Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

CISA Isn’t About Cybersecurity, It’s About Surveillance

By Rachel Nusbaum | ACLU | March 13, 2015

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. But sometimes that’s the easy part.

When it comes to cybersecurity, it seems everyone in Washington admits we have a problem. It’s in the solutions phase where things really start to fall apart for policymakers.

Instead of focusing on ways to make our data (and the devices we store it on) more secure, Washington keeps offering up “cybersecurity” proposals that would poke huge holes in privacy protections and potentially funnel tons of personal information to the government, including the NSA and the military.

Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee met behind closed doors to mark up the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015. They voted 14–1 to advance the bill, with Senator Wyden offering the lone no vote.

Unfortunately, by all accounts, CISA is one of those privacy-shredding bills in cybersecurity clothing.

If you remember CISPA, the information-sharing bill that fell under the weight of its privacy failings last Congress and even drew a veto threat from President Obama, the problems with CISA might sound a little too familiar. This bill is arguably much worse than CISPA and, despite its name, shouldn’t be seen as anything other than a surveillance bill – think Patriot Act 2.0.

The bill could also pose a particular threat to whistleblowers – who already face, perhaps, the most hostile environment in U.S. history – because it fails to limit what the government can do with the vast amount of data to be shared with it under this proposal. CISA would allow the government to use private information, obtained from companies on a voluntary basis (and so without a warrant) in criminal proceedings – including going after leakers under the Espionage Act.

If you are wondering how giving companies a free pass to share our personal information with the government will make our data more secure, you aren’t alone. We’ve already written about why real cybersecurity doesn’t need to sacrifice our privacy.

The ACLU also recently joined with a broad coalition to remind the committee about some of these problems – problems which have not been adequately addressed in the Senate’s proposal.

The letter reads, in part:

We now know that the National Security Agency (NSA) has secretly collected the personal information of millions of users, and the revelation of the programs has created a strong need to rein in, rather than expand, government surveillance. CISA disregards the fact that information sharing can – and to be truly effective, must – offer both security and robust privacy protections. The legislation fails to achieve these critical objectives by including: automatic NSA access to personal information shared with a governmental entity; inadequate protections prior to sharing; dangerous authorization for countermeasures; and overbroad authorization for law enforcement use.

You can read the full letter, and view the full list of signatories, here.

March 13, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

NYPD accused of editing Wikipedia pages for Eric Garner death, other scandals

RT | March 13, 2015

The New York Police Department is reviewing reports that computers connected to the NYPD’s own network edited the Wikipedia pages for some of the more infamous recent events to involve the force, including the choking death of Eric Garner.

Wikipedia articles pertaining to at least three individuals who died as a result of altercations with the NYPD, including Garner, were edited out of the department’s 1 Police Plaza headquarters, Capital New York reported Friday.

According to publicly available records of the online encyclopedia’s revision history, computers connected to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses traced back by the paper to NYPD headquarters edited — and sometimes attempted to delete — entries on alleged instances of police brutality and articles critical of the force’s conduct.

Along with a page on Garner — the Staten Island man who died last July after being placed in a chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo — Wikipedia articles detailing no fewer than two others deaths involving the Big Apple’s boys in blue were altered by computers connected to the agency’s complex in downtown Manhattan, Kelly Weill reported for Capital New York this week.

Wikipedia pages for the NYPD’s so-called “stop-and-frisk” tactic, as well as recent scandals that have tarnished the force — such as the 2013 incident in which an undercover cop was caught up in a group beating on the West Side Highway — were edited from headquarters, Capital New York reported, along with the pages for Garner, Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo. Bell died in 2006 after undercover NYPD officers fired 50 times him and two other men, all unarmed, and Diallo was killed in 1999 when a cop mistook his wallet for a gun and opened fire.

Last December, someone connected through the NYPD’s network made multiple edits to the “Death of Eric Garner” page on Wikipedia, Weill reported, within hours of a grand jury’s decision not to charge NYPD Officer Pantaleo in the man’s death. “Garner raised both his arms in the air” was changed to “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke,” Weill wrote, and “Use of the chokehold has been prohibited” was changed to “Use of the chokehold is legal, but has been prohibited.”

“Instances of the word ‘chokehold’ were replaced twice, once to ‘chokehold or headlock,’ and once to ‘respiratory distress,’” Weill reported, both times from the NYPD network.

