February 5, 2015
Crisis: Spying Hackers, Net Neutrality, Kiriakou, TPP, Poitras+Maher
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

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1. Western Spy Agencies Secretly Rely on Hackers for Intel
     and Expertise

2. Net Neutrality, Back by Popular Demand
Unbroken, CIA Torture Whistleblower Kiriakou To Finish
     Sentence Home with Family

What the Corporate Media Aren't Telling You About the

Real Time with Bill Maher: Laura Poitras – CITIZENFOUR

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, February 5, 2015.

This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links (and none about The Guardian): Item 1 is on Glenn Greenwald on how the Western spy agencies hack hackers to get information - while their governments prosecute hackers for doing the same things as the spy agencies do to them; item 2 brings the Good News that it seems as if net neutrality may be preserved (I am wary, and so write "seems as if", but that is the news); item 3 is about former CIA agent Kiriakou, who got released after 2 years of imprisonment; item 4 is about the TPP and why so very few know about it; and item 5 is
about a video with Bill Maher interviewing Laura Poitras.

This file got uploaded a bit earlier than usual.

1. Western Spy Agencies Secretly Rely on Hackers for Intel and Expertise

The first item today is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
  • Western Spy Agencies Secretly Rely on Hackers for Intel and Expertise
This starts as follows:

The U.S., U.K. and Canadian governments characterize hackers as a criminal menace, warn of the threats they allegedly pose to critical infrastructure, and aggressively prosecute them, but they are also secretly exploiting their information and expertise, according to top secret documents.

In some cases, the surveillance agencies are obtaining the content of emails by monitoring hackers as they breach email accounts, often without notifying the hacking victims of these breaches. “Hackers are stealing the emails of some of our targets… by collecting the hackers’ ‘take,’ we . . .  get access to the emails themselves,” reads one top secret 2010 National Security Agency document.

These and other revelations about the intelligence agencies’ reliance on hackers are contained in documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
There is considerably more in the article, that also contains this bit, showing Western governments use two measures, one for hackers and one for itself:
Several of the accounts to be mined for expertise are associated with the hactivist collective Anonymous. Documents previously published by The Intercept reveal extensive, and sometimes extreme, tactics employed by GCHQ to infiltrate, discredit and disrupt that group. The agency employed some of the same hacker methods against Anonymous (e.g., mass denial of service) as governments have prosecuted Anonymous for using.
2. Net Neutrality, Back by Popular Demand

The next item is an article by Amy Goodman on Truthdig:
  • Net Neutrality, Back by Popular Demand

This article brings Good News (that also was reported by quite a few others): It seems as if net neutrality will remain:

In a blog post on the website of the magazine Wired this week, Wheeler made a stunning revelation. “Originally, I believed that the FCC could assure Internet openness through a determination of ‘commercial reasonableness,’” he wrote. This is what had worried proponents of network neutrality. Major ISPs would be allowed to discriminate, favoring some websites over others, as long as they weren’t being “unreasonable.” Wheeler continued in his Wired piece, “I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open Internet protections.”

What Wheeler means by “Title II authority” is that he has made an about-face and will propose rules that the Internet be regulated like a public utility, as are other central pillars of our society like power utilities, water systems and the telephone system. Imagine if the water coming out of your tap was less clean than water at a neighbor’s house, because the neighbor pays for premium water. Public utilities are regulated. People get the same service, without discrimination.

I say! That is Good News! Then again, I wrote above that it seems as if net neutrality will remain, and I must say I will only believe it if (1) this has become law, while also (2) without there having been added all sorts of "last minute" changes and loopholes (for I think I do understand Obama and his government, as I also think I do understand the GOP politicians: you really cannot trust anything they say publicly).

But OK - while it still is not a law, so far this is, at least, a lot better than it might have been.

3. Unbroken, CIA Torture Whistleblower Kiriakou To Finish Sentence Home with Family

The next item is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
  • Unbroken, CIA Torture Whistleblower Kiriakou To Finish Sentence Home with Family
In case you don't know who John Kiriakou (<- Wikipedia) is: This is from the Wikipedia item on him (minus two links to notes):
He was the first U.S. government official to confirm in December 2007 that waterboarding was used to interrogate Al Qaeda prisoners, which he described as torture. On October 22, 2012, Kiriakou pleaded guilty to disclosing classified information about a fellow CIA officer that connected the covert operative to a specific operation.
Incidentally: it was torture, not only "which he described as". The article starts as follows:

John Kiriakou, the CIA agent who was jailed for blowing the whistle on the United States' torture program, was released from Loretto Prison in Pennsylvania on Tuesday under orders to finish the remainder of his 30-month sentence at home.

Though glad the whistleblower was finally able to return to his wife and five children, supporters said the development was bittersweet considering that Kiriakou has thus far been the only government official to be punished for U.S. torture.

"John Kiriakou is a dedicated public servant who became a political prisoner because he brought to light one of the darkest chapters in American history: the CIA’s ineffective, immoral and illegal torture program," said Jesselyn Radack, Kiriakou’s attorney and National Security and Human Rights director of the Government Accountability Project. 

"Considering that the last three heads of the CIA engaged in leaks of classified information without being charged under the Espionage Act and that no CIA official who ordered or participated in torture has been criminally punished," Radack continued, "it is a welcome development that Kiriakou can serve the rest of his sentence at home with his family."

Yes, indeed.

4. What the Corporate Media Aren't Telling You About the TPP

The next item is an article by several writers (rather unclear) on Truthout:
  • What the Corporate Media Aren't Telling You About the TPP

This starts as follows:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP as it's more commonly known, is a public health disaster waiting to happen.

According to leaked documents, the proposed trade deal, which I like to call the Southern Hemisphere Asian Free Trade Agreement - SHAFTA - would extend patent protections for drugs made by Big Pharma to prevent rival companies from making generic version of those same drugs.

This a huge deal.

For hundreds of millions of people all over the world, generic drugs are a cheaper alternative to the more expensive drugs sold by Big Pharma.

So if the TPP goes through, real live breathing people (Doctors Without Borders estimates about half a billion of them) will effectively lose affordable access to the medicine they need to survive.

Not only that: There is very much more in this TPP, which is a huge favorite of that Noble Liberal Progressive Obama, who also seeks to push this through Congress on a fast track, so that very few will be able to even read it (for  the Members of Congress cannot read it with their lawyers, and also cannot take notes, and also cannot discuss anything they have read with anyone else, for this very intrusive legislation for hundreds of millions is secret and classified, so that its hundreds of millions of - potential - victims will not see it).

Thus there is e.g. this in the TPP (which is secret, but so much is clear):
The TPP would also let corporations sue countries in international courts owned and run by corporations, with judges handpicked from corporate law firms. In other words, if a corporation doesn't like a regulation, or thinks it'll diminish their profits, they can sue your town, state, or our federal government over it - and that would gut environmental and financial rules without any input from "We the People" or our elected representatives in Congress.
The rest of the story is quite informative about the reasons why almost no one in the mainstream media even mentioned the TPP (outside one show, that is only available by premium subscription): Their directors stand to make a lot of money if it gets implemented, and therefore they sit tight, don't say anything, smile brightly, and talk only about bullshit items.

5. Real Time with Bill Maher: Laura Poitras – CITIZENFOUR (HBO)

The next and last item for today is a video of 7 m 52 s with Bill Maher and Laura Poitras:
  • Real Time with Bill Maher: Laura Poitras – CITIZENFOUR (HBO)
As I have said several times since discovering him in 2010 (I could not have done so much earlier, for I got fast internet only in the summer of 2009): I like Bill Maher, for he is smart, witty, and funny, and I mostly agree with him.

I also do not agree with him about some things, such as his initial treatment of Edward Snowden, some of his stances on Muslims, and most of his support for Barack Obama, but then again I am a real liberal (in the sense of John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, much rather than later senses), and that means I can like people without having to agree with them all the way - which is a far more prevalent notion on both the left and the right than I like (for it is a kind of totalitarianism: "No, we do not approve of you unless you think like We, The Good People, do!").

But he - sort of - excused himself on Snowden and Greenwald; said some good things; and did a decent interview with Laura Poitras.
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