Tuesday, July 2, 2013

13-07-02 Empire's Useful Idiots: Tom Friedman and Other Pundits Sucking Up to the State

Empire's Useful Idiots: Tom Friedman and Other Pundits Sucking Up to the State

Why, our pundits wonder, should we be disturbed by our state's desire to know everything that everyone does?

It's a fine thing to see mainstream American media outlets finally sparing some of their attention toward the cyber-industrial complex – that unprecedented conglomeration of state, military and corporate interests that together exercise growing power over the flow of information. It would be even more heartening if so many of the nation's most influential voices, from senator to pundits, were not clearly intent on killing off even this belated scrutiny into the invisible empire that so thoroughly scrutinizes us – at our own expense and to unknown ends.
Summing up the position of those who worry less over secret government powers than they do over the whistleblowers who reveal such things, we have New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who argues that we can trust small cadres of unaccountable spies with broad powers over our communications. We must all wish Friedman luck with this prediction.

13-07-02 New NSA leak censored? Showing collusion by EU nations in US spying on citizens???

New NSA Leak Censored: Read It Here!

Sunday, June 30, 2013 21:07

A new NSA spy scandal story has been released by the Guardian and nearly immediately taken down; however, we have embedded it here below in its entirety for you to read courtesy of pastebin. Why did the Guardian put this story out and then take it back down? Are there secrets revealed here that even the Guardian doesn’t want their readers to know? 

The Guardian released another shocking NSA scoop on Saturday, revealing collusion and mass harvesting of personal communications among the United States and at least six European Union countries — only to delete it from their website hours after publication.

The article, titled “Revealed: secret European deals to hand over private data to America,” was written by Jamie Doward, who reported information from Wayne Madsen, a former Navy Lt. and NSA employee for 12 years.

Madsen said the countries had “formal second and third party status” under signal intelligence (sigint) agreements that compels them to hand over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the NSA if requested.

Under international intelligence agreements, confirmed by declassified documents, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is first party while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy second party relationships. Germany and France have third party relationships.

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13-07-02 Man prosecuted for sidewalk chalk messages against Bank of America acquitted...

Thank God for juries of peers... It was obvious that had it been left for the judge, the man would have ended up behind bars...  And thanks to Russia Today for publicizing the case, preventing the abuse... jz

Today, Jeff Olson, who used water-soluble chalk to write messages on San Diego sidewalks warning against big banks, was acquitted of all 13 counts by a jury of his peers. Bank of America had pushed for the prosecution of Olson on vandalism charges - but somehow, David beat Goliath this time.

13-07-01 Ongoing criminality at Bank of America...

Below is just the most recent harvest...
Racketeering by Bank of America and its President Brian Moynihan has been evidenced for years.  And with immunity for both past and future criminality, admitted by no other than US Attorney General, there is no end in sight...
10-05-05 Countrywide, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and its President Brian Moynihan - Compilation of Records - Evidence of Racketeering
10-03-09 Bank of America - Beyond Financial Recklessness Corruption of the Courts

Bank of America's Brian Moynihan - top US racketeer

Will This Lawsuit Ice Bank of America's Grand Plan?
In the blandly labeled case "In Re Bank of America Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) Contract Litigation," we've been treated to some damning confessions from former Bank of Americaemployees. Take this excerpt from the statement of Simone ...
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Patent Lawsuits Target Eight Banks
A patent holding company has filed eight lawsuits against U.S. banking institutions in recent weeks, claiming patent infringement on products and services related to security and electronic banking. As a result, banking institutions should prepare ...
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Is Bank of America's Brand a Toxic Asset?
In this segment, David and Matt discuss ongoing litigation against Bank of America related to the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. How much damage can the Bank of America brand endure before public opinion turns against the nationally ...
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Shareholder wants Bank of America to investigate ex-employees' claims
Charlotte Observer
The homeowners in the lawsuit claim that the Charlotte-based bank wrongfully denied them modifications under HAMP and violated the program's rules. Bank of America, the lawsuit says, would “string homeowners along with no intention of providing actual ...
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Monitors Decline, But Big Banks Face Possible New York Lawsuit
Monitors Decline, But Big Banks Face Possible New York Lawsuit The state and federal overseers of the National Mortgage Settlement, known as the Monitoring Committee, have declined to take additional enforcement action against Bank of America and ...
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Partial settlement approved in County lawsuit against MERS
Your Houston News
Although many lawsuits have been filed in other states, this is the first one to reach this agreement. It was a collaborative effort among the counties, Bank of America, MERSCORP, and MERS that will both ensure increased accuracy in real property ...
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BofA, Citi Sued by University of California Over Libor
Michael O'Looney, a spokesman for London-based Barclays, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Bill Halldin, a spokesman for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America, and Danielle Romero-Apsilos, a spokeswoman for New York-based Citigroup ...
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BofA, Wells Fargo Won't Face Mortgage Deal Enforcement Case (1)
... which claims Bank of America and Wells Fargo have violated the settlement. The oversight process “will be the most efficient path to improving services to borrowers -- and, we believe, will bring about those reforms more quickly than protracted ...
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Cracker Barrel, Genesco join lawsuit over credit card fees
The Tennessean
... Panera Bread, Ralph Lauren and Thortons. Bank defendants are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. Contact Duane Marsteller at 615-259-8241 or dmarstelle@tennessean.com. Follow him on Twitter @DuaneMarsteller. Tweet.
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13-07-02 Bloomberg: U.S. Surveillance Is Not Aimed at Terrorists


U.S. Surveillance Is Not Aimed at Terrorists

People concerned with online privacy tend to calm down when told that the government can record their calls or read their e-mail only under special circumstances and with proper court orders. The assumption is that they have nothing to worry about unless they are terrorists or correspond with the wrong people.
The infrastructure set up by the National Security Agency, however, may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists. The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the services that truly dangerous elements typically use.
The Netherlands’ security service, which couldn’t find recent data on the size of the Undernet, cited a 2003 study from the University of California at Berkeley as the “latest available scientific assessment.” The study found that just 0.2 percent of the Internet could be searched. The rest remained inscrutable and has probably grown since. In 2010, Google Inc. said it had indexed just 0.004 percent of the information on the Internet.

