Category Archive: Freedom & Democracy

New Effort to Try and Smear Edward Snowden

Have you the latest from the pro-spying-on-the-American-people-crowd? They are accusing Edward Snowden of being helped by the Russians in disclosing secrets of the NSA:

Several lawmakers with prominent positions on national security committees suggested suggested on Sunday that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks may have been encouraged by Russian intelligence officials.

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China loses 27.8 million microblog users in 2013

The number of online microblog users in China dropped by more than 27.8 million last year, marking the first major decline in popularity of a social media genre that has offered a way to share unfiltered information in a country with strict controls.

The drop comes amid a crackdown on microblogs deemed sensitive by government authorities and new controls on what can be posted and reposted, and reflects an overall decline in use of traditional social media in China that once had explosive growth. At the same time, Chinese Web users are migrating to cellphone-based instant messaging services, giving a huge boost to the mobile applications that have increasingly incorporated social media functions, including microblog-like features.

via China loses 27.8 million microblog users in 2013 – Yahoo News.

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Opinion: “Apathetic Citizens Deserve To Lose Their Freedoms”

I absolutely believe what I wrote in the title of this article: apathetic citizens deserve to lose their freedoms. That’s right, I’m talking to you. Those of you who don’t know what is going on with your government, or to those of you who don’t care.

I don’t think they should lose their freedoms just because they are apathetic, nor do I want them to lose their freedoms because they are apathetic. IF we get to a point that our government takes away or limits our freedoms, those that sat around and did nothing while others warned them will deserve to have had their freedoms lost because they did nothing to prevent it. They are going to be responsible for their own oppression by the government.

via Apathetic Citizens Deserve To Lose Their Freedoms | Nillabyte.com.

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Cambodia cracks down on opposition; protests banned

Cambodia’s government launched a broad crackdown on the political opposition on Saturday, clearing its main protest site, banning its street demonstrations for the immediate future and having a court call in opposition party leaders for questioning on charges of inciting social unrest.

Police dispersed about 1,000 anti-government demonstrators from a park in the capital, Phnom Penh, a day after four people were killed in a crackdown on a labour protest. Stages and other structures erected by the protesters were demolished.

via Cambodia cracks down on opposition; protests banned | CTV News.

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U.S. Directs Agents to Cover up Program Used to Investigate Americans

Reuters:

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funnelling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defence lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

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Watch: How GPS spoofing can take control of drones and ships

Raw Story:

A University of Texas researcher who has hacked the navigational systems of drones and ships told PBS on Friday that anyone with his software could do the same.

“You know, we had done experiments in our laboratory and we’d convinced ourselves that we could hack a GPS receiver, make it believe it’s some other place, but what does this mean?” Professor Todd Humphreys said. “What does it entail? Could you, for example, remotely and clandestinely lead an expensive and enormous ship at sea off course without the crew even knowing? That was the question we sought to answer, and it turns out the answer is yes.”

Humphrey’s and and his graduate students used a technique called “GPS spoofing,” in which false GPS signals are broadcast that trick a vehicle’s GPS receiver. The researchers first used the technique to commandeer an aerial drone. More recently, they commandeered a ship.

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Gen. Martin Dempsey: It ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ If Russians, Chinese Have Obtained Snowden’s NSA Secrets

I have news for you. The Chinese and Russians already know. They learned about it before Snowden. Both the Chinese and Russians have been learned about NSA long ago. All Snowden did was make the information known to the American people:

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Russian and Chinese governments had already acquired classified American information allegedly taken by Edward Snowden while he was working as a government contractor for the National Security Agency.

“No, it wouldn’t surprise me, ” Dempsey told ABC’s Martha Raddatz during an interview for “This Week,” saying earlier that that amount of information in Snowden’s possession was “obviously significant.”

ABC News

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Patriot Act author: NSA spying on Americans ‘clearly not within the law’

I realize it’s a Republican saying this. But it’s still significant. At the very least we have a major player in the GOP calling the surveillance illegal. His voice must be added to all those from different political stripes questioning the NSA spying program:

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., told Sean Hannity on Monday that what the Obama administration and the National Security Agency did with the Patriot Act was “clearly not within the law.” Referring to the dragnet collection of American citizens’ phone records and Internet information, Sensenbrenner said that “this is clearly beyond the law as I have outlined it, and it’s unfortunate that the Justice Department and the FISA court [which approves surveillance requests] did not follow the law in Justice’s petition to the court and the court approve it.”

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‘NSA should come clean about domestic spying': Ray Kelly

Source:

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly launched a stinging rebuke to the federal government’s secret phone and Internet monitoring campaign — and suggested leaker Edward Snowden was right about privacy “abuse.”

“I don’t think it ever should have been made secret,” Kelly said today, breaking ranks with US law-enforcement officials.

…I think if you listen to Snowden, he indicates that there’s some sort of malfeasance, people . . . sitting around and watching the data. So I think the question is: What sort of oversight is there inside the [National Security Agency] NSA to prevent that abuse, if it’s taking place?”

…“He tried to give the impression, it seems to me, that these system administrators had carte blanche to do what they wanted to do,” he said. “I think it’s a problem if that’s in fact what’s happening.”

Ray Kelly defends Snowden

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Obama and His Allies Say the Govt Doesn’t Listen to Your Phone Calls — But the FBI Begs to Differ

Source: Alternet:

Today, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) insisted the NSA has not been recording Americans’ phone calls under any surveillance program, and that any claim to the contrary was “misinformation.” Rogers’ comments countered remarks from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who said he was told in a House Judiciary Committee briefing by FBI Director Robert Mueller that private firms contracted by the NSA could listen to phone calls made by American citizens.

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British Intelligence Intercepted Foreign Politicians’ Communications at G20 Summits

Source: The Guardian:

Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.

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Jeffrey Goldberg: Iran Holds ‘Fake Election in a Fake Democracy’

GOLDBERG: Essentially this is a fake election and a fake democracy. Let’s not kid ourselves about what we’re dealing with here. These are hand picked candidates by the supreme leader who are running for president. With that said this guy is a smoother operator, he does seem more moderate in his economic approach, he does seem less confrontational. And remember, the leader of Iran is the supreme leader, I mean they call him supreme leader for a reason right? He’s the supreme leader. He sets national security policy. He sets foreign policy. He sets nuclear policy. So let’s not forget where the power lies in that country.

via Jeffrey Goldberg: Iran Holds ‘Fake Election in a Fake Democracy’ – ABC News.

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IRS Buying Spying Equipment: Covert Cameras in Coffee Trays, Plants

Source:

The IRS, currently in the midst of scandals involving the targeting of conservative groups and lavish taxpayer-funded conferences, is ordering surveillance equipment that includes hidden cameras in coffee trays, plants and clock radios.

The IRS wants to secure the surveillance equipment quickly – it posted a solicitation on June 6 and is looking to close the deal by Monday, June 10. The agency already has a company lined up for the order but is not commenting on the details.

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