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Author Topic: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...  (Read 5043 times)

wraith808

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TaoPhoenix

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2013, 02:27:15 AM »
Now we get to see if they can do anything about it, or whether the US Gov will "divide and conquer" each nation one by one to get them to go silent.

I know, the US Media is starting their spin campaign, but articles like this are making me wonder why it's so hard for him to find asylum.

dr_andus

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2013, 05:26:43 AM »
Yup. Here is what China has got to say about it.

Quote
The Chinese government has expressed deep concern about Mr Snowden's allegations that the US had hacked into networks in China.

Tuesday saw the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party praise Mr Snowden for "tearing off Washington's sanctimonious mask".

In a strongly worded front-page commentary, the overseas edition of the People's Daily said: "Not only did the US authorities not give us an explanation and apology, it instead expressed dissatisfaction at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for handling things in accordance with law.

"In a sense, the United States has gone from a 'model of human rights' to 'an eavesdropper on personal privacy', the 'manipulator' of the centralised power over the international internet, and the mad 'invader' of other countries' networks."

dr_andus

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2013, 05:32:09 AM »
P.S. It's kind of funny for the Chinese now to admit that the US used to be "a 'model of human rights'"... It seems to imply that they accept that past US criticism of China's human rights record had been justified. How things are changing...

40hz

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2013, 06:22:14 AM »
I know, the US Media is starting their spin campaign, but articles like this are making me wonder why it's so hard for him to find asylum.

Welcome to the twilight's last gleaming...

Had this happened back in the 70s, there would be no question whatsoever about impeachment, resignations, and criminal prosecution of government officials and officers over any of this.

I think it's a frighteningly clear indication of just how far the United States has gone down the road of accepting its future as an Orwellian police state in that no one in its press, legislature or judiciary has so much as even broached the topic of impeachment or criminal prosecution to date.

There's a Latin inscription found on many old sundials alluding to the effect of hours: Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat. Translated it means: All wound, the last one kills. The same could equally be said about abuses of government power.


« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 10:20:21 AM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2013, 11:52:17 AM »
Had this happened back in the 70s, there would be no question whatsoever about impeachment, resignations, and criminal prosecution of government officials and officers over any of this.

The thing about it is that it wasn't as endemic back then.  Everyone, from the top to the bottom is in some way involved, whether by empowerment, willful obliviousness, or outright complicity.

This is the thing.  I don't think that what Obama is now is what he was when he ran.  But that thing about absolute power?

In a moment of candor, he admitted that he'd been wrong on some of his votes as a Senator, and some of the things he'd said about his predecessor, because he didn't have the full picture as a Senator.

Think about that.  He'd been asked to take a vote on things that he didn't have the full picture on.  What's wrong with that statement?  What does that say about this situation, and about the US government in general?

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2013, 12:30:53 PM »
Think about that.  He'd been asked to take a vote on things that he didn't have the full picture on.  What's wrong with that statement?  What does that say about this situation, and about the US government in general?

Giving him 5% slack, congresspeople *don't* have the "full picture" because their long term political strategy is different. It just is. The thing about being Prez is that it's a bit like firing a two bullet shotgun vs someone else with a semi-automatic. Once you get that re-election, then you're "done". So you can sorta do much more of whatever you want, and then you literally officially retire and then wander around doing "Former-President-y" stuff.

Congresspeople have to *keep* getting re-elected, so they often pick votes in the mood of the times. In some ways that's really bad in the House because the election cycle whips around so fast. Also a congress rep is "one of many" so they spend all day jockeying around. The President is a "one stop shop" and is followed much more intensely.


wraith808

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2013, 12:55:42 PM »
But you can't make a fully informed vote that is representative of your constituents if you don't have all of the information.  That sort of strips away any illusion of a representative government.

40hz

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2013, 02:26:31 PM »
But you can't make a fully informed vote that is representative of your constituents if you don't have all of the information.  That sort of strips away any illusion of a representative government.

Bingo!

But to grant him 1% slack, I also think he realized (as every president has since Kennedy) that the office of the prez is nowhere near as powerful - or secure - as many would believe should a president get a little too big for his britches and really think he was gonna rock the boat on the corporate/intel/power-broker crowd.

