Tag Archives: Authoritariamism

Arguing That You Don’t Care About The Right To Privacy Because You Have Nothing To Hide Is No Different Than Saying You Don’t Care About Free Speech Because You Have Nothing To Say

By WashingtonsBlog
May 22, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

Most Americans value privacy and oppose mass surveillance.

The minority who don’t – and who think spying is okay because they have “nothing to hide” –  are grossly misinformed (and don’t know that spying is meant to crush dissent and consolidate powernot stop terrorism).

Edward Snowden noted today in a Q&A on Reddit:

Some might say “I don’t care if they violate my privacy; I’ve got nothing to hide.” Help them understand that they are misunderstanding the fundamental nature of human rights. Nobody needs to justify why they “need” a right: the burden of justification falls on the one seeking to infringe upon the right. But even if they did, you can’t give away the rights of others because they’re not useful to you. More simply, the majority cannot vote away the natural rights of the minority.

But even if they could, help them think for a moment about what they’re saying. Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

Amen.

Republicans, Democrats and Independents ALL Hate NSA Spying … Think the Patriot Act Should NOT Be Reauthorized In Its Current Form

By WashingtonsBlog
May 19, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

Americans Don’t Trust the Government

A poll released today shows that Americans across the political spectrum hate the Patriot Act and NSA spying.

The bipartisan polling team – made up of Global Strategy Group and G Public Strategies – found (edited for readability):

  • By nearly a 2:1 margin (60% modify, 34% preserve), Americans believe the Patriot Act should not be reauthorized in its current form. With broad, bipartisan support across all ages, ideologies and political parties, voters are rejecting the argument that the Patriot Act should be preserved with no changes because of potential terrorist threats. Millennials (65% modify) and Independent men (75% modify), in particular, are driving the push for modification to limit government surveillance.
  • By more than 4:1 (82% concerned, 18% not concerned), voters find it concerning that the United States government is collecting and storing the personal information of Americans, including 31% who are extremely concerned and 25% who are very concerned.
  • Over three quarters of voters found four different examples of government spying personally concerning to them. The government accessing personal communications, information or records without a judge’s permission (83%) and using that information for things other than stopping terrorist attacks (83%) were the two most concerning examples to voters.
  • Specific arguments made in favor of adding more protections for Americans around privacy, also proved to be convincing to voters. 84% of voters said it was a convincing argument that local police and the FBI should have a warrant to search phone and email records, further confirming that Americans believe that individual privacy rights should be more strongly protected. Additionally, 81% of voters were convinced more protections were needed on account of companies providing loopholes in their services to make surveillance easier for the government.

This jibes with previous polls showing that Americans:

Terrorizing Canada With Stephen Harper

Civic Literacy and the Assault on Canadian Democracy

By Murray Dobbin
March 23, 2015
Counter Punch

 

Stephen-HarperPowell River, British Columbia.

The Harper government’s pursuit of its odious Secret Police Act (C51) is just another chapter in the most through-going, and massive social engineering project in the history of the country. Social engineering used to be one of the favourite phrases of the right in its attack on social programs – accusing both liberal-minded politicians and meddling bureaucrats with manufacturing the welfare state. They conveniently ignored the fact that there was huge popular demand and support for activist government.

That was the so-called golden age of capitalism and it wasn’t just because of expanding government services. It was so-called because of a much broader and well-informed citizen engagement – both through social movements and as individual citizens. The level of trust in government was much higher than it is today. And absent from the picture were the factors that today dominate the political conversation: fear and economic insecurity.

Exactly how historians will describe this period in Canadian history is anyone’s guess but one approach could be to look upon the Harper era as an experiment in revealing how vulnerable democracies are to political sociopaths bold enough and ruthless enough to bend or break every rule and tradition on which democracy’s foundation rests.

It’s not just the institutions that are vulnerable though they certainly are. It’s a familiar list including Harper’s bullying of Governor General Michaelle Jean to force the proroguing of the House, his guide book on how to make parliamentary committees ineffective, the use of robo-calls and other election dirty tricks, his attempt to break the rules in appointing a Supreme Court Judge and his neutering the House of Commons question period through a deliberate strategy of refusing to answer questions – a practice that institutionalizes a contempt for Parliament that spreads outward to the general public. At a certain point it doesn’t matter who is responsible – the institution itself becomes risible and irrelevant to ordinary citizens. Which is, of course, exactly what Harper intends.

