Tag Archives: surveillance

Corporate Dictatorship

The Imperative of Revolt

TORONTO—I met with Sheldon S. Wolin in Salem, Ore., and John Ralston Saul in Toronto and asked the two political philosophers the same question. If, as Saul has written, we have undergone a corporate coup d’état and now live under a species of corporate dictatorship that Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” if the internal mechanisms that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible remain ineffective, if corporate power retains its chokehold on our economy and governance, including our legislative bodies, judiciary and systems of information, and if these corporate forces are able to use the security and surveillance apparatus and militarized police forces to criminalize dissent, how will change occur and what will it look like?

Wolin, who wrote the books “Politics and Vision” and “Democracy Incorporated,” and Saul, who wrote “Voltaire’s Bastards” and “The Unconscious Civilization,” see democratic rituals and institutions, especially in the United States, as largely a facade for unchecked global corporate power. Wolin and Saul excoriate academics, intellectuals and journalists, charging they have abrogated their calling to expose abuses of power and give voice to social criticism; they instead function as echo chambers for elites, courtiers and corporate systems managers. Neither believes the current economic system is sustainable. And each calls for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.

“If you continue to go down the wrong road, at a certain point something happens,” Saul said during our meeting Wednesday in Toronto, where he lives. “At a certain point when the financial system is wrong it falls apart. And it did. And it will fall apart again.”

Read more » Common Dreams
Learn more » http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/10/20/imperative-revolt

 

The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought.

It’s High Time We Abolished the Department of Homeland Security

It’s the path to national sanity.

The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought.

And, as a result, it’s time that we broke up the failed national security experiment known as the Department of Homeland Security. Returning to dozens of independent agencies will return internal checks-and-balances to within the Executive branch, and actually make us both safer and less likely to be the victims of government snooping overreach.

Last Wednesday, the  Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald revealed that the National Security Agency is secretly collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon users. The agency received authorization to track phone “metadata” over a 3 month period from a special court order issued in April.

We now also know that what the  Guardian uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg of an ongoing phone and internet records collection program that likely includes almost all major U.S. telecommunications companies.

President Obama – who promised the “most transparent administration ever” – now finds himself and his DHS at the center of yet another civil liberties controversy. That controversy has deepened in the wake of two reports published last night in both the Washington Post and the Guardian that outlined a different NSA snooping program – a data mining initiative code-named “PRISM.”

PRISM – which was created in 2007 during the Bush Administration – is almost certainly the most far-reaching surveillance program ever created. By reaching into the servers of 9 different major U.S. internet companies – including Facebook, Google and Apple – the NSA has access to millions of users’ personal data, including emails, chats and videos.

Although PRISM is supposed to only be used to gain information about “foreign individuals” suspected of terrorism – the very methods used to access such information inevitably suck up the private data of American citizens

As the  Washington Post pointed out:

“Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as “incidental,” and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect’s inbox or outbox is swept in.”

These startling revelations about American intelligence agencies raise a number of questions, the first being, of course, who’s the  Guardian‘s source?

Read more » AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/thom-hartmann-abolish-homeland-security

“I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” – Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source – Guardian

A former CIA technical worker has been identified by the UK’s Guardian newspaper as the source of leaks about US surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden, 29, is described by the paper as an ex-CIA technical assistant, currently employed by defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

The Guardian said his identity was being revealed at his own request.

The recent revelations are that US agencies gathered millions of phone records and monitored internet data.

The Guardian quotes Mr Snowden as saying he flew to Hong Kong on 20 May, where he holed himself up in a hotel. He told the paper: “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.

Asked what he thought would happen to him, he replied: “Nothing good.” He said he had gone to Hong Kong because of its “strong tradition of free speech”.

Continue reading “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” – Edward Snowden

NSA surveillance revelations: Osama bin Laden would love this

The US has shown itself so paranoid in the face of possible ‘al-Qaida-linked terror’ that it has played right into jihadist hands

By , guardian.co.uk

Washington has handed Osama bin Laden his last and greatest triumph. The Prism files revealed in the Guardian indicate how far his bid to undermine western values has succeeded in the 12 years since 9/11. He has achieved state intrusion into the private lives and communications of every American citizen. He has shown the self-proclaimed home of individual freedom as so paranoid in the face of his “terror” as to infiltrate the entire internet, sucking up mobile phone calls, emails, texts and, we may assume, GPS movements.

