The modern surveillance state

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#1 Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 3:13am
Joined: Sep 26, 2011

The modern surveillance state

Just a thread to focus conversation on the developments in, and implications of the ongoing 'leaks'/revelations about the NatSec apparatus -- both in itself, as well as how it connects to other pieces of the mosaic.

Please consider using TOR to browse the web -- while not perfect, it is a prudent precaution. Endorsed by Ed Snowden himself:

"His allegiance to internet freedom is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: "I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation," reads one. Another hails the online organisation offering anonymity, the Tor Project."

Some thought-starters to kick off the discussion, in chrono order:

Ex-HumInt Boss (CIA Director) Petraeus in March 2012:

Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.” Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices “change our notions of secrecy” and prompt a rethink of “our notions of identity and secrecy.” All of which is true — if convenient for a CIA director.

Judge Napolitano on Fox Studio B talking anbout Ed Snowden:

It's hard not to like the judge.

There is not likely to be a groundswell of grass-roots support for Snowden, or against the continuing perfecting of the dystopian surveillance state:

Majority Of Americans Don't Mind Being Spied Upon, Pew Study Finds

With that in mind, here is an image and thought I found extremely compelling -- from WB7, of course:

My own opinion is that at this point in the game, it is quite likely that even Ed Snowden himself is being moved as a chess piece by greater forces -- which does not detract from the validity of his argument, the scale of his courage and the importance of the undertaking.

For some more disquieting ruminations in this direction, one need only ready through the comments of relevant ZH posts (highlights mine):

"Some Americans say the US is really under martial law continuously since Abraham Lincoln's imperialist faction defeated the States Rights upholders, with the slavery issue used to cover the fascist element

But a good question is WHY the mainstream media is touting the current Snowden incident and not previous whistleblowing incidents, like with NSA's William Binney, which were much more buried on slandered so-called 'conspiracy' sites, tho saying much the same ... Snowden's documents are not the difference, corporate media have long experience in ignoring 'smoking gun' evidence that would shock the world if MSM reported it

The CIA-friendly oligarch-family owned US media is helping the Snowden hype, led by the sometimes quite corrupt UK Guardian, 'Left wing of MI6' also with a history of spouting hoaxes for intelligence agencies

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, supposed 'hero' is often very timid, US dissidents pointing out how he basically stays away from judicial corruption, all the lawyers who get disbarred and even jailed for trying to fight the bribery, the judges and judiciary committee Congresspeople who are murdered or harassed, and so on ... Greenwald can be 'good' within limits criticising an 'unwise' court order etc, but he stays totally away from the real core of truth about US judges, despite being 'legal expert' ... Greenwald seems emasculated 'controlled opposition'

But Greenwald is suddenly 'brave' right now on the Snowden story

The Guardian and the New York Times ran the Wikileaks hype right up, then they turned 180 degrees and began bashing Assange together, like under orders ... a very suspicious run ... the two 'trusted newspapers' looking very much like running an intel operation


Something stinks here, even if Snowden is honest ... and a couple of ZeroHedge commentators have raised some interesting perplexing 'holes' in the Snowden story that point toward him being a possible planted head-fake

But even if Snowden is honest, was he allowed by NSA to escape and spread his material to the media ? (As a known bomber might be allowed to go ahead and kill people, to suit US regime objectives in responding)

Is the US regime trying to get us to be more trusting of some of these corrupt mainstream media stooges again ?

Are they running a test to see how much REAL outrage there is, versus just on 'fringe blogs' like ZeroHedge ?

Are they just trying to get people more used to fascism, and the seeming fact there is little that can be done about it ?

Are they just trying to 'deepen their list' of which Americans should be added to the 1 million or so who already have spaces built and waiting for them in the FEMA concentration camps ?"

I know, I know -- the paranoia has to stop SOMEWHERE, and perhaps I am foolishly ascribing omnipotence/omniscience to TPTB. But thing about it -- can a multi-hundred-billion dollar industry be thus 'jeopardized' by a single, scrawny 29-yr old, without there being a detailed, longer plan being in place for this event and every possible contingency thereof?

I am curiously awaiting the next act of the play/telenovella -- but remain of the conviction that there is more yet we are not seeing. Like I said, this guy is smarter than to have just taken flight on his own, without making preparations/negotiating a benefactor. Who that might be (People's Liberation Army of China, CIA or other couner-NSA power center in the Western sphere of influence, other), and WHY he still has not been dispatched with extreme prejudice after having 'vanished' from an NSA post three weeks ago -- a poison-pill package, to be opened/published upon his deathor non-communication? Maybe, but still -- that does not sound like the NSA we all know and love.

