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What’s Behind Time Magazine’s Putin Demonizing?

By David Swanson | Let’s Try Democracy | October 5, 2016

“Russia Wants to Undermine Faith in the U.S. Election. Don’t Fall For It.” Thus reads the cover of Time magazine with a photo of Vladimir Putin on the cover staring at me from shelves as I sit in an airport.  Genuinely curious, I check out Massimo Calabresi‘s article online.

Of course, U.S. elections are almost completely unverifiable and do not even pretend to meet international standards. Jimmy Carter doesn’t even try to monitor them because there’s no way to do it. Much voting is done on machines that simply must be trusted on faith. Whether they accurately count the votes entered is simply unknowable, and reason to wonder is fueled by the machines’ frequently changing a vote visibly just as it’s cast, and by the ease with which people have been able to hack the machines. Never mind all the problems with registration, intimidation, inconvenience, discrimination, etc.

We should undermine our own faith in the U.S. election system. I’d include in that the financial corruption, gerrymandering, etc., but here I’m just referring to the counting of votes. Then we should repair it! Is Russia helpfully pointing out the problem to us? Not that I’ve seen. But the Russia-did-it stories that were used to bury the DNC-rigged-its-primary stories rather shockingly blurted out in major corporate U.S. media what I’ve just been saying. For a while it seemed acceptable to be aware that U.S. elections are faith-based as long as it helps build up hostility with Russia. Now, however, we’re being told of our duty to remain firm in our faith. Time says:

“The leaders of the U.S. government, including the President and his top national-security advisers, face an unprecedented dilemma. Since the spring, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies have seen mounting evidence of an active Russian influence operation targeting the 2016 presidential election.”

Why the “top national-security advisers”? That’s a euphemism for war counselors. How do they come into this? And where is the evidence, mounting or otherwise?

“It is very unlikely the Russians could sway the actual vote count, because our election infrastructure is decentralized and voting machines are not accessible from the Internet.”

Of the 50 states into which the vote counting is “decentralized” there are only a handful the U.S. media will pay much attention to. Those “swing states” are the ones a hacker would hack. And here’s an interesting Washington Post article I recommend to the editors of Time:More than 30 states offer online voting, but experts warn it isn’t secure.”

“But they can sow disruption and instability up to, and on, Election Day, more than a dozen senior U.S. officials tell TIME, undermining faith in the result and in democracy itself.”

Democracy itself? Egad! Those commies must be against democracy. Perhaps they even hate capitalism! How many of those senior officials have names? Is “senior” in this case a polite way of saying “extremely elderly”? Come on! Nobody has faith in U.S. democracy. That’s undermined every day by the U.S. government, as Time’s own pollsters are perfectly aware. Most U.S. residents believe their government is broken, and they’re perfectly right. Russia’s government could use a lot of improvements too. But only one of the two is building missile bases and engaging in military “exercises” on the other one’s border.

“The question, debated at multiple meetings at the White House, is how aggressively to respond to the Russian operation. Publicly naming and shaming the Russians and describing what the intelligence community knows about their activities would help Americans understand and respond prudently to any disruptions that might take place between now and the close of the polls.”

Gee, there’s an idea. If only there were a journalist in the building!

“Senior Justice Department officials have argued in favor of calling out the Russians, and that position has been echoed forcefully outside of government by lawmakers and former top national-security officials from both political parties.”

Wait, don’t tell me, are these the same guys who sincerely wanted to tell us where the Weapons of Mass Destruction were in Iraq?

“Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The President and several of his closest national-security advisers are concerned about the danger of a confrontation in the new and ungoverned world of cyberspace, and they argue that while the U.S. has powerful offensive and defensive capabilities there, an escalating confrontation carries significant risks.”

That’s right! Hey, they know best. Accusing Russia without any evidence shouldn’t offend anybody. The Russian government should be grateful. But presenting evidence and seeking to uphold the law, truth, and perhaps even reconciliation? Only reckless subversives would suggest such lunacy!