The president may have a secret service. But these guys have the full resources of our unelected and virtually unmonitored shadow government at their disposal: private "contractors," black ops programs, secret prisons, clandestine field operatives, omnipresent surveillance technology - the works! And it's not just conspiracy theory either. We know this looking-glass world exists. The government has acknowledged it does - even if it refuses to give specifics. Like our former VP so famously said: The gloves have come off.

I personally found it amazing how quickly Prez-O backed off on almost everything he said about transparency and accountability and repairing some of the damage caused by the excesses in the name of 9/11. Politicians don't usually betray everything they say, or do a complete 180, without fairly good reasons. And I don't think this guy was that good a liar that he had everybody conned right up front.

So what happened?

Compare the early days of this administration with the sudden change in its behavior and attitude about almost everything related to "national security" less than two years later.

I'm guessing "somebody" got cautioned. And in no uncertain terms.
 :huh:

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2013, 02:49:45 PM »
I personally found it amazing how quickly Prez-O backed off on almost everything he said about transparency and accountability and repairing some of the damage caused by the excesses in the name of 9/11. Politicians don't usually betray everything they say, or do a complete 180, without fairly good reasons. And I don't think this guy was that good a liar that he had everybody conned right up front.

So what happened?

Compare the early days of this administration with the sudden change in its behavior and attitude about almost everything related to "national security" less than two years later.

I'm guessing "somebody" got cautioned. And in no uncertain terms.
 :huh:

This is an important side-point to go into for a few minutes. Of course we're all jaded/cynical, but it's important to at least "keep our assumptions correct." So of course, we have to briefly ask ourselves if we felt "conned".

Have we forgotten so fast that the other ticket was *McCain-Palin*?!!
Does anyone want to speculate what *they* would have done, once in power?!!

So yeah, going back to Prez O's early first term, maybe he did really try to do a few things, then discovered that this is a particularly vicious "stonewall" Republican congress. You can do lots of "strange and miscellaneous" things as President, but I think we're discovering that then it becomes a bit of a waiting game playing ping pong with Congress and maybe the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile having watched a few James Bond movies, if this Ed Snowden critter basically did one of the "top five worst acts of treason" ever, why is it this hard to take him down? What am I not getting that a nice infiltrator team with a $25 million budget including some payoffs can't get done in a week? Or does *that* create the "Game Changer" martyr they're desperately trying to avoid? Why all this prancing around with the spin campaign?!

wraith808

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2013, 03:34:03 PM »
I'm guessing "somebody" got cautioned. And in no uncertain terms.

Yeah... all it takes is a not-so-circuitous reference to the grassy knoll to put them in line...

I still remember the last big thing that Kennedy said before that fateful day about the powers-behind-the-throne and blowing the lid on the whole thing.

Meanwhile having watched a few James Bond movies, if this Ed Snowden critter basically did one of the "top five worst acts of treason" ever, why is it this hard to take him down? What am I not getting that a nice infiltrator team with a $25 million budget including some payoffs can't get done in a week? Or does *that* create the "Game Changer" martyr they're desperately trying to avoid? Why all this prancing around with the spin campaign?!

Because the movies make the work look easier than it is, and Snowden is (was) an insider.  He's no babe in the woods... I think he did his research long before-hand, especially into what happened to the other NSA whistleblowers.

40hz

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2013, 04:12:52 PM »
Have we forgotten so fast that the other ticket was *McCain-Palin*?!!
Does anyone want to speculate what *they* would have done, once in power?!!

Well, it's pretty much always come down to settling rather than choosing in every election I was ever old enough to vote in.

Except for the last election.

Last election I left the president and VP lines on my ballot blank.


wraith808

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2013, 05:30:55 PM »
Well, it's pretty much always come down to settling rather than choosing in every election I was ever old enough to vote in.

Why settle for the lesser evil?  Cthulhu for President!

(Really... when I don't have a choice, I write in Cthulhu... what?  ;D)

40hz

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2013, 06:06:29 PM »
Well, it's pretty much always come down to settling rather than choosing in every election I was ever old enough to vote in.

