We begin with the utterly outrageous via Motherboard:
The Navy Routinely Spies on Citizens Then Helps the Police Prosecute Them
It’s not just the NSA: A Federal Appeals Court has just noted a disturbing and “extraordinary” trend of the Navy conducting mass surveillance on American civilians, and then using what they find to help local law enforcement prosecute criminals.
In this specific case, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent in George scanned the computers of every civilian in Washington state who happened to be using the decentralized Gnutella peer-to-peer network, looking for child pornography. The agent, Steve Logan, found child porn on a computer owned by a man named Michael Dreyer.
Logan then passed his evidence on to local law enforcement, who arrested and eventually convicted Dreyer, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The US Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled that this was a massive overstep of military authority, a disturbing trend, and a blatant violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, a law that prohibits the military from conducting investigations on civilians.
The government argued that it conducted the surveillance on the off chance that it caught a military member violating the law and suggested that it has this authority in any state with a military base.
From the Associated Press, serious Snowden blowback [or so they would have us believe]:
AP EXCLUSIVE: CIA halts spying in Europe
The CIA has curbed spying on friendly governments in Western Europe in response to the furor over a German caught selling secrets to the United States and the Edward Snowden revelations of classified information held by the National Security Agency, according to current and former U.S. officials.
The pause in decades of espionage, which remains partially in effect, was designed to give CIA officers time to examine whether they were being careful enough and to evaluate whether spying on allies is worth running the risk of discovery, said a U.S. official who has been briefed on the situation.
Under the stand-down order, case officers in Europe largely have been forbidden from undertaking “unilateral operations” such as meeting with sources they have recruited within allied governments. Such clandestine meetings are the bedrock of spying.
From the London Daily Mail, ah yes, those folks:
‘He is endowed with a certain lethal gentleness': The inappropriate remarks made by CIA supervisors during performance reviews declassified after decades
- Comments were made by CIA supervisors during appraisals in the 1980s
- Feature misused vocabulary, odd phrases and inadvertent connotations
- Include: ‘He is endowed with a certain lethal gentleness’, ‘I both like and dislike this officer’ and ‘Although unmarried she has growth potential’
- Quotes among hundreds of documents declassified by agency yesterday
And from Gizmodo, Old Spook ties?:
Larry Ellison’s Oracle Started As a CIA Project
Yesterday, Vox somehow managed to write an entire article about the history of Oracle and its founder Larry Ellison without mentioning the CIA even once. Which is pretty astounding, given the fact that Oracle takes its name from a 1977 CIA project codename. And that the CIA was Oracle’s first customer.
Vox simply says that Oracle was founded in “the late 1970s” and “sells a line of software products that help large and medium-sized companies manage their operations.” All of which is true! But as the article continues, it somehow ignores the fact that Oracle has always been a significant player in the national security industry. And that its founder would not have made his billions without helping to build the tools of our modern surveillance state.
“Recognizing the potential demand for a commercial database product, [Ellison] founded the company that became Oracle in 1977,” Vox writes, conspicuously omitting the whole “because CIA wanted a relational database” part of the history.
From BuzzFeed, the revolving door moves to the bedroom:
Wife: NSA Official. Husband: Exec At Firm Seeming To Do Or Seek Business With NSA
- NSA: It’s secret.
A large government contracting firm that appears to be doing or seeking business with the National Security Agency employs the spouse of one of the most powerful officials at the agency, according to corporate records, press releases, and company websites. But the NSA has declined to address whether there is a potential conflict of interest or to disclose any information about contracts or the official’s financial holdings.
The spouse, for years, has also had an intelligence technology company incorporated at the couple’s suburban residence in Maryland.
The NSA official, Teresa H. Shea, is director of the Signals Intelligence Directorate, which means she oversees electronic eavesdropping for intelligence purposes. She’s held that crucial position since 2010. SIGINT, as it is called, is the bread and butter of NSA espionage operations, and it includes intercepting and decoding phone calls, whether cellular or landline; radio communications; and internet traffic. Shea’s directorate was involved in the controversial domestic surveillance program, much of which was revealed by Edward Snowden.
As for Shea’s husband, James, he is currently a vice president at DRS Signal Solutions, part of DRS Technologies, a major American defense contracting company owned by the Italian defense giant Finmeccanica. On his LinkedIn page, he boasts of his “core focus” in “SIGINT systems,” and cites his employer, DRS, for its work in “signals intelligence, cyber, and commercial test and measurement applications.”