The vast databases of Microsoft, Google, YouTube and Facebook are open to government. They may cry “your privacy is our priority”, but they lie. Obedience to regulatory authority is their priority. And what does authority say? It says what authority always says: “We collect significant information on bad guys, but only bad guys.” As police states have said down the ages, the innocent have nothing to fear. For innocent, eventually read obedient.

This is the same trawling power that the British security services want parliament to approve in its snooper’s charter. It is defended on the same basis, that it is only exchanges, not content, that they seek. They do not really mean to snoop. And they do it only where “national security” is involved. Pull the other one. That is what the Stasi said. You can almost sense the smirk as they say it. And they have even persuaded half of parliament that they are right.

Inducing such paranoia about terror – always called “al-Qaida-linked terror” – is precisely what Islam’s jihadist regard as the crucial first step in undermining the west’s pseudo-liberalism. It requires democracy to lose faith in oversight, to let securocrats off the leash, to capitulate to “better safe than free”. It requires the regular click up the ratchet of control sought by each successive British home secretary. They are Bin Laden’s useful idiots.

The western democracies, and especially America and Britain, are the most invulnerable states on earth. They are rich and secure. They may suffer occasional explosions and killings, but they face not the remotest risk of “existential defeat”. Yet 9/11 brought into being an edifice of creeping surveillance and repression which democracy is clearly unable to curb. It has never been so at risk as now, from its own loss of faith in liberty. Osama bin Laden would be clapping his hands with glee.

Courtesy: Guardian.co.uk
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/07/nsa-surveillance-osama-bin-laden

Concern about new bid to censor the Internet: HRCP, FIDH

By Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairperson

Lahore, March 13: On the occasion of the international day of action against Internet censorship, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), have expressed deep concern over an attempt by the Ministry of Information Technology in Pakistan to further restrict freedom of expression, creativity and peaceful thought on the Internet, by projecting an extensive filtering system that will, if implemented, allow authorities to block up to 50 million “undesirable” URLs at the national level.

The National ICT R&D Fund of the Ministry of Information Technology released in February a call inviting academia/research institutions, companies, organizations to submit, by 16 March 2012, a proposal for the set-up of a filtering system. The call claims that Internet access in Pakistan is mostly unrestricted and unfiltered, so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and backbone providers in the country need a high-performance system to block millions of URLs containing “undesirable” content as notified by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Censorship is already very tight in Pakistan; 13,000 websites considered guilty of publishing adult and blasphemous content have already been blocked. On 14 November 2011, authorities requested mobile operators to censor the content of SMS and ban 1,600 words and expressions. Over the last summer, operators received the order to submit lists of Internet users trying to escape censorship, which corresponds to a system of surveillance”, said Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairperson.

Continue reading Concern about new bid to censor the Internet: HRCP, FIDH

On censorship in Pakistan – Welcome to 1984

Welcome to 1984

By Irfan Husain

OVER the years, despite repeated bouts of military dictatorship, Pakistan has remained a relatively open society. Even with spooks running around unchecked, people have expressed themselves pretty openly, both privately and publicly.

In large measure, this has been due to the incompetence of our bureaucracy. Few cops and spies are very enthusiastic about surveillance duties. More often than not, they file their poorly written reports that go unread, and pile up in some dusty government archives, never to see the light of day.

But all this is about to change. According to an international tender floated by this government, it is aiming to acquire technology that will enable it not just to block websites at will, but to read our emails and monitor all Internet traffic.

Continue reading On censorship in Pakistan – Welcome to 1984

NATO’s perilous Kunar mission

By Tim Lister

The mistaken NATO air attack on Pakistani military outposts at the weekend, in which 24 soldiers were killed, was an accident waiting to happen.