Why settle for the lesser evil?  Cthulhu for President!

(Really... when I don't have a choice, I write in Cthulhu... what?  ;D)

LOL! I almost voted Elder Party in 2008. (Then I decided at the last second it was too important an election to screw around about.)

cth.jpg

 :Thmbsup:

Stoic Joker

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2013, 06:31:58 PM »
I'm guessing "somebody" got cautioned. And in no uncertain terms.

I've always felt that Obama truly wanted to make a difference in the beginning. Shortly before getting a rude awakening when he got into office regarding which end if the proverbial strings he was actually getting attached to. Because all the real power is in the hands of off board players that constantly lurk in the shadows.

Tinman57

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2013, 07:18:53 PM »
But you can't make a fully informed vote that is representative of your constituents if you don't have all of the information.  That sort of strips away any illusion of a representative government.

  Which brings up a whole nuther set of problems.  Since everyone and their mother can attach their own bills (Pork Barrel) onto the bill being voted on, by the time it's all done and over with the legislation being voted on can be upwards of 5000 pages.  Now figure in how many bills are being voted on in one day with all their attachments.  There's no way one congressman can read just one of those 5000 page packages in a day, so he/she just reads the original bill and not even attempt to read all the riders attached.  This is, of course, how bridges to nowhere get built.  Just not too long ago one of the Republican congressmen refused to even vote on some legislation because of all the attachments, and made it public.  Of course that story lasted about a week before the next "big" thing came up.  As long as everyone is allowed to attach riders to a bill, Pork Barrel spending will NEVER END, and screwed up legislation will get passed.

40hz

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2013, 08:20:53 AM »
And now for an enlightening non-US perspective from Jakob Augstein over at Germany's Der Speigel titled:  Obama's Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself from America.

Read this excellent well reasoned article in its entity here.

Quote
A Monitored Human Being Is Not a Free One

What, exactly, is the purpose of the National Security Agency? Security, as its name might suggest? No matter in what system or to what purpose: A monitored human being is not a free human being. And every state that systematically contravenes human rights, even in the alleged service of security, is acting criminally.

Those who believed that drone attacks in Pakistan or the camp at Guantanamo were merely regrettable events at the end of the world should stop to reflect. Those who still believed that the torture at Abu Ghraib or that the waterboarding in CIA prisons had nothing to do with them, are now changing their views. Those who thought that we are on the good side and that it is others who are stomping all over human rights are now opening their eyes. A regime is ruling in the United States today that acts in totalitarian ways when it comes to its claim to total control. Soft totalitarianism is still totalitarianism.

We're currently in the midst of a European crisis. But this unexpected flare-up of American imperialism serves as a reminder of the necessity for Europe. Does anyone seriously believe that Obama will ensure the chancellor and her interior minister that the American authorities will respect the rights of German citizens in the future? Only Europe can break the American fantasy of omnipotence...

CWuestefeld

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2013, 01:08:21 PM »
All the foregoing conversation about Pres. Obama's changing tune, and attributing that to (implicitly) hidden powers from the military-industrial complex doesn't explain *all* of the changes of tune. Sure, you can get mileage on the secrecy/warring/detention front, but what of the others.

We were promised an end to the federal govt's prosecution of marijuana growers, where allowed by state law. But in fact, Pres. Obama has stepped up enforcement operations.

We were promised better transparency. For example, all bills would be posted to the Internet for 72 hours before the Pres. would sign anything. That got thrown out on day #1, literally. For another example, the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than *any* administration *ever* in history.

Lobbyists weren't going to have any place near the White House, yet the Obama administration contains more than we'd ever seen in the past.

These are not issues that powerful elites in the area of our defense and security apparatus should have more than a peripheral opinion about. I don't buy that the President's hand was forced in these cases (particularly the ones where the promises were broken *immediately*). Therefore, I can't buy your explanation for the cause of the changing tune.

wraith808

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2013, 01:48:27 PM »
These are not issues that powerful elites in the area of our defense and security apparatus should have more than a peripheral opinion about. I don't buy that the President's hand was forced in these cases (particularly the ones where the promises were broken *immediately*).

