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Snowden Surfaces in Hong Kong: New Information in South China Morning Post


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#1 dsp

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:49 AM

People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice. I am here to reveal criminality.

http://www.scmp.com/...na-morning-post

#2 Practical Girl

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 10:51 AM

Oh, the drama. I've had reservations from the beginning that Snowden's working alone on this. Traveler, you at one point said you felt an "orchestration" at work. I'm starting to agree. Is it nefarious or a good thing? An open question.

As we wait for Snowden and co. to reveal all in slow acts and we contemplate the legal ins-and-outs, a fairly good read.
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--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
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#3 golden_valley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:05 AM

Orchestration? I suspect so. That recorded interview with Greenwald raised my suspicions. Well, that plus his pretty short time working for Booz.

Nefarious or a good thing? It's too soon to tell. This guy wants to be seen as a heroic figure; his interview suggests that. Is he someone who could be used without realizing he was being used?

#4 dsp

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:23 AM

Good article. It is pathetic that a young man from humble origins had to expose this. Meanwhile, James Clapper lies to Congress and the top legal talent uses their skills to craft laws and make arguments that protect men like Clapper.

The Obama government's actions have been so dishonest and despicable I don't understand how people are not universally repulsed by them. I'd rather live an open dictatorship than a de facto one with democratic window dressing.

#5 dsp

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:23 AM

Orchestrated by who and for what reason? By all means, please speculate.

#6 Traveler

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:46 AM

DSP, your link didnt work. Try this

As to orchestration, just too many fishy factoids. The PRISM ppt is hokey, it doesn't seem to represent the actual pipelines to the providers, and such widespread access for a mere contractor, etc. I personally dont see how this revelation hurts international anti-terror efforts, as they already know this and proceed accordingly. Have you heard about steganography? All those gb of porn on the terrorist hard drives? Methinks they are pretty well inured to NSA machinations. Indy will no doubt educate me on that.

But I think this knowledge will end up sheltering a lot of home grown idiots that would have been captured ahead of time. (Of course that assumes illegal snooping by the NSA on US citizens, which is exactly what seems to be happening.) So really not a good reason for orchestration.

Its just plain fishy.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#7 Practical Girl

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:51 AM

View Postdsp, on 12 June 2013 - 11:23 AM, said:

Orchestrated by who and for what reason? By all means, please speculate.

Do I detect some sarcasm? :) I'll take it, since I'm the one who seems to have put on my foil cap.

First, let's not lose sight of the bottom line issues. As I see them, the concerns are thus and others can add much more detail, I'm sure:

1. National security: How in the hell did a 90 day new hire with a private contractor gain such deep access to government information so quickly? Again, if this is an "all good", only-for-the-good-of-the-people situation, so be it. But it's still a relevant question for the vulnerabilities uncovered. It does not speak well for the private contractors, at the very least.

2. Personal data/privacy concerns of Americans

3. What information- in the name of fighting terrorism etc- is it ok for the government to conceal, and what isn't? For me, that's more complicated than I can possibly wrap my head around.

4. How much of our right to privacy is given away- knowingly, unwittingly, out of apathy and/or ignorance- at the retail level through Internet, cell phones and other electronic communication devices? If we grow up as a people, if we get smarter through this, that could be a big plus.

So- to speculation. I may have donned my tin foil hat, but I don't have a crystal ball. I tend to look at this sort of stuff and ask "who has the most to gain?". Rival contractors? Seems a stretch. Political organizations? A fledgling data storage company with the "solution"? All possibilities.

Can't leave out Snowden, himself, who has as much profit motive as anybody out there. The standard fare- book deals, movie deals- is a possibility, even a probability. The way this is being rolled out? Uh...I sometimes do this, for very large companies down to individual authors. I recognize a story being built, but sure could be wrong as to why.

