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A Year After Reform Push, NSA Still Collects Bulk Domestic Data, Still Lacks Way to Assess Value

The Intercept - Engl. - πριν από 2 ώρες 38 λεπτά

The presidential advisory board on privacy that recommended a slew of domestic surveillance reforms in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations reported today that many of its suggestions have been agreed to “in principle” by the Obama administration, but in practice, very little has changed.

Most notably, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board called attention to the obvious fact that one full year after it concluded that the government’s bulk collection of metadata on domestic telephone calls is illegal and unproductive, the program continues apace.

“The Administration accepted our recommendation in principle. However, it has not ended the bulk telephone records program on its own, opting instead to seek legislation to create an alternative to the existing program,” the report notes.

And while Congress has variously debated, proposed, neutered, and failed to agree on any action, the report’s authors point the finger of blame squarely at President Obama. “It should be noted that the Administration can end the bulk telephone records program at any time, without congressional involvement,” the report says.

Obama said a year ago that he favored an end to the government collection of those records if an alternative — such as keeping the records at the telephone companies, or with a third party — still allowed them to be searchable by the government. The White House was recently said to be “still considering” the matter.

The board noted that Obama has accepted some, but not all, of the privacy safeguards it recommended — somewhat reducing the ease and depth with which National Security Agency agents can dig through the domestic data, but not, for instance, agreeing to delete the data after three years, instead of five.

A year ago, the board also recommended that Congress enact legislation enabling the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which currently approves both specific and blanket warrant applications without allowing anyone to argue otherwise, to hear independent views. It recommended more appellate reviews of that court’s rulings.

There’s been no progress on either front.

A year ago, the board recommended that “the scope of surveillance authorities affecting Americans should be public,” and that the intelligence community should “develop principles and criteria for the public articulation of the legal authorities under which it conducts surveillance affecting Americans.”

Something is apparently brewing in that area, but it’s not entirely clear what. “Intelligence Community representatives have advised us that they are committed to implementing this recommendation,” with principles “that they will soon be releasing,” the report says.

The privacy board’s second report, on the collection of international telephone and Internet content, came out just six months ago, and was considerably more disappointing to civil libertarians than its report on domestic collection. Most of its recommendations involved tweaks, and are either being implemented or “awaiting implementation,” the board reported.

But one recommendation in particular – that the intelligence community develop some sort of methodology to assess whether any of this stuff is actually doing any good — has been notably “not implemented.”

“Determining the efficacy and value of particular counterterrorism programs is critical,” the board says. “Without such determinations, policymakers and courts cannot effectively weigh the interests of the government in conducting a program against the intrusions on privacy and civil liberties that it may cause.”

White House photo of PCLOB meeting with Obama in June 2013

The post A Year After Reform Push, NSA Still Collects Bulk Domestic Data, Still Lacks Way to Assess Value appeared first on The Intercept.

Professor Fired for Criticizing Israel Files Lawsuit Against University of Illinois

The Intercept - Engl. - πριν από 5 ώρες 23 λεπτά

Steven Salaita, an academic whose contract for tenured professorship was abruptly terminated by the University of Illinois board of trustees last September for tweets critical of Israel, has filed a lawsuit against the university’s administrators and unnamed donors. Salaita’s attorneys and the Center for Constitutional Rights commenced the lawsuit this morning in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The lawsuit seeks his reinstatement as well as compensatory and punitive damages. Salaita’s complaint invokes both the U.S. Constitution and the university’s bylaws to allege violations of his free speech and due process rights along with claims for breach of contract, conspiracy, and destruction of evidence.

The lawsuit included as defendants “John Doe Unknown Donors to the University of Illinois,” because the suit alleges that threats from influential donors to withhold future contributions were central to Salaita’s dismissal.

Salaita, author of six books, was teaching on the faculty of Virginia Tech in 2013. He then accepted a position as a tenured professor of Native American studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champlain campus on October 3, 2013 and was scheduled to begin teaching the following fall. He and his wife both resigned from their positions and prepared to move to Illinois.

On August 2, 2014, he received a letter from University Chancellor Phyllis Wise and Vice President Christophe Pierre stating that his appointment would “not be recommended by for submission to the Board of Trustees in September,” a process that is typically done en masse and was widely understood as a formality.

The sudden and unexpected reversal was a response to tweets Salaita had written that were critical of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, a bloody, 50-day military campaign in the Gaza Strip in which, according to the UN, 2,131 Palestinians were killed, along with 71 Israelis (all but five of whom were soldiers).

Salaita’s multiple tweets were highlighted in an  article in the conservative outlet, The Daily Caller. The University board of trustees then convened an unusual session on July 24 to discuss the tenor of Salaita’s tweets and his position at the university and, on September 11, voted 8-to-1 to reject his appointment.

In a public statement, Chancellor Wise said:

The decision regarding Prof. Salaita was not influenced in any way by his positions on the conflict in the Middle East nor his criticism of Israel. Our university is home to a wide diversity of opinions on issues of politics and foreign policy. […] What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them.

Critics of the decision allege that Salaita was not fired to maintain “civility,” but due to outside pressure in response to his criticism of Israel. Students and faculty at UIUC and many prominent scholars have risen to his defense in protests, formal complaints, and boycotts of the university.

In an August 7 statement, the American Association of University Professors wrote:

Whether one finds these views attractive or repulsive is irrelevant to the right of a faculty member to express them. Moreover, the AAUP has long objected to using criteria of civility and collegiality in faculty evaluation because we view this as a threat to academic freedom. It stands to reason that this objection should extend as well to decisions about hiring, especially about hiring to a tenured position.

Last November, Salaita filed a Freedom of Information Request to uncover internal communications related to his dismissal. Those documents revealed that pressure from students, alumni, and influential pro-Israel donors are at the root of his dismissal.

Salaita’s dismissal, the lawsuit alleges, directly contravenes the university’s own Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and “General Terms of Employment for Academic Staff Members.”

Since the board’s decision, Professor Salaita has remained unemployed, but his cause has been taken up in activist, free speech, and certain academic circles, where his termination is seen as the latest in a long line of cases where Israel critics are punished or even fired.

DV.load('//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1511302-salaita-complaint.js', { width: '100%', height: '450', sidebar: false, container: '#dcv-1511302-salaita-complaint' });

 

Photo: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/MCT/Getty

The post Professor Fired for Criticizing Israel Files Lawsuit Against University of Illinois appeared first on The Intercept.