The border between Pakistan and the Afghan province of Kunar is probably the most volatile of the entire 1,500-mile frontier that divides the two countries. It is rugged, remote and home to a variety of insurgent groups – including the Taliban (both Afghan and Pakistani), al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network and the Hezbi Islami Group run by veteran warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In the words of one Afghan analyst, Kunar represents “the perfect storm.”

READ also Pakistani-U.S. relations back at the bottom

In addition to the sheer number of insurgents in Kunar, the border with Pakistan – amid peaks and ravines – is not clearly marked, and in some places disputed.

Nor was it the first such accident. On June 10th 2008, US troops and their Afghan allies engaged Taliban fighters some 200 yards inside Afghanistan – along the same stretch of border. Grainy video from a U.S. surveillance drone that day showed a half-dozen Taliban retreating into what the US military said was Pakistani territory. Several air strikes followed using precision bombs. The U.S. military insisted none hit any structure. But Pakistan maintained eleven soldiers were killed and described the attack as “completely unprovoked and cowardly.”

That incident took place in daylight; the firefight at the weekend was at night. And since 2008, the border between Kunar and the Pakistani tribal agency of Mohmand has become even more violent. Attempts by U.S. forces to build combat outposts close to the border have provoked firefights lasting several hours; resupply convoys are greeted with roadside IEDs and ambushes.

To further complicate the picture, Pakistani forces frequently fire artillery into Kunar against Pakistani Taliban elements who use Afghan territory. At least one senior Pakistan Taliban leader, Mullah Fazlullah, is said to take refuge in Kunar after being driven out of Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2009. …

Read more » http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/28/natos-perilous-kunar-mission/?hpt=hp_bn4

US, Western diplomats under strict watch in Pakistan

By ANI

Lahore, July 21 (ANI): Pakistan authorities will keep the American and Western diplomats under strict surveillance to prevent them from going to places they are not authorised to, sources have said. The Nation quoted the sources ….

Read more → Yahoo News

Serving Major among 4 Pak nationals behind 2008 Mumbai attacks: US chargesheet

by Wichaar Desk

NEW DELHI: A suspected serving Pakistani Major, believed to be working with the ISI, is among four nationals of that country charged by the US with being alleged conspirators behind the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes.

The accused identified as ‘Major Iqbal’, was named along with Sajid Mir, Mazhar Iqbal and Abu Qahafa in a second superseding indictment filed by the federal prosecutors before a court in Chicago on April 25 last. Besides, the indictment mentioned an unnamed individual as “Lashkar Member D.”

Indian investigators had named Major Iqbal along with another Pakistani Army officer Major Sameer Ali as the brain behind the Mumbai terror strikes and on the request of New Delhi, Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice against them.

The dossier was handed over during the Indo-Pak foreign secretary-level talks on February 25, 2010 in New Delhi.

The role of ‘Major Iqbal’ emerged in the interrogation by the FBI of US terror suspect David Headley, arrested in Chicago in October, 2009 in connection with the Mumbai attack.

The four men identified were previously mentioned but not named in the indictments that charged Pakistani-American David Headley and Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana in connection with the Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people, including six Americans.

An individual known as ‘Major Iqbal’ participated in planning and funding attacks carried out by LeT in Mumbai, federal prosecutors said.

According to the Indian dossier, Maj Iqbal was posted in Lahore from 2007 to 2008 and was handling Headley. He also handled all the surveillance videos sent by Headley.

The US federal prosecutor said that in July 2006, Major Iqbal provided to Headley approximately USD 25,000 to, among other purposes, establish and operate the Mumbai office of First World and pay for living expenses while Headley carried out his assignments for Lashkar.

In September 2006, February 2007, September 2007, April 2008 and July 2008, Headley travelled to Mumbai for extended periods for the purpose of conducting surveillance of possible targets of attacks by LeT.

Prior to Headley’s departure for each of these trips, Mir and Major Iqbal along with others instructed Headley regarding locations where he was to conduct video surveillance in and around Mumbai, as well as other locations in India.

After each trip, Headley travelled to Pakistan, where he met Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal associated with Lashkar to report on the results of his surveillance, and provided them with photographs and videos from the surveillance, the US federal prosecutors said. …

Read more : Wichaar