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[liberationtech] NYTimes and Guardian on NSA
shava23 at gmail.com
Fri Sep 6 13:54:45 PDT 2013
Basically the regulation says, in keeping with new DHS structures, if the
governor is taking a bath and can't be disturbed, and there's an emergent
situation, we get to just use any DHS chain of command and communications
structure to call in reinforcements however we like, so WHEE! DRONE STRIKE!
In Massachusetts, we're actually having to pass a *law* forbidding the SWAT
teams in MA from deploying drone strikes. No kidding. They at least had
the good graces to ask permission rather than forgiveness. Not sure if it
was directly related, but it came up in June of this year. So we're turning
them down in code. No toyz, boyz.
It's the implicit, not explicit, issues that are disturbing.
There have been a number of issues in the US having to do with energy, food
security, border security and other converging simulation scenarios that
are not necessarily overlapping with cybersecurity that have been used to
wedge "reforms" out of civil liberties and LE/military/prison
industry/border patrol practice in recent years by waving
nightmare/doomsday scenarios in front of executive and congressional folks
in the same way we see "children on the Internet" used over and over again.
The same sort of erosion of rights, and the same asshattery.
It's not all our military, or LE, or whomever. But there does seem to be
(forgive me gentlemen) a lot of unbridled testosterone out there, who think
that the wargames on counters or on computers are the same things as life
on the ground. They are "protecting our precious bodily fluids" as it
were, and some few of the beltway companies and various contracting
interests are making serious money off of all this I'm more than sure.
I had a lovely chat with the head of the MA ACLU last year, when Bill
Binney came to speak at MIT. I told her that conspiracy theories were just
made-for-TV-drama versions of history -- all the bits resolve too neatly,
and really, they make people feel safer, because they are more
understandable than studying real history, which is never a finite game.
Conspiracy theories are chaff thrown against the sort of thing that
happens like these NSA things, which are real conspiracies, which then seem
unbelievable, and people deny, and decline to take action against.
Likewise, when boring Brazil-like executive orders float by tearing down
checks and balances, or when folks like Binney & Co with their officerly
demeaner telling us that the sky is falling in calm words respecting the
Constitution and the dignity of the corps, it misses the public's
conditioned response to expect excitement and bread and circuses with their
Why did Snowden get press when Binney did not? Because Snowden was a
brave, disproportional, total dumbass, and exposed himself to be
assassinated and called a traitor or as Ron Paul said -- have Obama send a
drone up his ass.
He stole government documents, he committed espionage, he exposed things
that compromised government programs. In all likelihood in most cases,
deserved every bit of it, but I cringe here and there too that it came to
this rather than internal and Congressional accountability -- please
understand this is catastrophic that it had to come to this as an
*external* reveal and is a failure of OVERSIGHT as well as internal common
freaking sense -- and now it's criminal.
Snowden broke the law, committed civil disobedience in such a flamboyant
way we may never be able to clear it up regardless of how much the wound
needed to be cleansed. And there are people here who are going to say I am
a bad person for saying that. I'm not judging him (I might have made the
same decisions -- it's hard to know -- God, I hope I would never ever ever
be in that position! I think I'd turn inside out...). It's an assessment.
It would take full on whole culture truth and reconciliation in DC to sort
And although I would love to see that happen, I can hardly imagine such a
thing in the current climate.
It's like Watergate. Should never have happened. But there really is
starting to feel like some systemic rot, and we need to start laying in
more and more support to the folks we know who are working on the
bolstering side of this...
I haven't talked to Ron Wyden for a while...hmm... Not much I can do from
On Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 1:28 PM, Matt Johnson <railmeat at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello Shava,
> You wrote: "...the president essentially struck down posse comitatus
> in May, they won't know what you are talking about..." I don't know
> what you are talking about either, but I am curious. Could you send a
> link or two.
> -- Matt Johnson
> On Thu, Sep 5, 2013 at 5:00 PM, Shava Nerad <shava23 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Part of the tone is also adopted in order to wake the sleeping baby
> > anti-intellectual giants either side of the pond. The smart magazines
> > publish smart crypto articles, but mass market newspapers have to bring
> > their audiences along, even the Times and Guardian.
> > Very few stories even bother to explain what the NSA does or what its
> > function in government is, which actually rather stuns me, because I find
> > that when I ask the general public that question I find that most of them
> > don't know what the NSA does for the government. Most of them assume it
> > works for the executive branch, but for the DOJ as part of the whole
> > civilian/State/FBI sort of DHS bits, because those lines are so muddied.
> > (And yes, I am conflating Justice and State on purpose there because it's
> > been done in conversation with The (Wo)Man on the Street.).
> > People don't know basic civics. At all. If you tell them they should be
> > upset because the military is conducting domestic surveillance, they
> look at
> > you like "what?" "East Germany?" you say. "Stasi?" you say. Blank
> > No history. Those who do not learn from history, etc.
> > If you tell them that they should be upset because the president
> > struck down posse comitatus in May, they won't know what you are talking
> > about, but if you say, "Basically, if a local SWAT team decides they need
> > backup in some kind of emergency situation and they can't get hold of the
> > governor to call for National Guard? They can call a local military
> > for an airstrike if they want to." Then the people will decide you are
> > cold stoned mad and a total tin hat. "Sherman?" you say. And if
> > from the south, they might go off in a rant, but they still won't relate
> > to current affairs or do anything. But that is literally what the law
> > in the US now. That's a bit beyond elementary civics, but it's a bit
> > what the press is reporting on here too. Because the press doesn't
> > have much literacy in elementary civics or history either. They seem to
> > drawing mostly on marcom majors these days.
> > This is what the "attention economy" has done to us. Our culture is a
> > nutrient rich ocean, full of wonders and cthonic monsters that can eat
> > And we all surf. Nothing below the surf-ace is important anymore.
> > Yay.
> > SN
> > On Sep 5, 2013 3:31 PM, "Richard Brooks" <rrb at acm.org> wrote:
> >> Latest articles:
> >> I find most of this (if not all) silly. They seem shocked that the
> >> NSA does cryptanalysis. It would be nice if the newspapers had
> >> people with some knowledge of the domain writing articles.
> >> --
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shava23 at gmail.com
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