I hope to be proven wrong, and even more so, I hope that popular outrage over the sheer audacity of .gov surveillance finally picks up steam enough to cause substantive action. But, like with most other things, this will only cause me to continue preparing accordingly.

Edited by: JY896 on Nov 8, 2014 - 5:01am
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 8:50am
Joined: Sep 23, 2018

JY896, regarding Tor, I don't

JY896, regarding Tor, I don't think it's quite so straightforward. Do you realize the primary funding source of the Tor Project is the US Government? It is also explicitly stated on their site the military uses of Tor:

This article lays it out the pros and cons, and who is using it and why:

And this article is a bit of a rant from someone who really thinks people should not use Tor:

So in the end, just like anything else in life, I think it's a matter of weighing the options and each person determining what is best for him or her. However the idea that some magical browser is going to wipe away any trace of activity is not realistic.

The best advice I have heard about privacy and technology is this: if you want your activities to be private, the only options are don't use computers, don't use smartphones, and don't turn on any electronic devices that can have embedded tracking. There simply are no other options.

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 1:24pm
Joined: Sep 26, 2011


Fair point, well taken.

Was not advocating TOR as panacea, rather as a better-than-nothing alternative to the nothing most people currently use. For one specific purpose: masking the origin and destination IPs from each other.

The NetworkWorld article, along with everything else I read about it suggested to me that for this use, its benefits outweigh the risks, and if nothing else , makes it slightly costlier to track. Though I forgot the disclaimer here, if they are ACTIVELY tracking you, you're screwed no matter what.

We are all using DARPA-derived tech everytime we go online ... :-)


Some interesting videos:

Jacob Appelbaum 29C3 Keynote: Not My Department

Jacob Appelbaum 29C3 Keynote: Not My Department

NSA whistleblower William Binney Keynote at HOPE Number Nine

Video unavailable

Elevate interview Jacob Appelbaum on the Tor

Tor Project: what it is and how it works (Jacob Appelbaum)
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 1:26pm
Urban Roman
Joined: Jun 14, 2011

And you thought they didn't care..

Government Listens

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 1:36pm
Joined: Sep 26, 2011

Few more - "We Lost the War" & Thomas Drake

22C3 we lost the war

(If the link doesn't work, try looking for Rop Gonggrijp & Frank Rieger)

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club - March 15, 2013
NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club - March 15, 2013
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 2:05pm
Joined: Sep 17, 2012


You did a great job on your first post in this thread, laying out all the possibilities from 'the real deal,' to 'a totally controlled operation.'

We have reached the point where we can't fully believe anyone or take anything at face value. I think this is exactly what the TPTB want.

It's gotten so bad I don't trust anyone but myself, and sometimes I'm not too sure about that.

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 3:51pm
Travese City, MI
Joined: Mar 12, 2012

What comes around goes around

What comes around goes around me thinks as I see article after article of anonymous hacking everything. Seems nobody catches these guys. How come ? My guess is there are no perfect systems. No perfect way to protect anything once it is online even for the govt. The more these agencies rely on computers which looks to be 100% the more they are open to hacking attacks it seems to me. I am actually suprised hackers have not tried to take out more than what they have done so far. I don't think the real cyber battles have even begun. As govt. becomes more intrusive my guess is the other side is going to shut them down. People are already developing all kinds of things. Some we hear about like Unscene, programs that override drones etc... I expect there to be a lot more of this in the future as the wars will be fought with software and viruses and such. All conjecture above but seems logical to me. Agencies develop robots - someone develops a virus to shut them down. I think I read some guy was developing a program for cell phones that will tell you if drones are above you. I envision an ongoing technological battle.

Wed, Jun 12, 2013 - 7:21am
Joined: Jun 15, 2011

Co-ordinated action against Spying

All this FOCUS on governments spying is interesting.

A few weeks ago there was a program on TV regarding the Security/Information and Logistic companies hired out to the US gov and Corps. This was BEFORE this recent blowback, which shouldn't even be called blowback since this information has been out for more than a decade if one chose to even look just a little bit.

How many countries are having the same situation occuring now? US, Canada, Australia, UK, New Zealand etc.

