Dec 212013
 

NSA program stopped no terror attacks, says White House panel member

By Michael Isikoff

December 20, 2013 “Information Clearing House – “NBC News” – A member of the White House review panel on NSA surveillance said he was “absolutely” surprised when he discovered the agency’s lack of evidence that the bulk collection of telephone call records had thwarted any terrorist attacks.

“It was, ‘Huh, hello? What are we doing here?’” said Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, in an interview with NBC News. “The results were very thin.”

While Stone said the mass collection of telephone call records was a “logical program” from the NSA’s perspective, one question the White House panel was seeking to answer was whether it had actually stopped “any [terror attacks] that might have been really big.”

“We found none,” said Stone.

Under the NSA program, first revealed by ex-contractor Edward Snowden, the agency collects in bulk the records of the time and duration of phone calls made by persons inside the United States.

Stone was one of five members of the White House review panel – and the only one without any intelligence community experience – that this week produced a sweeping report recommending that the NSA’s collection of phone call records be terminated to protect Americans’ privacy rights.

The panel made that recommendation after concluding that the program was “not essential in preventing attacks.”

“That was stunning. That was the ballgame,” said one congressional intelligence official, who asked not to be publicly identified. “It flies in the face of everything that they have tossed at us.”

Read full article here

Dec 122013
 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11171475
A backpacker coming home for Christmas had every bit of electronic equipment stripped from him at the airport.

A Customs officer at Auckland International Airport took law graduate Sam Blackman’s two smartphones, iPad, an external hard drive and laptop – and demanded his passwords.

Mr Blackman, 27, who was breaking up travelling with his journalist fiance Imogen Crispe for a month back in New Zealand for Christmas, was initially given no reason why the gear was taken.

The only possibility of why it occurred was his attendance – and tweeting – of a London meeting on mass surveillance sparked by the Snowden revelations, he said.

However, a Customs official has since told him they were searching everything for objectionable material under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

Mr Blackman said he did not have anything of that nature and could not understand why he had been targeted.

Mr Blackman arrived in Auckland at 5.30am on a flight from Heathrow, travelling through San Francisco.

He declared loose-leaf tea he was carrying as he came through Customs and believed that was responsible for the extensive bag search to which he was subjected.

“He said ‘we’re not worried about the tea’,” Mr Blackman said of the Customs’ official.

The official then returned to going through the bag, pulling out electronic equipment as he did so. “We’re going to have to detain this,” Mr Blackman said he was told. “We’re going to have to send this to a forensic investigator.”

Mr Blackman said when he pulled a phone out of his pocket, the official also took that, refusing permission for him to call his parents who were waiting in the arrival lounge.

He said he was also told to provide passwords for the equipment. “That is a real invasion of privacy.”

One of the phones had no password but required a design to be traced on the screen. The official was unconcerned and said the forensic team would defeat security to access the device, Mr Blackman claimed.

He said he asked why the items were being confiscated and the official refused to say – or to say how long the items would be kept.

Earlier, Mr Blackman said he thought it may have occurred because of his attendance at the London meeting on mass surveillance.

In November, Mr Blackman and Ms Crispe attended a meeting at the Royal Institute of British Architects attended by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, MPs from across Europe, and spokespeople from groups opposing spying.

A Customs’ spokeswoman refused to discuss Mr Blackman’s case. She said passengers considered “high risk”received attention at the airport. She also said Customs officials were required to have “reasonable cause”to believe an offence had been committed.

“Information or data may be used as evidence of an offence or may be a prohibited item such as objectionable images.”

TechLiberty director Thomas Beagle said the seizure of phones and laptops was a “major interference in your life”in the modern world.

He said Customs law had a pre-digital focus which, when applied to the technical age, did not take into account the amount of personal information or the frequency of use.

“What does this mean for other people? You really have to consider what you take over the border.”

Mr Beagle said his understanding of the law was that travellers did not have to surrender their passwords.

However, he said it meant it was likely the device of interest would then not be allowed into the country.