Next, a new feint in Cold War 2.0 from the London Telegraph:
US sends jets to intercept Russian aircraft
- American and Canadian jets scrambled after six Russian aircraft entered the US’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ)
On Wednesday, six Russian aircraft entered the United States’ air defense identification zone (ADIZ), an area beyond sovereign U.S. airspace, according to a statement from NORAD, a US and Canadian aerospace command, and US Northern Command (NORTHCOM).
In response, “two Alaskan-based F-22 fighter jets acting under the authority of NORAD identified and intercepted two Russian IL-78 refueling tankers, two Russian Mig-31 fighter jets and two Russian Bear long-range bombers in the ADIZ, west of Alaska,” the statement said.
On Thursday, Canadian fighter jets intercepted two Russian Bear long-range bombers in the Canadian ADIZ.
From the Guardian, when your secrets aren’t your secrets:
California judge rules against privacy advocate and protects police secrecy
- Man loses bid to access to police license plate records in case with repercussions on surveillance and government databases
A California judge’s initial ruling against a tech entrepreneur, who seeks access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area, via license plate scans, was the second legal setback within a month for privacy advocates.
The tentative decision issued Thursday upheld the right of authorities to block the public from viewing information collected on their vehicles, by way of vast networks that rely on cameras mounted on stoplights and police cars.
The rapidly expanding systems and their growing databases have been the subject of a larger debate pitting privacy rights against public safety concerns in a new frontier over high-tech surveillance. A Los Angeles judge ruled in August that city police and sheriff’s departments don’t have to disclose records from the 3m plates they scan each week.
From Reuters, piling on political fortunes at home plunge:
French jets strike in Iraq, expanding U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State
French jets struck a suspected Islamic State target in Iraq for the first time on Friday, expanding a U.S.-led military campaign against militants who have seized a third of the country and also control large parts of neighboring Syria.
President Francois Hollande said Rafale jets hit “a logistics depot of the terrorists” near the city of Mosul, which has been held by Islamic State for more than three months. It promised more operations in coming days.
The French military action, which follows U.S. air strikes in northern Iraq and near the capital Baghdad, appeared to win qualified endorsement from Iraq’s top Shi’ite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
From the Associated Press, indeed:
Islamic State plot in Australia raises questions
The Islamic State plot to carry out random beheadings in Sydney alleged by police is a simple and barbaric scheme that has shaken Australians. But terrorism experts on Friday questioned whether the ruthless movement had the capacity or inclination to sustain a terror campaign so far from the Middle East.
Some terrorism experts saw the plot as a potential shift in Islamic State’s focus from creating an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. Others, including Professor of International Relations and Security Studies at Murdoch University, Samuel Makinda, said it is more likely a symptom of policy confusion within a disparate group.
“If you have people coming in from different backgrounds from all these countries, when it comes to policy making, they’re going to fight each other, they’re going to kill each other,” Makinda said.
“On ISIS, I see no direct threat to Australia or to any other country at the moment except those in the Middle East,” he added.
Channel NewsAsia Singapore covers political theater:
Australia terror crackdown sees armed police in parliament
Australia deployed armed police inside parliament on Friday (Sep 19) in the face of extremist threats, ramping up an anti-terror crackdown after foiling a plot by Islamic State militants to carry out gruesome “demonstration executions” in the country.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott called an emergency meeting of his national security committee after urging Australians not to be intimidated by murderous plots, including beheadings. “All levels of government will do whatever we humanely can to keep our community safe,” he told a press conference. “The best way for people to respond to the threat of terror is to go about their normal lives,” Abbott said. “Terrorists want to scare us out of being ourselves. There will be armed federal police in and around our national parliament at all times.”
The prime minister has refused to link the latest threats against Australia to the nation’s role in fighting the Islamic State organisation in Iraq. He refuses to use the word “state” and brands the group a “death cult”.
From the Guardian, applying stick to hornet’s nest:
Anti-Islam ad campaign to run on New York City buses and subways
- Blogger paid $100,000 to place ads, one of which was rejected by MTA on grounds it could ‘incite or provoke violence’
Controversial blogger and activist Pamela Geller has paid $100,000 to place advertisements on New York City buses and in subway stations that feature anti-Islamic messages and images including one of James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by Isis in August.
The campaign, which is being funded by Geller’s advocacy group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AMDI), features six posters including the one that features Foley. All the posters carry messages critical of Islam. One features a picture of Adolf Hitler.
This is not the first time Geller’s organisation has used posters on New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority’s ad space to court controversy. In 2012, her organisation paid for posters to appear in ten New York subway stations.
After the jump, spawning a boom for drones, tanks-but-no-tanks at San Diego schools, killing on a Pakistani campus, troubling ghosts from the Korean/Japanese past, and troubling memories of a bloody British hand in Asia. . . Continue reading