With regards to the Bell shooting article, a user connected to the NYPD network initiated an effort to have the entry nixed altogether by filing a complaint on the website’s internal “Articles for deletion” page.

“He [Bell] was in the news for about two months, and now no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore. The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable,” the user wrote.

In 2006, according to Weill, a user of the NYPD network deleted 1,502 characters from the “scandals and corruption” section of Wikipedia’s “New York City Police Department” article. Two years later, another computer connected to the network deleted the entire “Allegations of police misconduct and the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB)” and “Other incidents” sections from the main NYPD page.

Weill, an intern with Capital New York, wrote that there are more than 15,000 IP addresses registered to the NYPD, and information about them can easily be found online for free. A simple computer script programed in Python ran those addresses through Wikipedia, she said, and then flagged instances in which edits were made.

“The matter is under internal review,” NYPD spokeswoman Det. Cheryl Crispin told Capital New York in an email.

Read more – Grand jury doesn’t indict NYPD officer accused in chokehold death

March 13, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texas Representative Proposes Bill to Make Filming the Police Illegal for Everyone But MSM

By Jay Syrmopoulos | The Free Thought Project | March 12, 2015

Austin, Texas – On Tuesday, a bill was filed by Texas Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), HB 2918, which would turn private citizens who film police into criminals.

The bill attempts to usurp citizens of the ability to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions by negating people’s ability to create an accurate and impartial record of police interactions.

If passed, the bill would amend the current “INTERFERENCE WITH PUBLIC DUTIES” statute (Sec. 38.15), to include language that only allows filming of police (within 25ft) by “news media.”

The term “news media” is then defined as such:

(A) a radio or television station that holds a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission;

(B) a newspaper that is qualified under Section 2051.044, Government Code, to publish legal notices or is a free newspaper of general circulation and that is published at least once a week and available and of interest to the general public in connection with the dissemination of news or public affairs; or

(C) a magazine that appears at a regular interval, that contains stories, articles, and essays by various writers, and that is available and of interest to the general public in connection with the dissemination of news or public affairs.

Notice that private citizens, and internet based sites are not listed as qualifying as “news media,” thus allowing the marginalization of anyone that is not part of the old corporate media structure. This also means that a citizen wouldn’t be able to record their own interaction with an officer.

The law is intentionally structured in this manner as a means of controlling the narrative of police-involved incidents. Traditional news outlets often rely almost solely on police talking points when running a story involving the police. It’s extremely rare for them to allow the victim’s version of events to be part of the narrative, especially when conflicting with that of the police.

If not for the alternative media on the ground in Ferguson, much of what was transpiring there would have never seen the light of day as corporate media would have just buried the story altogether.

The proposed legislation also ignores legal precedent, established in Glik v Cunniffe, where the court held that “a private citizen has the right to record video and audio of public officials in a public place.”

In that case the court went on to say:

“…we have previously recognized that the videotaping of public officials is an exercise of First Amendment liberties,” affirming Glik’s constitutional right to videotape public officials in public places.

The court went on to state that the right to film public officials in public places was clearly established a decade prior to the case, which would mean it was already established as early as 1997.

For some reason, Representative Villalba thinks that his authoritarian “wisdom” should replace that of the Founding Fathers.

What’s clear is that filming law enforcement in the commission of their duties has been established as “free speech” under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.

The ability of citizens to hold officers accountable for their actions is not only protected “speech,” it’s also a necessary check on an out of control law enforcement apparatus. … Full article

March 13, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

CSIS operative linked to ISIS recruiting of British schoolgirls

By Brandon Martinez | Non-Aligned Media | March 13, 2015

The Ottawa Citizen has reported that an individual who authorities believe helped three British schoolgirls travel to Syria to join ISIS is linked to Canada’s intelligence agency, CSIS.

The Citizen noted that, “Turkish news agencies reported Thursday that a foreign intelligence agent detained in that country on suspicion of helping the girls travel to neighbouring Syria to join ISIL was working for the Canadian government.”

Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the suspect in question was working for an intelligence agency that is part of the US-led coalition fighting ISIS, adding that it wasn’t the US or an EU member.

Turkish media reports later identified the suspect as a CSIS agent, citing sources close to the Turkish government.

Ottawa issued a prototypical denial that one of their operatives was involved.