And that brings us to the other element of democratic politics – the actual citizens who are supposed to be the raw material of democracy. The whole institutional edifice theoretically rests on the foundation of the voting public. The extent to which the institutions of democracy can be assaulted and eroded with impunity is directly proportional to the level of civic literacy. The lower it is, the easier it is for malevolent autocrats like Harper to abuse his power.

In terms of civic literacy we are somewhere between Europe where it is relatively high and the US where it is frighteningly low. While the question is obviously more complicated than this, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that there is a continuum – with consumerism at one end and highly engaged citizenship at the other. We live in a hyper-consumer society – not a citizen-society characterized by the oft-repeated disclaimer “I’m not interested in politics.”  The growing basis for our culture is not community or cooperation but conspicuous consumption and possessive individualism.

So long as the political elite accepted the basic premises of modern democracy and activist government, so long as the institutions they controlled functioned more or less within their defined mandates (that is, they were only occasionally abused) society could function with a minimal level of civic literacy. We could all go shopping more or less assured that the stuff of government (in substance and process) would continue undisturbed. If all political parties accepted the precepts of civil liberties, for example, it didn’t matter that much if there was a low degree of public awareness of the importance of civil liberties to our daily lives.

But when a politician suddenly their appears on the scene willing to systematically violate democratic principles as if they simply don’t apply to him then the demand for increased civic literacy is just as suddenly urgent and critical. Yet it is not something can be accomplished easily or quickly. Three sources come to mind: schools, the media and civil society organizations and activity.

Despite the best efforts of teachers and their unions over the decades civic literacy is extremely low on the curriculum totem pole in Canadian schools. Provincial governments have resisted such pressures which should hardly come as a surprise. There is a built in bias in a hierarchical, capitalist society against critical thinking – precisely because in liberal democracies the over-arching role of government is to manage capitalism with a view to maintaining it along with all its inherent inequalities. Too many critical thinkers is not helpful.

The media, of course, are largely responsible for helping put Stephen Harper in power. Ever since the Machiavellian Conrad Black bought up most of Canada’s dailies they have been used (by him and his successors) as an explicit propaganda tool for the dismantling of the post-war democratic consensus. While there are some tentative signs that they now recognize they’ve created a monster (Globe editorials criticizing the PM on a number of issues like C51) it’s a little late. Twenty-five years of telling people there is no alternative to unfettered capitalism has had a pernicious effect on both democracy and civic literacy.

That leaves voluntary (for the most part) civil society organizations. Yet, despite their objective of informing people about the myriad issues we face, here, too, the model falls short of significantly expanding the base of engaged, informed citizens. Ironically, much of the defensive politics of the left are the mirror image of Harper’s reliance on fear (of Muslims, criminals, niqabs, terrorists, environmentalists, unions, the CBC) to energize his base. We peddle more mundane but substantive fears – of losing Medicare, of climate change, of higher tuition fees, of unprotected rivers and streams and dirty oil.

If Canadians are scared silly, it’s no wonder given the mode of politics directed at them.

Regrettably there is no model from Canadian history that points us in the direction of serious commitment to civic literacy. We have to look to the Scandinavian countries. According to Canadian author Henry Milner  “Swedish prime minister Olof Palme once said that he preferred to think of Sweden not as a social democracy but as a ‘study-circle democracy.’ The idea …is associated most of all with the efforts of the ABF (the Workers’ Educational Association). …The ABF offers courses in organizing groups and co-operatives, understanding media, and a broad range of contemporary issues, as well as languages, computers, art, music, and nature appreciation.” There were ten other groups doing study circles – many of them subsidized by the government. Half of all Swedish adults were involved in them

Even in Sweden the model is no longer as robust as it was when Milner wrote this assessment (2002). But even after the defeat of Social Democratic governments, no party has dared undermine Swedish social programs or run roughshod over its democracy. That’s because informed citizens are not easily manipulated by fear and their level of trust in government remains high.