SIKO-Time

Amazonas-Box/Frieden-etc. - πριν από 6 ώρες 46 λεπτά

eigentlich gehören die diesjährigen SIKO-Proteste längst in mein Blog ... ich komm' halt nich nach. Aber nun:

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Brüsseler Inquisition in Griechenland beginnt

Indymedia antimil - πριν από 7 ώρες 7 λεπτά
von: anonym am: 29.01.2015 - 16:15

Deutschlands Generalfeldmarschall Martin Schulz wird am heutigen Donnerstag die Grenze überschreiten um in Athen von der demokratisch gewählten Regierung zu verlangen, vor Berlin auf die Knie zu gehen, die nationalen Interessen Griechenlands zu verraten und den Nazi-Krieg gegen Russland durch die Zustimmung zum Brüsseler Sanktionsregime zu unterstützen.
Vor seiner Reise hat Schulz im deutschen ZDF kundgetan, dass er schockiert über die Entscheidung der griechischen Regierungspartei Syriza sei, nicht mit den griechischen Marionettenparteien der zionistischen Kriegsmafia aus Berlin, Brüssel und Washington zu koalieren, zu denen er selbst gehört, sondern eine Koalition mit der Partei der Unabhängigen Griechen ANEL eingegangen zu sein, deren außenpolitisches Credo lautet, vor ausländischen Inquisitoren nicht auf Knien zu rutschen. Schulz erklärte weiter, er sei entsetzt darüber, dass die griechische Regierung den von Berlin mit Hilfe von Nazibanden geführten Krieg gegen Russland in Frage stelle. Außerdem machte Schulz im ZDF klar, dass er nicht nach Athen gehe, um dort über das für und wider der Unterstützung von Kiewer Nazis oder des Krieges gegen Russland zu diskutieren, sondern um dort Befehle zu erteilen. Griechenland hat sich dem Kriegsdiktat aus Berlin, Brüssel und Washington gefälligst begingungslos unterwerfen, und das subito. Wörtlich sagte Schulz, er habe “keinen Bock,” ideologische Debatten mit der demokratisch gewählten Regierung Griechenlands zu führen.
Weiter kündigte Schulz an, dass das souveräne und in den EU-Verträgen verbriefte Recht eines jeden EU-Mitgliedsstaates, innerhalb der EU gegen Sanktionen gegen Dritte abzustimmen, für Griechenland nicht gilt, und drohte, dass Brüssel Griechenland hart dafür bestrafen wird, wenn die griechische Regierung beim Berliner Sanktionskrieg gegen Russland nicht mitmacht. “Tacheles” will er mit den Griechen reden, sagte Schulz. Kurz stoppte Schulz davor, Griechenland in seiner Ansprache im ZDF daran zu erinnern, dass Deutschland auch 1941 schon einen Weg gefunden habe, um griechische Widerstände bei einem von Berlin vorangetriebenen Krieg gegen Russland aus dem Weg zu räumen und Griechenland offen mit der Wiederholung eines solchen deutschen Vorgehens zu drohen. Dem griechischen Regierungschef Alexis Tsipras ist es allerdings auch ohne dass Schulz es offen hätte ansprechen müssen, bestens bekannt, was Deutschland das letzte Mal mit Griechenland gemacht hat, als Athen dem brutalen deutschen Drang nach Osten in Richtung Russland im Weg stand. ........ https://nocheinparteibuch.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/brusseler-inquisition... ...........

House of Cards: A DC Real Estate Column

The Intercept - Engl. - πριν από 7 ώρες 55 λεπτά

In October of 2014, former Democratic Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle and his wife sold their seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom house on Foxhall Road for $3.25 million.

It was not an unusually large haul for a member of Washington’s political elite, but it was a big step up from his financial circumstances in 2003. Daschle’s financial disclosure form—filed a year before he lost a race to John Thune, marking the first time in more than half a century that a Senate party leader failed to win reelection—showed his net worth to be between $400,000 and $1.2 million. It was a pitiful amount by congressional standards and led CNN to disparage him as a senator of “modest means.”

After leaving office, however, Daschle immediately began making millions by advising corporations. During the two years prior to his failed nomination to head Health and Human Services he netted $5.2 million, mostly from healthcare, energy, private equity and telecommunications companies. That included big compensation for speaking appearances (he is, according to his speakers’ bureau profile, “a tireless fighter for the common man”) and for authoring such works as, Getting It Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform, which was subsequently found to induce narcolepsy in laboratory rats.

There’s a common perception that government doesn’t work and that “partisan gridlock” has made things worse than ever. But when it comes to fundamental economic questions, there is no partisan divide in Washington and the system is “broken” only if you’re part of the growing slice of the population that’s poor or middle class, for whom average income has been stagnant for decades.

For those at the top of the economic pyramid, like Tom Daschle, government is ruthlessly efficient at funneling money upward via tax cuts and loopholes, corporate subsidies, deregulation and other business-friendly policies. The richest 400 Americans now own more than the bottom half of the population combined and inequality “is greater now than it has been at any time in the last century, and the gaps in wages, income, and wealth are wider here than they are in any other democratic and developed economy,” historian Colin Gordon writes in “A Political History of American Inequality.” Meanwhile, a new report by Oxfam predicted that, by next year, the world’s richest 1 percent will command more wealth than everyone else.

One of the reasons that government works well for the wealthy is that so many elected officials are wealthy themselves, and directly benefit from the economic measures they pass. The median net worth of the current Congress is slightly north of $1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and that surely understates their wealth because it’s based on financial disclosure forms that don’t require the listing of real estate holdings.

Our millionaire politicians depend overwhelmingly on campaign contributions from their class comrades to win and hold office. Only 0.18 percent of Americans donate $200 per year to political candidates and only 0.03 percent give the legal maximum of $2,600. Washington has about 646,000 residents, just .02 percent of the U.S. population. But in 2014 thus far people using DC home or business addresses have collectively contributed $237 million to federal candidates, PACs, political parties and outside spending groups, about 17 percent of all individual donations. More political money flows out of the 20005 zip code—the heart of the capital’s lobbyist/PR complex—than from each of 19 states.

(For an unbelievably nonsensical take on why rich people don’t have inordinate political influence, read this opinion piece from the Washington Post Outlook section—naturally—by Darrell M. West of Brookings. He writes, for example, “Conservative financiers didn’t defeat President Obama in 2012, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars to do so.” Note to West: There are plenty of billionaires who supported Obama.)

