NSA

Der Spiegal Snowden Leaks for Download

Just a quick source for anyone who wants to download a collection of (some of) the information leaked by Edward Snowden.

The NSA in Germany: Snowden’s Documents Available for Download

 

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I know I missed it.

The Guardian, some time ago, reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) targeted political activists and environmentalists for specific surveillance. According to The Guardian, this domestic spying was motivated in part by the risk of domestic unrest due to climate change. In 2006, the NSA stated:

“Environmental destruction, whether caused by human behavior or cataclysmic mega-disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, or tsunamis. Problems of this scope may overwhelm the capacity of local authorities to respond, and may even overtax national militaries, requiring a larger international response.”

Climate change is controversial, but we know one thing: the NSA is concerned about it.

Confirmed: People Self-Censor Due to Fear of NSA

In Our Google Searches, Researchers See a Post-Snowden Chilling Effect (VICE)

How risky is it to use the words “bomb,” “plague,” or “gun” online? That was a question we posed, tongue in cheek, with a web toy we built last year called Hello NSA. It offers users suggested tweets that use words that drawn from a list of watchwords that analysts at the Dept. of Homeland Security are instructed to search for on social media. “Stop holding my love hostage,” one of the tweets read. “My emotions are like a tornado of fundamentalist wildfire.”

It was silly, but it was also imagined as an absurdist response to the absurdist ways that dragnet surveillance of the public and non-public Internet jars with our ideas of freedom of speech and privacy.

And yet, after reading the mounting pile of NSA PowerPoints, are all of us as comfortable as we used to be Googling for a word like “anthrax,” even if we were simply looking up our favorite thrash metal band? Maybe not.

According to a new study of Google search trends, searches for terms deemed to be sensitive to government or privacy concerns have dropped “significantly” in the months since Edward Snowden’s revelations in July.

“It seemed very possible that we would see no effect,” MIT economist Catherine Tucker and digital privacy advocate Alex Marthews write. “However, we do in fact see an overall roughly 2.2 percentage point fall in search traffic on ‘high government trouble’-rated search terms.”

Here is the abstract:

This paper uses data from Google Trends on search terms from before and after the surveillance revelations of June 2013 to analyze whether Google users’ search behavior shifted as a result of an exogenous shock in information about how closely their internet searches were being monitored by the U. S. government. We use data from Google Trends on search volume for 282 search terms across eleven different countries. These search terms were independently rated for their degree of privacy-sensitivity along multiple dimensions. Using panel data, our result suggest that cross-nationally, users were less likely to search using search terms that they believed might get them in trouble with the U. S. government. In the U. S., this was the main subset of search terms that were affected. However, internationally there was also a drop in traffic for search terms that were rated as personally sensitive. These results have implications for policy makers in terms of understanding the actual effects on search behavior of disclosures relating to the scale of government surveillance on the Internet and their potential effects on international competitiveness.

Marthews, Alex and Tucker, Catherine, Government Surveillance and Internet Search Behavior (March 24, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2412564 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2412564

The Most Popular Show In America Is Basically NSA Propaganda (Business Insider)

The Most Popular Show In America Is Basically NSA Propaganda (Business Insider)

The NCIS siblings take this one step further by placing the entire nation in jeopardy on a regular basis. The two shows have offered numerous plots involving weapons of mass destruction in the hands of lavishly financed Iranian, Pakistani, or Russian evildoers.

This is how entertainment media manipulates public sentiment. Both homicide and terrorist attack are some of the most feared, but least likely to happen events.

Reddit Censors Big Story About Government Manipulation and Disruption of the Internet (WashingtonBlog)

Reddit Moderators Go to Extreme Lengths to Censor the Most Important Story of the Year

The moderators at the giant r/news reddit (with over 2 million subscribed readers) repeatedly killed the Greenwald/Snowden story on government manipulation and disruption of the Internet … widely acknowledged to be one of the most important stories ever leaked by Snowden.

There was a time when this would have sounded like a conspiracy theory. Now based on the recent Snowden/Greenwald revelation we know, at the very least, these tactics are on the table.

Exclusive: Inside the Army Spy Ring & Attempted Entrapment of Peace Activists, Iraq Vets, Anarchists (Democracy Now)

Exclusive: Inside the Army Spy Ring & Attempted Entrapment of Peace Activists, Iraq Vets, Anarchists

The man everyone knew as “John Jacob” was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. He also spied on the Industrial Workers of the World and Iraq Veterans Against the War. A newly made public email written by Towery reveals the Army informant was building a multi-agency spying apparatus. The email was sent from Towery using his military account to the FBI, as well as the police departments in Los Angeles, Portland, Eugene, Everett and Spokane. He wrote, “I thought it would be a good idea to develop a leftist/anarchist mini-group for intel sharing and distro.” Meanwhile, evidence has also emerged that the Army informant attempted to entrap at least one peace activist, Glenn Crespo, by attempting to persuade him to purchase guns and learn to shoot. We speak to Crespo and his attorney Larry Hildes, who represents all the activists in the case.