Sure don't have any proof but this seems to me a move to increase pressure on someone/something/some thinking. Media is structuring dialogue and forming peoples positions on this. Read some of the articles by mainstream media, long examples of threats that "could" happen and how smaller countries rely on the USA to "PROTECT" their freedoms.

I don't care about the Whistleblower. Don't need his name or affiliated associates, this is the next step to make slaves believe this surveillance is good. Maybe I'm too jaded, sure this whistle blower did a good thing. 

Some years ago here in Canada Prime Minister Harper made a move to limit the Green Party from running in a Federal election. There was a large public outcry of heavy handed power crushing of the peoples choice in politics. If anything it was surely planned by the Harper government to split votes from the other parties. The level of emotions was high, as well the action put the Green Party in the spotlight like no other alternate party has enjoyed ever in Canada. It was another Operation just like this Spying kerfuffle. Should we be concerned? I think it is FAR TO LATE to be concerned.

People need to reflect on the what is happening and how it makes them feel before jumping up and down screaming like a child. Consider what the goal is of highlighting spying, is it to shut people up on the internet?

Suntne vacci laeti.
Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - 6:02pm
Black Hole Sun
Joined: Jun 14, 2011

This might illicit a response here....

I posted this out on Main St. about an hour ago but haven't got any response yet. It's an uncomfortable piece to be sure with many aspects of this still unknown or to be revealed.

I figured I'd stop by this new thread of one of my favorite TFMR posters and see if it fit better over here. I wrote this knowing full well it wouldn't be popular for some or many to consider.

Easy is simple and the minds on here like to be challenged...but how much?

Keep in mind I still have a very open mind about all of this.


ag1969 / tough questions for others

Submitted by DrkPurpleHaze on June 13, 2013 - 5:05pm.

Nice thoughts yes

Whomever eventually does this (gets the ball rolling) will take one giant leap for mankind but also one big step into the abyss of their personal life. This Snowden thing will get ugly.

I was completely serious about that post and I hope it was thought provoking on some level to anyone who cared to read it.

In the end, it might take a common person in a dramatic mask (V4Vendetta guy type of thing) who captures the publics imagination who gets access to a media lightning rod (Beck type person) that provides a visual and audio theme that strikes a cord within the common man/woman.

Drama and intrigue sell and get paid attention to. I'd do it but I can't wear a copyrighted avatar image (lol) and I'm not interesting enough to Beck or whomever to get a shot.

The key imho is not only how it all gets facilitated but the timing. Which brings me back it 20, 50, 100, 1,000 years from now or very soon....or too late?

I don't think most things are ever too late but maybe too little.

Here's some questions for anyone to ponder and while this still has a ways to play out and much is still unknown.

Given the fact Snowden was an American intelligence operative on some level and pledged his allegiance at some point I have some tough questions but not accusations or deep beliefs one way or another right now.

While most of us agree that snooping on citizens is blatantly not cool and suspicious and will lead to other avenues of civil rights abuses that are probably already underway I can't help but wonder some of the following.

We mostly approve of what it appears Snowden had in mind but to me it begs a bigger series of questions.

I'll preface this by saying I do not like or approve of all the constitutional changes or smearing that has gone on the past 10 (20, 50, 100?) years for one reason or another and the erosion and blatant disregard by our elected clowns who are supposed to represent us is the biggest problem imho.

But putting that comes a toughie.

Is anyone here (while recognizing your overall patriotic qualities, concerns and ambitions) a communist sympathizer? Follow me on this for a minute.

I'm uneasy with some bigger aspects of this while still being able to recognize what appeared to be a noble and righteous act by Snowden about big brother here.

Does his escape or hiding in a communist-like country such as China or maybe even Russia give anyone pause to consider that his latest revelations/threats about the greater apparatus abroad in totality is bordering on or is in fact traitorous if followed through on?

Separate the first issue (NSA eavesdropping component) if you can from where this seems headed and threatened by him at this still early stage and the timing of it all.

Was he compromised by China before his 'patriotic' revelation and is he being genuine in fact while also being self-serving and providing a popular excuse for his defection?

How will you (or myself) feel if he reveals lots of state secrets and possibly endangers many people around the world (that until a week ago were part of the US's greater overall interests) even if you disagree with some of those interests?

Is he a spy at some point while throwing everyone a popular bone to cause divisive divide/conquer type fodder out there amongst us?

