Straight to it, first with the unsurprising from Defense One:
Congress Is Not Canceling the Pentagon-to-Police Weapons Program Anytime Soon
Rep. John Conyers, the House Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, and two of his Democratic colleagues are asking committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to convene hearings on the militarization of police forces. And Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia said Thursday he will introduce a bill that would limit the kinds of military equipment local police forces can acquire.
Libertarian-leaning Republicans are joining the chorus as well. Republican Sen. Rand Paul penned a piece for Time protesting the “cartoonish imbalance between the equipment some police departments possess and the constituents they serve,” and Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan spoke out against police militarization via Twitter as well.
The response from congressional Republican leadership, however, has been measured or nonexistent, suggesting the issue is unlikely to make the agenda when Congress returns from recess in September. And even if it does, the program that connects police forces to military equipment has well-placed defenders in Congress.
TPM Livewire covers a First Amendment crackdown:
Three More Journalists Detained In Ferguson
Relations between police in Ferguson, Mo. and members of the media covering protests against law enforcement there broke down again Sunday night.
Echoing the arrests of the Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly and the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery earlier this week, three reporters said they were briefly handcuffed and detained by police. Other reporters said officers threatened them with mace, while one radio reporter caught an officer’s threat to shoot him on tape.
Three journalists — Neil Munshi of the Financial Times, Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated and Rob Crilly of the Telegraph — tweeted that they were briefly detained and handcuffed by Missouri highway police Capt. Ron Johnson. Munshi emphasized that the three of them were held by police but were not arrested.
From the Guardian, the harsh reality of Hope™ and Change™:
James Risen calls Obama ‘greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation’
- Journalist refuses to reveal source of story about CIA operation
- President’s support for press freedom called ‘hypocritical’
The New York Times reporter James Risen, who faces jail over his refusal to reveal a source and testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets, has called President Barack Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation”.
Speaking to his colleague Maureen Dowd, Risen accused the president of aggressively pursuing journalists, including himself, who report sensitive stories that reflect poorly on the US government.
Risen faces jail over his reporting of a botched intelligence operation that ended up spilling nuclear secrets to Iran. The Justice Department has long been seeking to force him to testify and name the confidential source of the account, which is contained in his 2006 book State of War.
From Techdirt, more of that good ol’ Hope™ and Change™:
Government’s Response To Snowden? Strip 100,000 Potential Whistleblowers Of Their Security Clearances
- from the surface-issues-neutralized.-underlying-causes-unaddressed. dept
Snowden just re-upped for three years in picturesque Russia, a land best known for not being a US military prison. Not exactly ideal, but under the circumstances, not entirely terrible. The government knows where Snowden is (more or less) and many officials have a pretty good idea what they’d like to do to him if he returns, but the NSA is still largely operating on speculation when it comes to what documents Snowden took.
But they do have someone looking into this. The government has tried to assess the damage posed by Snowden’s leaks, but so far all it has come up with is vague proclamations that the released have caused grave and exceptional damage to US security and an even vaguer CIA report claiming that a bunch of documents Snowden theoretically has in his possession might severely harm the US if a) they are released and b) they exist.
The Associated Press complains of buggery:
Turkey calls German ambassador over spying claims
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry says the German ambassador has been summoned for talks over reports that Germany’s foreign intelligence agency had eavesdropped on conversations between officials in the U.S. and Turkey, both NATO allies.
German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday that the agency, known by its German acronym BND, had listened to calls made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton. It also cited a confidential 2009 BND document listing Turkey as a target for German intelligence gathering.
A Foreign Ministry official said Monday the ambassador was summoned to “discuss” the report.
Peter J. Espina of China’s state-published Global Times offered his take on a certain irony of German “unintentional” eavesdropping on calls by John Kerr and Hillary Clinton:
More from Der Spiegel:
Targeting Turkey: How Germany Spies on Its Friends
For years, the BND has intercepted satellite telephone conversations from its listening station in Bad Aibling in Bavaria in order to obtain knowledge of the Islamist terrorist scene. But intelligence sources now say that US office holders have also fallen into the BND’s crosshairs while making satellite telephone calls from airplanes. Sources described it as a kind of unintentional “by-catch”.
That’s how Clinton got caught in the BND’s net in 2012. The former secretary of state had telephoned with former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. At the time, he was serving as the joint UN-Arab League special envoy for the Syrian crisis. Annan had just left the latest negotiations in Syria and wanted to provide Clinton with an update.
Following protocol, staff at BND headquarters prepared a several-page-long transcript of the conversation and passed it along to senior agency officials. They in turn ordered that the transcript be destroyed. Sources say that the document was not forwarded to Merkel’s Chancellery.
But the person tasked with destroying the transcript was Markus R., an employee in the agency’s Areas of Operations/Foreign Relations department, who also turns out to be the same man recently accused of serving as an agent for the Americans.
And still more from Deutsche Welle:
German surveillance upsets Turkish trust
Germany’s surveillance of Turkey has damaged the trust between the two nations, Turkish experts say. An apology would be appropriate, they argue – but they don’t really expect one.
It took two days before the Turkish government reacted to the news that Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the country’s foreign intelligence agency, had allegedly been spying on Turkey for years.
On Monday, the Foreign Ministry in Ankara summoned Germany’s ambassador Eberhard Pohl, making it clear that the surveillance is unacceptable and must stop.
Foreign Minister Davutoglu called Germany’s behaviour “inexcusable.” There were principles of interaction that must always be considered, he said, adding the German government owed Turkey an explanation. Davutoglu, favored to take over the post of premier after new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan takes office, said he would discuss the issue with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on the phone.