Given our shamefully biased media Canadians still manage to resist Harper’s continued assault on our political sensibility. The first polls on the Secret Police Act (don’t call it by any other name) were alarming with upwards of 80% agreeing with the need for tougher anti-terror laws. But things are changing very quickly as the result of a determined fight-back by civil society groups, a phalanx of heavy-hitting experts and the NDP. A Form Research poll   this week showed support for the Act was down to 38% with those disapproving at 51% – an amazing turn around. The highest levels of disapproval were amongst “…the youngest (64%),  New Democrats (77%), the best educated (65%) and the non-religious (70%).”

Yet the Forum results are decidedly mixed and demonstrate how much work there is yet to be done to neutralize the fear campaign. When respondents were presented with specific parts of the bill the percentage disapproving actually decreased and supporters increased.

The polling will no doubt continue to demonstrate confusion, a desire to deal with the real problem of terrorism and condemnation of the attempt to at the idea of labelling environmentalists and First Nations as terror suspects.

Yet a huge effort will be needed to completely immunize Canadians against the next wave of Harper fear-mongering. Imagine if all these efforts and similar warning campaigns had instead been put into creating something similar to the Swedish “study circle democracy.” That’s the only lasting solution to voter manipulation and a healthy democracy. Until we realize that, progressive politics will remain crisis management and we will continue to pin our desperate hopes on coalitions and proportional representation. But without a high degree of civic literacy these institutional fixes will be ultimately dissatisfying.

Murray Dobbin is a writer living in Powell River, British Columbia.

 

America’s “Blacklist” Conspiracy of Silence

By Gordon Duff
February 7, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

hqdefault (1)Last week the Pakistani government told the media that the ISIS leader they captured in December had a US based paymaster, something neither confirmed nor denied by the US though the press release indicated that Secretary of State John Kerry was briefed on this revelation.

There is a reason for Kerry’s silence. If ISIS is funded by the US then the black C130 aircraft that resupply them are American too. Given what we now know, it is not unreasonable to assume that Victoria Nuland, on orders from “somewhere “ordered the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 while her “betters” managed the press response and the phony half-hearted Dutch “investigation.”

This hypothesis, hardly a conspiracy theory, supports one inexorable fact; the rumors of a “Secret Shadow Government” are more fact than rumor. High level sources within the US Department of Justice tell us that every major investigation undertaken since 1990, financial fraud, terrorism, narcotics, espionage, all have been quashed, all involved silenced, removed, discredited and even killed.

All investigations end because all real investigations stumble on the same players and come to the same conclusions; America is ruled by a multi-generational crime cartel that includes the biggest names in America politics. Yesterday, an American television show got it exactly right as “fiction” is the only outlet for truth in a world turned upside down. The show was Blacklist and we will be discussing how much they got right.

The Torture Report

Recent reports of CIA torture and abuses omitted a key fact, the CIA “black site” prison system a worldwide gulag hidden on abandoned oil platforms, in underground storage facilities and psychiatric hospitals or, most often jails or prisons on trumped up charges, or on American military bases, contains more American “whistleblowers” than terrorists. Susan Lindauer was “black sited” in a psychiatric hospital on an American military base, Lee Wanta was “black sited” as was Chip Tatum, Victor Bout and Dimitri Khalezov. Gwyneth Todd escaped assassination by Bush operatives in Bahrain but Roland Carnaby, Chris Kyle, Helric Fredou, Dr.David Kelly, Michael Connell, Vince Foster, Ron Brown and John Wheeler III died mysteriously.

US Senators Paul Wellstone, Mel Carnahan along with candidates Sonny Bono and John Ashbrook were murdered, two air crashes, a “skiing accident “and accidental ingestion of crushed glass. I could add a hundred names to the list, keeping it “recent,” I would start with John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and, when I finished, it would be enough names to fill a stadium. Do you see where this is going?

