Archive for category News

Snowden’s open letter to the people of Brazil

Tuesday, December 17, 6:34 AM

NSA leaker Edward Snowden wrote an “open letter to the people of Brazil” posted on the Web site of Folha de S.Paulo. He said he’d be willing to help Brazil investigate NSA spying but needs political asylum. Read the full text of the letter here.

Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. 

I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say.

I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.

My greatest fear was that no one would listen to my warning. Never have I been so glad to have been so wrong. The reaction in certain countries has been particularly inspiring to me, and Brazil is certainly one of those.

At the NSA, I witnessed with growing alarm the surveillance of whole populations without any suspicion of wrongdoing, and it threatens to become the greatest human rights challenge of our time.

The NSA and other spying agencies tell us that for our own “safety”-for Dilma’s

“safety,” for Petrobras’ “safety”-they have revoked our right to privacy and broken into our lives. And they did it without asking the public in any country, even their own.

Today, if you carry a cell phone in Sao Paolo, the NSA can and does keep track of your location: they do this 5 billion times a day to people around the world.

When someone in Florianopolis visits a website, the NSA keeps a record of when it happened and what you did there. If a mother in Porto Alegre calls her son to wish him luck on his university exam, NSA can keep that call log for five years or more.

They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target’s reputation.

American Senators tell us that Brazil should not worry, because this is not “surveillance,” it’s “data collection.” They say it is done to keep you safe. They’re wrong.

There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying, legitimate law enforcement – where individuals are targeted based on a reasonable, individualized suspicion – and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever.

These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.

Many Brazilian senators agree, and have asked for my assistance with their investigations of suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens.

I have expressed my willingness to assist wherever appropriate and lawful, but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so — going so far as to force down the Presidential Plane of Evo Morales to prevent me from traveling to Latin America!

Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.

Six months ago, I revealed that the NSA wanted to listen to the whole world. Now, the whole world is listening back, and speaking out, too. And the NSA doesn’t like what it’s hearing.

The culture of indiscriminate worldwide surveillance, exposed to public debates and real investigations on every continent, is collapsing.

Only three weeks ago, Brazil led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to recognize for the first time in history that privacy does not stop where the digital network starts, and that the mass surveillance of innocents is a violation of human rights.

The tide has turned, and we can finally see a future where we can enjoy security without sacrificing our privacy. Our rights cannot be limited by a secret organization, and American officials should never decide the freedoms of Brazilian citizens.

Even the defenders of mass surveillance, those who may not be persuaded that our surveillance technologies have dangerously outpaced democratic controls, now agree that in democracies, surveillance of the public must be debated by the public.

My act of conscience began with a statement: “I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded.

That’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to build, and it’s not something I’m willing to live under.”

Days later, I was told my government had made me stateless and wanted to imprison me. The price for my speech was my passport, but I would pay it again: I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort. I would rather be without a state than without a voice.

If Brazil hears only one thing from me, let it be this: when all of us band together against injustices and in defense of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems

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Don’t treat the symptom, treat the disease.

Thanks to Democracy Now! for the quote, and Institute for Policy Studiesfor the graphic.

Not if your scruples allow you to take advantage of the strategy.  I’m sure some of these well trained American business school executive types would say- “What the Hell? Why not”

What is *Completely Absurd* is a framework of laws that allows the situation in the first place. Don’t bitch that there’s a way for Corporations to let the government subsidize their workers if they pay them poorly enough, fix the rules that allow that to happen.

Get off your backside and tell your representatives-

I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take this any longer!

Here’s a link to a page with links that will help you in the process.

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Five pieces of advice- Re: the NSA

This information is from an article by Bruce Schneier of the Guardian. He also writes an excellent blog

 Five pieces of advise regarding current events and the NSA

1) Hide in the network. Implement hidden services. Use Tor to anonymize yourself. Yes, the NSA targets Tor users, but it’s work for them. The less obvious you are, the safer you are.

2) Encrypt your communications. Use TLS. Use IPsec. Again, while it’s true that the NSA targets encrypted connections – and it may have explicit exploits against these protocols – you’re much better protected than if you communicate in the clear.

3) Assume that while your computer can be compromised, it would take work and risk on the part of the NSA – so it probably isn’t. If you have something really important, use an air gap. Since I started working with the Snowden documents, I bought a new computer that has never been connected to the internet. If I want to transfer a file, I encrypt the file on the secure computer and walk it over to my internet computer, using a USB stick. To decrypt something, I reverse the process. This might not be bulletproof, but it’s pretty good.

4) Be suspicious of commercial encryption software, especially from large vendors. My guess is that most encryption products from large US companies have NSA-friendly back doors, and many foreign ones probably do as well. It’s prudent to assume that foreign products also have foreign-installed backdoors. Closed-source software is easier for the NSA to backdoor than open-source software. Systems relying on master secrets are vulnerable to the NSA, through either legal or more clandestine means.