A political system that transfers wealth upward didn’t happen by chance, but was the willful creation, and decades in the making, of our corporate and political overlords.

The process began in the early-1970s, amid the twin political crises of Vietnam and Watergate and an economy showing signs of stagflation, when business began a campaign to smash the post-war agreement that tolerated unions and offered wages allowing millions of workers to join the middle class and, at the lowest end, escape poverty. Between 1947 and 1979, the share of income going to the top 1 percent fell by about 27 percent. Then the effects of the corporate campaign began to kick in. Between 1980 and 2012, the share going to the top 1 percent rose by 120 percent.

The corporate campaign created a political consensus that churns out business-friendly policies no matter which party is in power. It also changed the nature of government employment. Fifty years ago, people came to Washington drawn by a sense of public service, however they defined it, and they often stayed in the public sector over much of their careers. Now working in government is a brief way station on the road to better things. Many of those who come to DC with little wealth leave in a position to become rich, and those who come rich are able to become richer.

After he went to prison for bribing public officials, lobbyist Jack Abramoff claimed in his memoir, Capitol Punishment, that he controlled around 100 members of Congress. In addition to offering them and their staff free meals at his high-end restaurant, Signatures, Abramoff handed out luxury box tickets to sporting events and junkets to the world’s most exclusive golf destinations. But his most effective tactic was simply to float the suggestion to congressional staffers that he’d hire them when they left the Hill. Abramoff would then effectively “own” the staffer, who would perhaps even unconsciously start making decisions that benefited his future employer. “His paycheck may have been signed by the Congress, but he was already working for me, influencing his office for my clients’ best interests,” Abramoff wrote. “It was a perfect–and perfectly corrupt–arrangement.”

In this environment it’s misleading to use the term “revolving door,” because that falsely suggests that there are sharp lines separating corporate America, government and the influence peddling complex.

Linda Daschle stands with her husband, Tom Daschle.

For the political class, cashing in doesn’t require brains, hard work, dedication or talent, but merely a willingness to sell to the highest bidder the Rolodex you compiled while in government. That brings me to a topic I’ve been writing about a lot, namely the incredible wealth being compiled by former politicians and hangers-ons, with a focus on their real estate holdings.

Over the past month or so, I’ve written about a former FBI director’s beachside penthouse (co-owned by his wife, and a client he “cleared” of wrongdoing), an Iraq War-financed McMansion, and a lavish Virginia property owned by a CIA torturer. I like writing about real estate because it’s hard to get people’s bank account records, but you can roughly track their wealth through their property holdings.

Consider, for example, Daschle, and his wife, Linda. Tom now lobbies for America’s biggest corporations but avoids registering (and disclosure laws) by calling himself a “strategic adviser.” He was Barack Obama’s first choice to be Secretary of Health and Human Services but had to withdraw due to a number of embarrassing ethical lapses, like failing to pay taxes on a chauffeured limousine provided to him by a friend and political donor. His second wife Linda, a former Miss Kansas, advertises herself more honestly and is considered to be one of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington.

The pair met in 1980 when Tom was a freshmen House member and Linda held a low-level position with the Civil Aeronautics Board, which is supposed to help regulate the airline industry. He had stopped by her office as part of a congressional visit and wedding bells rang swiftly (as soon as Tom dumped his first wife, who in 1978, according to this story in Washington Monthly“had helped him ring 40,000 doorbells and go on to unseat an incumbent by 14 votes”).

Soon after their marriage, Linda landed a lobbying job with the Air Transport Association and in 1993 Bill Clinton appointed her to a senior position at the FAA. Four years later she tired of public service and returned to lobbying (at a firm founded by former senator Howard Baker).

Linda emerged as a lobbying powerhouse by representing clients (mostly aviation firms), whom her husband helped out while in the Senate. For example, she helped American Airlines get bailouts, even after the carrier had worked to “water down safety and security regulations that might have helped foil the World Trade Center attacks.” There’s no way to track Linda’s lobbying income, but she’s assuredly a mega-millionaire in her own right.

When Tom was a senator the couple owned a comfortable home in DC, but in 2011 they bought the seven-bedroom house at 2830 Foxhall Road NW. The year before, the Daschles bought two plots of land for $1.3 million in Bluffton, South Carolina, near the resort town of Hilton Head Island. By 2013, they had started building a house on them. It’s a perfect spot for this ardent champion of the “common man” and his superlobbyist wife. Bluffton has been proudly described by southernnationalist.com as the Antebellum birthplace of Southern secession that made its name by “embracing inequality as a positive good and rejecting democracy as a destructive evil.”

Representative Richard Baker, a Democrat from Louisiana.

Because I’m bipartisan, let’s now turn to former Congressman Richard Baker, a Democrat turned Republican in 1986. While representing Louisiana in congress between 1986 and 2008, Rep. Richard Baker was a reliable voice of right-wing hackery (in one of his last official acts he sponsored a resolution that “calls attention to…the contributions of Christianity to the foundation of the United States”) and evil (“We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans,” he was overheard telling a group of lobbyists soon after Hurricane Katrina. “We couldn’t do it, but God did.”).

Baker long served on the House Banking Committee and chaired a subcommittee that was supposed to police Wall Street, but instead worked to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, which was passed during the Great Depression and separated commercial and investment banking. This was Wall Street’s wettest dream and led directly to rapid consolidation of the financial industry and the economic crash of 2008 that cost Americans $22 trillion and left millions unemployed and in foreclosure.

As a token of gratitude for such service, the financial industry contributed nearly $1.6 million to Baker’s congressional campaigns; his three single largest career donors were JPMorgan Chase, the American Bankers Association and Bank of America.

Baker resigned in 2008 and moved directly to Wall Street’s payroll as chief lobbyist for the Managed Funds Association (MFA), the voice of the hedge fund industry. Since then Baker has helped his patrons defeat stricter regulation of derivatives trading and higher taxes on hedge funds and their executives.

Enriching Wall Street firms (like JPMorgan, which sits on the MFA’s board) and destroying the American middle class has netted big returns for Baker. By congressional standards he was poor when he left office; financial disclosure forms show his total net worth at the time was $75,000 and that his biggest single asset was K’s Louisiana Market, his wife’s catering firm. Back then he resided in a modest home in Baton Rouge.

