Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for May 22nd, 2014

Why is the NSA recording all phone conversations in the Bahamas?

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Ryan Devereaux writes in The Intercept:

Government officials in the Bahamas want their U.S. counterparts to explain why the National Security Agency has been intercepting and recording every cell phone call taking place on the island nation.

Responding to a report published by The Intercept on Monday, which revealed that the NSA has been targeting the Bahamas’ entire mobile network and storing the audio of every phone call traversing the network for up to 30 days, Bahamian officials told the Nassau Guardian that they had contacted the U.S. and vowed to release a statement regarding the revelations.

In a front-page story published Tuesday, Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell told the Guardian that his government had reached out to the U.S. for an explanation. Mitchell said the cabinet was set to meet to discuss the matter and planned to issue a statement on the surveillance. The Bahamian minister of national security told the paper he intended to launch an inquiry into the NSA’s surveillance but did not provide a comment.

A source familiar with the situation told The Intercept that the cabinet meeting had indeed taken place, but an official in Mitchell’s office said there would be no comment Tuesday. “You’ll have to call back,” said the official, who did not identify herself. . .

Continue reading.

Now, what was it that the Chinese hackers were doing that the US so strongly condemned? Going on fishing expeditions by scooping up and recording all phone calls? No…

Written by Leisureguy

22 May 2014 at 8:07 pm

UpLift Electric Sit-Stand Desk Base

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This is cool. Make your own stand-up desk.

Written by Leisureguy

22 May 2014 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health

It is increasingly obvious that the CIA has no regard for the law and operates outside the law

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The CIA is a criminal organization, as is becoming increasingly evident. William Douglas and Ali Watkins report for McClatchy:

Two powerful Senate committee chairs told President Barack Obama earlier this year that the CIA’s insistence on keeping secret how it treated prisoners under its enhanced interrogation program threatens the country’s ability to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Intelligence Committee, and Carl Levin, D-Mich., head of the Armed Services Committee, sought the president’s help in getting information declassified about the CIA’s so-called harsh interrogation techniques and stressed the need for transparency on a program that essentially had ended in 2006 and that Obama formally killed when he took office in 2009.

The two senators blamed the CIA’s obsession with hiding the details of the program for the logjammed military commission process that has yet to try any of the alleged 9/11 conspirators, some of whom have been in custody for nearly a dozen years.

“We write to urge that you direct all appropriate action to address the ongoing delay in the military commission trial of Khalid Shaykh Mohammad (KSM) and four other detainees being prosecuted at Guantanamo in connection with the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” the committee chairs, using an alternative spelling for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, wrote in a Jan. 6, 2014, letter obtained Thursday by McClatchy. “Much of the delay is related to the continued classification of the information concerning the now defunct CIA Detention Interrogation Program.”

Mohammed is . . .

Continue reading.

Of course, Obama also seems to have little regard for the law when he doesn’t like it. The Convention Against Torture is a signed and ratified US treaty—the highest law of the land—that requires the president to investigate credible allegations of torture. Obama blew that off and seems much more interested in protecting the torturers and those who ordered torture.

Written by Leisureguy

22 May 2014 at 5:06 pm

NSA playing tricks again, with the support of our docile Congress

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Congress nowadays really doesn’t think much of citizen rights, but it is very big on government rights. So they have gutted the NSA reform bill to allow NSA to continue to do pretty much whatever it wants, so long as it can keep it secret (as we have seen). No one knows whether any members of Congress were threatened by the NSA with disclosures based on their communications that were collected by NSA. Andrea Peterson reports in the Washington Post:

On Thursday the House passed a bill aimed at reforming the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of domestic phone records in a 303-to-121 vote. But the version of that bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, was different from the one that was recently approved by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. The new version from the House Rules Committee, privacy advocates say, significantly weakened the reform and included loopholes that could potentially allow bulk data collection on U.S. citizens to continue.

Privacy advocates weren’t the only ones upset about the changes. Many co-sponsors of the original version were also concerned. In fact, a Washington Post analysis of the votes shows that 76 of the 152 co-sponsors of the earlier version voted against passage of the altered version on the House floor Thursday. So, half of the co-sponsors ended up voting against what was supposed to be their own NSA reform bill.

That includes Rep. Jared Polis, (D-Colo.), who released a press statement about his change of heart after the vote. “Unfortunately, the USA Freedom Act, which I cosponsored as introduced, has been watered down and co-opted to the point that it creates the possibility that NSA could misuse the bill- contrary to the legislative intent- to conduct broad searches of communication records,” Polis said.

The White House came out in support of the bill on Wednesday. But many privacy advocates and a coalition of technology companies dropped their support in light of the changes made to the bill. A blog post from Kevin Bankston, the policy director at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, laid out some areas of concern for the groups. Those include changes that they say broaden the search selector terms used by the NSA to define the scope of data requests from phone companies in such a way that could still allow bulk collection and that could limit the transparency reporting for companies who receive such requests. . .

Continue reading.

Of course Obama supports the watered-down bill. He’s the person who allowed NSA to do whatever they wanted in the first place—well, the second, place, after George W. Bush.

Written by Leisureguy

22 May 2014 at 5:01 pm

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