The story confirms what many analysts have been saying all along, which is that ISIS is an elaborate Western intelligence operation.

Thousands of Western citizens have joined ISIS over the past year, but who is arranging their safe travel out of their countries of origin and into Syria without being nabbed by authorities?

As this case demonstrates, these individuals are being safely escorted to Syria by Western operatives.

The idea that Western intelligence agencies don’t have the resources to track these people is absurd. Russia Today ran a report showing how a Canadian open source intelligence research group called iBRABO geo-tracked a Canadian woman who joined ISIS through her Twitter account. Every tweet she posted revealed her exact location. Intelligence agencies have far more resources at their disposal than a private research group, so the suggestion that these people just slip under the radar doesn’t hold up.

Analysts contend that Western intelligence agencies are trolling for young, impressionable, and disenfranchised people to send off to fight and die in Syria. This is done in accordance with the West’s ‘regime change’ policy in Syria.

US Senator Rand Paul recently told CNN that the United States is “allied” with ISIS in Syria as Washington aims to depose the secular government of Bashar al-Assad. Former US General Wesley Clark said that America’s allies (and by extension America itself) funded ISIS to weaken the Shia arc of resistance consisting of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.

While the West fights an artificial ‘fake war’ against ISIS officially, it continues to clandestinely support the group as it beheads its way to Damascus, and on to Beirut and Tehran.

Copyright 2015 Non-Aligned Media

March 13, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Video, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Iraqi govt coalition party calls for probe into killing of 22 soldiers, blames US-led airstrikes

RT | March 13, 2015

Iraqi authorities are being urged to investigate the killing of 22 Iraqi soldiers in the western province of Anbar in what they claim was a US-led airstrike. The government coalition party, which urges the probe, says the findings should be made public.

The soldiers were killed on Wednesday when an airplane bombed the HQ of an army company near Ramadi, a city in central Iraq, about 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, an Iraqi military officer and a police source said, as cited by Reuters.

“The aviation of international coalition repeatedly carried out air strikes on the positions of the national militia forces and the armed forces, who are leading a fierce war against terrorists of ISIL [also formerly known ISIS, currently the Islamic State (IS)],” said a statement from Al-Moaten bloc, a member party in the government coalition.

No one has yet admitted responsibility for the deaths. Iraqi forces have blamed the killing of 22 soldiers on the US-led coalition. A military source told Reuters that a missile was launched from a foreign aircraft. However, coalition spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Gilleran said that the alliance fired the only strike in the province and it didn’t result in any “friendly casualties.”

US military officials also told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Iraqi security force planes were operating in targeted area and that US are discussing with Iraqi the reports of a friendly fire incident among Iraqi forces.

The head of the Anbar provincial council, Sabah Karhout, has suggested that the blast was caused by explosives planted in an underground tunnel beneath the military headquarters.

According to one of US officials, the strike was 33 kilometers from the site where Iraqi soldiers were killed.

In the meantime, Iraqi officials deny that their country forces were responsible for that friendly fire. “We don’t have any Iraqi war planes carrying out combat duties in Anbar,” an Iraqi military source said.

Kevork Almassian, an academic and political analyst focusing on the Middle East, told RT that he“ doesn’t buy the reports” that the attack in Anbar province was not carried out by the coalition or was carried out by mistake against the Iraqi forces.

“The equation for me is very clear in Iraq: the strong ISIS and other strong terrorist organizations have a price.”

American forces are working covertly to slow down the advances of the Iraqi forces in Tikrit and elsewhere against ISIS, Almassian said.

“If the Iraqi forces succeeded in crushing and eliminate these terrorist elements from that area, the Iraqi government will empower its position and the Iranians will empower their position in the Middle East,” he told RT.

Since the US-led offensive against the Islamic State began several months ago, Secretary of State John Kerry said that nearly 2,000 airstrikes have helped ground forces retake 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) of territory, kill 50 percent of IS commanders and choking off some of the group’s oil revenue.

According to US officials, approximately 6,000 Islamic State members in Iraq and Syria have died since the strikes began.

March 13, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , , | 1 Comment

White House petition on ‘47 GOP traitors’ draws 260,000 signatures

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left), Senator Ted Cruz (center) and Senator John Cornyn

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left), Senator Ted Cruz (center) and Senator John Cornyn
Press TV – March 13, 2015

A petition to the White House demanding treason charges against 47 Republican senators who attempted to sabotage US President Barack Obama’s efforts to reach a nuclear accord with Iran has garnered more than 260,000 signatures.