Life improved dramatically when Baker went to work for the Managed Funds Industry. According to the group’s latest IRS tax filing, he took home $2.3 million in 2011, which included a bonus of $700,000 and represents a 1,500 percent raise from his tawdry congressional salary of three years prior.

While Baker cleaned up, his financial sponsors were systematically ripping off his former constituents. For example, in 2012 Wells Fargo—a major campaign contributor to Baker and member of the MFA—settled a federal housing discrimination complaint over charges that it had allowed properties it foreclosed upon in minority neighborhoods of New Orleans to fall into neglect and disrepair, while carefully maintaining its stocks of foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods (Wells Fargo, as part of the settlement, agreed to pay $234.3 million in relief and compensation).

Such Louisiana woes don’t appear to have affected Baker. He currently owns three properties in his home state, among them a waterfront lot. (The real estate advertisement for the lot read: “Are you looking for the ultimate in elegant, private, and classy river front property but haven’t found it yet? Stop!!!!”). He paid $237,000 for it, a mere month’s pay on his current salary. It’s not a mansion, but it does come with room to dock two forty-foot boats.

But don’t worry–the “Waterfront Sanctuary” isn’t Baker’s most impressive property. In 2010, already flush with hedge fund cash, he bought a shiny new home in Baton Rouge for $2.27 million.

Coming next on House of Cards: Code Ridge

[Author’s Note: I’ve been writing about these issues for a very long time. Some parts of the above were adapted from my prior articles, which have appeared previously in Harper’s, and other publications.]

Photo: David Zalubowski/AP; Stephanie Green/Bloomberg/Getty; Dennis Brack/Bloomberg/Getty

The post House of Cards: A DC Real Estate Column appeared first on The Intercept.

Die Bundeswehr zieht aus Sardinien ab

IMI Tübingen - πριν από 8 ώρες 48 λεπτά
Seit der Wiederbewaffnung Westdeutschlands führt die Bundeswehr Übungsmanöver auf den NATO-Stützpunkten der italienischen Insel Sardinien durch. Doch damit ist nun offenbar Schluss. Wie die sardische Tageszeitung „Sardiniapost“ am 23. Januar berichtete, wird die Bundeswehr demnächst von Sardinien abziehen und „in (…)

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Film: Blick nach vorn im Zorn

Stop G7 - Elmau 2015 - πριν από 9 ώρες 12 λεπτά

Widerstand gegen den Weltwirtschaftsgipfel 1992 in München Anti-WWG Doku Gruppe, BRD 1992, 50 Min.

Als Beitrag zur Mobilisierung gegen den G7-Gipfel auf Schloss Elmau im Juni 2015 erinnern wir an die Proteste  gegen diese Veranstaltung vor 23 Jahren. 1992 hieß es noch Weltwirtschaftsgipfel und fand in München statt – zentausende Menschen gingen dagegen auf die Straße.

Veranstalter; KulturLaden Westend.

Ort: KulturLaden Westend, Ligsalzstr. 44, 80339 München

 

 

Den Akademikerball am 30.01.2015 in Wien verhindern

Linksunten Antimil - πριν από 20 ώρες 29 λεπτά

[HL] »Refugees Welcome« - ein Bericht

Linksunten Antimil - πριν από 20 ώρες 29 λεπτά

HAGIDA 2.0 - same shit, different date

Linksunten Antimil - πριν από 20 ώρες 29 λεπτά

Feind und Partner

German Foreign Policy - πριν από 23 ώρες 23 λεπτά
(Eigener Bericht) - Parallel zur neuen Phase des westlichen "Anti-Terror-Kriegs" treiben enge Verbündete Berlins Radikalisierungsprozesse in islamischen Staaten voran. Dies belegen aktuelle Untersuchungen und Berichte. Aus Saudi-Arabien und anderen Diktaturen der Arabischen Halbinsel werden nach wie vor Gelder bereitgestellt, um Dschihadisten etwa für den Syrien-Krieg zu rekrutieren. Saudi-Arabien fördert zudem mit internationalen Missionsbemühungen systematisch die Ausbreitung einer radikalen Ausformung des Islam, des Salafismus, um sich in der politischen Konkurrenz gegen seinen Erzfeind Iran durchzusetzen. Dabei führt die Salafismus-Förderung, wie eine aktuelle Untersuchung am Beispiel Indonesiens belegt, weltweit immer wieder in den gewalttätigen Dschihadismus. Dessen Erstarken wird beispielsweise in Syrien von Berlin weiterhin gebilligt, solange er sich nicht, wie der "Islamische Staat", gegen den Westen wendet. Geostrategische Motive veranlassen einen engen Kooperationspartner Deutschlands zur Zeit sogar, Al Qaida zu unterstützen. Einwände aus Berlin sind nicht bekannt: Die Maßnahme dient gemeinsamen Zielen.

Playing With Fire on the Lebanese Border

The Intercept - Engl. - Τετ, 28/01/2015 - 23:37

Since the end of the last war between Israel and Lebanon in 2006, the prospect of renewed hostilities between the two countries has been viewed as almost inevitable by most observers. As heinous and destructive as that conflict was, it ultimately resolved none of the underlying issues between the respective parties and seemed only to set the table for yet another escalation of fighting.

Today’s events have primed both sides for just such an escalation.

After an Israeli drone strike on January 18th killed several high-ranking Hezbollah operatives (including the son of prolific former commander Imad Mughniyeh), the group delivered its expected retaliation today by ambushing an Israeli military convoy traveling through a disputed zone near the Lebanese border.

Video footage broadcast by Israel’s Channel 10 News of the aftermath of the attack in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area showed the wreckage of several military vehicles which appeared to have been hit by anti-tank munitions. The Israeli military confirmed that at least two soldiers were killed and seven more wounded in the assault. A communique issued by Hezbollah shortly thereafter claimed responsibility.

This tit-for-tat violence is the worst since the 2006 war, which resulted in thousands of deaths and wrought massive destruction throughout South Lebanon. Then as now, the conflict was triggered by border clashes that spiraled out of control and escalated into something neither party had bargained for.

Indeed, in a prompt demonstration of how quickly things can get out of hand, Israel retaliated to today’s ambush by shelling Lebanese territory, killing one United Nations peacekeeper.

Also in response to the ambush, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for a “harsh… disproportionate” response. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a speech that “all those who are challenging us on our northern border [near Lebanon], look at what happened in Gaza.”

Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah has as yet remained silent, but has promised to deliver an address this Friday. If his past speeches serve as any guide, his statements will be at least as virulent as those of his Israeli counterparts.