“National Security Council officials warn that our critical infrastructure–including the electricity grid, transportation sector and energy networks–is vulnerable to first strikes; others say attacks on private companies, stock exchanges and the media could affect the economy.”

Is there some nation whose infrastructure is not vulnerable to first strikes? Is the blurring of computer hacking and bomb dropping even conscious anymore?

“Senior intelligence officials even worry about Russia exposing U.S. espionage operations in retaliation.”

Well, if Russia can expose them, exactly what purpose are they currently serving? And what of any of this has Russia actually threatened? If I “worry about” Henry Kissinger streaking Fifth Avenue will Time run that story?

“And while U.S. officials have ‘high confidence’ that Russia is behind what they describe as a major influence operation, senior U.S. officials tell TIME, their evidence would not yet stand up in court.”

Mid-article, you’ll notice, we’ve dropped from the statement of fact on the cover of a magazine displayed everywhere in a nation of people who hardly read, to a statement of possibility.

“And so with five weeks to go, the White House is, for now, letting events unfold. On one side, U.S. law-enforcement agencies are scrambling to uncover the extent of the Russian operation, counter it and harden the country’s election infrastructure. On the other, a murky network of Russian hackers and their associates is stepping up the pace of leaks of stolen documents designed to affect public opinion and give the impression that the election is vulnerable, including emails from the computers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).”

Not those emails that added so authoritatively to our knowledge that the DNC had rigged its own primary? Not those emails? Surely if it were those emails you’d mention their contents, not just an evidence-free claim as to who leaked them?

“Meanwhile, the FBI alerted all 50 states to the danger in mid-August, and the states have delivered evidence of a ‘significant’ number of new intrusions into their election systems that the bureau and their colleagues at the Department of Homeland Security ‘are still trying to understand,’ a department official tells TIME.”

Wait, I thought it was all offline and decentralized? Are all these intrusions harmless because they might be by non-Russians? Or is it only in the scenario in which they are acts of the Russian government that we should pay no attention to the uselessness of the lousy vote-counting machines? Or should we just not worry in either case, even while really really — you know — worrying?

“All of which makes Donald Trump’s repeated insertion of himself into the U.S.-Russia story all the more startling. Trump has praised Putin during the campaign, and at the first presidential debate, on Sept. 26, he said it wasn’t clear the Russians were behind the DNC hack.”

Time said the same thing three paragraphs back. Perhaps the real sin here is praising Putin, eh? But Trump is praising Putin for violating people’s rights, not for being a designated enemy of Time magazine and the government for which it serves as a stenographer.

“But the U.S. intelligence community has ‘high confidence’ that Russian intelligence services were in fact responsible, multiple intelligence and national security officials tell TIME.”

That’s impressive. How many of them have names?

“Trump was informed of that assessment during a recent classified intelligence briefing, a U.S. official familiar with the matter tells TIME. ‘I do not comment on information I receive in intelligence briefings, however, nobody knows with definitive certainty that this was in fact Russia,’ Trump told TIME in a statement. ‘It may be, but it may also be China, another country or individual.'”

Is that not indisputably accurate?

“Russia’s interference in the U.S. election is an extraordinary escalation of an already worrying trend.”

Whether or not it exists?

“Over the past 2½ years, Russia has executed a westward march of election meddling through cyberspace, starting in the states of the former Soviet Union and moving toward the North Atlantic.”

Freud. Sigmund. Paging a Doctor Freud, Sigmund. NATO has in fact literally marched in the path of Nazis right to the border of Russia with new members, new troops, new weapons, new nukes, new missile bases, new threats, and new lies — plus a violent coup in Ukraine. But it’s a march of alleged election meddling that should scare us, despite the United States government’s blatant election meddling (and support for coups) in nations all over the world, including Ukraine, Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, etc.