Bridging the Gap Between Drama and Reality TV

An American TV drama, as is sometimes the case as with the quickly cancelled and quite excellent Rubicon, which exposed US complicity in 9/11, has broken new ground. Most are aware of America’s rendition program and CIA black site prisons. Blacklist show regularly covers these issues. It also openly admits that the CIA routinely executes prisoners. They actually show the method, prisoners hoisted in the air by electric winches, chains around their necks strangling them, something that a skilled operator can use for both interrogation and “termination with extreme prejudice” or, as they call it now, “depersonalization.”

Where the “new ground” is broken is the admission that black site prisons are America buries its secrets not its enemies. The TV show “Blacklist” openly exposes, albeit fictionally, a deep parallel with the reality behind 9/11 and so many terror attacks and the virtual army of silenced witnesses and investigators that were too valuable to be “suicided or killed,” too independent to be threatened with gag orders and too moral to be bribed.

Too often, fiction trumps reality. Last night was no exception. Yesterday was a historic day by American standards; it was “Superbowl Sunday,” now a holiday celebrating watching television and drinking beer. Nothing could be more appropriate to follow than the new season of the TV show “Blacklist.”

Let me explain. Blacklist is a TV show about a fugitive billionaire arms dealer who makes a deal with the US government to help him kill his enemies who are, for the most part, also wanted fugitives. The character is based roughly on Victor Bout.

Salon, in an article from February 2010 explains a bit about Bout and the arms trade, an article that strangely has no listed author:

“First, the substantial Jewish investment in the global arms trade permits Israel to support rebel groups worldwide through mafia channels that otherwise would be credited to Israeli government policy. For example, Russian-Jewish mafia figures are financing the Darfur separatists in Sudan (though the agency of Ukrainian-Jewish boss Viktor Bout), and the Colombian communist FARC rebels through the agency of the greatest boss of them all, the Israeli Simon Mogilevich, who bought the Hungarian anti-aircraft factories in the early 1990s…”

Gagged and Silenced

Thousands of Americans, members of the military, police, judicial, legislative, regulatory and intelligence services and agencies are currently gagged, silenced from reporting crimes against the people of the United States and the world at large.

Whistleblowers have revealed more than just classified material. They have described the enormity of what is an even greater threat, how “national security” and phony investigations are used to gag witnesses and cover up crimes.

Currently there are secret grand juries across the US that have no other purpose than to corral witnesses and threaten them with prison. No indictments ever come out of these legal monstrosities including and especially the Houston based Federal grand jury covering the Able Danger/9/11 related crimes.

In the TV drama, Blacklist, the secret to be protected wasn’t a terror plot but rather a list of government officials who were complicit in covering up crimes. “If the public finds out, if they get ahold of this list, they will hang every one of them.”

The witnesses who could and should be testifying against many of America’s top generals, members of congress, the entire Bush (41) administration, not just for torture but drug running, espionage, fraud and murder, all are silenced.

Inside the “Beltway,” the road surrounding the US capitol, insiders share the spoils of worldwide crime, protected by a legal system used to protect only the worst criminals while supposedly warring on imaginary terrorists.

The only laws consistently enforced inside the United States are those that silence those who would report complicity in treason and terrorism by the “highest in the land.

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

 

In Latest Vindication of Snowden, Court Rules UK Mass Surveillance Illegal

We must not allow agencies to continue justifying mass surveillance programmes using secret interpretations of secret laws,’ said Privacy International director Eric King.

By Nadia Prupis
February 7, 2015
Common Dreams, February 6, 2015

 

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal found on Friday that the British intelligence agency GCHQ violated human rights laws by spying on citizens and sharing information with the NSA. (Photo: Stefano Bertolotti/flickr/cc)

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal found on Friday that the British intelligence agency GCHQ violated human rights laws by spying on citizens and sharing information with the NSA. (Photo: Stefano Bertolotti/flickr/cc)

 

In the latest vindication of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, a U.K. ruled on Friday that the British government violated human rights law by failing to safeguard some aspects of its intelligence-sharing operations until December 2014.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal found that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) accessed information obtained by the National Security Agency (NSA) without sufficient oversight, violating Articles 8 and 10 of the European convention on human rights. According to Reuters, “The tribunal’s concern, addressed in the new ruling, was that until details of how GCHQ and the NSA shared data were made public in the course of the court proceedings, the legal safeguards provided by British law were being side-stepped.”