At this point, my real answer is...?? All I can say is that I feel unseen hands all over this. Is it just a case of Snowden having his ducks in order, is he working in concert with others, or am I just reading too much in this? Time will tell
Every woman needs a blowtorch.
---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
Ernest Hemingway

#8 Traveler

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:05 PM

PG, glad I am not the only one that thinks something is being cooked up here. ...You know something is happenin', but you dont know what it is....
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#9 Practical Girl

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:09 PM

View PostTraveler, on 12 June 2013 - 12:05 PM, said:

PG, glad I am not the only one that thinks something is being cooked up here. ...You know something is happenin', but you dont know what it is....

Something just occurred to me. We're all very focused on the dirty the government is doing, but what if Snowden has information that implicates his former employer in some sort of criminal activity, perhaps in concert with the government or certain officials? So far, he's given us no indication of that, but perhaps it could be a reason for his carefully rolled-out story. Has he been laying groundwork for something bigger than just data storage/mining?
Every woman needs a blowtorch.
---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
Ernest Hemingway

#10 dsp

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:22 PM

Good points, but who do you think is doing the orchestrating? Do you mean the CIA, the Chinese or Russian government, some rogue faction in the intelligence community?

#11 golden_valley

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:28 PM

I have nothing but gut twinges about this. This guy figures out all these abuses in 90 days? Did Snowdon go in prepped to look for the "abuses" that he couldn't live with? Maybe a rival "private security/intelligence" company could send him in? China? Seems to have its own hackers. Why mess up a system they've already figured out? Someone with some other financial gain? Lots of things are done for the money and not for ideology.

I notice that Greenwald breaks the stories and has the interview...did he or the Guardian have a hand in this? Selling newspapers, public appearances and book deals. Fifteen minutes of fame is very attractive to some people who may be motivated purely by the desire for it. This is all pure speculation based on a gut feeling.

#12 Practical Girl

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:29 PM

View Postdsp, on 12 June 2013 - 12:22 PM, said:

Good points, but who do you think is doing the orchestrating? Do you mean the CIA, the Chinese or Russian government, some rogue faction in the intelligence community?

At this point, my bullshit meter doesn't register with foreign governments. I couldn't even begin to speculate about this coming from within the intelligence community. I'm far too ignorant of the operational capabilities and politics in that arena. It feels more like a group-even if it's small- that has something to gain i.e. big profits- and have found a willing partner in Snowden. Almost like he was a plant.

To be fair- the verdict is still out on Snowden, his intel and his motives. Luckily, I'm not in the media, being "followed" by readers and so it hardly matters where my paranoia leads me. But I'd be surprised if there weren't at least a few news organizations at least trying to make some connections...That I freely admit may not be there.
Every woman needs a blowtorch.
---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
Ernest Hemingway

#13 dsp

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:30 PM

Or maybe he just wants to expose wrongdoing like Ellsberg. Occam's Razor.

#14 Practical Girl

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:33 PM

View Postgolden_valley, on 12 June 2013 - 12:28 PM, said:

I have nothing but gut twinges about this. This guy figures out all these abuses in 90 days? Did Snowdon go in prepped to look for the "abuses" that he couldn't live with? Maybe a rival "private security/intelligence" company could send him in? China? Seems to have its own hackers. Why mess up a system they've already figured out? Someone with some other financial gain? Lots of things are done for the money and not for ideology.

I notice that Greenwald breaks the stories and has the interview...did he or the Guardian have a hand in this? Selling newspapers, public appearances and book deals. Fifteen minutes of fame is very attractive to some people who may be motivated purely by the desire for it. This is all pure speculation based on a gut feeling.

One of my all-time favorite movie quotes, from "High Fidelity"

Quote

Well, I've been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I've come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.

Nothing personal, of course...I'm in the same boat... :)
Every woman needs a blowtorch.
---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
Ernest Hemingway

#15 dsp

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:36 PM

His latest charges are here. Says NSA has been hacking China by targeting backbone routers.

http://www.scmp.com/...-kong-and-china

#16 dsp

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:37 PM

Here's a chunk of text. I think the HK paper's web site is crashing.

National Security Agency’s controversial Prism programme extends to people and institutions in Hong Kong and mainland China;

Snowden said that according to unverified documents seen by the Post, the NSA had been hacking computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland since 2009. None of the documents revealed any information about Chinese military systems, he said.