“‘On a regular basis they try to influence elections in Europe,’ President Obama told NBC News on July 26. With Russia establishing beachheads in the U.S. at least since April, officials worry that in the final weeks of the campaign the Russian cybercapability could be used to fiddle with voter rolls, election-reporting systems and the media, resulting in confusion that could cast a shadow over both the next President and the democratic process.”

Despite the offline decentralized security?

And the media too? How would Russia hack the media exactly?

“Obama’s decision not to call out the Russian espionage operation has so far left the effort to educate Americans about it to lawmakers and national-security experts. On Sept. 22, the ranking Democrats on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam Schiff, released an unusually blunt statement. ‘Based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election,’ they said. ‘At the least, this effort is intended to sow doubt about the security of our election.”

That’s like saying ‘We’ve been briefed on the WMDs in Iraq and at the very least there is an effort to scare the heck out of you. Of course we and Time magazine are central to this effort, but try to focus on the alleged role of Iraq.’

“Orders for Russian intelligence agencies to conduct electoral-influence operations, they added, could come only from very senior levels of government. ‘We call on [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin to immediately order a halt to this activity.’ The statement, though not endorsed publicly by the Administration, was cleared with the CIA. To understand why Putin would want to undercut the legitimacy of the U.S. election, it helps to step back from the long and ugly presidential campaign and remember why we’re voting in the first place. Elections are the ultimate source of authority in our democracy. Because Republicans and Democrats have agreed for decades that spreading democracy is good for everyone, America has pushed for free and fair elections around the world.”

Really? Are we all agreed on “pushing” for the “spread of democracy”? Who has more of it, do you think, Russia, the United States, or any of the seven nations the United States has bombed and “liberated” in recent years?

“And many nations have embraced them: peasants in the Balkans put on their Sunday best to go to the polls, and burqa-clad women in Afghanistan brave terrorist attacks to stand in line for hours to cast their ballots.”

Well that proves it. Better bomb some more places!

“Not surprisingly, quasi-authoritarian rulers in the former Soviet Union, latter-day communists in China and medieval theocrats in the Middle East, among many others, see America’s sometimes aggressive evangelism about the benefits of liberal democracy as a direct threat to their own claims to authority.”

The UN Charter also has that odd view, choosing to see aggressive wars as criminal.

“Putin has taken particular umbrage, accusing the U.S.–and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in particular–of meddling in Russia’s presidential election in 2012. He has publicly questioned the validity of past U.S. presidential elections, saying, on June 17, of the Electoral College, ‘You call that democracy?'”

Do you?

“Now, experts say, Putin is expanding his anti-American campaign into cyberspace. ‘More than any attempt to get one candidate or another elected, this [Russian influence operation] is about discrediting the entire idea of a free and fair election,’ says Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity company that did the analysis of the DNC hack.”

Wow, congratulations on naming names. Dmitri must be a special person to get his name into Time magazine.

“No one knows that better than Arizona secretary of state Michele Reagan. One day in June she was in her backyard in Phoenix when she got a call from her chief of staff. ‘Are you sitting down?’ he asked. The FBI had been monitoring a corner of the so-called dark web, the network of hidden sites used by criminals to buy and sell drugs, pedophilic pornography and stolen identities. A group of hackers known collectively as Fancy Bear, which the U.S. government believes is controlled by Russian military intelligence, was trying to sell a user name and password that belonged to someone in an Arizona county election official’s office, which holds the personal data of almost 4 million people. ‘My first reaction was, Well, this is like the worst thing that you want to hear,’ Reagan recalls.”

All I can say is it’s a darn good thing everything is offline and decentralized.

“Reagan and the FBI scrambled to figure out how the Russians had gotten into Arizona’s system and what needed to be done to secure it. It turned out that an election official in rural Gila County, pop. 54,000, had opened a Word document on her desktop computer that contained malicious software. Fortunately, while Fancy Bear had penetrated a local computer system, it hadn’t accessed the statewide registration database. Others weren’t so lucky. Fancy Bear’s electronic fingerprints were found on the hack into the DNC computers. In Illinois, the feds found that Fancy Bear had stolen 85,000 voter records from that state’s registration systems in mid-July. Later that month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) revealed that it, too, had been hacked by Fancy Bear.”

