WikiLeaks trove fails to shift dial on Trump-Putin narrative — Pepe Escobar

The massive WikiLeaks Vault 7 release is an extremely important public service. It’s hard to find anyone not concerned by a secret CIA hacking program targeting virtually the whole planet – using malware capable of bypassing encryption protection on any device from iOS to Android, and from Windows to Samsung TVs.
In a series of tweets, Edward Snowden confirmed the CIA program and said code names in the documents are real; that they could only be known by a ‘cleared insider;’ the FBI and CIA knew all about the digital loopholes, but kept them open to spy; and that the leaks provided the ‘first public evidence’ that the US government secretly paid to keep U.S. software unsafe.
If that’s not serious enough, WikiLeaks alleges that ‘the CIA has lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal;’ several hundred million lines of code – more than what is used to run Facebook.
Someone among the former U.S. government hackers and contractors ended up leaking portions of the CIA archive (Snowden II?). WikiLeaks also stressed how the CIA had created, in effect, its ‘own NSA’ – maximum unaccountability included.

This post was published at Asia Times

Pardon Edward Snowden – -He Courageously Exposed The Deep State Lawbreakers

On 6 June 2013, the Guardian broke the news National Security Agency (NSA) had ordered Verizon to provide it with the phone records of its customers. As the story developed it became clear that the two other major telephone networks as well as credit card companies were doing the same thing; and that the NSA and FBI were being provided with access to server systems operated by Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Skype.
On 11 June the Guardian reported the source as Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old who had been working at the NSA for four years.
Snowden believed it was important for him to publicly acknowledge his role in order to provide a human face to the story. He knew he was putting his life at risk and exposing himself to decades of incarceration. ‘My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them,’ he explained. Snowden hoped to trigger a debate ‘about the kind of world we want to live in’. The US government began an immediate campaign to track, harass and silence him.
More revelations followed that exposed a massive national security complex that spies on virtually everyone, everywhere. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), which is a secret court that was supposed to protect our privacy rights, was rubber-stamping every NSA request for the authority to spy without any real oversight. The US government was spying on foreign leaders, working with British spies to collect massive amounts of global data across the planet, and collecting over 200 million text messagesdaily. And the NSA was working to stop encryption (a technology developed to protect the privacy of both private individuals and businesses).

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Jill Stein, The Guardian ‘ September 15, 2016.

Hear This: Russia Didn’t Hack Hillary’s National Security Secrets, Just DNC Political Skullduggery!

Over the last few days, WikiLeaks has released tens of thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee’s server. The messages reveal dirty tricks directed against Bernie Sanders and only add to the whirlpool of corruption and sleaze surrounding Hillary Clinton and the wheezing corpse of the democratic process.
There’s a lot to unpack here:
‘ The same people on the Clinton team who made enormous efforts to claim her private email server – which operated unencrypted over the Internet for three months, including during trips to China and Russia, and which contained top-secret national-security data – was not hacked by the Russians now are certain that the DNC server was hacked by the Russians.
‘ Many in Camp Clinton and the media labeled Bernie Sanders’ supporters paranoid when they claimed that the DNC was working against them. The hacked emails confirm that the DNC was in fact working against them. One official proposed getting ‘someone,’ presumably a reporter, to ask Sanders if he’s an atheist to discredit him in religious areas.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Peter Van Buren, American Conservative ‘ July 27, 2016.