But as grim as things may seem at the moment, a number of factors may serve to keep both parties from further escalating the situation.

One is that Hezbollah is tied down in a protracted conflict in Syria that has cost the group hundreds of fighters. Also, Hezbollah’s regional popularity is at a low ebb after it alienated many supporters by committing forces to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad against what had been broadly viewed as a popular national resistance movement. Unlike in 2006, the group will not be able to rely on the same breadth of popular support if it comes to blows with Israel.

Already, Hezbollah’s political adversaries within Lebanon have sternly warned against further action. Lebanese Armed Forces head Samir Geagea said that “Hezbollah has no right to implicate the Lebanese people in a battle with Israel. There is a government and a parliament which can decide on that.”

For Israel’s part, another major war would also entail huge political risk for the Netanyahu government. For all its troubles, Hezbollah remains arguably the most potent fighting force in any Arab country, and the group is believed to have maintained many of its elite fighters in reserve for possible confrontation with Israel. And Netanyahu surely remembers that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s political fortunes were tanked as a result of his own 2006 war against Hezbollah, widely seen within Israel as a disaster.

With elections coming March 17, Netanyahu would be risking his already-fragile political standing by betting on the highly uncertain prospect of swift military victory against the group.

A new conflict would also risk further imperiling Netanyahu’s increasingly contentious relationship with the United States.  The Obama administration is in the midst of sensitive nuclear negotiations with Hezbollah’s patron Iran, and those talks could be derailed by a resumption of major hostilities in South Lebanon. While a calculated derailment may serve Netanyahu’s short-term interests, the long-term price could be high; Netanyahu is already perceived to be manipulating the American political system to undermine administration policies.

Despite all these mitigating factors, it’s still possible that another war is around the corner. Both Hezbollah and Israeli military officials have long made it known that they have been preparing for just such a renewal of hostilities.

The recent war in Gaza may foreshadow how a conflict in Lebanon will play out. After the Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya suffered widespread destruction due to Israeli shelling and airstrikes, a senior Israeli military official said at the time, “[this] was basically a preview of what will happen in the next war with Lebanon, where we will have 80 Shujaiyas.”

Photo: AP/Ariel Schalit

The post Playing With Fire on the Lebanese Border appeared first on The Intercept.

Suhl: 800 Teilnehmer bei drittem SÜGIDA-Aufmarsch

Linksunten Antimil - Τετ, 28/01/2015 - 17:52
0:30) ist er zu sehen. Hat wer Infos über diesen Nazi? Recherche Der Nazi auf Bild 06 ... diesem Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdv4lrBcHe8 ist er ab Minute 0:30 zu sehen. Ist er ...

The Petulant Entitlement Syndrome of Journalists

The Intercept - Engl. - Τετ, 28/01/2015 - 16:17

As intended, Jonathan Chait’s denunciation of the “PC language police” – a trite note of self-victimization he’s been sounding for decades – provoked intense reaction: much criticism from liberals and praise from conservatives (with plenty of exceptions both ways). I have all sorts of points I could make about his argument – beginning with how he tellingly focuses on the pseudo-oppression of still-influential people like himself and his journalist-friends while steadfastly ignoring the much more serious ways that people with views Chait dislikes are penalized and repressed – but I’ll instead point to commentary from Alex Pareene, Amanda Marcotte and Jessica Valenti as worthwhile responses. In sum, I fundamentally agree with Jill Filipovic’s reaction: “There is a good and thoughtful piece to be written about language policing & ‘PC’ culture online and in academia. That was not it.” I instead want to focus on one specific point about the depressingly abundant genre of journalists writing grievances about how they’re victimized by online hordes, of which Chait’s article is a very representative sample:

When political blogs first emerged as a force in the early post-9/11 era, one of their primary targets was celebrity journalists. A whole slew of famous, multi-millionaire, prize-decorated TV hosts and newspaper reporters and columnists – Tom Friedman, Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, John Burns, Chris Matthews – were frequently the subject of vocal and vituperative criticisms, read by tens of thousands of people.

It is hard to overstate what a major (and desperately needed) change this was for how journalists like them functioned. Prior to the advent of blogs, establishment journalists were largely immunized even from hearing criticisms. If a life-tenured New York Times columnist wrote something stupid or vapid, or a Sunday TV news host conducted a sycophantic interview with a government official, there was no real mechanism for the average non-journalist citizen to voice critiques. At best, aggrieved readers could write a Letter to the Editor, which few journalists cared about. Establishment journalists spoke only to one another, and careerist concerns combined with an incestuous chumminess ensured that the most influential among them heard little beyond flowery praise.

Blogs, and online political activism generally, changed all of that. Though they tried – hard – these journalists simply could not ignore the endless stream of criticisms directed at them. Everywhere they turned – their email inboxes, the comment sections to their columns, Q-and-A sessions at their public appearances, Google searches of their names, email campaigns to their editors – they were confronted for the first time with aggressive critiques, with evidence that not everyone adored them and some even held them in contempt (Chait’s bizarre belief that “PC” culture thrived in the early 1990s and then disappeared until recently is, like his whole grievance, explained by his personal experience: he heard these critiques while a student at the University of Michigan, then was shielded from all of it during most of the years he wrote at The New Republic, and now hears it again due to blogs and social media).

What made the indignity so much worse was that the attacks came from people these journalists regard as nobodies: just average people, non-journalists, sometimes even anonymous ones. What right did they have even to form an opinion, let alone express one? As NBC News star Brian Williams revealingly put it in 2007:

You’re going to be up against people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe. All of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I’m up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn’t left the efficiency apartment in two years.

That sort of sneering from establishment journalists was commonplace once they realized that they had critics and that ignoring them was no longer an option. Seemingly every week, a new column appeared in the NYT, Washington Post, or Time lamenting the threat to journalism and democracy and All Things Decent posed by the hordes of unhinged, uncredentialed losers who now had undeserved platforms to say mean things about honored journalists.

It was pure petulance and entitlement: they elevated a trivial feeling of personal offense (some unknown, uncredentialed person online said something mean to me) into something of great societal significance (this is a huge threat to all things Good). This grievance became so pervasive that pejorative journalistic caricatures of bloggers as nameless, angry losers became a cliché (and it continues now even when many of them have been forced by commercial realities to become bloggers themselves).

