The Julian Assange drama drags on. Though he continues to sit in a top security British prison awaiting developments in his expected extradition to the United States, the Spanish High Court has been given permission to interview him. Assange is claiming that the Spanish company contracted with by the Ecuadorean government to do embassy security in London spied on him using both audio and video devices. The recordings apparently included conversations with Assange’s lawyers outlining his defense strategies, which is an illegal activity under Spanish law.
The New York Times is reporting that on June 20, President Trump ordered military strikes against Iran to retaliate for its shootdown of a U.S. drone, but then pulled back and didn’t launch them. Officials told the Times that Trump had approved attacks on Iranian radar and missile batteries. Trump tweeted, “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
The National Security Agency (NSA) has reportedly asked the White House to drop its phone surveillance program that gathers information on millions of Americans’ calls and texts, revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. According to a Wall Street Journal report published on Wednesday, agency insiders say the logistical and legal headaches of keeping the program operational outweigh its intelligence benefits. “The candle is not worth the flame,” one agency source told the Journal.
April 23, 2019 By Jimmysllama, Mintpressnews.com Resist! Ecuador, Julian Assange, Mass Surveillance, spying
LONDON — Like the proverbial “shot heard round the world,” the U.K.’s arrest and imprisonment of publisher and journalist Julian Assange officially signaled the Western world’s war on a free press. The Australian who founded WikiLeaks, but stepped down as editor-in-chief last year, was ousted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London last week after Ecuador President Lenin Moreno revoked his political asylum, and arrested by the U.K.’s Metropolitan Police. He was seen holding a copy of Gore Vidal: History of the National Security State while men dressed in suits — perhaps in a futile effort to make the arrest look a bit less repugnant — dragged the publisher out, handcuffed and resisting.
February 23, 2019 William Boardman, Readersupportednews.org Educate! Iran, Middle East, spying, US Imperialism
With a coordinated offensive of public relations strikes on February 13, the US government did its best to improve the climate for war by demonizing Monica Witt and further demonizing Iran. The Justice Department released a self-congratulatory press release together with a previously sealed indictment of Monica Witt and four Iranian nationals. The Treasury Department issued a dry press release along with sanctions on two Iranian organizations and ten “associated individuals,” based on the authority of executive orders declaring national emergencies as far back as 2007.
December 12, 2018 By John Detrixhe, Qz.com Educate! China, Inter-Imperialist Rivalry, spying, Technology, Telecommunications, United States
The US is again warning its allies about the risks of using telecom equipment made by China’s Huawei. American officials have briefed their counterparts in countries like Germany, Italy, and Japan about what they argue are potential cybersecurity risks, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). This follows previous warnings, such as a claim earlier this year that American citizens shouldn’t use Huawei’s phones. The US may be concerned about Chinese government influence embedded in Huawei’s technology because America’s spy agencies have done the same thing in the past. Western governments have long been wary of Huawei, which was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier.
June 28, 2018 By Jake Johnson, Mintpressnews.com Educate! NSA, spying, Surveillance, Telecommunications
“The most important surveillance story you will see for years just went online, revealing how AT&T became the internet’s biggest enemy, secretly collaborating against its customers and partners to destroy your privacy.” That was how whistleblower and privacy advocate Edward Snowden reacted to the publication of an explosive story by The Intercept on Monday, which reveals for the first time how “fortress-like” AT&T buildings located in eight major American cities have played a central role in a massive National Security Agency (NSA) spying program “that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.” “It’s eye-opening and ominous the extent to which this is happening right here on American soil,” Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Intercept in an interview.
The NSA has tripled its surveillance of Americans’ phone chatter, collecting over 534mn phone call records and text messages last year, despite pressure for more restrictions and transparency, a new official report has revealed. Over the course of 2017, the National Security Agency (NSA) collected some 534,396,285 call detail records (CDRs), representing a dramatic increase over the previous year when, the agency gathered details of 151,230,968 calls, according to the report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). A call detail record contains various attributes of the call, such as the source number, destination number, and the call duration, but does not include the “content of any communication, the name, address, or financial information of a subscriber or customer, or cell site location or global positioning system information,” the report states.
April 11, 2018 By Kevin Gosztola, Mintpressnews.com Resist! Muslims, NYPD, Racism, spying, Surveillance
“We have been down similar roads before. Jewish Americans during the Red Scare, African Americans during the civil rights movement, and Japanese Americans during World War II are examples that readily spring to mind.” The New York Police Department reached a settlement with Muslim-owned businesses, mosques, student groups, and others it subjected to discriminatory and suspicionless surveillance. As part of the settlement, businesses and mosques that were spied upon by the NYPD will receive damages for income lost as a result of the stigma and humiliation they suffered “for being targeted on the basis of their religion.” The settlement marks the culmination of a lawsuit, Hassan v. City of New York, that was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Muslim Advocates in 2012, following several Pulitzer Prize-winning reports from the Associated Press on surveillance against Muslim Americans by the NYPD.
