Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Bad bits

Posted by Charles II on July 7, 2014


JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, because it is our specialty to understand surveillance systems of various kind, and it was my profession beforehand, the broad—many of the broad parameters, we already knew about. But the confirmation of each one of those parameters was extremely important for others to realize it. I think what is most surprising is not any one thing. It’s the scale, the incredible scale, and that at any point where you could guess, “Are they doing this, or are they not doing it?” they are doing it. So, for example, intercepting packages that are sent out in the post and backdooring them, backdooring chips. So we see the corporation list between National Security Agency and U.S. hardware manufacturers, so Intel, Qualcomm, that makes the chips for telephones and so on. That’s quite surprising. That had been rumored and speculated on, but that the actual physical hardware is backdoored before you even get it, that, I think, is—that is a bit surprising. And then the absolute numbers, the billions of interceptions that are occurring per day. Actually, people who were studying this knew that, but to see a map of the world and the different countries with how many millions or billions of intercepts per day were coming in, I think that is probably the most consequential. (emphasis added)

The rest of the interview is pretty interesting. Somehow Assange was able to communicate with Snowden without the NSA any the wiser. That has got to sting.

My unsolicited advice to the NSA: focus on actual threats to US citizens, and leave everyone else alone.

Posted in NSA eavesdropping | Leave a Comment »

Incidental collection

Posted by Charles II on July 6, 2014

Barton Gellman, Jule Tate, and Ashkan Soltani, WP:

No government oversight body, including the Justice Department, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, intelligence committees in Congress or the president’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, has delved into a comparably large sample of what the NSA actually collects — not only from its targets but also from people who may cross a target’s path.

Among the latter are medical records sent from one family member to another, résumés from job hunters and academic transcripts of schoolchildren. In one photo, a young girl in religious dress beams at a camera outside a mosque.

Scores of pictures show infants and toddlers in bathtubs, on swings, sprawled on their backs and kissed by their mothers. In some photos, men show off their physiques. In others, women model lingerie, leaning suggestively into a webcam or striking risque poses in shorts and bikini tops.

“None of the hits that were received were relevant,” two Navy cryptologic technicians write in one of many summaries of nonproductive surveillance. “No additional information,” writes a civilian analyst. Another makes fun of a suspected kidnapper, newly arrived in Syria before the current civil war, who begs for employment as a janitor and makes wide-eyed observations about the state of undress displayed by women on local beaches.

Posted in NSA eavesdropping | Leave a Comment »

Don’t get sick

Posted by Charles II on July 5, 2014

After you click this link.

Posted in health care, ratf*cking, Supreme Court | 2 Comments »

NSA spying on German intelligence services is exposed

Posted by Charles II on July 4, 2014

See here.

Also, Hillary thinks Snowden should be allowed a legal defense! Should we follow the Constition is now debatable.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

“And yet I swear this oath— America will be!” –Langston Hughes

Posted by Charles II on July 4, 2014

I’m not much of one to celebrate the Fourth. I’ve seen many foreign lands and known many of their residents, enough to know that America is no worse than many other countries, and better than quite a few. I’m in no manner anti-American or pro-any other country. But I know my history.

America is the nation that made the promise of equality, of liberty, and of the freedom to pursue happiness… at the very time it held slaves in chains and Native Americans at the point of a gun, a time when women and children were chattel, and people were in many places free to practice their religion only if they were Protestants. America was founded on a great hypocrisy. Yet the ideals that were enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and then in the Constitution have inspired people yearning to be free–including people crushed by our own nation. The Haitian Revolution, for example, was inspired by the French Revolution, which was, in turn, inspired by the American Revolution. We helped to crush the Haitians and have been doing so again and again even to this day. Despite our terrible character as a nation, something in our national soul yearns toward freedom, justice, compassion, and truth. As the Apostle Paul said, we are at war within ourselves, between a materialism that leads toward empire abroad and rampant inequality at home, and a deep spiritual yearning toward peace abroad and righteous living at home.

And so, one way I celebrate the Fourth is with Langston Hughes, the great African American poet who, writing from the depths of Depression and that American apartheid called Jim Crow wrote:

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Take a look at what Shanikka has to say.

Posted in freedom | 3 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on July 4, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 3, 2014

Submitted without comment:

State Rep. David Richardson, Florida’s first openly gay legislator, has won reelection without opposition – his Republican challenger bounced her filing fee check and has been kicked off the November ballot.

“I learned at 5:03 p.m. [Tuesday] that I had been declared the winner by the Florida Department of Elections,” said Richardson, D-Miami Beach.

Res ipsa loquiter.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on June 27, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 3 Comments »

And in another sign of imperial decline….

Posted by Charles II on June 24, 2014

China will be forming an international development bank to compete with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The bank is proposed to have $100B in capital, some of which will be from “West Asia”– the Chinese nickname for the Middle East. They plan to focus development investment on the old Silk Road.. all the way to Baghdad.

And, Chinese foreign direct investment abroad will now exceed investment into China. In other words, Chinese are starting to buy the world, rather than the world buying China.

And, China has taken a major step toward turning the renminbi into a reserve currency by creating an exchange outside of areas that it controls (Hong Kong) or strongly influences (Singapore). For three-quarters of a century, the dollar has been the world’s reserve currency. If the renminbi becomes an alternate reserve currency, US power to manipulate the financial system would be undermined.

These are not developments to applaud. They represent American failures, not Chinese successes. They come from extreme American venality, not from Chinese liberality. Heaven help us all.

Posted in China | 8 Comments »

Justice dismayed

Posted by Charles II on June 24, 2014

Lisa O’Carroll and Patrick Wintour, The Guardian:

Rebekah Brooks, his [Andy Coulson's] predecessor in the job [editor of the News of the World}, walked free from the Old Bailey after she was cleared of all four of the charges she faced in the eight-month trial.
[Brooks husband] Charlie [Brooks], [secretary Cheryl] Carter and News International’s head of security, Mark Hanna, were all cleared of one count each – conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The News of the World’s former managing editor Stuart Kuttner was also found not guilty on phone-hacking charges, but the jury have not reached unanimous verdicts on two further charges faced by Coulson and one charge faced by the News of the World’s former royal editor Clive Goodman.

Brooks’s acquittal will provide some relief for Rupert Murdoch, who once described the woman who rose to be chief executive of his London based News International operation his “top priority” when the phone hacking crisis first broke in the summer of 2011.

The only Murdoch employee found guilty was Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s former head of communications.

This follows a familiar pattern: criminality is rampant at a corporation, but the boss didn’t have the slightest knowledge; jail time for the small fry, not even a slap on the wrist for the people who–however cleverly and deniably– ordered the deeds. How different things would be, I think, if the law held the boss responsible for whatever was done by a corporation.

Posted in corruption, impunity, Media machine, Rupert Murdoch | Leave a Comment »

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