Well he or she or they are called “Bear.” I can’t see why that wouldn’t be enough to convict Russia in a court of law.

“With other states now reporting intrusions of unknown origin, the government wants to reassure the public that the vote count itself is safe. ‘We have confidence in the overall integrity of our electoral systems,’ Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson said on Sept. 16. ‘It is diverse, subject to local control, and has many checks and balances built in.’ Each of the U.S.’s more than 9,000 polling places uses machines not connected to the Internet, precincts count and report their results independently, and most have paper or electronic backups in case a recount is needed.”

Oh OK, then I’ll stop worrying. Never mind, after all, Vladimir.

“The Administration has a message for Russia too.”

Oh no. Wait. What?

“The U.S. has privately warned that any effort to sway the election would be unacceptable, intelligence and other Administration officials tell TIME. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the message to his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in Laos on July 27. During a 90-minute meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting on Sept. 6, Obama pulled Putin aside and discussed the cyberconcerns one-on-one, with no aides present, a White House official tells TIME. In a press conference later, the President called for restraint on all sides in the use of cyberweapons and issued a veiled threat about America’s cyberpowers. ‘Frankly, we’ve got more capacity than anybody both offensively and defensively,’ Obama said.”

Because offensive attacks by the United States are good things, you see. (Some people might get confused without that explanation.)

“Putin’s history of using influence operations against opponents begins, appropriately enough, with himself. As he was rising quickly through the Kremlin ranks in 1999, one of his main opponents, Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov, was caught on tape having sex with two women in a hotel room in what Skuratov later claimed was a Putin-run espionage operation traditionally known as a ‘honey trap.’ Putin, who had risen from a Soviet-era KGB operative to head the country’s intelligence services, denied he was behind it but said on TV that his agents had confirmed that the man in the grainy video was Skuratov. Putin went on to win the presidency the next year. Skuratov, who ran against him, got less than 1% of the popular vote.”

That seems like good grounds to me for risking nuclear apocalypse. Please proceed.

“With the expansion of the Internet in the decade that followed, the Russians adopted cyberweapons as a standard tool of political meddling. Nowhere has their tactic of spreading chaos around a vote been clearer than in Ukraine, where three days before the presidential election on May 25, 2014, the computer systems of the Central Electoral Commission went dark. ‘The servers wouldn’t turn on. The links to the local election authorities were cut off,’ says Victor Zhora, director of the cybersecurity firm Infosafe, which had been hired to defend the system. ‘Literally, nothing worked.'”

Only the Russians could have done something so devious to put in place a new anti-Russian government that immediately began efforts to restrict the use of the Russian language, and which put into power actual Nazis.

Read the rest at Time magazine if you can stand it.

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Yahoo Scanned All Users’ Emails for Government!

By Alfredo Lopez | This Can’t Be Happening! | October 5, 2016

If you are one of the approximately 280 million people with Yahoo email accounts, your email was scanned for content and possibly turned over to the U.S. government. Yahoo, on Tuesday, admitted that fact.

Reuters revealed on Tuesday that the Internet mega-company (which is now being purchased by Verizon Communications) designed a special program last year to capture and scan all its users’ incoming email after being ordered to do that by the either the NSA or FBI. It deployed the program over the last year, scanning every piece of email Yahoo accounts received and apparently turning over all email that contained any of the tens of thousands of “keywords” the NSA considers suspicious.

The decision, Reuters says, was made by President and Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer, in collaboration with people in her legal department. It wasn’t without controversy: several Yahoo top staffers left the company including Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos (who left for a top job at Facebook).

The news is startling for several reasons. It’s also deceptive for some others.