The FBI’s iPhone Snow Job – -It’s Not About Terrorist Attacks

It all started so ‘harmless.’ The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted to access the information of a person being investigated for mass murder so, the FBI said, it could try to prevent more terrorist attacks.
A couple months later this has morphed into a situation where the FBI is offering to help police departments across America access secured information of any electronic device connected to criminal investigations and where members of the United States Senate are moving forward with legislation to force technology companies to give the government access to secured, including via encryption, electronic devices information.
First, the FBI’s bumbled handling of an iPhone connected to a mass killing in San Bernardino provided an opening for the FBI to seek a precedent-setting court order to require Apple to assist the government in overcoming the phone’s security. Ratherconvenient, one might say, for a government agency determined to search and seize with the minimum possible constraint. Then, when Apple resisted the court’s order that was obtained ex parte (without Apple being afforded an opportunity to present its opposing arguments), the FBI dropped the case, claiming it found people who helped it bypass the iPhone’s security. This is after the FBI had told the magistrate judge that the FBI needed Apple’s help to accomplish the task.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on April 21, 2016.

Ron Paul: First They Came for our iPhones…

The FBI tells us that its demand for a back door into the iPhone is all about fighting terrorism, and that it is essential to break in just this one time to find out more about the San Bernardino attack last December. But the truth is they had long sought a way to break Apple’s iPhone encryption and, like 9/11 and the PATRIOT Act, a mass murder provided just the pretext needed. After all, they say, if we are going to be protected from terrorism we have to give up a little of our privacy and liberty. Never mind that government spying on us has not prevented one terrorist attack.
Apple has so far stood up to a federal government’s demand that it force its employees to write a computer program to break into its own product. No doubt Apple CEO Tim Cook understands the damage it would do to his company for the world to know that the US government has a key to supposedly secure iPhones. But the principles at stake are even higher. We have a fundamental right to privacy. We have a fundamental right to go about our daily life without the threat of government surveillance of our activities. We are not East Germany.
Let’s not forget that this new, more secure iPhone was developed partly in response to Ed Snowden’s revelations that the federal government was illegally spying on us. The federal government was caught breaking the law but instead of ending its illegal spying is demanding that private companies make it easier for it to continue.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Ron Paul ‘ February 29, 2016.

The FBI’s Demand For An Apple Backdoor – -A Blatant and Dangerous Attack On The Constitution

‘ February 25, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) The FBI versus Apple Inc. An unstoppable force meets an immovable object – the feverish momentum of American technocracy accelerating into the cavernous Orwellian entrenchment of the surveillance state. You thought the patent wars were intense? The ‘Battle of the Backdoor’ pits one of America’s most monolithic tech conglomerates against the Department of Justice and, ultimately, the interests of the national security state. And this case is likely only the opening salvo in what will be a decades-long ideological war between tech privacy advocates and the federal government.
On its face, the case boils down to a single locked and encrypted iPhone 5S, used by radical jihadist Syed Rizwan Farook before he and his wide Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in San Bernardino on December 2nd. The DOJ wants Apple to build a backdoor into the device so that it can bypass the company’s state of the art encryption apparatus and access information and evidence related to the case.
At least, that’s the premise presented to the public. As we are learning, the FBI and the federal government have a far more comprehensive end-game in mind than merely bolstering the prosecution of this one case.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted last week that ‘crucial details [of the case] are being obscured by officials.’ Specifically, he made the following trenchant points:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Jake Anderson Anti Media.

Bank (Un)earnings: Why FICC Is Shrinking And Will Continue To

With quarterly earnings we get quarterly bank earnings. Interest in them should be heightened by all that has happened since June 2014. And it is, only for seemingly the wrong reasons. Deutsche Bank, the latest, reported shockingly negative preliminary results which only continued the trend. Even though the media largely gets it backwards, at some point as enough time passes it doesn’t even matter. We are told bank earnings and revenue are under pressure from a slew of ‘tough markets’ but what makes those markets so untenable in the first place?
Goldman Sachs, one of the purest of the former shadow banks, is shrinking. If they can’t make money in FICC then there is no money. It is bank balance sheets that manufacture the internal eurodollar ‘currencies’ that make it all work. There is no profit in it, to the point now where what little reward looks more like 2009-type levels of decay and dysfunction.
Goldman’s revenue from trading bonds, currencies and commodities (FICC) was $1.12bn, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2008 during the depths of the financial crisis, during which the firm recorded losses from investments and trading credit products.
Bond trading by US banks has been declining since 2009, mainly due to new rules that discourage banks from taking unnecessary risks.
The connection is blatantly obvious, but the media won’t make it because economics incessantly intrudes, demanding that what is observed isn’t real in favor of what isn’t that looks less likely by the minute. The world acts increasingly like there is a monetary shortage, a dollar shortage no less, but the media can’t seem to find it. Capital rules that ‘discourage banks from taking unnecessary risks’ didn’t do any of that, as banks took a great many risks over the past few years regardless of jawboning about Basel. Those that took more than others, such as Goldman, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, are the very banks that have performed the worst in trying to make money in money. FICC is the guts of wholesale money.
At Deutsche Bank, the struggle here is far less encrypted.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Jeffrey P. Snider ‘ January 22, 2016.