New Snowden/Greenwald Revelation: GCHQ Caught With False Flag, Honey-Trap & Defamation Plans

Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept has released the latest Edward Snowden leak: a Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) slide show, from the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), titled The Art Of Deception: Training for A New Generation of Online Covert Operations. This information demonstrates how GCHQ has gone beyond spying and beyond focusing on threats to national security. Terrorism is no longer the focus. Instead, GCHQ has adopted tactics designed entrap, defame and derail. From Greenwald, How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations:

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.

GCHQ Disruption Operational Playbook

Slide 47 from the leak. This is not threat-finding. It is an attack plan. According to Greenwald:

Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

GCHQ Discredit A Target

GCHQ Discredit A Company

Any shred of optimism regarding the NSA, GCHQ and the “Five Eyes” has gone out the window. The mission has little to do with terrorism and security. They are openly discussing attacking individuals and engaging in corporate espionage. You are not going to stop the next Bin Laden by changing his FaceBook photo or sending mean text messages to his friends. These are tactics specifically used to harm individuals who do not align themselves with government interests.

GCHQ Exploiting Fracture Points

The leaks illustrate psychological techniques to infiltrate and disrupt groups, disseminate false information, ruin reputations, and misdirect the flow of information on the Internet. We’re not talking al-Qaeda and child pornography on the Darknet. We’re not talking about people who have been charged with any crime. And certainly not about a military target in a war zone. This is about stifling the average man and woman.

But these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

Imagine if it were you: an animal rights activist, an anarchist, environmentalist, Second Amendment activist, a member of a militia or an “extreme” religious group, an Orthodox Jew or a Southern Baptist, a homosexual, a tax protester, or a member of an unpopular political party. You become the target. And you find people are spreading lies about you on the Internet, harassing your family, sabotaging your business relationships and attempting to entrap you. All the tactics revealed in these leaks.

And then you find it that it was not just people — it was your own government. You were being attacked by the government you pay for with your taxes. They are spreading false information and attempting to disrupt your work. And you have never committed a crime. In fact, you have never even been charged with a crime. The entire campaign against you is extra-judicial. You have been deemed a domestic enemy of the state.

And you have no recourse, because the government has decided you are the enemy. You cannot fight it in a court, report it to an authority with oversight, open a lawsuit or even confirm for certain that you are a target.

Press Freedom Index 2014: USA Falls to 46th Place

Meanwhile, in the Land of the Free

The Press Freedom Index of 2014 has seen the United States of America fall 13 places to rank 46th out of the 180 countries surveyed. The United States continues to suffer due to post 9/11 legislation curbing press freedom, including legal restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act.  The United Kingdom is also down three places, to 33rd. Examples of new restrictions on press freedom in the United Kingdom include the harassment of Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda as well as the raiding of The Guardian headquarters.

Persecution of whistleblowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden contributed to the major decline in the ranking of the United States. And journalist Barrett Brown, who faces over one hundred years in prison for leaking documents from private intelligence company Stratfor, is another example of the severe restrictions faced by journalists in the USA cited by Reports Without Borders.

It only takes a few harsh punishments to create a chilling effect whereby individuals self-censor due to the fear of government pressure or persecution. “Environment and self-censorship” is one of the criteria used in the methodology used by Reporters Without Borders to generate the rankings for the Press Freedom Index. Paraguay, like the United States of America, also fell 13 places due to strong pressure upon journalists to self-censor.

Countries similar to the United States in press freedom:

44. Papua New Guinea
45. Romania
46. United States of America
47. Haiti
48. Niger

The top 5:

1. Finland
2. Netherlands
3. Norway
4. Luxembourg
5. Andorra

African countries with more press freedom than the United States:

Namibia (#22)
Cape Verde (#24)
Ghana (#27)
Suriname (#31)
Botswana (#41)
South Africa (#42)

This may come as a surprise — it may seem unbelievable — to many Americans. The vast majority of US citizens have never left their own country (although only one third of Americans own a passport, only 3.5% travel overseas) and have been taught from a very young age that the United States of America is one of the, if not the, most free country on the planet. For individuals who are accustomed to curbed freedoms and only hear through second-hand stories how “unfree” the rest of the world is, these results may cause a great deal of cognitive dissonance. The same phenomenon can be observed in the recent Win/Gallup End Of Year Survey that found although most of the world’s citizens view the United States of America as the greatest threat to peace, American citizens view Iran as the world’s greatest threat. The beliefs of Americans largely reflect the American narrative.

Reporters Without Borders: World Press Freedom Index 2014