Source:http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11171475

Dec 032013
 

The director of the Government Communications Security Bureau Ian Fletcher (left) and the director of the Security Intelligence Service director Warren Tucker appeared before Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee in Wellington today – the first-ever public hearing into New Zealand’s spy agencies.

The committee comprised of National MPs Chris Finlayson and Tony Ryall, Labour Leader David Cunliffe and the Green Party co-leader. Tempers flared between Chris Finlayson and Russel Norman during the hearing.

Mr Finlayson said Mr Norman was a member of the committee and not “Judge Judy,” after Mr Fletcher said he could not answer some of Mr Norman’s questions.

See article here

Oct 312013
 

See more at: http://xrepublic.tv/node/5969#sthash.IZUvyWjq.dpuf

Description:

Snowden’s revelations about the NSA has seen US intelligence bosses go to great lengths to justify their activities. Officially they’ve been told to use 9/11 as their main argument, according to a document leaked in the media. And some politicians are happy to follow that advice.

Oct 312013
 

John Key Says Yanks Not Spying on Him

He Should Lay A Complaint About Being Left Out

John Key says that he’s allowed to wear big boy’s pants because New Zealand is a member of The Club (Five Eyes, formally known as the UKUSA Agreement), which he says means that the intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand don’t spy on each other’s countries. He reckons it specifically means that the US National Security Agency (NSA) does not spy on him.

To which the Anti-Bases Campaign says – pull the other one, John, this one’s got a bug in it.

Of course the NSA spies on its “allies and friends” in Five Eyes. Why wouldn’t they? They’re spying on all their other “friends”.

ABC says its dollars to doughnuts that NSA has been, is, and will be spying on Key. So will the other Big Brothers in Five Eyes. Indeed it is highly likely that the NSA will have subcontracted the job to one of the allied agencies to spy on the smallest of the small fry.

But don’t just take ABC’s word for it that the NSA spies on its Five Eyes allies, or that the constituent agencies are used to spy on other member countries. After all, we might be “anti-American conspiracy theorists with an axe to grind”.

No, take the word of one of the spooks who worked inside the system. And we’re not talking about Edward Snowden.

In 2001 (just after 11/9, as it turned out) ABC organised a national speaking tour by former Canadian spook turned author, Mike Frost. We did so because he had written, in 1994, an insider’s book called “Spyworld: Inside The Canadian And American Intelligence Establishments”.

Here are some relevant extracts from Bob Leonard’s review of it in our newsletter Peace Researcher (23, June 2001, http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/frostspy.htm).

“Mike Frost is not the first spy to spill the beans… But Frost’s is the only firsthand account (to our knowledge) of the inner workings of America’s National Security Agency (NSA) and its Canadian sibling agency just over the border, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). Frost was an employee of the CSE for 19 years and spent plenty of time at NSA as well in training and liaison.

“Embassy collection even involves the Americans spying on the Canadians. In his many trips to College Park for NSA briefing, Frost learned of techniques for disguising antennas on the roofs of embassies. He and his colleagues quickly concluded that Canada was not immune to NSA spying. ‘The Americans don’t care who they commit espionage against, on the principle that they may get something that’s useful to their country. They routinely collect foreign intelligence against everybody’.

“In 1983, CSE was asked to spy for GCHQ at the behest of Margaret Thatcher. ‘…it seems as if Margaret Thatcher [then British Prime Minister] thinks two of the Ministers in her Cabinet are not ‘on-side’… She wants to find out if they are’. CSE carried out the intercepts: ‘We never stopped to question the morality of doing what amounted to dirty tricks for a partisan politician, for her very personal reasons, in a foreign land. After all, we weren’t spying on Canadians…that time anyway’”.

So there you have it, from the horse’s mouth. And why would Margaret Thatcher ask GCHQ to subcontract Canadian intelligence to spy for her within Britain, on her own Tory Cabinet colleagues, no less? So that British intelligence would have plausible deniability, if the spying was discovered.