The Guardian adds, “The ruling appears to suggest that aspects of the operations were illegal for at least seven years—between 2007, when the Prism intercept [program] was introduced, and 2014.”

Article 8 guarantees the right to privacy; Article 10 protects free expression.

“For far too long, intelligence agencies like GCHQ and NSA have acted like they are above the law,” said Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, one of the human rights groups that brought the case to the IPT. “Today’s decision confirms to the public what many have said all along—over the past decade, GCHQ and the NSA have been engaged in an illegal mass surveillance sharing program that has affected millions of people around the world.”

The New York Times reports:

Although privacy campaigners claimed the decision as a victory, many experts said the British and American intelligence agencies would continue to share information obtained with electronic surveillance, even if they had to slightly alter their techniques to comply with human rights law.

Named in the decision (pdf) were the NSA’s controversial PRISM program, which whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 as the invasive spying operations being conducted on U.S. citizens.

Investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, who reported on Snowden’s document leak, tweeted on Friday:

“We must not allow agencies to continue justifying mass surveillance programmes using secret interpretations of secret laws,” King continued. “The world owes Edward Snowden a great debt for blowing the whistle, and today’s decision is a vindication of his actions.”

IPT’s decision marks the first time that the highly-secretive court has ever ruled against any of the U.K.’s intelligence services in its entire 15-year existence.

During IPT hearings in 2014, Matthew Ryder, a lawyer for civil rights group Liberty, charged that intelligence agencies were building vast databases from unlawfully obtained emails and other communications.

However, the IPT ruled in December last year that British and American intelligence agencies had brought their oversight policies in line with European law, and could continue sharing information legally.

A GCHQ spokesperson did not address the IPT’s new ruling in a statement on Friday, focusing only on the court’s December decision which allowed the agency to continue its spying operations. “We are pleased that the court has once again ruled that the U.K.’s bulk interception regime is fully lawful,” the spokesperson said. “By its nature, much of GCHQ’s work must remain secret. But we are working with the rest of government to improve public understanding about what we do.”

The privacy and human rights groups who brought the case against GCHQ to the IPT last year have also appealed that ruling.

“After a decade and a half of siding with the Government, it is welcome that the IPT is beginning to hold our spies to account,” said Cori Crider, director of legal charity Reprieve. “But stark problems with the UK’s surveillance system remain: for years the government has written itself a blank cheque to eavesdrop on confidential communications between lawyers and clients – even in cases where the Government itself is in the dock. This is totally unfair and undermines the core premise of our legal system.”

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France will hear the appeal by the end of the year at the earliest. It will potentially allow citizens who believe they were targeted by surveillance programs before December 2014 to petition the court for the information that has been collected about them.

British Police Do NOT Want You Watching Live Terror Events! Why might that be?

By Stuart J. Hooper
February 1, 2015
21st Century Wire

 

In a move that should not shock anyone familiar with the alternative media, British Police are practically admitting that what goes on during a terror event is not all that meets the eye.


Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe might come to be known as Captain Coverup

We are told that there are “fears that broadcast of live images could increase difficulties for police and military and risk lives of hostages”. Alternatively, we could suggest that ‘authorities’ do not want anybody to have any evidence available to them that could possibly used to argue against, and damage, their ‘official’ narrative of an event.

Plans have supposedly been “reviewed and refined”, as a consequence of what was “discovered of the French experience”; with the recent attacks in Paris.

A detailed analysis of the events in Paris, including expert testimony on what was witnessed, suggests that the attacks fit the bill for what can deemed a false flag event for geopolitical purposes. It is true that without such witness testimony, coming to such a definitive conclusion would be a task much harder to achieve. Many people are now familiar with the signs and red flags that can indicate a false flag terror event, and perhaps that is why British Police do not wish you to have any evidence to do your own, independent, analysis.


Do you trust the ‘officials’ to give you all the evidence?

Apparently, the Police want you “to be informed” on terrorist incidents; as long as they are ones doing the informing. How can we trust a Police establishment riddled with corruption to truthfully inform us of anything?