From Techdirt, why are we not surprised?:
From The Unsealed ‘Jewel v. NSA’ Transcript: The DOJ Has Nothing But Contempt For American Citizens
- from the and-[local]-god-help-you-if-you’re-a-foreign-citizen dept
With some of the proceedings unsealed in the EFF’s long-running Jewel vs. NSA lawsuit, more details can finally be exposed. Not that what’s already been exposed hasn’t been damning enough. Over the past several months, the DOJ has run interference for the NSA, traveling from courtroom to courtroom, destroying and saving (or at least pretending to…) collected data amongst a flurry of contradictory orders.
Not that it ultimately mattered. The NSA just kept destroying relevant evidence, claiming the system was too complex to do anything with but allow to run its course. Evidence would be destroyed at the 5-year limit, no matter what preservation orders were issued. The NSA, of course, has a vested interest in destroying evidence that its 215 and 702 programs collect the data and communications of Americans. Thanks to Snowden’s leaks, it can no longer pretend it doesn’t. But despite this, the DOJ still claims Section 702 targets only foreigners and American suspects located outside of the US.
The mock concern about compliance with court orders was a hustle. The DOJ wants as much evidence that might be useful to plaintiffs gone as swiftly as possible. Thanks to the unsealing of Jewel court documents, the EFF can now relate that the DOJ’s efforts went much further than simply letting aged-off collections expire. It also actively tried to change the historical record of the Jewel case, as Mike covered here recently.
Al Jazeera English announces a move:
Julian Assange ‘to leave’ Ecuador embassy
- WikiLeaks founder says he will leave Ecuador’s embassy in London “soon”, but gives no further details.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said he plans to leave Ecuador’s embassy in London “soon”, having spent the last two years avoiding extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault.
Assange told reporters during a news conference on Monday that he would be “leaving the embassy soon” but not for reasons “reported by the Murdoch press”, without elaborating further.
“I am leaving the embassy soon… but perhaps not for the reasons that Murdoch press and Sky news are saying at the moment,” he said.
And a video report from RT:
‘Important changes coming’ – Assange’s friend
After spending more than two years trapped in a tiny embassy room, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has made a sudden announcement that he will leave the embassy ‘soon’. For more perspective on what Assange had to say, and why he said it RT talks to someone who knows him personally – Gavin Macfadyen, Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism.
A video of Assange’s full statement is here.
But the London Telegraph promptly threw a bucket of cold water:
Home Office shoots down Julian Assange’s claim about extradition law change
- Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, says he plans to leave the Ecuador embassy in London after spending two years there
Mr Assange and his legal advisers appeared to have made an embarrassing error by misunderstanding a basic aspect of the new legislation.
The Home Office quickly undermined his key claim by confirming the changes would not apply in the case of Mr Assange, who has been a wanted man in Sweden since 2010, because they are not retrospective.
Mr Assange, 43, is alleged to have raped a woman known as SW, then aged 26, and committed other sexual offences against AA, a 31-year-old woman.
From the Register, the Rupester crows:
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
- Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has taken to Twitter and labelled Google worse than the NSA.
Here’s The Dirty Digger’s missive:
Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch
NSA privacy invasion bad, but nothing compared to Google.
10:15 AM – 17 Aug 2014
Murdoch and Google have history, with the former accusing the latter of stealing his newspapers’ content (yet never putting in place a robots.txt file that would prevent search engines crawling it). Uncle Rupert has also criticised Google as enabling the theft of films by indexing torrent sites.
Reuters covers a hack:
Community Health says data stolen in cyber attack from China
Community Health Systems Inc (CYH.N), one of the biggest U.S. hospital groups, said on Monday it was the victim of a cyber attack from China, resulting in the theft of Social Security numbers and other personal data belonging to 4.5 million patients.
Security experts said the hacking group, known as “APT 18,” may have links to the Chinese government.
“APT 18″ typically targets companies in the aerospace and defense, construction and engineering, technology, financial services and healthcare industry, said Charles Carmakal, managing director with FireEye Inc’s (FEYE.O) Mandiant forensics unit, which led the investigation of the attack on Community Health in April and June.
From TechWeekEurope, cyberwarfare:
Syrian Malware Is On The Rise, Warns Kaspersky
- As the civil war in Syria enters its fourth year, cyber warfare shows no sign of abating
The number of cyber attacks against Internet users in Syria is growing, with organised groups relying on increasingly sophisticated strains of malware to target media agencies, activists and dissidents, warns Russian security vendor Kaspersky Labs.
According to a report by Kaspersky’s Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT), groups from both sides of the civil war are using advanced social engineering techniques, modifying legitimate apps and obfuscating their code in order to infect target machines with Remote Access Tools (RATs) such as the ‘Dark Comet’.
The company says people should be extra careful when they access online material that relates to the conflict.
From PetaPixel, delinquency of a [data] miner:
Tumblr Will Soon Scan Your Photos for Clues About What Brands You Use
Tumblr users post approximately 130 million photos every day. And starting this week, they will begin to sort through every single one of them for various brands and items, with the help of Ditto Labs.
The Yahoo-owned social media platform and Ditto are officially signing a deal this week that will help Tumblr take advantage of the unfathomable amount of images shared on its services every day. Specifically, the technology Ditto owns will allow Tumblr to analyze photos posted by users and draw out brand-related data.
This means, if someone shares an image with a pair of Beats headphones, Nike shoe, Starbucks drink or Canon camera, Ditto’s technology will be able to pinpoint the products, more effectively defining demographics for advertisers. However, accorfing to T.R. Newcomb, head of business development at Tumblr, “right now, we’re not planning to do anything ad-related.”
After the jump, a Chinese media crackdown and the latest on the Asian Game of Zones, including border crossings, peace feelers, a Japanese military woe and internal doubts, more allegations of Japanese ethnic intolerance, and more ghosts from World War II troubled the Asian present. . . Continue reading