Frost also revealed that Canadian intelligence spied on the US, for trade and economic reasons. He detailed how CSE bugged the car phone of the US Ambassador to Canada to find out what the US would charge China to sell it wheat. And then Canada successfully underbid the US. This was seen as a routine State aid to Canadian business.

The examples given by Frost happened decades ago, when Communists, not terrorists, were used as the justification for the spy agencies crimes and abuses, but the only things that have changed since then is that spying on allies and friends has become more extensive and systematic. It has got worse, not better.

So, John Key is kidding nobody when he reckons that NSA doesn’t spy on him. It is also guaranteed that they will be spying on NZ’s Ministers and trade officials in connection with the secret talks to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. The US will want to know things like how hard NZ really will fight to gain the “holy grail” of dairy products access to the US, and how hard NZ will fight to save Pharmac which the US drug transnational corporations want rid of.

It’s no defence to say “everyone’s doing it”. So, does that mean that the GCSB is using Waihopai to bug Obama’s mobile phone? That’s a very likely scenario, isn’t it?

New Zealand needs to close Waihopai and the GCSB, get out of the international criminal enterprise which is Five Eyes, and develop a truly independent defence and foreign policy.

ABC’s message to John Key is – you’ve spent too long away from Christchurch. Forget about Five Eyes; learn from Cantabrians and become one eyed.

Murray Horton
Secretary/Organiser
Anti-Bases Campaign
Box 2258, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand

abc@chch.planet.org.nz

www.converge.org.nz/abc

https://www.facebook.com/AotearoaABC

Oct 262013
 

http://extremeprejudiceusa.wordpress.com/tag/afraid-of-americans/

Press TV has conducted an interview with Susan Lindauer, a former CIA asset from Washington, about the United States spying on its people as well as its European allies.

http://presstv.com/detail/2013/10/25/331218/us-govt-afraid-of-american-people/

Below is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: How vast and extensive is this NSA spying program?

Lindauer: It has been revealed that the NSA spied on 124 billion phone conversations throughout the world in a one-month period. Thus it is enormous; it is beyond the scope of comprehension for ordinary citizens but the implications are vast because it is a Stasi program whereby it applies to industrial espionage.

But it also allows the United States to impose our laws on other countries on an extraterritorial basis and we are hunting down citizens of foreign countries whose activities might very well be legal within their own country, but which violate our own US policies.

And then we are sabotaging them or even arresting them and extraditing them to the United States for prosecution and this goes well beyond terrorism cases. So, it is something that ordinary citizens should be afraid of; it is not just the government elite that should be. This is affecting the whole society.

Press TV: Susan Lindauer, you talked about industrial espionage and I would like to get your idea about what the NSA did which is deemed to be illegal and that is spying on banks and credit card transactions, the European SWIFT financial transaction network being tapped on different levels. I mean isn’t this first of all in violation of national laws and global regulations?

Lindauer: The United States is trying to force all countries of the world to obey US banking laws and to obey US financial standards and these are not necessarily reasonable demands. It is one thing if you are saying there should be a standard for all countries that the United States adheres to; it is another thing if you are giving advantages to the United States to US corporations and that tends to be what happens is the trade practices benefit the United States and the tide is back to Angela Merkel.

We are spying on these people; we are spying on ambassadors; we are spying on senior diplomats and we have been doing it for years and I think that what is very interesting to me as a former CIA asset is I know very well that at the United Nations which was my old stomping ground, we frequently targeted Security Council members. This was very normal behavior for the past ten years.

I would say even before 9/11 we were doing this and we went after the ambassadors and the diplomats and this was considered routine spying by the United States, but what has changed is the United States is no longer the dominant force of power that decides, that can dictate.

The world is no longer tolerating our abuses, the way that they always have in the past and I think that that is the big change, that is the big shock to Washington is that they are standing up to us really for the first time, but we have been doing this for years. It is a fact; we have done this forever.

Press TV: Susan Lindauer, what is your reaction to Richard Weitz (the other guest on the show)’s comments there?

