: “He’s a—he gave $25,000 in Minnesota and the check went directly in to this guy Barker.… It’s directly traceable, and there’s some more through some Texas people in—that went to the Mexican bank which they can also trace through the Mexican bank.”

Nixon then hatched a cover story to obscure the provenance of the cheque.

Nixon: “…when you open that scab there’s a hell of a lot of things and then ‘we just feel that this would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further, that this involves these Cubans, and Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that we have nothing to do with ourselves.’…”

Ten months later, on April 30, 1973, top White House staffers Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resign over the scandal. Dean is fired. Yet, these removals did not stop the probe into Nixon’s role.

Harper
In addition to Nigel Wright, further political corpses can be expected to pile up as the RCMP investigate the matter, an investigation that must lead to Harper. When this happens, Duffy, Stewart-Olsen and other minions will be fired or expected to fall on their swords to shield their boss. In Duffy’s case, this is virtually inevitable, given that his repeated prevarications about the cancellation of his debt make him an irredeemable liability. Such removals, though, would not save Harper.

The original scandal is now secondary to the larger issue of Harper’s misleading Parliament and obstructing justice, which must inevitably lead to a criminal investigation.

The Smoking Gun
Just as the June 23, 1972, tape shattered Nixon’s claims of ignorance of the break in, Nigel Wright’s cheque is the “smoking gun” that should bring down Harper.

• The cheque itself proves that Harper lied to Parliament on Feb. 17.
• The cheque implicates Harper’s office in a cover up.
• The cheque implicates Harper’s office in the obstruction of an outside forensic audit.
• The cheque amounts to a de facto bribe because Duffy’s silence, as revealed by Mulcair, appears to be bought.

On March 21, 1973, Dean told Nixon that the cover up was a cancer close to the presidency that was compounding itself. In the prime minister’s office a similar cancer is compounding itself. Whereas the U.S. Senate went through lengthy hearings to vote to impeach Nixon, the governor-general could impeach Harper in an instant.

Under the Constitution, the governor-general, as head of state, appoints the prime minister to form a government, and as such can just as quickly fire him. Despite the fact that the office is largely ceremonial, it still retains residual constitutional powers inherited from Great Britain that give the governor-general the right to dismiss a sitting prime minister, even if that should trigger an election.

Donald Johnston, Canada’s current governor-general, has a constitutional and moral duty to impeach Harper and end the cancer of corruption. He must be compelled to do so. The integrity of our system of government depends upon it.

For a select chronology of Stephen Harper’s Watergate, click here.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , | 8 Comments