* Email providers like Google (whose gmail program is a favorite source of NSA data capture) always claim they don’t do “blanket review” of email content. Yahoo is the first to openly admit that it does. It apparently made that decision because its executives didn’t think they could successfully resist the government orders.

That decision by Mayer, already under considerable pressure at the struggling corporate giant, was apparently taken without consultation with her security team. Instead, she just ordered technologists to write the data scanning software. Many in the company thought it could challenge the government orders in the courts and prevail. Several, including Stamos, fled in reported horror.

* They didn’t just review the emails, they built a special program to do it and never let their users know they were doing that. It might seem logical — after all, you don’t let the person who you’re spying on know you’re spying — but very few Yahoo users are the subject of investigations. Yahoo’s statement — that it complies with legal requests — doesn’t even mention the Consitution that protects your data legally and whose first and fourth amendments appear to have been clearly violated by this action.

*  Finally, what do you do with all that data? While the government would contend that it was investigating illegal activity, it now has reports (at least) if not full captures on everyone. And a government that collects data on everyone isn’t a state doing policing. It is a police state.

As shocking as this revelation is, the reaction of other Internet companies has been gallingly disengenuous.

“We’ve never received such a request,” a spokeman for Google, told Reuters. “But if we did, our response would be simple: ‘No way’.”

Well… yes… “way” because Google has received thousands of NSA National Security Letters and routinely complies with them. They may not be scanning all the information but they will scan and turn over any information the government requests without informing the affected customer.

A Microsoft spokesperson also chimed in, “We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo.”

No, maybe not like reported today but Microsoft also routinely complies with government orders almost never challenging them.

In a sense, the way the data is collecting (and the amount collected) — as shocking and important as that is — is probably not the most important issue. If you collect and turn over data on any user just because someone in the NSA tells you to, your respect for privacy and constitutional rights is deeply questionable. That’s exactly what all these companies do.

Yahoo’s latest scandal only underscores how little respect for our rights this industry has.

There are many cases by companies challenging the government on surveillance. Why Yahoo could choose to comply so quickly and not tell anyone about it will certainly provoked widespread circulation and analysis in the coming weeks.

That is something we should all be monitoring.

(Full disclosure: as an official of MayFirst/PeopleLink, I am involved in an international lawsuit challenging the NSA’s right to conduct mass surveillance in foreign countries. The “bias” revealed, however, should not surprise any reader of this website.)

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

On Assad and Syria: a Reply to a Reader

By Diana Johnstone | CounterPunch | October 6, 2016

A reader sent me the following short comment on my article about destroying Syria:

“Not a word about Assad’s crimes or Russia bombing civilians?”

Here is my reply to such objections:

Dear …

If you are in need of words about Assad’s crimes or Russia bombing civilians, just look around you. They are everywhere.

First of all, I am not concerned with displaying my disapproval of crimes or of bombing civilians, something that should be taken for granted. I am concerned with avoiding World War III – or even endless war in Syria.

As David Swanson insists, war is a crime. Once you are into a war, and especially a civil war with massive outside intervention, there are bound to be more and more crimes. But by the way, how are you so sure about Assad’s crimes or Russia bombing civilians? Surely you must realize that our media regard them as the enemy and readily believe every version of events that portrays them as villains. An example of obvious exaggeration is official U.S. insistence that Russia deliberately bombs hospitals, etc., where if we do it, it is of course an accident.

I am suspicious of all reports of crimes, knowing how much this war is a propaganda war and how easy it is to misrepresent events in other countries. But measuring how many crimes are committed by whom does not get to the root of the problem. The root of the problem, as I say in my article, is a longstanding ambition by the United States and its allies to replace the Syrian Arab nationalist state with an obedient pro-Western clique, friendly to Israel. Since that seems out of reach at the present, the strategy is simply to keep the war going as long as possible, deepening the chaos, until nobody much is left except the exiles in London being groomed by Western powers to win rigged elections.

