This is for one of my followers…you know who you are…
Electronic snooping was part of a trial run for U.S. NSA and other foreign services
Jan. 31 2014
A top secret document retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and obtained by CBC News shows that Canada’s electronic spy agency used information from the free internet service at a major Canadian airport to track the wireless devices of thousands of ordinary airline passengers for days after they left the terminal.
After reviewing the document, one of Canada’s foremost authorities on cyber-security says the clandestine operation by the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) was almost certainly illegal.
Ronald Deibert told CBC News: “I can’t see any circumstance in which this would not be unlawful, under current Canadian law, under our Charter, under CSEC’s mandates.”
The spy agency is supposed to be collecting primarily foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic, and is prohibited by law from targeting Canadians or anyone in Canada without a judicial warrant.
As CSEC chief John Forster recently stated: “I can tell you that we do not target Canadians at home or abroad in our foreign intelligence activities, nor do we target anyone in Canada.
“In fact, it’s prohibited by law. Protecting the privacy of Canadians is our most important principle.”
But security experts who have been apprised of the document point out the airline passengers in a Canadian airport were clearly in Canada.
CSEC said in a written statement to CBC News that it is “mandated to collect foreign signals intelligence to protect Canada and Canadians. And in order to fulfill that key foreign intelligence role for the country, CSEC is legally authorized to collect and analyze metadata.”
Metadata reveals a trove of information including, for example, the location and telephone numbers of all calls a person makes and receives — but not the content of the call, which would legally be considered a private communication and cannot be intercepted without a warrant.
“No Canadian communications were (or are) targeted, collected or used,” the agency says.
In the case of the airport tracking operation, the metadata apparently identified travelers’ wireless devices, but not the content of calls made or emails sent from them.
Billionaires Attempt To Convince Society That They Are The Good Guys
Jan. 31 2014
The rich have never been richer and the poor keep getting poorer. The financial Masters of the Universe enjoy indefinite taxpayer-funded bailouts, while the social safety net for the poor is gutted. The ruling class that engineers crushing economic inequality gathers at the World Economic Forum in Davos to pretend to care about said inequality, and then promises no concrete actions to combat the crisis. Many high-income earners pay a lower effective tax rate than low-income earners, and IRS data show that in the last few years the rich have seen a steep decline in the share of taxes they pay.
And if you think there’s a problem with any of this, you’re a Nazi. At least according to the poor, put-upon oligarchs.
The latest fat cat to compare critiques of inequality to violent National Socialism is venture capitalist Tom Perkins—he of the $150 million yacht and the 5,500-square-foot San Francisco penthouse. In a letter to the Wall Street Journal editor, this Silicon Valley billionaire last week bewailed supposed “parallels” between Nazi Germany’s “war on its ‘1 percent,’ namely its Jews” and “the progressive war on the American 1 percent, namely the ‘rich.’” Citing rising angst over inequality, he insisted: “This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”
From this skewed perspective, the 85 people who now own as much wealth as 3.5 billion people aren’t the big winners. They are instead a persecuted diaspora being exterminated by Hitler.
If that sounds absurd, that’s because it is. However, what was missed in much of the media outrage over Perkins’ letter is the fact that his sentiment isn’t new. In fact, it is altogether mundane. Indeed, as predicted by Godwin’s Law, the phenomenon known as Reductio ad Hitlerum has become the aristocracy’s standard rejoinder to both critiques of economic inequality and policy proposals that might reduce such inequality.
Thomas Piketty’s new book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” described by one French newspaper as a “a political and theoretical bulldozer,” defies left and right orthodoxy by arguing that worsening inequality is an inevitable outcome of free market capitalism.
Capitalism, according to Piketty, confronts both modern and modernizing countries with a dilemma: entrepreneurs become increasingly dominant over those who own only their own labor. In Piketty’s view, while emerging economies can defeat this logic in the near term, in the long run, “when pay setters set their own pay, there’s no limit,” unless “confiscatory tax rates” are imposed.
Piketty’s book — published four months ago in France and due out in English this March — suggests that traditional liberal government policies on spending, taxation and regulation will fail to diminish inequality. Piketty has also delivered and posted a series of lectures in French and English outlining his argument.