Social media – in particular Twitter – has greatly exacerbated this syndrome. Twitter by its nature is a confrontational medium. Its design ensures that anyone can force anyone else – no matter how prominent or established – to hear unrestrained criticisms about them from those with no established platform. It’s theoretically possible to use Twitter so as to avoid most such attacks, but one has to make a concerted and disciplined effort to do so, and it is usually much easier said than done. If one uses Twitter – as journalists are all but forced these days to do – then one will inevitably hear some aggressive and even vicious attacks.

Beyond being confrontational, Twitter is also distortive: it can make a small handful of loud, persistent people seem like an army, converting a fringe view into one that appears pervasive (my favorite example: MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki felt compelled to gravely address the Twitter complaint that a journalist must always use the title “President” when referring to Obama lest one be guilty of disrespect, even racism). That, in turn, can cause journalists to feel besieged – like the whole world is railing against them – when, in reality, it’s just several malcontents or, at most, a couple dozen people voicing a criticism that most of the world will never hear, let alone care about.

But this dynamic has made many journalists – and other prominent, powerful people – feel very unfairly maligned. And that, in turn, causes many of them to denounce the hordes and sound the alarm bell about the dangers created by all of this opinion-anarchy. It’s so common to read some new column or post by some writer or other luminary lamenting the dangers of online abuse aimed at them. It’s all grounded in self-absorbed grievance and entitlement (someone like me does not deserve this and should not have to put up with it) masquerading as something more consequential (free speech, journalism, democracy are imperiled!).

Let’s acknowledge some valid points among this strain of commentary, including Chait’s article. Certain groups of writers – racial and religious minorities, women, LGBT commentators – are subjected to a particularly noxious form of abuse, even when they have prominent platforms. The use of social media to bully kids or other powerless people is a serious menace. Online vigilante mobs can be as blindly authoritarian and bloodthirsty as the real-world version. Some journalists, pundits, party operatives and online activists frivolously exploit (and thus trivialize) serious accusations of bias, racism, and gender discrimination for rank partisan gain or cheap point-scoring against adversaries in much the same way that some Israel defenders routinely exploit anti-Semitism accusations against critics to delegitimize substantive critiques (thus dangerously draining the accusation of its potency as a weapon against actual anti-Semitism). All of that, I’d venture, is what Filipovic meant when she said: “There is a good and thoughtful piece to be written about language policing & ‘PC’ culture online and in academia.”

But the general journalistic complaint about uppity online hordes – and certainly Chait’s epic whine – is grounded in a much more pedestrian and self-regarding concern: anger over being criticized in less than civil and respectful tones by people who lack any credentials (and thus entitlement) to do so. This genre of journalistic grievance, in most cases, is nothing more than unhappiness over the realization that many people dislike what you say, or even dislike you, for reasons you regard as invalid. There’s just nothing more to it than that, no matter how much they try to dress it up as something lofty and profound.

I empathize with the experience (though not with the grievance). Literally every day, I come across online attacks on me that are either based on outright fabrications or critiques I perceive to be fundamentally unfair or inaccurate. Not infrequently, the abuse aimed at me contains anti-gay venom. I’ve watched as my Brazilian partner was attacked by a popular online Democrat (and plenty of others) in the most blatantly racist ways. As is true for everyone, it’s easy to predict that criticizing certain targets – President Obama, Israel, “New Atheists” – will guarantee particularly vitriolic and sustained attacks. Way more times than I can count, I’ve been called a racist for voicing criticisms of Obama that I also voiced of Bush, and an anti-Semite for criticizing militarism and aggression by Israel. All of that can create a disincentive for engaging on those topics: the purpose of it is to impose a psychic cost for doing so, and one is instinctively tempted to avoid that.

Of course, all of that can be unpleasant or – if one allows it to be – worse than unpleasant. Like everyone, I’m human and hold some of my critics in contempt and view some attacks as malicious if not formally defamatory. I’m not exempt from any of those reactions.

But that’s the price one pays for having a platform. And, on balance, it’s good that this price has to be paid. In fact, the larger and more influential platform one has, the more important it is that the person be subjected to aggressive, even harsh, criticisms. Few things are more dangerous than having someone with influence or power hear only praise or agreement. Having people devoted to attacking you – even in unfair, invalid or personal ways – is actually valuable for keeping one honest and self-reflective.

It would be wonderful on one level if all criticisms were expressed in the soft and respectful tones formalized in the U.S. Senate, but it’s good and necessary when people who wield power or influence are treated exactly like everyone else, which means that sometimes people say mean and unfair things about you in not-nice tones. Between erring on the side of people with power being treated with excess deference or excess criticisms, the latter is vastly preferable. The key enabling role of the government, media and other elites in the disasters and crimes of the post-9/11 era, by itself, leaves no doubt about this. It also proves that one of the best aspects of the internet is that it gives voice to people who are not credentialed – meaning not molded through the homogenizing grinder of establishment media outlets.

There are definitely people – most of them unknown and powerless – whose ability to speak and participate in civic affairs are unfairly limited by these sorts of abusive tactics. But whatever else is true, Jon Chait of New York Magazine, long of The New Republic, is not one of them. Neither is his friend Hanna Rosin of Slate. Neither is Andrew Sullivan – published by TimeThe AtlanticThe New York Times, major book publishing companies, and pretty much everyone else and featured on countless TV shows – despite his predictably giddy standing and cheering for Chait’s victimization manifesto. Nor is torture advocate Condoleezza Rice of Stanford or HBO host Bill Maher. Nor, despite attacks at least as serious and personal, am I. Nor are most of the prominent journalists and other influential luminaries who churn out self-pitying screeds about the terrible online masses and all the ways they are unfairly criticized and attacked.

Being aggressively, even unfairly, criticized isn’t remotely tantamount to being silenced. People with large and influential platforms have a particular need for aggressive scrutiny and vibrant critique. The world would be vastly improved if we were never again subjected to the self-victimizing whining of highly compensated and empowered journalists about how upset they are that people say mean things online about them and their lovely and talented friends.

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty

The post The Petulant Entitlement Syndrome of Journalists appeared first on The Intercept.

How to Leak to The Intercept

The Intercept - Engl. - Τετ, 28/01/2015 - 12:28

People often tell reporters things their employers, or their government, want to keep suppressed. But leaking can serve the public interest, fueling revelatory and important journalism.