By dragging out the war, more and more children will die, as well as adults, whose lives are also worth something. But it is interesting that humanitarian propaganda focuses only on children, as if realizing that most Westerners are totally indifferent to the massive deaths of Arabs – unless they are toddlers. Or kittens.

Best wishes,

Diana Johnstone

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | Leave a comment

Report: Yahoo helped government with ‘unprecedented, unconstitutional’ email surveillance program

PrivacySOS – 10/05/2016

Big news dropped yesterday in Reuters : In 2015, the US government asked Yahoo to scan all incoming email looking for certain, unknown characters in emails or attachments; unfortunately, Yahoo agreed to do it—without putting up a fight. The demand came in the form of a classified “edict,” as Reuters describes it, to Yahoo’s legal department.

Reuters reports:

According to two of the former employees, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook Inc.

Mayer and other executives ultimately decided to comply with the directive last year rather than fight it, in part because they thought they would lose, said the people familiar with the matter.

Yahoo in 2007 had fought a FISA demand that it conduct searches on specific email accounts without a court-approved warrant. Details of the case remain sealed, but a partially redacted published opinion showed Yahoo’s challenge was unsuccessful.

Some Yahoo employees were upset about the decision not to contest the more recent edict and thought the company could have prevailed, the sources said.

They were also upset that Mayer and Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell did not involve the company’s security team in the process, instead asking Yahoo’s email engineers to write a program to siphon off messages containing the character string the spies sought and store them for remote retrieval, according to the sources.

The sources said the program was discovered by Yahoo’s security team in May 2015, within weeks of its installation. The security team initially thought hackers had broken in.

When Stamos found out that Mayer had authorized the program, he resigned as chief information security officer and told his subordinates that he had been left out of a decision that hurt users’ security, the sources said. Due to a programming flaw, he told them hackers could have accessed the stored emails.

In statements to reporters, other major technology companies denied participating in similar surveillance programs at the behest of the US government. Google released a statement categorically denying any such relationship: “We’ve never received such a request, but if we did, our response would be simple: ‘No way.’” Microsoft, which declined to comment on whether it had received a similar request from the government, issued a carefully phrased denial: “We have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo” [emphasis mine]. Apple, meanwhile, was explicit: “We have never received a request of this type. If we were to receive one, we would oppose it in court.” Facebook and Twitter both also said they’d never received such demands, and would fight them if they did.

It’s not clear what legal authority the government thinks gives it the right to make such demands. But we have a good lead, from Senator Ron Wyden, a privacy stalwart who has access to classified intelligence information because of his position on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Wyden, who has made a habit of dropping public hints about what’s really going on in the spy world, responded to the story with this statement:

It is a fact that collection under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has a significant impact on Americans’ privacy. It is public record that this expansive surveillance program is the basis for warrantless searches of Americans’ emails, and that the government has never even counted how many. The NSA has said that it only targets individuals under Section 702 by searching for email addresses and similar identifiers. If that has changed, the executive branch has an obligation to notify the public.

Here’s how I interpret that statement, following the Wyden code: The NSA has been lying to the American public, again, about its domestic surveillance activities. The NSA said it only targets certain people under 702 authorities, but in fact, as the Yahoo story shows, it is searching through everyone’s emails. The NSA ought to be straight with the public about that activity. (Reminder: the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA for short) of 2008, the law that contains Section 702, put congress’ stamp of approval on the controversial, widely criticized Bush administration warrantless wiretapping program, disclosed by New York Times reporter James Risen in 2005. The ACLU tried to challenge the constitutionality of Section 702 but was stymied when the Supreme Court held the organization’s clients—human rights attorneys among them—lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.)

ACLU attorney Patrick Toomey called the reported program “unprecedented and unconstitutional”:

The government appears to have compelled Yahoo to conduct precisely the type of general, suspicionless search that the Fourth Amendment was intended to prohibit. It is deeply disappointing that Yahoo declined to challenge this sweeping surveillance order, because customers are counting on technology companies to stand up to novel spying demands in court. If this surveillance was conducted under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, this story reinforces the urgent need for Congress to reform the law to prevent dragnet surveillance and require increased transparency.

