Friday, 12 May 2017

Freedom? It's Bollocks. The People Versus The Deep State

Everyone is suddenly talking about the Deep State – the cartels of state security agencies, career bureaucrats, corporate businesses in the military / industrial complex, surveillance contractors, 'opinion makers' and 'philanthropists' whose omnipresence in democratic societies has been brought to light by President Trump’s claims that he was “wiretapped” by his predecessor, and before that by internet whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden and websites such as Wikileaks.

This blog (and our other publications have been talking about The Deep State, the Shadow Government, The Controllers, call them what you will, since before there was alt_journalism and new media. It's not a new think, in fact the establishment of a political establishment, a cliquish caste of lawyers, scholars, military leaders and money men, was probably one of the first things to happen when humans began to form civilised communities.

Because Trump's opponents got their knickers in a right old twist about this alleged 'wiretapping', let's put things in perspective. Wiretapping is an illegal eavesdropping technique that in its true form is obsolete in this era of digital surveillance and Trumps words could in no way be construed as a suggestion that Obama was personally involved in physically setting up any electronic eavesdropping equipment or software. And we now know that several US Government agencies were certainly surveilling Trump campaign headquarters during the 2016 election campaign.

It was because of his habit of making imprecise statements, as if he is thinking aloud rather than making a well thought out statement when addressing the media which enabled those who cannot accept his victory over Hillary Clinton or the fact that he is now US President to ascribe the surveillance to Barack Obama, and so naturally spokesmen for the former President had no trouble batting this charge away. But as a former Obama speechwriter put it:  “I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the [White House] ordered it.”

And then there’s the word “wiretapping”: this brings to mind the old-fashioned physical “bug” that old fashioned spooks like James Bond used to plant on the phone lines of suspected subversives, installed with tools from a harware store in the dead of night. But that isn’t how it’s done anymore. As Edward Snowden revealed and as I know from my career in computers and digital networking, the National Security Agency (NSA) in the USA and the UK Government's GCHQ scoop up everyone’s data and metadate, and store it all in a vast, relational database for later retrieval. Loosely-observed “rules” are supposed to make it hard (but not impossible) for the spooks to spy on American citizens, but the reality is that there are plenty of times when such information is scooped up “incidentally,” and in those cases the identities of those spied on must be redacted.

Except not anymore.Cooperation from Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Google, Facebook, internet service providers and cellular network operators have made possible the sucking up of very detailed information on peoples' movements and activities and building of a reasonable accurate profile of that person.
As the New York Times reported on January 12:
“In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.
“The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.
“The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data…”
At the same time some White House officials were scrambling to spread disinformation about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians – across the government.”
And it looks like Obama administration officials were quick to make use of this loosening of regulation after Trump’s victory. As the Times reported on March 1, after Trump won they were combing through the unredacted raw data looking for evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign:
Their goal was to leave an audit trail of intelligence for government investigators. So sore were members of the Obama administration that Trump had beaten Hillary Clinton and their tickets on the gravy train had been cancelled, they apparently didn’t wait for the investigation to find the planted data, a stream of reportage about “intercepts” involving Trump associates, such as former National Security Council advisor Michael Flynn communicating with Russian officials, found its way onto the front pages of the nation’s newspapers. The source of this intelligence is the key to understanding what happened. The Times tells us:
“American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials – and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin – and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence.
“Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.”

Forget about looking court records of applications for warrants to spy on Trump & Co.: it wasn’t necessary. Such archaic relics of the free society was the attitude. as warrants had no place in the brave New World of Obamaland. "If we can do it, that makes it OK to do it," "Seventeen different government agencies shouldn’t be rooting through Americans’ emails with family members, friends and colleagues, all without ever obtaining a warrant," warned American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Patrick Toomey at the time the rules defining NSA powers and constraints were thrown out.
 
But nobody cared, we live in a scientific age and as far as science is concerned justice is a chimera and the end justifies the means. Ironically Trump and his supporters, generally approve of governments spying on citizens and anything else that wears a “national security” identification badge, they had not raised a stink about what Obama was up to and so deserved to be the first victims. Thus the anti-Trump coup plotters were given carte blance to do their dirty deeds. On January 12 a New York Times story reported:
“Under the new system, agencies will ask the N.S.A. for access to specific surveillance feeds, making the case that they contain information relevant and useful to their missions. The N.S.A. will grant requests it deems reasonable after considering factors like whether large amounts of Americans’ private information might be included and, if so, how damaging or embarrassing it would be if that information were ‘improperly used or disclosed.’”
All the leakers had to do was run the material gathered by the NSA through a keyword search and cherry-pick what looked incriminating. Maybe there was nothing to find or maybe, due to the typical incompetence of Team Obama members, there was could have been smoking gun or we would surely have known about it by now. But the lack of such was no obstacle to their goal, which was to give the #NeverTrump cause a banner around which to rally the Clintonistas post-election – “The Russians did it!” – and create a dark cloud of suspicion over Trump’s presidency as being somehow illegitimate.

The new rules on disseminating raw NSA intercepts went into effect on January 3, after then Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed on: the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had previously signed on December 12. And if we look at the reportage coming out of the media, that’s when the stories detailing the alleged links between Trump appointees and Russian government officials started hitting fans and front pages.

It’s difficult to see how anyone could deny that the Surveillance State did a number on Trump and tried to derail his presidency (though Obama fans and Clinton supporters will.) Only days after the loosened NSA rules went into effect, the Washington Post ran a story headlined “US Intercepts Capture Senior Russian Officials Celebrating Trump Win”:

The Most Shocking Revelation From The CIA-Spying Scandal

Via Simon Black of SovereignMan.com
It happened again– another spying scandal in the Land of the Free.

Soon after that Wikileaks released 8,761 CIA documents detailing the agency’s hacking of smart phones, routers, computers, and even televisions. These leaked documents reveal that the CIA can and has hacked devices that were supposedly secure– iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. And that is where the cooperation of Microsoft, Google, Apple et al comes in. The documents further reveal that the CIA is deliberately infecting personal computers with spyware, including Windows, Mac OS/X, Solaris, Linux, and other operating systems.

Security agencies are also hacking WiFi routers to deploy software that monitors Internet activity, and have even figured out how to bypass anti-virus software so that their spyware cannot be detected.

The technical stuff is not that impressive, the government agencies, in spite of or perhaps because of their policy of hiring the most highly qualified 'computer science' graduates from top universities and having almost unlimited budgets are still way behind amateur nerds who have hardly any formal qualifications but spend their lives hunched over computers (rad The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo if you doubt me.) Where government agencies are strong is in propaganda; with the help of friendly mainstream media they persuaded the world to believe that Russian hackers, not the CIA, are behind all this malware and spyware.




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