Police “want to make sure that our ability to respond is not restricted by things like live coverage”, which is understandable to an extent.

But the question still remains, what exactly are you worried about us seeing? Perhaps something along the lines of the time the BBC reported that WTC 7, a building the vast majority of people have never even heard of, collapsed 20 minutes before it actually did.

Watch that ridiculous mess below:

With almost everyone on the streets of Britain carrying a video camera on their phone now, eyes are everywhere; watching and waiting to expose ‘official’ lies. And, more importantly, the truth of false flag events occurring in the real world has been exposed. This move will only raise more questions, more doubt and more distrust of the ‘official’ line.

If you want to see how to destroy an ‘official’ argument when zero hard-evidence is presented find my piece on Greece being named as a ‘hub’ for terrorism, which proves how flimsy ‘official’ narratives can truly be.

Keep your eyes open and cameras rolling.

Follow here: http://twitter.com/StuartJHooper

Police urge TV stations to scale back live coverage of any terrorist siege

Vikram Dodd, Mark Sweney and Tara Conlan

Television news organisations are to be asked by Scotland Yard to consider not broadcasting live images of police or special forces preparing to storm any terrorist siege in London to avoid jeopardising the lives of hostages or armed forces trying to rescue them.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, said on Thursday he feared live coverage could hamper the ability of police or the military to respond.

Recent terrorist sieges in Paris and Sydney were accompanied by extensive live coverage on television. The fear is that hostage-takers may be tipped off about an impending rescue mission, with the authorities losing any element of surprise.

Metropolitan police officials held initial meetings with the UK’s major broadcasters last week, specifically about broadcasting after the Paris attacks.

In previous terrorist incidents in the UK, police have had a voluntary agreement with broadcasters, under which they agreed not to show live pictures of police or special forces preparing to storm a site. In return they were permitted to keep filing for broadcast afterwards.

Continue reading the full story on The Guardian

Revealed: Canadian Spy Program Illustrates “Giant X-Ray Machine Over All Our Digital Lives”

Latest revelation from Snowden archive shows CSE has been monitoring, analyzing, and tracking millions of people who utilize popular file-sharing websites

By Jon Queally
January 28, 2015
Common Dreams

 

Rapidshare was one of three file-sharing websites targeted in the spy agency’s surveillance. (Photo: Evan Mitsui/CBC)

 

Newly released documents contained in the archive of materials leaked to journalists by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals that Canada’s spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment, has been operating a covert, mass surveillance program designed to monitor the downloads of millions of Internet users around the world.

Reported jointly by The Intercept and the CBC on Wednesday, the revelations center on a slide presentation detailing a CSE program called LEVITATION which secretly “taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files.”

According to the CBC:

The presentation provides a rare glimpse into Canada’s cyber-sleuthing capabilities and its use of its spy partners’ immense databases to track the online traffic of millions of people around the world, including Canadians.

That glimpse may be of even greater interest now that the Harper government plans to introduce new legislation increasing the powers of Canada’s security agencies.

Though Canada’s always been described as a junior partner in the Five Eyes spying partnership, which includes the U.S., Britain, New Zealand and Australia, this document shows it led the way in developing this new extremist-tracking tool.

Asked for his assessment of the surveillance program by The Intercept’s Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald, Ron Deibert, director of University of Toronto-based Internet security think tank Citizen Lab, said LEVITATION illustrates just how powerful the world’s intelligence agencies have become and described their myriad spy tools as a “giant X-ray machine over all our digital lives.”

After reviewing the details of the program, Deibert said, “Every single thing that you do – in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites – that act is being archived, collected and analyzed.”

CBC’s reporting describes how the CSE was able to use their technology “to access data from 102 free file upload sites, though only three file-host companies are named: Sendspace, Rapidshare and the now-defunct Megaupload.”

According to The Intercept:

The ostensible aim of the surveillance is to sift through vast amounts of data to identify people uploading or downloading content that could be connected to terrorism – such as bomb-making guides and hostage videos.

In the process, however, CSE combs through huge volumes of data showing uploads and downloads initiated by Internet users not suspected of any wrongdoing.