This publication was created in part as a platform for journalism arising from unauthorized disclosures by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Our founders and editors are strongly committed to publishing stories based on leaked material when that material is newsworthy and serves the public interest. So ever since The Intercept launched, our staff has tried to put the best technology in place to protect our sources. Our website has been protected with HTTPS encryption from the beginning. All of our journalists publish their PGP keys on their staff profiles so that readers can send them encrypted email. And we’ve been running a SecureDrop server, an open source whistleblower submission system, to make it simpler and more secure for anonymous sources to get in touch with us.

But caution is still advised to those who want to communicate with us without exposing their real-world identities.

What Not To Do

If you are a whistleblower trying to figure out the best way to contact us, here are some things you should not do:

Don’t contact us from work. Most corporate and government networks log traffic. Even if you’re using Tor, being the only Tor user at work could make you stand out. If you want to leak us documents that exist in your work environment, first remove them from work and submit them using a personal computer on a different network instead.

Don’t email us, call us, or contact us on social media. Most of the ways that people communicate over the Internet or phone networks are incredibly insecure. Even if you take the time to learn how to encrypt your communications with us, your metadata will remain in the clear. From the standpoint of someone investigating a leak, who you communicate with and when is all it takes to make you a prime suspect, even if the investigators don’t know what you said.

Don’t tell anyone that you’re a source. Don’t risk your freedom by talking to anyone about leaking documents. Even if you plan on coming out as the leaker at some point in the future, you have a much better chance of controlling the narrative about you if you are deliberate.

As journalists we will grant anonymity to sources if the circumstances warrant it — for example, when a source risks recrimination by disclosing something newsworthy. If we make such an agreement with you, we will do everything in our power to prevent ourselves from being compelled to hand over your identity.

That said, in extreme cases, the best way to protect your anonymity may be not to disclose your identity even to us.

What To Worry About

And here are some things you should be aware of:

Be aware of your habits. If you have access to secret information that has been leaked, your activities on the internet are likely to come under scrutiny, including what sites (such as The Intercept) you have visited or shared to social media. Make sure you’re aware of this before leaking to us, and adjust your habits well before you decide to become our source if you need to. Tools like Tor (see below) can help protect the anonymity of your surfing.

Compartmentalize and sanitize. Keep your leaking activity separate from the rest of what you do as much as possible. If you need to use email, social media, or any other online accounts, don’t use your normal accounts that are connected to you. Instead, make new accounts for this purpose, and don’t login to them from networks you normally connect to. Make sure you don’t leave traces related to leaking laying around your personal or work computer (in your Documents folder, in your web browser history, etc.).

If possible, use a completely separate operating system (such as Tails, discussed below) for all of your leaking activity so that a forensics search of your normal operating system won’t reveal anything. If you can’t keep things completely separate, then make sure to clean up after yourself as best as you can. For example, if you realized you did a Google search related to leaking while logged into your Google account, delete your search history. Consider keeping all files related to leaking on an encrypted USB stick rather than on your computer, and only plug it in when you need to work with them.

Strip metadata from documents. Many documents, including PDFs, images, and office documents, include metadata that could be used to deanonymize you. Our policy is to remove metadata ourselves before publishing anything, but you might want to remove it yourself. Tails (discussed below) includes a program called Metadata Anonymization Toolkit that can strip metadata from a variety of types of documents. If you’re somewhat techie you can convert your documents to PDFs and then use pdf-redact-tools to completely remove any information hiding in them. You could also choose to go analog: print out a copy of the documents and then re-scan them before submitting them to us (but be careful to securely shred your printout and not leave traces in your printer’s/scanner’s memory).

How To Actually Leak

Now that we have that straight, here’s how to go about contacting us securely:

Go to a public WiFi network. Before following any further directions, grab your personal computer and go to a network that isn’t associated with you or your employer, such as at a coffee shop. Ideally you should go to one that you don’t already frequent. Leave your phone at home, and buy your coffee with cash.

Get the Tor Browser. You can download the Tor Browser here. When you browse the web using the Tor Browser, all of your web traffic gets bounced around the world, hiding your real IP address from websites that you visit. If your network is being monitored, the eavesdroppers will only know that you’re using Tor but not what you’re doing. Websites that you visit will only know that you’re using Tor, but not who you are (unless you tell them). It sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite easy to use. In order to start a conversation with us using our SecureDrop server, you must use Tor.

Consider using Tails instead. If you are worried about your safety because of the information you’re considering leaking, it might be prudent to take higher security precautions than just using Tor Browser. If someone has hacked into your computer, for example, they’ll be able to spy on everything you do even if you’re using Tor. Tails is a separate operating system that you can install on a USB stick and boot your computer to. Tails is engineered to make it hard for you to mess up:

  • Tails leaves no traces that it was ever run on your computer
  • It’s non-persistent, which means that if you got hacked last time you were using Tails, the malware should be gone the next time you boot up
  • All Internet traffic automatically goes through Tor, so it’s much harder to accidentally de-anonymize yourself
  • It has everything that you need to contact us through SecureDrop built-in, as well as other popular encryption tools
  • It’s the operating system that Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and I used to keep the NSA journalism safe from spies

It sounds complicated, and it is. But if you’re risking a lot, it’s probably worth the effort. You can find instructions for downloading and installing Tails here.

Use SecureDrop to communicate with us. You can use our SecureDrop server to securely and anonymously send us messages, read replies, and upload documents. If you have access to information that you’re considering leaking, you can use SecureDrop to just start a conversation with us until you’re comfortable sending in any documents. Or you could choose to dump a set of documents and never check back again.

You can access our SecureDrop server by going to http://y6xjgkgwj47us5ca.onion/ in Tor Browser. This is a special kind of URL that only works in Tor (even though the URL starts with “http://” and not “https://”, the connection between Tor Browser and our SecureDrop server is encrypted). This is what you’ll see:

To learn more about safely using SecureDrop as a source, check the official guide for sources document.

If you’d like to submit tips to us and your anonymity isn’t important, you can email tips@theintercept.com. If you’d like to use PGP encryption, you can find every journalist’s PGP public key on their staff profile.

Questions? Have further advice for would-be leakers? Post them in the comments below.

The post How to Leak to The Intercept appeared first on The Intercept.

Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads

The Intercept - Engl. - Τετ, 28/01/2015 - 11:01

Canada’s leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users’ file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents.

The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files.

The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION, are the first from the trove of files provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to show that the Canadian government has launched its own globe-spanning Internet mass surveillance system.