Back in 2013 when we learned, through Edward Snowden’s leaks, about the NSA and FBI’s vast PRISM surveillance partnership with the major technology companies, Yahoo had this to say: “The notion that Yahoo! gives any federal agency vast or unfettered access to our users’ records is categorically false.” The company’s spokesman later clarified to say that it only hands over to the government the private information of an “infinitesimal percentage” of its users.

The program disclosed yesterday appears to differ from PRISM in at least two core respects: First, the email scanning surveillance is achieved through a special program Yahoo email engineers reportedly wrote on the government’s behalf. Second, the recently disclosed program deals with ‘live’ data, whereas PRISM granted the NSA and FBI access to information stored on company servers, not information in transit.

Over the next couple of days, you will likely hear surveillance state defenders talk about how we need to give the intelligence agencies access to “the whole haystack” if we want them to stop terrorist attacks. But mass surveillance doesn’t stop terrorism; it never once has.

Meanwhile, yet another NSA contractor working for Booz Allen Hamilton has been accused of stealing government secrets.

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why is a Hong Kong “Activist” in Bangkok?

The New Atlas – October 5, 2016

Joshua Wong’s alleged arrest at a Bangkok airport is portrayed as a slight against “democracy,” yet the US-funded and backed agitator undermines his own principles of “self-determination” by meddling in another nation’s politics.

Thai PBS in its article, “HK democracy activist Joshua Wong detained in Bangkok,” would claim:

Wong, 19, famed for his galvanising role in the city’s 2014 pro-democracy “umbrella movement”, was held as he landed at the airport late Tuesday, his party Demosisto said in a statement, citing a Thai student activist, Netiwit Chotipatpaisal, who was due to meet him.

Wong was invited by Thai student activists to take part at an event marking the anniversary of a military crackdown in October 1976.

Demosisto “strongly condemns the Thai government for unreasonably limiting Wong’s freedom and right to entry, and requests the immediate release of Wong,” the statement said.

What Thai PBS fails to mention is that Joshua Wong and his party, “Demosisto,” are US-funded and directed, and represent Western interests attempting to subvert Chinese control over its own territory of Hong Kong, as well as undermine national sovereignty across the entire Asian region.

Indeed, the entire “Occupy Central” movement, also referred to as the “Umbrella Revolution,” was led by US-backed opposition figures, including Joshua Wong, Benny Tai and Martin Lee, the latter of which was literally in Washington D.C. lobbying for backing just months before the 2014 protest began.

While the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) initially denied it provided any assistance to the movement and denied specifically that Martin Lee served any role in leading the protests despite his Washington visit, NED through its subsidiary Freedom House, would eventually invite Wong, Tai and Lee back to Washington afterwards to award them for role in leading the protests.

Joshua Wong in Washington D.C. attending a US State Department award ceremony held in his and other US-backed agitators’ honor

At the award ceremony titled, “Three Hong Kong Heroes,” Lee would shuffle onto stage with an umbrella prop in hand, a virtual admission to his leadership role in the protests and confirmation that NED’s previous statement was intentionally false.

Wong’s political party, Demosisto, headed by Nathan Lee, is also tied directly to the US State Department’s NED.

Nathan Law (left) with Carl Gershman of the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

Nathan Law in particular was featured on the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) website “World Movement for Democracy” in a post titled, “Democracy Courage Tribute Award Presentation.” In it, NED would write in regards to the award presented to Nathan Lee:

The Umbrella Movement’s bold call in the fall of 2014 for a free and fair election process to select the city’s leaders brought thousands into the streets to dem­onstrate peacefully. The images from these protests have motivated Chinese democracy activists on the mainland and resulted in solidarity between longtime champions of democracy in Hong Kong and a new gen­eration of Hong Kong youth seeking to improve their city. The Hong Kong democracy movement will face further obstacles in the years to come, and their ide­alism and bravery will need to be supported as they work for democratic representation in Hong Kong.