Is he more or less at this point working for China or whomever the highest bidder becomes (that benefits his safety/comfort) and is he actually a patriot if he becomes a broader whistle blower?

Our forefathers called that being a being a spy and traitorous.

I ask these tough thought provoking questions in front of a tough crowd in the hope that it provokes some uncomfortable questions within you (or towards me I guess) because it's easy to take things like Snowden at face value.

But what of the larger and unknown and possible aspects of this?

I'm not sure how I feel about this developing story except for how I feel about the easy initial cover story. It 's easy to like.

But let me ask one question that might be even harder to consider about would you feel if this happened during WWII or III or the height of the cold war and we were fighting or on guard against communists?

Even if you despised the fact your govt was sifting/disseminating info from within about an adversary abroad wouldn't it make sense for them to do so under those conditions (warfare)?

On some level, haven't we been at war albeit a fuzzy but very real one? the question one of who the adversary is and what the "terror" conflict is about or why it's necessary or is it one instead of the means by which most countries conduct security measures during conflicts in general?

Just remember this...Snowden is seeking protection from China who regularly monitors and controls public opinion (internet etc.) while at same time he's threatening to reveal many top level operational secrets against his former compatriots operations.

Tough questions that I have no firm opinions on yet....but you have to consider every angle of this....even if it's uncomfortable.

An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and rationale...

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - 6:31pm
Mr. Fix
Joined: Jun 8, 2012

Dark Purple Haze, a very thoughtful post:

 I think a lot of the questions that you ask are in fact diversions from the main point, but they will undoubtedly be talked to death in the mainstream media until the next big diversion comes along.

 So far, as far as I can tell, Snowden did not divulge anything that hasn't already been posted on DOTS for many months now. So in my own personal opinion, all of his information about the NSA and their data mining operation has been public knowledge for a long time, even if very few cared to look at it.

 As far as asking if their are any communists here? Are you kidding? Granted, most people are far to the left of me, and I could pick a few names out for you, but realistically speaking, I think the only Communists worth talking about have a firm control on the power structure of the United States, and this country is being destroyed from within.

 There is only one objective currently underway, and that is to completely obliterate any relevancy of the United States Constitution, and its Bill of Rights.

 Whether Snowden was working for China, the powers that be, or as a free agent, is not particularly relevant,

 what is relevant, is that now nobody is talking about the destruction of our rights. No doubt, Snowden will eventually be portrayed as the scum of the earth, since he dared to stand up to some very powerful entities, whether he works for one of them or not.

 What he revealed, is blatantly anticonstitutional behavior by the American government. That is all.

 Communist China has never pretended to offer the rights enunciated in the Constitution, they are what they say they are upfront, a command and control dictatorship. The American government on the other hand, is being caught in one lie, and one blatantly hypocritical action after another. Is anyone who points this fact out a villain? Or just observant? All of the information that Snowden has revealed could have been obtained from Nana. Therefore, politicians and news broadcasters screaming that he is a traitor is comical at best.

 I don't think what he revealed is relevant, I think that standing up to the power structure is.

 I also do not think that Snowden will ever be seen in public again, just a hunch I have.

 Any worthwhile conversation needs to be centered around how do we restore the Constitution?

 Everything else is a diversion.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 - 4:28pm
Joined: Sep 26, 2011

Article dump on recent disclosures

h/t Bollocks

Revealed: the top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant

Fisa court submissions show broad scope of procedures governing NSA's surveillance of Americans' communication

Document one: procedures used by NSA to target non-US persons
Document two: procedures used by NSA to minimise data collected from US persons

Skype's secret Project Chess reportedly helped NSA access customers' data

Scheme – set up before firm was purchased by Microsoft – allegedly eased access for US law enforcement agencies

Facebook's Former Security Chief Now Works for the NSA

The True Extent of Silicon Valley Cooperation With The NSA Goes Further Than You KNow

Secret documents reveal rules allowing NSA warrantless use of US data Web’s Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders


NSA PRISM: The cloud laughs at the tin foil hat brigade

Summary: I hate to break it to you guys, but the government just isn't that into you. Moving your organization's applications and workloads to the cloud from a traditional on-premises model fundamentally changes nothing about the impact of NSA surveillance on the enterprise.