The petition, on whitehouse.gov, was filed on Monday and had 263,312 signatures as of early Friday morning, well above the threshold of 100,000, which requires the White House to respond.

In an unprecedented move on Monday, a group of Republican senators ignored protocol and sent a letter to Iran, warning that whatever agreement reached with Obama would be a “mere executive agreement” that could be revoked “with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

The letter appears at a time when US negotiators are preparing to return to Switzerland to participate in the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany, which have entered a sensitive final stage.

According to the petition, the 47 Republican lawmakers “committed a treasonous offense when they decided to violate the Logan Act, a 1799 law which forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.”

The US federal law prohibits unauthorized American citizens from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony.

“At a time when the United States government is attempting to reach a potential nuclear agreement with the Iranian government, 47 Senators saw fit to instead issue a condescending letter to the Iranian government stating that any agreement brokered by our President would not be upheld once the president leaves office,” the petition states.

“This is a clear violation of federal law. In attempting to undermine our own nation, these 47 senators have committed treason,” it adds.

In an interview with Press TV on Wednesday, Mark Dankof, former US Senate candidate, said, “The 47 Republican senators in all likelihood had violated the Logan Act, which, if understood properly, would suggest very strongly that there may be a legal case against these Republican senators in regard to having committed treason.”

Tom Cotton, a freshman senator from Arkansas, drafted the much-criticized letter. He claimed that the letter has more support in the US Congress than the Republican senators who have signed it.

On Tuesday, the New York Daily News denounced the 47 Republican senators as “traitors” for writing the letter to Iran. The Manhattan-based newspaper used its front page to condemn the Republicans for sending the letter to Iran’s leaders.

The tabloid’s front page prominently featured Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Rand Paul.

Here are the names of 47 Republican senators who signed the Iran letter:

Signatories

Richard Shelby (Ala.)

Jeff Sessions (Ala.)

Dan Sullivan (Alaska)

John McCain (Ariz.)

John Boozman (Ark.)

Tom Cotton (Ark.)

Cory Gardner (Colo.)

Marco Rubio (Fla.)

Johnny Isakson (Ga.)

David Perdue (Ga.)

Mike Crapo (Idaho)

Jim Risch (Idaho)

Mark Kirk (Ill.)

Chuck Grassley (Iowa)

Joni Ernst (Iowa)

Pat Roberts (Kansas)

Jerry Moran (Kansas)

Mitch McConnell (Ky.)

Rand Paul (Ky.)

David Vitter (La.)

Bill Cassidy (La.)

Roger Wicker (Miss.)

Roy Blunt (Mo.)

Steve Daines (Mont.)

Deb Fischer (Neb.)

Ben Sasse (Neb.)

Dean Heller (Nev.)

Kelly Ayotte (N.H.)

Richard Burr (N.C.)

Thom Tillis (N.C.)

John Hoeven (N.D.)

Rob Portman (Ohio)

Jim Inhofe (Okla.)

James Lankford (Okla.)

Pat Toomey (Pa.)

Lindsey Graham (S.C.)

Tim Scott (S.C.)

John Thune (S.D.)

Mike Rounds (S.D.)

John Cornyn (Texas)

Ted Cruz (Texas)

Orin Hatch (Utah)

Mike Lee (Utah)

Shelley Moore Capito (W.V.)

Ron Johnson (Wis.)

Mike Enzi (Wyo.)

John Barrasso (Wyo.)

March 13, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

WaPo, Owned by CIA’s Webmaster, Blasts Venezuela’s ‘State-Financed’ News

By Jim Naureckas | FAIR | March 12, 2015

Venezuelans are worried because US President Barack Obama declared a “national emergency” that called Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

But there’s no need for them to get upset, the Washington Post’s Nick Miroff and Karen DeYoung (3/11/15) reassure. The Obama administration explained that it just wanted to impose sanctions on some of Venezuela’s top officials because “it wanted to send a strong message in defense of human rights and democracy”:

The “emergency” declaration and labeling of Venezuela as a “security threat” are legal formalities used in many other instances when sanctions are applied, administration officials said. The language does not represent a more severe assessment of the Maduro government, they said.

