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  • FBI Muslim spying lawsuit against U.S. is tossed by judge

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-26 09:35:59
    This line says it all really: "the state secrets privilege may unfortunately mean the sacrifice of individual liberties for the sake of national security."

    Basically, forget any rights you once had, the US Government can now throw out any case against it in the interests of National Security.

    Freedom and liberty are dead... All in the name of keeping 'freedom' and 'liberty' safe from terrorism. Funny that. It's quite obvious the biggest threat to freedom and liberty in democratic countries of the west are our own politicians. Revoking liberties and rights in an ongoing attempt to see and hear everything we do, just in case we happen to be a terrorist.

    I don't know about you, but I'd much rather live in a free country, that holds freedom and liberty in the highest of regards. The threat of terror is minuscule, we've lived through it in the UK for decades (during many years of heated IRA conflict) and not lost our collective minds in order to feel a little safer. Revoking such freedoms in order to feel a little safer will ultimately see us living in a police state.

    As Benjamin Franklin once stated: "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

    The WTC attacks have proved mighty useful in the US Governments continued and systematic attacks on individual freedoms. Looks like someone's been taking lesson's from history, seeing how they might benefit the current regime.

    ***

    'A federal judge Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government and the FBI over the agency’s spying on Orange County Muslims, ruling that allowing the suit to go forward would risk divulging sensitive state secrets.

    Comparing himself to Odysseus navigating the waters between a six-headed monster and a deadly whirlpool, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney wrote that “the state secrets privilege may unfortunately mean the sacrifice of individual liberties for the sake of national security.”

    The judge said that he reached the decision reluctantly after reviewing confidential declarations filed by top FBI officials, and that he was convinced the operation in question involved “intelligence that, if disclosed, would significantly compromise national security.”

    Carney allowed the suit to stand against individual FBI agents and supervisors on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act-related claims.

    The class-action lawsuit was brought by a group of Orange County Muslims who contended that their constitutional rights were trampled when the FBI sent an undercover informant into their midst to illegally spy on them.

    The controversy revolves around the actions of Craig Monteilh, who alleges that he posed as a Muslim convert at the behest of the FBI to collect information at Orange County mosques. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued on behalf of community members who alleged that the FBI engaged in a “dragnet” investigation that indiscriminately targeted Muslims based on their religion, planted bugs in offices and homes, and listened in on private religious conversations.

    The U.S. government asserted the state secrets privilege in the case, contending that divulging their targets in counterterrorism investigations, as well as how and why, would endanger national security.

    Monteilh, a convict who the FBI acknowledges worked as an informant on a case dubbed Operation Flex, has since taken his story public and filed lengthy court papers for the ACLU outlining his FBI work.

    “That information could cause harm for years to come,” Department of Justice attorney Anthony Coppolino told Carney in court Tuesday.

    While acknowledging that asserting the state secrets privilege could be seen as “unfair or harsh,” Coppolino said it was necessary for the greater public good.

    ACLU attorney Ahilan Arulanantham argued that the government should not be allowed to “shut the courthouse door” simply by citing national security. “It’s contrary to the basic notion that the judiciary determines what the law is and holds the government to it,” he said. “We’re exempting huge swaths of government activity to judicial oversight.”'

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/08/fbi.html
  • The NSA Domestic Spying Program: The program Binney created for foreign intelligence gathering was turned inward on his own country

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-24 19:42:22
    'It took me a few days to work up the nerve to phone William Binney. As someone already a “target” of the United States government, I found it difficult not to worry about the chain of unintended consequences I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: “I’m tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I’ll talk to you.”

    Two weeks later, driving past the headquarters of the N.S.A. in Maryland, outside Washington, Mr. Binney described details about Stellar Wind, the N.S.A.’s top-secret domestic spying program begun after 9/11, which was so controversial that it nearly caused top Justice Department officials to resign in protest, in 2004.

    “The decision must have been made in September 2001,” Mr. Binney told me and the cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. “That’s when the equipment started coming in.” In this Op-Doc, Mr. Binney explains how the program he created for foreign intelligence gathering was turned inward on this country. He resigned over this in 2001 and began speaking out publicly in the last year. He is among a group of N.S.A. whistle-blowers, including Thomas A. Drake, who have each risked everything — their freedom, livelihoods and personal relationships — to warn Americans about the dangers of N.S.A. domestic spying.

    To those who understand state surveillance as an abstraction, I will try to describe a little about how it has affected me. The United States apparently placed me on a “watch-list” in 2006 after I completed a film about the Iraq war. I have been detained at the border more than 40 times. Once, in 2011, when I was stopped at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and asserted my First Amendment right not to answer questions about my work, the border agent replied, “If you don’t answer our questions, we’ll find our answers on your electronics.”’ As a filmmaker and journalist entrusted to protect the people who share information with me, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to work in the United States. Although I take every effort to secure my material, I know the N.S.A. has technical abilities that are nearly impossible to defend against if you are targeted.