13-07-01 NSA: Secret ruling in a secret court kept secret from others in the court.

Secret ruling in a secret court kept secret from others in the court... sounds to me like a corrupt rubber stamp judge, or more specifically - back to inquisition times... jz

OpEdNews Op Eds 6/30/2013 at 16:18:48

FISA Judge Who Approved Massive NSA Spying Identified?

By  (about the author)     

Headlined to H1 6/30/13

The Washington Post has a new article out, 

And the article does report that the judge was annoyed that the idea of collaborating with the government was an inaccurate portrayal. 

But it seems that the bigger story is that this judge is THE judge, who, all alone, decided that it was okay for the NSA and whoever else had access, to spy on ALL Americans. Her name is Colleen Kollar-Kotelly

Colleen Kollar-Kotelly by Wikipedia
Here's the excerpt from the WaPo article that is most significant:
On July 14, 2004, the surveillance court for the first time approved the gathering of information by the NSA, which created the equivalent of a digital vault to hold Internet metadata. Kollar-Kotelly's order authorized the metadata program under a FISA provision known as the "pen register/trap and trace," or PRTT.
The ruling was a secret not just to the public and most of Congress, but to all of Kollar-Kotelly's surveillance court colleagues. Under orders from the president, none of the court's other 10 members could be told about the Internet metadata program, which was one prong of a larger and highly classified data-gathering effort known as the President's Surveillance Program, or PSP.
But the importance of her order -- which approved the collection based on a 1986 law typically used for phone records -- was hard to overstate.
"The order essentially gave NSA the same authority to collect bulk Internet metadata that it had under the PSP," the inspector general's report said, with some minor caveats including reducing the number of people who could access the records.
On May 24, 2006, Kollar-Kotelly signed another order, this one authorizing the bulk collection of phone metadata from U.S. phone companies, under a FISA provision known as Section 215, or the "business records provision," of the USA Patriot Act. "

A 2006 Washingtonpost article also mentions Kollar-Kotelly, so the news is not a first time revelation of her tie to the authorization. The older article also refers to her predecessor,  Royce C. Lamberth and suggests that they had serious concerns about the legality of the program, instituted when George W. Bush was president;
" Both judges expressed concern to senior officials that the president's program, if ever made public and challenged in court, ran a significant risk of being declared unconstitutional, according to sources familiar with their actions. Yet the judges believed they did not have the authority to rule on the president's power to order the eavesdropping, government sources said, and focused instead on protecting the integrity of the FISA process.
It was an odd position for the presiding judges of the FISA court, the secret panel created in 1978 in response to a public outcry over warrantless domestic spying by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. The court's appointees, chosen by then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, were generally veteran jurists with a pro-government bent, and their classified work is considered a powerful tool for catching spies and terrorists."

Perhaps this judge has been portrayed unfairly, as collaborating with the government. But more important, it seems to put a face-- THE face-- on the American who decided it was okay to spy on every other American. 

Regardless of her raising of concerns, she went ahead and, with her unique power, as head of the secretive FISA Court, made an even more secret decision to approve the worse spying in the history of America. In spite of evidence of abuses, that the 2006 WaPo article reported, she went ahead and approved further, more egregious and aggressive spying. It looks like she never said no, when asked. 

She should be called before congress and questioned. And she should be more worried about what she DID than what is said about her so far. There is  no question that she did approve the horrific level of spying we now know the NSA engages in.

The question is, how did any protector of the citizens-- the duty of every elected and appointed government official, ever allow a single person to make such an important decision-- and who decided to keep it secret? Because they violated their oath and should be punished to the full extent of the law.

13-07-01 Israel: Major flaws in authentication and verification of the biometric database

Israel has initiated a biometric database, regardless of adamant objections by Israeli computer science experts, who are leading world authorities in the field of electronic data encryption and data security.
Now it turns out that major flaws are found in the pilot project.
Major flaws were previously found in the Israeli government implementation of the Electronic Signature Act (2001), which enable the falsification of court records. The Human Rights Alert (NGO) submission was incorporated into the United Nations Human Rights Council Periodic Review of Human Rights in Israel (2013), with a note: "Lack of integrity in the electronic records of the Supreme Court, the district courts and the detainees courts in Israel".
Lack of integrity in the electronic records of the California courts was part of the Human Rights submission, which was incorporated into the United Nations Human Rights Council Periodic Review of Human Rights in the United States (2010), with a note: "Corruption of the courts and the legal profession... in California".
Papers, published in peer-reviewed international academic periodicals also detail lack of integrity in the electronic records of the US courts - PACER and CM/ECF.
Invalid transition to electronic government records with inadequate public oversight presents a major threat to Human Rights.

Major security flaws found in integral part of Israel's biometric ID system

Internal documents leaked by mistake point to security problems with authentication and verification mechanism in new 'smart' ID cards, which Israel is expected to roll out in the coming weeks.

By  Jul.01, 2013 | 3:09 PM

A mock Israeli ID. Photo by Mimshal Zamin website

Israel is expected to roll out its new biometric database and smart ID cards in the coming weeks, but a critical component of that plan suffers from faulty security, Justice Ministry documents that were leaked by mistake Sunday and published online reveal.