Lindauer: I will give you that. That is a fair comment. However, I would tell you that if there is a defense contract, if there is something that is especial that would give another country an advantage in the market. The way the United States government could do it would be to contract with a private corporation secretly to develop a parallel plan to develop the same product and try to beat the other one to the market or the beltway bandits do this stuff all the time mostly with defense contracts.

But again America is not producing as much as we were in the past; we are not a strong manufacturing base. So, this is more banking controls, currency controls and military, I would say, and any sort of military application the United States would absolutely hand it over to one of our own contractors and try to beat the foreigners. Yes, I would say.

But I think that the real challenge here right now is that the international community, France, Germany, they are very angry and they are standing up to the United States for the first time and that is the big change because we have done this for years. This is not new.

I mean I am very proud of Edward Snowden and I support him for telling the American people and his disclosures are tipping point, but it was pointed out that if he would watch CNN ten years ago when he was in high school, he would have saved himself the trouble because all of this stuff was on 60 minutes and was revealed by previous whistleblowers.

So, there is nothing new in what he has told except that our world has now changed and people are ready to challenge and they no longer feel obligated to submit to the United States. They no longer feel docile and patronized by the United States.

This is a huge change and from an intelligent standpoint, it is a little scary, I will tell you. But it is good for the global democracy; it is; it is good for the global communication, but the United States is sleeping; it is definitely sleeping and this shows it more than anything that I think we have seen whether you are happy about the decline of the United States or not.

Press TV: What do you think of the comments made by the viewers on our Facebook page regarding the topic of this debate?

Lindauer: Absolutely and I would agree with your commenters. The real problem with the spying is that it is not new, but the United States has been expanding its police state mentality and we are seeing a shift here in the United States where freedom is considered more and more of a threat.

It is still sort of a fringe idea, however, it is moving with a frightening speed and we are afraid of what is coming that there will be some kind of clampdown. I can tell you that in May I was visited by the secret service, wanting to know if I had any guns which I do not, wanting to know what organizations I belong to, what radio shows I listen to because I do have a radio show of my own on Truth Frequency Radio and I have now become a target because I am so outspoken on many of these issues and so I am now having to answer to the government for my own dissident viewpoints.

That is why a police state is so frightening and when the United States tries to apply its values extraterritorially, we do it in the name “anti-terrorism” but what we grab, what we pull in has nothing to do with violence. It is far more insidious than that.

If you have a policy, if your actions could be entirely legal within your own country but your actions contradict our policy objectives, then we are going to come after you and I can tell you that that is happening more and more and the leaders really have an obligation to be angry on behalf of their citizens.

Your commenter was absolutely correct that it is a little bit disingenuous for Merkel to say it is ok to spy on the German people, but do not spy on me. It has got to be good for all of us. You know, this is the problem.

Press TV: What is your reaction to Richard Weitz’s comments?

Lindauer: Truth has become treason in Washington. The more degraded the United States economy becomes, the more we are falling in global standing, the more free speech and ordinary dissension threatens the power elite and in the opinions of many Americans, the power elite are classifying all sorts of things that should be disclosed to the public, so that they can protect their power and they can protect their control over society and they do not want any accountability to the people.

I think I should tell you at this point that I am one of people who gave advanced warnings about 9/11 and I personally contacted the office of attorney general John Ashcroft and the office of counterterrorism in August of 2001. We could have stopped that attack; a decision was made at the highest levels not to do so and that is the problem.

You are correct we are being inundated with information, but there is always an ulterior agenda and if something is being allowed to happen, the Boston Marathon bombing, I am not convinced that we did not know about that attack beforehand.

I think that our government is afraid of us; our government is very afraid of the people and that is a very dangerous government and I think that in the next few weeks, if there is an economic collapse, a lot of us are afraid of what is going to happen within the United States and it may be that the rest of the world will be looking back on this as the calm before the storm before our hell breaks loose and when it does, I am afraid of what will happen to the American people like me who are honest dissidents who support non violence. I am afraid of what they are going to do to us. You think it is bad for you.

Press TV: Susan Lindauer, what are your final comments on the issue?