    The 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which oversees the N.S.A. activities, are up for renewal in December. Two members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, both Democrats, are trying to revise the amendments to insure greater privacy protections. They have been warning about “secret interpretations” of laws and backdoor “loopholes” that allow the government to collect our private communications. Thirteen senators have signed a letter expressing concern about a “loophole” in the law that permits the collection of United States data. The A.C.L.U. and other groups have also challenged the constitutionality of the law, and the Supreme Court will hear arguments in that case on Oct. 29.

    Laura Poitras is a documentary filmmaker who has been nominated for an Academy Award and whose work was exhibited in the 2012 Whitney Biennial. She is working on a trilogy of films about post-9/11 America. This Op-Doc is adapted from a work in progress to be released in 2013.'

    https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/opinion/the-national-security-agencys-domestic-spying-program.html
  • Religion: It's all about peace and love... anyone who disagrees will be tortured for all eternity.

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-19 18:19:17
    'An 11-year-old Christian girl has been arrested after being accused of desecrating pages of a book containing Islamic text.

    She was detained for blasphemy after an angry mob demanded her arrest and threatened to burn down Christian homes outside of the capital, Islamabad, Pakistani media say.

    The girl is known to have learning difficulties, officials say.

    Police have taken her parents into protective custody following threats.

    According to Dawn newspaper, police said the girl had been unable to answer questions properly during the interrogation.

    Dr Paul Bhatti, Pakistan's minister for National Harmony, told the BBC that the girl was known to have a mental disorder and that it seemed "unlikely she purposefully desecrated the Koran".

    "From the reports I have seen, she was found carrying a waste bag which also had pages of the Koran. This infuriated some local people and a large crowd gathered to demand action against her. The police were initially reluctant to arrest her, but they came under a lot of pressure from a very large crowd, who were threatening to burn down Christian homes."

    He added: "Her parents have also been taken into protective custody because they were frightened of threats against them.

    "More than 600 people have fled from that Christian neighbourhood. We are working to ensure their security so they can return to their homes."

    He said the incident took place on 17 August after Friday prayers.

    Rights activists have urged Pakistan to reform its controversial blasphemy laws, under which a person can be jailed for life for desecrating the Koran.

    Many of those accused of blasphemy have been killed by violent mobs, while politicians who advocate a change in legislation have also been targeted.

    Last year, Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs, was killed after calling for the repeal of the blasphemy law.

    His death came just two months after the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who also spoke out about the issue.'
  • Microsoft Makes Skype Easier To Monitor

    posted by Keito
    2012-07-27 19:51:49
    "New surveillance laws being proposed in countries from the United States to Australia would force makers of online chat software to build in backdoors for wiretapping. For years, the popular video chat service Skype has resisted taking part in online surveillance—but that may have changed. And if it has, Skype’s not telling.

    Historically, Skype has been a major barrier to law enforcement agencies. Using strong encryption and complex peer-to-peer network connections, Skype was considered by most to be virtually impossible to intercept. Police forces in Germany complained in 2007 that they couldn’t spy on Skype calls and even hired a company to develop covert Trojans to record suspects’ chats. At around the same time, Skype happily went on record saying that it could not conduct wiretaps because of its “peer-to-peer architecture and encryption techniques.”

    Recently, however, hackers alleged that Skype made a change to its architecture this spring that could possibly make it easier to enable “lawful interception” of calls. Skype rejected the charge in a comment issued to the website Extremetech, saying the restructure was an upgrade and had nothing to do with surveillance. But when I repeatedly questioned the company on Wednesday whether it could currently facilitate wiretap requests, a clear answer was not forthcoming. Citing “company policy,” Skype PR man Chaim Haas wouldn’t confirm or deny, telling me only that the chat service “co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible.”
    "

    As reported on Slashdot: "Skype has gone under a number of updates and upgrades since it was bought by Microsoft last year, mostly in a bid to improve reliability. But according to a report by the Washington Post, Skype has also changed its system to make chat transcripts, as well as users' addresses and credit card numbers, more easily shared with authorities."

    ***

    'Hacker groups and privacy experts have been speculating for months that Skype had changed its architecture to make it easier for governments to monitor, and many blamed Microsoft, which has an elaborate operation for complying with legal government requests in countries around the world.

    “The issue is, to what extent are our communications being purpose-built to make surveillance easy?” said Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility, a digital privacy group. “When you make it easy to do, law enforcement is going to want to use it more and more. If you build it, they will come.’’'

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/skype-makes-chats-and-user-data-more-available-to-police/2012/07/25/gJQAobI39W_story.html?hpid=z1

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/07/20/skype_won_t_comment_on_whether_it_can_now_eavesdrop_on_conversations_.html
  • Why Shouldn't I Work for the NSA? (Good Will Hunting)

    posted by Keito
    2012-07-26 21:32:31