After Blair’s latest bizarre intervention on Egypt, I have a plan – all it will take is a whip-round and a cryogenic freezer
The great thing about the judgment of history is that the defendant is never around for it. It is handed down in absentia, and unless Earth has an extradition treaty with the 357-room celestial palace in which Tony Blair’s idiosyncratic brand of faith presumably leads him to imagine he will spend eternity, then the former prime minister is safe to continue telling every second interviewer that “history will judge me”, or that he is “prepared to be judged by history”.
If only it were possible to leave someone else’s body to cryogenic science, instead of being limited to freezing oneself in the hope that medical advances could effect reanimation at some moment down the line. By means of a whip-round, I’m sure we could soon raise the necessary funds to keep the Blair corporeal form on ice in some secret Alpine lab, to be awakened at whichever vantage point in the future even he would concede might be lofty enough to survey his works. And then … well, then he would be forced to survey his works.
Come my afterlife revolution, in fact, there would be a special circle of hell reserved for history-will-judge-me types, where they would be forced to absorb those very judgments before an audience. I rarely find myself searching for any kind of violent end to the personal journeys of the age’s grotesque, great and small, though others will disagree. For instance, there are those who may wish for climate change deniers such as Jeremy Clarkson and James Delingpole to be swept away by a literal and metaphorical wave of poetic justice, in some disaster movie-style punchline to their heroic battle against science. But I must say it would be quite enough for me to imagine them being forced to read the history books they appear to think constitute their get-out-of-jail-free card, in which their flat-earthedess relegated them to mere comic footnotes.
Seated at another desk in this most chastening of eternal reading rooms would be Mr Tony Blair, perusing the history books of the future, with a live webcam trained on his face to transmit every individual moment of realisation of his own wrongness. It’s only a hunch, of course, that Blair’s fundamental wrongness will be the judgment of history. But it is the nagging suspicion engendered by each and every one of his interventions into early 21st century global affairs, with the latest one being a case in point.
To Egypt, then, and Mr Blair’s declaration that the military removal of a country’s first democratically elected head of state represents exciting progress for the Middle East, along with the violent crackdowns and human rights abuses that have followed. There is no point wondering if this announcement came shortly after he followed a white rabbit down a hole; he has lived so long in his moral Bizarro World now that to apply even his own logic to his utterances is as pointful as reasoning with a fart.
Still, there are those who feel understandably obliged to try. “The Middle East is a huge region and cannot be broken down into simplistic black-and-white realities, into blocks of good and evil, or as one picture as Tony Blair continually promotes,” the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding responded in frustration, going on to describe the parlous situation in Egypt post-coup as bearing “the hallmarks of the security state dictatorship under Mubarak, a man Blair described in 2011 as a ‘force for good’ even as [the former dictator’s] security forces were killing Egyptians in the streets”.
Ah yes. The old Blair kitemark, bestowed upon a sliding scale of obvious horrors from Silvio Berlusconi all the way through to Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi, and a virtual guarantee that the recipient should give up trying to take out any sort of long-term career insurance. For my money, even Cliff Richard has never been the same since the Blairs graced his holiday house.
Indeed, the erstwhile PM may well be the Brownfinger of the Middle East, such is his effect on everything he touches (with the obvious exception of his personal finances). The puzzle is how even he can continue not to realise this, although of course – and I’m afraid there’s no highfalutin way to put this – he really does look quite insane now. By whatever strange satirical alchemy Thatcher eventually came to resemble her Spitting Image puppet, so Blair has now converged totally with the mad-eyed Steve Bell image that was once still an exaggeration of his essence.
Still, on he goes – and on the world must go with him. “You know, we can debate the past,” he opined this week. “It’s probably not very fruitful to do so.” Which at least confirms that his professed interest in “history” is in fact a solipsistic, quasi-religious form of futurology as opposed to any attempt to evaluate recent events.
In a week where Gentleman Jim Davidson has won Celebrity Big Brother, you might find yourself wondering whether there is any semi-pariah in British life who, by mere virtue of hanging around long enough, would not eventually find themselves restored to some sort of vogue given the right passage of time. Could Mr Blair end up the single exception that will prove the rule? Time will be the judge of that, needless to say. But on current form, only a man blessed with his legendary powers of historical foresight would bet against it.
photo via melissa
photo via beth
photo via little