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 - 6:53pm
Joined: Sep 26, 2011

More bombshells & opinion

NSA Whistleblower: NSA Spying On – and Blackmailing – Top Government Officials and Military Officers

Whistleblower Says Spy Agency Targeting Top American Leaders

NSA whistleblower Russel Tice told Peter B. Collins on Boiling Frog Post News (the website of high-level FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds):

Tice: Okay. They went after–and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things–they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial. But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of–heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House–their own people. They went after antiwar groups. They went after U.S. international–U.S. companies that that do international business, you know, business around the world. They went after U.S. banking firms and financial firms that do international business. They went after NGOs that–like the Red Cross, people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work. They went after a few antiwar civil rights groups. So, you know, don’t tell me that there’s no abuse, because I’ve had this stuff in my hand and looked at it. And in some cases, I literally was involved in the technology that was going after this stuff. And you know, when I said to [former MSNBC show host Keith] Olbermann, I said, my particular thing is high tech and you know, what’s going on is the other thing, which is the dragnet. The dragnet is what Mark Klein is talking about, the terrestrial dragnet. Well my specialty is outer space. I deal with satellites, and everything that goes in and out of space. I did my spying via space. So that’s how I found out about this.

Collins: Now Russ, the targeting of the people that you just mentioned, top military leaders, members of Congress, intelligence community leaders and the–oh, I’m sorry, it was intelligence committees, let me correct that–not intelligence community, and then executive branch appointees. This creates the basis, and the potential for massive blackmail.

Tice: Absolutely! And remember we talked about that before, that I was worried that the intelligence community now has sway over what is going on. Now here’s the big one. I haven’t given you any names. This was is summer of 2004. One of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with, with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator from Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives right now, would you? It’s a big white house in Washington, DC. That’s who they went after. And that’s the president of the United States now.

More at GW's blog, click link above. Sample of the boilingfrogs podcast (hopefully full interview will be released later this week):

Judge Napolitano on Snowden -- via Lew Rockwell:

"One of the spies who knew the power he and his fellow spies had and who had access to the innermost thoughts of hundreds of millions of us – and who disbelieved the president – was Edward Snowden. Snowden realized the unconstitutional nature of what the government was doing and concluded that he could not be faithful to both of his oaths. One of those oaths – to retain secrets – is grounded in a federal statute that requires secrecy and punishes the exposure of secrets. The other oath is grounded in the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land and protects the natural right to be left alone and does not punish the governmental violation of that right.

When confronted with the conflicting oaths, Snowden opted for the higher good: fidelity to the supreme law of the land. Hence, in order to protect the privacy of us all, Snowden violated the lesser oath and upheld the greater one. He could not serve two masters when the lesser of the two (fidelity to the government's laws) facilitated a corruption of the greater of the two (the primacy to the Constitution).

He's a traitor, the establishment roared. He's a high school dropout. He left the Army. He admits to having lots of sex with his girlfriend. He fled to Hong Kong.

He's a traitor, the establishment roared. He's a high school dropout. He left the Army. He admits to having lots of sex with his girlfriend. He fled to Hong Kong.

Who cares?

He understands, as Ronald Reagan did, that if we don't control the government, the government will control us. That's why the Washington establishment yawned when we learned what it knew and now roars because Snowden challenged it. Those in power want to stay there and will misuse the Constitution to do so for as long as they can get away with it, no matter to which political party they belong. Any government that secretly spies on nearly all the population is aiming to control the population.

Snowden knew that this massive violation of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of nearly every American, orchestrated and operated in secrecy, is corrupting the Constitution and empowering the corruptors. It was that understanding plus a willingness to face down those in power who lack fidelity to the Constitution and who can do him harm that constituted the behavior of a hero."

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - 9:36am
Joseph Warren
Joined: Jun 9, 2013

Who watches the watchers ? . . . .

You guys may have already heard this on Sybil Edmonds' (ex FBI,) website. NSA whistleblower Russ Tice reveals how the intel agencies wiretap people in all branches of government. We're talking lawmakers, Supreme Court justices, and Presidents. The opportunities for blackmail are obvious. This may explain why we scratch our heads when Congress passes some particularly bad laws and why members of the Supreme Court may flip around on their previous position and uphold a law using questionable 'logic' (Obamacare ?)

A Constitutional Republic enacted by We The People can not exist in such an environment.

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - 2:51pm (Reply to #13)
Joseph Warren
Joined: Jun 9, 2013

Opps - sorry guys

I posted about the Tice interview immediately after I heard it. Looks like someone already posted the link before me.