The ceremony was yet another in a long line of post-Occupy Central award ceremonies the US State Department conducted, rewarding its proxies for their efforts in the streets of Hong Kong in 2014.

Joshua Wong Was Barred Entry into Malaysia for Similarly Inappropriate Political Pandering 

In 2015, Malaysia too would confront Wong and his attempts to spread US-backed subversion across Asia.

That PBS would also report in an article titled, “HK student activist Joshua Wong denied entry to Malaysia,” that:

Immigration officials on Tuesday barred Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong from entering Malaysia at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas, The Star Online reported.

Wong was scheduled to attend a forum titled “The Uprising of Youth and New Social Activism in Singapore and Hong Kong” at Auditorium A in Komta on Tuesday night.

It is also worth noting that after Wong was denied entry, US-funded organisations posing as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) immediately took to social media in an attempt to criticise the Malaysian government’s decision.

Malaysian online news service, The Star, in an article titled, “Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong denied entry to Malaysia,” would further elaborate:

Malaysia… explain why he is sent back to Hong Kong? Afraid of more street protests,” tweeted Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah.

Bersih, like Joshua Wong’s Demosisto, is openly funded by the US State Department and represents Washington’s, not the people of Malaysia’s interests. Bersih would be revealed in 2011 to have received funding and training from the US State Department via the National Democratic Institute (NDI), another NED subsidiary.

Democracy Means Self-Determination, Not Dictates from Washington & its Proxies  

It is perhaps ironic that Wong himself and his supporters portray him as a “democracy activist,” considering that one of the central principles of democracy is the concept of self-determination. Self-determination means that a nation’s people themselves determine what course of action is in their best interests, free from the influence of foreign interests.

The concept of self-determination underpins the national identity of many nations across Southeast Asia, having had their respective national destinies dictated to them at various points throughout their history by European colonialism. Independence and self-determination across the region represent hard-fought achievements threatened by US-backed political fronts wielding “soft power” in place of the overt “gunboat diplomacy” practised by the British Empire in days past.

Worse than mere foreign backing, Wong and his Demosisto political party work ceaselessly to promote the parting demands made by British colonial administrators as Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. These demands, including upholding the “one country, two systems” and “Basic Law” drafted just ahead of the British handover of Hong Kong, are echoed by the current governments of both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Thus, Wong and his political party, Demosisto, work contra to Hong Kong’s self-determination, promoting the parting policy of the British Empire imposed on a still emerging China in 1997.

By Wong meddling in the internal affairs of neighbouring Asian states, attempting to bolster US State Department efforts elsewhere to create proxy political fronts to serve Washington rather than local interests, he is also trampling the concept of regional self-determination, and thus of democracy itself.

In Thailand specifically, Wong sought to support anti-government agitators likewise seeking to subvert Thai sovereignty and return to power political parties loyal to Washington.

Wong’s admirers find among themselves a common denominator of affinity toward the United States and American politics. They believe themselves to be enlightened supporters of freedom, democracy and human rights, despite the reality of US foreign and domestic policy standing firmly against all three of these basic and essential principles.

From the invasion and occupation of foreign nations around the globe, to the detainment and torturing of people worldwide, to the violence and brutality American police deploy against the American population at home, to the invasive abuse of the American people’s right to privacy, American politics in reality exist separately from the ideals cadres of indoctrinated foreigners have been led into believing the US stands for.

Wong and his Demosisto political party and other US-backed political fronts like them, represent a danger to freedom, democracy and human rights, serving as a facade behind which US special interests hide their true, self-serving agenda and all of the abuse that surrounds it. By serving as a facade for foreign interests, merely posing as a proponent of democracy and self-determination, it is Wong and those like him that truly endanger democracy’s future in Asia, not those awaiting him at airports, turning him and his US-backed agitation away.

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October 6, 2016 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , , | Leave a comment