One of the targets in the SAR, according to Snowden, was the Chinese University of Hong Kong and public officials businesses and students in the city. The documents also point to hacking activity by the NSA against mainland targets.

Snowden claimed that overall, he believed there had been more than 61,000 NSA hacking operations globally, with hundreds of targets in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

“We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” he said.

“Last week the American government happily operated in the shadows with no respect for the consent of the governed, but no longer. Every level of society is demanding accountability and oversight.”

Snowden said he was releasing the information to demonstrate “the hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure, unlike its adversaries”.

“Not only does it do so, but it is so afraid of this being known that it is willing to use any means, such as diplomatic intimidation, to prevent this information from becoming public.”

#17 Practical Girl

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:52 PM

Huh. Dude needs to be prosecuted, plain and simple.

Quote

The 1917 Espionage Act has gone through some amendments over the years but its language still reflects the security concerns of a century ago, with references to railroads, forts and telegraphs. But its all-encompassing character has stood the test of time.Section 793 of the law makes it an offence to take, retain or transfer knowledge "with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation".

Every woman needs a blowtorch.
---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"

--- "Write hard and clear about what hurts"
Ernest Hemingway

#18 LFC

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:56 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the NSA's action legal per the Patriot Act, which was reestablished by Congressional vote? It seems to me that people concerned about the snooping are going after the wrong targets, i.e. the NSA, Obama, and the intelligence committees in Congress. The real issue seems to be the Patriot Act, and if all of it is even Constitutional. And where is the bipartisan Rand Paul / Maria Cantwell bill that would repeal the most egregious parts of the Patriot Act?

This topic came up around 7-8 years ago, which is why I'm stunned that this is such a shock to so many people. Of course it's happening! We knew back then it would be happening! So why the heck have the members of Congress who despise it been sitting on their hands this whole time when they know what the Patriot Act allowed? We need some serious clarity on what's occurring, what oversight is truly in place, who actually has access to the data, and is all of this even legal assuming the Patriot Act is deemed to be constitutional ... another issue that needs to be settled.

I'm finding this whole situation to be piled even higher in political cow cookies than most, and that's quite a feat. My Bulls***-o-meter is currently off the charts in all directions.
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#19 dsp

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 01:17 PM

LFC, re: legality, have you see this piece by Sirota?

http://www.salon.com...e_nsa_on_trial/

#20 dsp

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 01:22 PM

This comment from the Guardian is the kind of conjecture that seems plausible me. They keep saying NSA is not listening to calls, but what if listening to calls is not the main reason for collecting all that data?

Indy, if you're reading even if you reject the speculation, conjecture and conclusions here, regarding the technical matters raised in this comment, can I ask do you think something like what's being described here is feasible for NSA?

Of course it is more intrusive, and more "effective", that's why they have chosen these methods, because they are 'better' than simply listening to phone calls, which, in the case of trained individuals is useless.

Eavesdropping is obviated by simple means, conspirators can, in a safe environment agree on a series of innocuous phrases that actually mean something else. "We went out for a great meal last night." could mean, "I will initiate the attack in the next 24 hours." Failing that people can use more or less unbreakable encrypted calls.

"Social analysis", which is what they are doing, is impervious to all that, social analysis uses algorithms to identify networks and to determine the relative positions in the hierarchy of individuals in those networks. It's very effective and can only be defeated by ceasing all overt communications, which is very difficult of course.

Since terrorists and organized criminals, have, since forever, been aware of such tools, and avoid making calls or sending emails, I can only conclude that the true purpose of the program is to identify malcontents, revolutionaries, and others who might pose a problem for the state. They do this as they project big problems ahead as the economy declines and millions become destitute, homeless, and desperate. It's all about social kontrol.

Social network analysis has gained prominence in business and intelligence circles under the belief that it can yield extraordinary insights, such as the fact that people in disparate organizations have common acquaintances. So it did not surprise many security analysts to learn Thursday from USA Today that the NSA is applying the technology to billions of phone records. Computer security experts say it is often more important who is talking to who than what is being said.

More on Social Network Analysis here, at Wired.





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