5) Try to use public-domain encryption that has to be compatible with other implementations. For example, it’s harder for the NSA to backdoor TLS than BitLocker, because any vendor’s TLS has to be compatible with every other vendor’s TLS, while BitLocker only has to be compatible with itself, giving the NSA a lot more freedom to make changes. And because BitLocker is proprietary, it’s far less likely those changes will be discovered. Prefer symmetric cryptography over public-key cryptography. Prefer conventional discrete-log-based systems over elliptic-curve systems; the latter have constants that the NSA influences when they can.


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As if Al Qaeda “Management” has conference calls…

From the Daily Beast

“This was like a meeting of the Legion of Doom.”

“This was like a meeting of the Legion of Doom.” is something from a movie script. Not something Al Qaeda would do as current theory (much from the CIA) holds that they don’t behave like this. Having a conference call is how a marketing company would disseminate information to the middle managers.  From Wikipedia-

Command structure

When asked about the possibility of al-Qaeda’s connection to the July 7, 2005 London bombings in 2005, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said: “Al-Qaeda is not an organization. Al-Qaeda is a way of working… but this has the hallmark of that approach… al-Qaeda clearly has the ability to provide training… to provide expertise… and I think that is what has occurred here.”[52] On August 13, 2005, however, The Independent newspaper, quoting police and MI5 investigations, reported that the July 7 bombers had acted independently of an al-Qaeda terror mastermind someplace abroad.[53] What exactly al-Qaeda is, or was, remains in dispute. Author and journalist Adam Curtis argues that the idea of al-Qaeda as a formal organization is primarily an American invention. 

Glen Greenwald asks the obvious question:

Is the U.S. Exaggerating Qaeda Threat to Silence NSA Critics?

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Fair to say they want to torture him.

“The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent,”


Read on…

How about we look at the source of the problem- American foreign (Business) policy vs. the symptom- terrorism?

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I invite everyone to read this and think about it on the 10th anniversary of our grand mistake.

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A bit about Reed College, where our son Harlan will be continuing his education…

1,447 Undergraduates, in a 10 to 1 Student-to-Faculty Ratio




*The Princeton Review– The Best 376 Colleges

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R.I.P. Aaron Schwartz — Young, Dedicated, Courageous, Internet Pioneer, Free Speech Activist and a martyr to the cause.

Victim of United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz

Aaron H. Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer, writer, archivist, political organizer, andInternet activist.

Swartz was a member of the RSS-DEV Working Group that co-authored the “RSS 1.0” specification of RSS,[2] and built the Web site framework and the architecture for the Open Library. He also built Infogami, a company that merged with Reddit in its early days, through which he became an equal owner of the merged company.[i] Swartz also focused on sociology, civic awareness and activism. In 2010 he was a member of the Harvard University Center for Ethics. He cofounded the online group Demand Progress (known for its campaign against SOPA) and later worked with US and international activist groups Rootstrikers and Avaaz.

On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested in connection with systematic downloading of academic journal articles from JSTOR, which became the subject of a federal investigation.[3][4] Swartz opposed JSTOR’s practice of compensating publishers, rather than authors, out of the fees it charges for access to articles. Swartz contended that JSTOR’s fees limited access to academic work produced at American colleges and universities.[5][6]

On January 11, 2013, Swartz was found dead in his Crown HeightsBrooklyn apartment, where he hanged himself.[7][8][9][10] One commentator wrote that “His case highlights society’s uncertain, evolving view of how to treat people who break into computer systems and share data not to enrich themselves, but to make it available to others.”[11]


** UPDATE **


The Life and Afterlife of Aaron Swartz

By Wesley Yang, New York Magazine  09 February 13

** UPDATE **


Who was Aaron Swartz ?

Anonymous hacks M.I.T. in tribute to Aaron.

Meet U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, one of President Obama’s mistakes.

Petition to remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz.

10 Awful Crimes That Get You Less Prison Time Than What Aaron Swartz Faced for Freeing JSTOR Articles.

MIT did not speak out against the prosecution’s case, now they’re ‘investigating themselves’.

JSTOR did not want Aaron prosecuted.  Here is their statement.



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Mitch-the-Bitch tries again to rule from the minority


Sen. Minority Leader Mitch-the-Bitch McConnell reiterated his position this morning: Government will shutdown unless President makes dramatic cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

He wants the Democrats to not only enable the cuts, but also shield Republicans from the political consequences of cutting these programs by cutting them on the Republicans behalf.

Mitch-the-Bitch intendeds to hold the nation hostage to get cuts to programs


Who in Hell does he think he is ?

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Are you part of the Problem?

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