Hysterical Senator Feinstein Wants To Ban PlayStation 4

The bloodshed in Paris led U. S. officials Monday to renew calls for limits on technology that prevents governments from spying on phone conversations, text messages and e-mails.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said she asked Silicon Valley companies to help law enforcement and intelligence agencies access communications that have been encrypted – or scrambled to evade surveillance – if terrorists are using the tools to plan attacks.
‘I have asked for help. And I haven’t gotten any help,’ Feinstein said Monday in an interview with MSNBC. ‘If you create a product that allows evil monsters to communicate in this way, to behead children, to strike innocents, whether it’s at a game in a stadium, in a small restaurant in Paris, take down an airliner, that’s a big problem.’
The debate over using encryption illustrates how the pendulum of balancing security and privacy swings in response to events. Companies such as Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. incorporated stronger encryption in their products after revelations of U. S. spying were exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013. Now the tables have turned.
Apple and Google on Monday didn’t respond to requests for comment on the issue. A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment. In the past, the companies have argued that governments can obtain evidence through other means, such as informants.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Bloomberg Business ‘ November 18, 2015.

Why NSA Surveillance Is Worse Than You’ve Ever Imagined

Last summer, after months of encrypted emails, I spent three days in Moscow hanging out with Edward Snowden for a Wired cover story. Over pepperoni pizza, he told me that what finally drove him to leave his country and become a whistleblower was his conviction that the National Security Agency was conducting illegal surveillance on every American. Thursday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York agreed with him.
In a long-awaited opinion, the three-judge panel ruled that the NSA program that secretly intercepts the telephone metadata of every American – who calls whom and when – was illegal. As a plaintiff with Christopher Hitchens and several others in the original ACLU lawsuit against the NSA, dismissed by another appeals court on a technicality, I had a great deal of personal satisfaction.
It’s now up to Congress to vote on whether or not to modify the law and continue the program, or let it die once and for all. Lawmakers must vote on this matter by June 1, when they need to reauthorize the Patriot Act.
A key factor in that decision is the American public’s attitude toward surveillance. Snowden’s revelations have clearly made a change in that attitude. In a PEW 2006 survey, for example, after the New York Times’ James Risen and Eric Lichtblau revealed the agency’s warrantless eavesdropping activities, 51 percent of the public still viewed the NSA’s surveillance programs as acceptable, while 47 percent found them unacceptable.
After Snowden’s revelations, those numbers reversed. A PEW survey in March revealed that 52 percent of the public is now concerned about government surveillance, while 46 percent is not.
Given the vast amount of revelations about NSA abuses, it is somewhat surprising that just slightly more than a majority of Americans seem concerned about government surveillance. Which leads to the question of why? Is there any kind of revelation that might push the poll numbers heavily against the NSA’s spying programs? Has security fully trumped privacy as far as the American public is concerned? Or is there some program that would spark genuine public outrage?
Few people, for example, are aware that a NSA program known as TREASUREMAP is being developed to continuously map every Internet connection – cellphones, laptops, tablets – of everyone on the planet, including Americans.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 12, 2015.