In a top-secret PowerPoint presentation, dated from mid-2012, an analyst from the agency jokes about how, while hunting for extremists, the LEVITATION system gets clogged with information on innocuous downloads of the musical TV series Glee.

CSE finds some 350 “interesting” downloads each month, the presentation notes, a number that amounts to less than 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data.

Commenting within CBC’s reporting, Greenwald said an important thing to note about this latest revelation, especially for Canadians, is that “it’s really the first time that a story has been reported that involves [CSE] as the lead agency in a program of pure mass surveillance.”

Begging further questions, Tamir Israel, a lawyer with the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, speculated about what the LEVITATION program says about other CSE operations which remain in the dark.  “The specific uses that they talk about in this context may not be the problem,” he told the CBC, “but it’s what else they can do.”

 

 

Whistleblower who exposed CIA nuclear sabotage operation convicted under Espionage Act

By Thomas Gaist
January 28, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling leaves the Alexandria Federal Courthouse, Monday,  in Alexandria, Va., with his wife, Holly, after being convicted on all nine counts he faced of leaking classified details of an operation to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions to a New York Times reporter.

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling leaves the Alexandria Federal Courthouse, Monday, in Alexandria, Va., with his wife, Holly, after being convicted on all nine counts he faced of leaking classified details of an operation to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions to a New York Times reporter. (Kevin Wolf/The Associated Press)

Former Central Intelligence Agency officer Jeffrey Sterling was found guilty of violating the 1917 Espionage Act Monday for providing information to the New York Times regarding covert operations conducted by the CIA against Iran. Sterling was convicted of nine felonies including illegally possessing and transferring secret government information. He could receive up to 100 years in prison after sentencing in late April.

Sterling allegedly spoke to Risen about the CIA efforts, codenamed Operation Merlin, as part of research for Risen’s 2006 book State of War. Operation Merlin sought to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program by selling the Iranian government flawed nuclear reactor blueprints through a foreign intermediary.

Risen resisted years-long efforts by the Justice Department to force him to testify against Sterling, stating that he would accept a prison term before doing so. The Obama administration dropped its efforts to coerce Risen once prosecutors became convinced they could convict Sterling without Risen taking the stand.

CIA officers who did testify in the case were concealed behind a dark screen. The federal prosecution team never introduced evidence that Sterling even spoke directly to Risen about the Iran operations. The only correspondence between the two presented to the court related to a separate issue.

Sterling informed the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2003-04 about CIA operations against Iran, and the leak could have originated from Senate staffers, Sterling’s defense attorney argued, pointing to the prosecution’s lack of direct evidence.

The case represents yet another victory for the Obama administration’s assault on investigative journalism, including the secret wiretapping of the Associated Press to identify “leakers” and the prosecution of Chelsea (Bradley) Manning for providing information to WikiLeaks. The administration has prosecuted more cases under the Espionage Act than all previous presidential administrations combined.

The Obama administration’s surveillance and prosecution of journalists has produced a “chilling effect,” with sources in the government and corporate bureaucracies suddenly going silent, according to leading journalists. As Risen noted in an interview with the Times last August, President Obama is “the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”

The Obama administration is “going to bring these cases continuously to demonstrate that type of conduct by a government employee or a government contractor is going to be prosecuted,” a prominent New York lawyer told the Washington Post, referring to Sterling’s conviction.

Attorney General Eric Holder responded by declaring that Sterling’s conviction was the “just and appropriate outcome” of the trial. Sterling’s communications with Risen “placed lives at risk” and represented “an egregious breach of the public trust,” Holder said.

In essence, Sterling has been convicted for allegedly leaking information about illegal CIA covert operations, that is, for helping expose a criminal conspiracy orchestrated at the highest levels of government.

Holder, on the other hand, has committed grave crimes against the US Constitution. While serving on behalf of President Obama, Holder has overseen the destruction of central elements of the US Constitution, including the right to due process and protection from arbitrary searches and seizures. The attorney general will be known above all for his arguments in favor of the right of the president to assassinate US citizens without any legal procedure.