We don't have (and never will) the full story on anything that happens behind the curtains, so we don't know how peripheral the interests actually are.  When people get power, they tend to want more, not let people off the chain.  The only other explanation is that he is a complete sociopath, because the indications in body language and speech were that he really did believe and want this.  And I don't think it's that simple either.  And we have to consider- Day One for us as it relates to him was not Day One for him.  There's a lot of preparation and briefing that goes into the transfer before inaugural day.  So what is considered campaign promise broken on Day One isn't really so.

40hz

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2013, 01:55:23 PM »
Depends...

Anti-marijuana enforcement efforts justify surveillance systems, "enhanced" border security, additional police powers and expenditures, create industries to support the same, and instill a sense of anxiety in the public that can be exploited when the time is right. (Danger Will Robinson!!!!)

Transparency? Our security services are diametrically opposed to transparency in any way shape or form. They have a great deal of influence over the actions of politicians. And our military hates (with some justification on the field - less so on appropriations) to be second guessed by politicians. And anything said that touches on the operations of the military or law enforcement community is actively resented by them. They're known to drag  their feet and publicly blame our politicians when they don't get their way.

Lobbyists? The ones representing the defense industry easily make up more than half their number.

So no...I think once in office, any prez gets a come to Jesu session with some of the big boys (possibly in his own party - not that there's any real difference between them) who carefully explain what's at stake and how the game in Washington works.

They wouldn't need  to threaten or do anything so obvious. They just need to let it be known that he's there for only four years unless he plays ball. And if he hopes to accomplish anything he'll be remembered for in that relatively brief time frame (and not be made to look like a complete incompetent fool) there are a few unwritten rules and caveats he'll need to be aware of - and respect.

The entrenched power structure in the United States government is bigger than any individual. Even the President.

That's the real problem with allowing a huge bureaucracy to work hand in glove with powerful business and military/security interests. That alliance of convenience becomes a second very real government in its own right.

40hz

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2013, 02:20:05 PM »
We don't have (and never will) the full story on anything that happens

 :huh: Actually...that's a very key point. None of us really do any more. Little of anything beneath all this is directly verifiable. What is emerging as "fact" is the result of inductive and deductive reasoning.

We're largely discussing things we don't really know for sure about. Information we believe to be true - largely based on what we've been told -  by nothing resembling what you'd call disinterested parties.

Not exactly a good set of "facts" to base a discussion on is it? ;D


wraith808

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2013, 05:54:55 PM »
Ok... you can't get more ironic than this.  In response to the Snowden situation, the CIA came up with a system to stop leaks.

It was just leaked....

wraith808

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Re: Blowback from Snowden's revelations... this isn't pretty...
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2013, 10:52:33 PM »
Snowden confirms the NSA behind Stuxnet... and a lot more.

most telling quote...

Quote
Question: But now as details of this system are revealed, who will be brought before a court over this?

Snowden: Before U.S. courts? You're not serious, are you? When the last large wiretapping scandal was investigated - the interception without a court order, which concerned millions of communications - that should really have led to the longest prison sentences in world history. However, then our highest representatives simply stopped the investigation. The question, who is to be accused, is theoretical, if the laws themselves are not respected. Laws are meant for people like you or me - but not for them.

This is a good one too...

Quote
Question: What are the major monitoring programs active today, and how do international partners help the NSA?

Snowden: The partners in the "Five Eyes" (behind which are hidden the secret services of the Americans, the British, the Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians -- ed.) sometimes go even further than the NSA people themselves. Take the Tempora program of the British intelligence GCHQ for instance. Tempora is the first "I save everything" approach ("Full take") in the intelligence world. It sucks in all data, no matter what it is, and which rights are violated by it. This buffered storage allows for subsequent monitoring; not a single bit escapes. Right now, the system is capable of saving three days’ worth of traffic, but that will be optimized. Three days may perhaps not sound like a lot, but it's not just about connection metadata. "Full take" means that the system saves everything. If you send a data packet and if makes its way through the UK, we will get it. If you download anything, and the server is in the UK, then we get it. And if the data about your sick daughter is processed through a London call center, then ... Oh, I think you have understood.