Lindauer: I think that Edward Snowden believed that he was doing something very good for the world and believed that he was defending freedom. I think that his revelations are not new but it is a tipping point for our society and it really shows the United States is falling in the world’s estimation and the United States is more vulnerable than it has ever been in the past.

And as we go down, I feel very sad because I love this country and I realize that I am talking to a foreign audience and you do not have the same feelings that I do for my country. But I want America to be strong and good and I think that we have lost something and I do not know how we are going to get it back.

Oct 172013
 

The NSA Spying and Lying Does Relate to 9/11

Earlier this month, National Security Agency (NSA) head Keith Alexander admitted that he had lied to the U.S. Congress and the American people in an attempt to justify the NSA’s growing surveillance of U.S. citizens.[1] In June, while attempting to defend the secret NSA programs revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, Alexander claimed that over 50 terrorist plots had been thwarted though collection of the phone and internet records of American citizens. Alexander said that his agency had provided Congress with 54 specific cases in which the programs helped disrupt terror plots in the U.S. and around the world.[2]

Read article here

Oct 142013
 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9283837/Dump-spy-law-IT-giants-urge-MPs

Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo have made a last minute plea to the Government not to pass new spy legislation that they say could present them with a “serious legal conflict”.

The four companies wrote to Communications Minister Amy Adams urging the Government not to pass the Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security (TICS) Bill.

The bill would impose new obligations on telecommunications network operators, and potentially on internet firms, that would make it easier for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to intercept customer communications. It could also force network operators to follow the GCSB’s instructions on network security.

Google spokesman Johnny Luu said he had heard consideration of the bill had been brought forward and it was likely to get its second reading in Parliament today, unless there was a change of heart.

Read article here

Oct 052013
 

Search Engine Manipulation. Google and YouTube Suppress Controversial 9/11 Truth?

Global Research, October 05, 2013

Introduction

With polls consistently showing that approximately 50% of Canadians and Americans doubt the official story of 9/11, the feat of keeping the lid on a public debate for over 12 years has been nothing short of miraculous.

This article presents a simple case study showing that this miracle is being performed with the assistance of Google and YouTube search engine interference

On September 8, 2013, the popular Russia Today “Truthseeker” program, with over a million subscribers on YouTube,[1] published a 13-minute newscast entitled “The Truthseeker: 9/11 and Operation Gladio (E23).”

Below the video frame ran the caption:

Bigger than Watergate’: US ‘regular’ meetings with Al-Qaeda’s leader; documented White House ‘false flag terrorism’ moving people ‘like sheep’; the father of Twin Towers victim tell us why he backs this month’s 9/11 campaign on Times Square and around the world; & the protests calendar for September.

This paragraph was followed by a list of interviewees, including four people representing three scholarly research organizations:  Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth,[2] the 9/11 Consensus Panel,[3] and The Journal of 9/11 Studies.[4]

The “Truthseeker” video immediately started to gain popularity on YouTube, reaching 131,000 views in the first three days.[5](The history of the viewing statistics may be seen by clicking on the little graphic symbol under the video frame, and to the right)

Truthseeker posted its program to YouTube on Sept. 8.  Russia Today tweeted the YouTube link to its 546,000 followers and to the interviewer, Daniel Bushell, that day:

RT@RT_com 8 Sep

The Truthseeker: 9/11 and operation Gladio (E23) http://youtu.be/vka7Da6e9LY @DanielBushellRT

A MOXNEWS copy of the same newscast was also posted September 8 under the title “Russia Today News Declares 9/11 An Inside Job False Flag Attack!” which in turn started to escalate, with over 80,000 views in the first few days.[6]

Other uploads of the program also appeared, with less traffic, bringing the early viewing total to over a quarter of a million people.

What Happened Next?

In both the RT and MOXNEWS cases, the viewer statistics on YouTube suddenly flat-lined on the morning of September 11 — like a heart monitor when a patient dies.

The YouTube search engine had suddenly failed to locate these videos.

Read full article here