According to the documents, the LEVITATION program can monitor downloads in several countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. It is led by the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, Canada’s equivalent of the NSA. (The Canadian agency was formerly known as “CSEC” until a recent name change.)

The latest disclosure sheds light on Canada’s broad existing surveillance capabilities at a time when the country’s government is pushing for a further expansion of security powers following attacks in Ottawa and Quebec last year.

Ron Deibert, director of University of Toronto-based Internet security think tank Citizen Lab, said LEVITATION illustrates the “giant X-ray machine over all our digital lives.”

“Every single thing that you do – in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites – that act is being archived, collected and analyzed,” Deibert said, after reviewing documents about the online spying operation for CBC News.

David Christopher, a spokesman for Vancouver-based open Internet advocacy group OpenMedia.ca, said the surveillance showed “robust action” was needed to rein in the Canadian agency’s operations.

“These revelations make clear that CSE engages in large-scale warrantless surveillance of our private online activities, despite repeated government assurances to the contrary,” Christopher told The Intercept.

The ostensible aim of the surveillance is to sift through vast amounts of data to identify people uploading or downloading content that could be connected to terrorism – such as bomb-making guides and hostage videos.

In the process, however, CSE combs through huge volumes of data showing uploads and downloads initiated by Internet users not suspected of any wrongdoing.

In a top-secret PowerPoint presentation, dated from mid-2012, an analyst from the agency jokes about how, while hunting for extremists, the LEVITATION system gets clogged with information on innocuous downloads of the musical TV series Glee.

CSE finds some 350 “interesting download events” each month, the presentation notes, a number that amounts to less than 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data.

The agency stores details about downloads and uploads to and from 102 different popular file-sharing websites, according to the 2012 document. Only three of those websites are named: RapidShare, SendSpace, and the now defunct MegaUpload.

SendSpace said in a statement that “no organization has the ability/permission to trawl/search Sendspace for data,” adding that its policy is not to disclose user identities unless legally compelled. Representatives from RapidShare and MegaUpload had not responded to a request for comment at time of publication.

LEVITATION does not rely on cooperation from any of the file-sharing companies. A separate secret CSE operation codenamed ATOMIC BANJO obtains the data directly from internet cables that it has tapped into, and the agency then sifts out the unique IP address of each computer that downloaded files from the targeted websites.

The IP addresses are valuable pieces of information to CSE’s analysts, helping to identify people whose downloads have been flagged as suspicious. The analysts use the IP addresses as a kind of search term, entering them into other surveillance databases that they have access to, such as the vast repositories of intercepted Internet data shared with the Canadian agency by the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters.

If successful, the searches will return a list of results showing other websites visited by the people downloading the files–in some cases revealing associations with Facebook or Google accounts. In turn, these accounts may reveal the names and the locations of individual downloaders, opening the door for further surveillance of their activities.

Since the secret 2012 presentation about LEVITATION was authored, both RapidShare and SendSpace have toughened security by encrypting users’ connections to their websites, which may have thwarted CSE’s ability to target them for surveillance. But many other popular file-sharing sites have still not adopted encryption, meaning they remain vulnerable to the snooping.

As of mid-2012, CSE was maintaining a list of 2,200 particular download links that it regarded as connected to suspicious “documents of interest.” Anyone clicking on those links could have found themselves subject to extra scrutiny from the spies.

While LEVITATION is purportedly identifying potential terror threats, Canadian legal experts consulted by CBC News were concerned by the broad scope of the operation.

“The specific uses that they talk about in this [counter-terrorism] context may not be the problem, but it’s what else they can do,” said Tamir Israel, a lawyer with the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Picking which downloads to monitor is essentially “completely at the discretion of CSE,” Israel added.

The file-sharing surveillance also raises questions about the number of Canadians whose downloading habits could have been swept up as part of LEVITATION’s dragnet.

By law, CSE isn’t allowed to target Canadians. In the LEVITATION presentation, however, two Canadian IP addresses that trace back to a web server in Montreal appear on a list of suspicious downloads found across the world. The same list includes downloads that CSE monitored in closely allied countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Portugal.

It is unclear from the document whether LEVITATION has ever prevented any terrorist attacks. The agency cites only two successes of the program in the 2012 presentation: the discovery of a hostage video through a previously unknown target, and an uploaded document that contained the hostage strategy of a terrorist organization. The hostage in the discovered video was ultimately killed, according to public reports.

A CSE spokesman told The Intercept and CBC News in a statement: “CSE is legally authorized to collect and analyze metadata, including from parts of the Internet routinely used by terrorists. Some of CSE`s metadata analysis activities are designed to identify foreign terrorists who use the Internet to conduct activities that threaten the security of Canada and Canadian citizens.

“CSE does not direct its activities at Canadians or anyone in Canada, and, in accordance with our legislation, has a range of measures in place to protect the privacy of Canadians incidentally encountered in the course of these foreign intelligence operations.”

The spokesman declined to comment on whether LEVITATION remained active, and would not provide examples of useful intelligence gleaned from the spying, or explain how long data swept up under the operation is retained.

Discussion of “operations, methods or capabilities,” the spokesman said, would breach the Security of Information Act, a Canadian law designed to protect state secrets.

The post Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads appeared first on The Intercept.

Krieg mit anderen Mitteln

German Foreign Policy - Τετ, 28/01/2015 - 00:00
(Eigener Bericht) - Einflussreiche deutsche Außenpolitiker schlagen eine "Doppelstrategie" im Machtkampf des Westens gegen Russland vor. Wie der Vorsitzende der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz, Wolfgang Ischinger, erklärt, müsse der Westen zwar auch in Zukunft eine "Position der Stärke" demonstrieren. Da es aber gegenwärtig offenbar nicht gelinge, Moskau mit einer Politik reiner Konfrontation niederzuringen, müsse man eine neue Phase der Einbindung Russlands einleiten. Dazu böten sich Gespräche über eine Kooperation zwischen der EU und der neu gegründeten Eurasischen Wirtschaftsunion an. Eine solche Kooperation solle, wie Experten urteilen, den Kampf "zwischen Russland und dem Westen vom militärischen Feld zurück auf das ökonomische" bringen. Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel hat ein entsprechendes Vorgehen vergangene Woche in Aussicht gestellt. Gleichzeitig dauern die Aggressionen gegen Russland an. Eine US-Ratingagentur hat Russland soeben auf "Ramschniveau" herabgestuft; weitere Schritte sind im Gespräch.

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