Two Muslim men have challenged the New York Police Department’s cloak of secrecy over NYPD surveillance of Muslim mosques and student groups. The men’s case went to the New York Court of Appeals here on Feb. 6, with more than 30 supporters filling the spectator seats. The men’s lawyer demanded to know why New York state’s Freedom of Information Law request for the spy documents was met with an evasive NYPD response that it could “neither confirm nor deny” that such documents even existed. The NYPD has a long history of spying on civil rights organizers and anti-war activists, as well as leftist organizations and members. A 1971 federal lawsuit put in place guidelines that supposedly prohibit the NYPD from collecting information on political speech unless it is related to “terrorism.”
January 7, 2018 By Marlee Kokotovic, Nationofchange.org Resist! Fourth Amendment, NSA, spying, Surveillance
People all over the nation are joining together to pressure Congress to uphold the Fourth Amendment. The National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance powers are soon up for renewal in Congress, which could continue to affect millions of Americans’ privacy. Lawmakers are hoping to pass the bill, which would allow the NSA to continue violating millions of American’s privacy, quickly to avoid resistance. Many believe the NSA’s powers, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act, to be unconstitutional because it allows the NSA to collect and read communications between millions of Americans without a warrant. House Republicans are attempting to expand these powers even more. These new powers would include allowing the FBI to target citizens’ emails in NSA databases without a warrant.
December 7, 2017 Matthew Cole and Jeremy Scahill, theintercept.com Educate! spying, Surveillance, Trump Administration
By Matthew Cole and Jeremy Scahill for The Intercept - THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer — with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal — to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials and others familiar with the proposals. The sources say the plans have been pitched to the White House as a means of countering “deep state” enemies in the intelligence community seeking to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency. The creation of such a program raises the possibility that the effort would be used to create an intelligence apparatus to justify the Trump administration’s political agenda. “Pompeo can’t trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the proposals, in describing White House discussions. “It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books,” this person said, meaning the intelligence collected would not be shared with the rest of the CIA or the larger intelligence community. “The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly.”
By Zack Whittaker for Zero Day - By using a "traffic shaping" technique, the National Security Agency sidestepped legal restrictions imposed by lawmakers and the surveillance courts. A new analysis of documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden details a highly classified technique that allows the National Security Agency to "deliberately divert" US internet traffic, normally safeguarded by constitutional protections, overseas in order to conduct unrestrained data collection on Americans. According to the new analysis, the NSA has clandestine means of "diverting portions of the river of internet traffic that travels on global communications cables," which allows it to bypass protections put into place by Congress to prevent domestic surveillance on Americans. The new findings, published Thursday, follows a 2014 paper by researchers Axel Arnbak and Sharon Goldberg, published on sister-site CBS News, which theorized that the NSA, whose job it is to produce intelligence from overseas targets, was using a "traffic shaping" technique to route US internet data overseas so that it could be incidentally collected under the authority of a largely unknown executive order. US citizens are afforded constitutional protections against surveillance or searches of their personal data. Any time the government wants to access an American's data, they must follow the rules of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court, a Washington DC-based court that authorizes the government's surveillance programs.
By Josmar Trujillo for FAIR - Last week, the New York City Council held hearings on proposed legislation calling on the New York Police Department to be more transparent with how they surveil and spy on the public. Police officials, as they often do, proceeded to tell local lawmakers to get lost. Requests for more information and possibly a public comment period on NYPD spying tactics, which have reached sci-fi levels, were called “insane” and met with suggestions that ISIS terrorists would be given a “roadmap” to attacking the city. Conservative media outlets, predictably, came out shrieking in defense of the police and of surveillance. The New York Post (6/18/17) published the department’s testimony from the hearing and called it an op-ed, literally regurgitating the police line word for word for its readers. Not to be left behind by their fellow Rupert Murdoch employees, editorialists at the Wall Street Journal (“A Terrorist’s Guide to New York City: The Left Would Show Jihadists How the Cops Prevent Attacks,” 6/19/17) chimed in with admiration for police and full-throated disgust at those pushing the legislation
By Derrick Broze for Activist Post - In 2015 the U.S. Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, a bill which was touted as a victory against the intrusive eyes and ears of the National Security Agency. The bill came about after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released classified documents regarding the agency’s massive spying programs. Democrats and Republicans came together to pass the Orwellianly named “USA Freedom Act. The bill was supposed to put an end to the monitoring of Americans’ phone calls. The politicians and compliant deadstream media applauded themselves for saving the day (while simultaneously condemning the man who exposed the spying) and everyone felt safer. The NSA promised to only inspect phone records of those suspected of terrorism, but they never stopped collecting emails. Also, the agency has a variety of other methods for accessing phone records of Americans. The reality is that the NSA never stopped spying. A new report released on Tuesday by the office of Director of National Intelligence confirms this reality. The report details how the NSA collected over 151 million phone records of Americans, even after the USA Freedom Act became law.