Ah–the administration is just pretending there’s an “unusual and extraordinary threat” because it wants to invoke powers that it’s only legally allowed to use in an actual emergency. No biggie. Thanks for clearing that up, Washington Post !

Unfortunately, Venezuelans don’t have Washington-savvy publications like the Post to set them straight. Or, as Miroff and DeYoung put it:

Such nuances stood little chance in the meat grinder of Venezuela’s rough political culture, where state-financed and pro-government broadcasters dominate the airwaves.

Hmm–so we should be wary of “state-financed and pro-government” media outlets, huh?

The Washington Post, as it happens, is owned by Jeff Bezos, the 15th richest person in the world, who derives his fortune from his position as the main owner of Amazon.com, with an 18 percent share of the company.

You probably know Amazon as an online bookseller; less famously, they’re also in the online data storage business, and one of their top clients is the US intelligence community, which paid Amazon Web Services $600 million for a “cloud” to store and process information for the CIA, NSA and other US spy agencies. As the Atlantic (7/17/14) noted at the time, this is far from Amazon’s only government contract; other agencies they store data for include NASA, the FDA, the CDC and HealthCare.gov.

Amazon “is rapidly becoming the leading supplier of cloud services to the federal government,” the trade publication EnterpriseTech (8/22/14) reported. When the Defense Department looked to spend $10 billion on cloud services, Amazon didn’t bid directly for the contract–but it will partner with five of the 10 companies who won pieces of the contract, allowing it to get more than the $1 billion each direct contractor is limited to (FCW, 8/28/13).

Is this serious money for Bezos? Well, he paid $250 million for the entire Washington Post in 2013, so it’s more than walking-around money. Suffice it to say that it’s very unlikely any Venezuelan broadcaster gets as much state funding as the Bezos empire.

As for “pro-government”–the Post may be more or less friendly to any particular administration, but it’s never going to lose its allegiance to the DC’s permanent government. As Keane Bhatt (Extra!, 3/14) pointed out, it’s the Post’s proximity to Washington’s imperial power that makes it more than just another mid-size daily like the Denver Post.

And part of the job of being Washington’s official court paper, apparently, is explaining to the inhabitants of lesser nations that they shouldn’t take it personally when the US labels them “an unusual and extraordinary threat.”

March 13, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Indigenous Languages Gaining Space in Ecuador

teleSUR | March 12, 2015

Ecuador is working to rescue and promote the use of indigenous languages.

As reparation for historical injustices and as a means to strengthen the nation’s intercultural identity, the Ecuadorean government and citizens are prioritizing the recuperation of the country’s 14 indigenous languages.

Human migration and societies stigmatization of their tounge are two factors which have led to the near disappearance of some languages in recent years. Studies have shown that in 1950 14 percent of the population spoke an indigenous language, with that number plummeting to be 3.7 percent in 1990.

Director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights Eduardo Pichilingue told teleSUR English, “I think that language is fundamental for creating a group, so that it has identity. I work with the Waorani indigenous group, the Waorani thankfully have a relatively healthy language still, they were contacted not too long ago, this makes the change in their language not as drastic as in other nationalities.”

Giving a space to those previously excluded and ignored indigenous voices is the Ecuador Educational Coordination of Popular Radio. With the objective of democratizing communication, it allows Kichwa-speaking producers to design their own programs, and report on both national and international events.

“On behalf of the government I think there has been an effort above all else to strengthen processes of cultural exchange. I believe the government is working hard in communication processes between people and nationalities. 18 community radios have been implemented at a national level to strengthen processes of communication between people from distinct nationalities,” said Sandy Chavez, the Coordinator of Networks at CORAPE.

She went on to say, “From us as an institution, a great success has been incorporating producers, young people who did not speak Kichwa, into our educational initiative and transmit in the Kichwa language. So our first success has been that these young people are not embarrassed to speak in the language, but that they are part of this initiative to rescue indigenous languages, and this has been the first.”

A country with more than 10 indigenous nationalities, the 2008 constitution of Ecuador declares it a plurinational and intercultural state. The Foreign Ministry has expressed that it is willing to foster diplomatic relationships with these distinct nationalities within Ecuador, as a way to strengthen national identity as the country continues working to save and further the use of indigenous languages.

March 13, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment