Tag Archives: NSA

Writers, Surveillance, and Self-Censorship

“Writers are reluctant to speak about, write about, or conduct research on topics that they think may draw government scrutiny. This has a devastating impact on freedom of information as well: If writers avoid exploring topics for fear of possible retribution, the material available to readers—particularly those seeking to understand the most controversial and challenging issues facing the world today—may be greatly impoverished.”

… “according to the survey, writers living in countries defined as “Free” by U.S.-based NGO watchdog Freedom House expressed an almost equal level of concern about surveillance as those living in countries defined as “Not Free” (75% and 80%, respectively), prompting notable levels of self-censorship.

“The levels of self-censorship reported by writers living in liberal democracies are astonishing, and demonstrate that mass surveillance programs conducted by democracies are chilling freedom of expression among writers,” the report notes. According to the survey, 34 percent of writers living in liberal democracies admitted to self-censoring, compared with 61 percent of writers living in authoritarian countries, and 44 percent in semi-democratic countries.”

From: commondreams.org/news/2015/01/05/fear-government-spying-chilling-writers-speech-worldwide

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When the Sword is Mightier than the Pen

“PEN’s survey allowed participants to ofer long-form comments on surveillance; PEN also invited members to share their thoughts and personal experiences via email. In reviewing the responses, themes emerged centering on writers’ self-censorship and fear that their communications would bring harm to themselves, their friends, or sources:

1. PEN writers now assume that their communications are monitored.
2. The assumption that they are under surveillance is harming freedom of expression by prompting writers to self-censor their work in multiple ways, including:
a) reluctance to write or speak about certain subjects;
b) reluctance to pursue research about certain subjects; and
c) reluctance to communicate with sources, or with friends abroad, for fear that they will endanger their counterparts by doing so.”

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How the CIA, NSA shape the minds of America’s children

“Worried about what your children are getting into while surfing the Web? Well, how about organizations involved in intelligence gathering and espionage?

Despite their very adult missions, both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency have sections specifically for youngsters.

Communication expert Joanne Cantor said having games indicates that an organization wants kids to have a positive image of them.

Cantor said companies that see children as a target audience, such as fast-food chains or sweetened cereal producers, “have all sorts of games on their websites to make the kids like them and to sort of recruit them at young ages, and that’s very controversial among people who consider marketing to kids as unfair.”

“We realize the importance of helping to educate the nation’s youth and raise awareness about the National Security Agency’s core values, vision, and critical mission.” From: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/cia-and-nsa-websites-invite-children/

Basically the CIA is building a US version of Komsomol:

“The Bolsheviks saw Russian youth as ideologically promising because it was more removed[]. If the Party could create a mass of indoctrinated, obedient young people, the regime would be stable for years to come. Therefore, the Bolsheviks attempted to influence and politicize every aspect of youth culture, both public and private.”

Are you worried about what your children are getting into while surfing the Web? You should, because soon they’ll be flying the drones that kill Pakistani children. It’s all a game.

What triggers Echelon?

While browsing through some old files I found this little ditty by Kieren McCarthy, from May 31, 2001:

“What are those words that trigger Echelon?  According to various UK media sources today, the buzzwords said to trigger the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand spying mechanism Echelon have been “posted on the Internet”. We haven’t found the file and it hasn’t popped up on the authoritative site for these sorts of things, Cryptome.org, so we’d not put too much weight behind it. However, just for your interest, we give you a quick run-through on what some of the words are. There are the obvious phrases like “Kill the President” which caused two schoolboys from the UK to be quizzed by special branch, “anarchy”, “echelon” :-), “nuclear”, “assassinate”.

Then there are ones that are dodgy (cause they fit in with X-file type paranoia) like “Roswell”, “Waco”, “World Trade Center”, “Soros” – after George Soros, “Whitewater”. Then there are a suspiciously large number of hacker names: Furby, Bugs Bunny, Bubba the Love etc. But just when we thought it was obviously some script-kiddie hoax, a few interesting words crop up: FRU – the cover name for the SAS in Northern Ireland, Lebed – an ex-Russian general, now a politician, HALO – a type of parachute jump, Spetznaz – the Russian SAS, Al Amn al-Askari – a member of the Iraqi cabinet, Glock 26 – a ceramic handgun that can’t be detected by airport scanners (a reader informs us that the Glock 26 is only partly ceramic, the bullets are metal and is can be detected at airports – so we should really shift this one into the X-file list), Steak Knife – the codename for an IRA double agent, And so on and so forth. Go through them carefully to satisfy your paranoid fantasies (you’ll be safe under the bed, trust us).”

I don’t recall where this piece appeared so the only credit given is the above.

For more on Echelon visit SpyWriter.

Psychic Chocolate Killers

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NSA is preparing to employ psychological warfare against online threats:

“Operational attacks against an Internet threat would begin by locating and identifying the individuals involved in the hacks. NSA psychic warfare operatives would assess the targets to identify personality vulnerabilities and determine an operational strategy to remotely influence and effect changes in the bio-physical responses of the targeted individuals. An individual’s propensity to develop a specific disease might be enhanced to ‘post-select’ development of the illness in the target, via emotional influences remotely driven by the operational officer. Feelings of illness or weakness might be enhanced to discourage unwanted behavior.” From: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/239048

Should these psychic tactics fail spies can always turn to chocolate:

“A leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Haddad was accused by Israel of responsibility for several terrorist operations, the last of which was the hijacking of an Israeli passenger plane en route to Entebbe in 1976. According to a recently published book by the Israeli journalist Aharon Klein, Haddad had a great fondness for Belgian chocolates. Mossad obtained some of these special chocolates, coated them with a slow-acting poison, and had them delivered to Haddad, who was then living in Baghdad, by an Iraqi official who was a Mossad agent and who had struck up a friendship with Haddad. Klein relates that the deadly substance was first developed in the IIBR and that its slow-acting and undetectable properties ensured that the agent and the instrument of death would not be discovered.

And indeed, following a gradual but severe deterioration in his health, Haddad was flown to a hospital in East Germany where he was diagnosed with leukaemia and eventually died on 28 March 1978.” From: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg