Tag Archives: nsa

The Surveillance State of America harkens back to Nazi Germany

In Chapter 32 of Erik Larson’s book “In the Garden of Beasts” Larson describes the wide spread fear of Nazi surveillance prevalent in Nazi Germany between 1933-1934 – in the years prior to WWII.  A concern for wide spread government surveillance, almost a century ago, is surprising and hauntingly similar to the surveillance state in America today.

Describing the concerns of Nazi surveillance in the American consulate, Larson writes:

“Prevailing wisdom held that Nazi agents had their microphones in telephones to pick up conversations…[William Dodd] (the American ambassador) filled a cardboard box with cotton…and used it to cover his own telephone whenever a conversation in the library shifted to confidential territory.”

The feeling of mass surveillance was common throughout all of Germany too:

“A common story had begun to circulate: One man telephones another and in the course of their conversation happens to ask “How’s uncle Adolf?” Soon afterward the secret police appear at his door and insist the he prove he really has an uncle Adolf and the question is not in fact a coded reference to Hitler…Here was an entire nation…infested with the contagion of an ever present fear.”

Eventually, the paranoia of surveillance became so common Berliners gave it a name:

“In the most casual of circumstances you spoke carefully and paid attention to those around you and in a way you never had before. Berliners came to practice what became known as ‘the German glance’ – a quick look in all directions when encountering a friend or acquaintance on the street.”

History shows that the surveillance state is an unfortunate institution imposed by only the most tyrannical governments. And like in Nazi Germany the United States has created a world-wide “culture of surveillance”.

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Story: I was contacted, threatened, and ordered to take down “leaked” information!

Three weeks ago I was contacted by an anonymous source in the National Security Agency (NSA).  The source contacted me through an email I have made available to the public through this blog. In the email the anonymous source claimed to be a long-time reader of my blog and that (s)he appreciated my honesty and my “small government stance”.

The anonymous source explained that (s)he had information that (s)he wanted to spread virally throughout the internet, specifically through blogs and smaller, independent, media outlets. At first I was very skeptical and assumed that this “anonymous emailer” was probably the other author of this blog (Holden) playing a prank.

The “Top Secret” Information – Proof

Soon I received a .zip folder over a private VPN file transfer set up by the anonymous emailer. The file was several GB in size and contained over one-thousand power-points, .jpg files, word documents, and .pdf’s. In the email the anonymous source highlighted about a dozen documents (s)he called “must reads”.

Over the next two weeks I read what must have been 250 documents. Most of them were very boring and seemed to be meaningless. However, several of them are worth spreading and sending to as many news outlets as possible.

Of course I assume that these “interesting” documents could be fake. So I sent one document to a contact I have in law school whose father happens to work for the Government (I assume FBI or CIA). Within the hour his father called me personally.

He was very concerned and asked me where I received the document. I told him that I found it on a random website on the internet. My friend’s father stressed to me the importance of keeping the document to myself. This pretty much confirmed to me the validity of my anonymous emailer.

Two Nights Ago – Posting the Information

Two nights ago I decided I would post a summary of the information I was provided. I also posted a link to the “critical documents” available for download via a link to a third party website (set up by the anonymous emailer). I felt this was not “leaking” the documents myself, thus was safe and legal.

Less than an hour after posting that article and link the post disappeared. It was as if I had never written it. A few minutes after that I was contacted by an “attorney” representing the United States Government. This was frightening as I blog under a pseudo-name and have never provided by personal mobile phone number on this blog. I was not informed how the “attorney” obtained my contact information nor how they linked me to this blog.

I was ordered, upon threat of charges being brought against me, to provide the details of the anonymous emailer, my email account, and all documents.

Media Shield Law

My first instinct was to give in, but I decided that by providing any information I would be incriminating myself. I contacted an attorney. I have been stressed for the past few days because no one knows about this- not Holden, not my wife.

The Attorney informed me that I was not protected under a new law called the “Media Shield Law”. Specifically I am not protected because I do not meet the criteria as a journalist.

Specifically, the amendment requires that a journalist meet one of the following definitions:

  1. working as a “salaried employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information;”
  2. either (a) meeting the prior definition “for any continuous three-month period within the two years prior to the relevant date” or (b) having “substantially contributed, as an author, editor, photographer, or producer, to a significant number of articles, stories, programs, or publications by an entity . . . within two years prior to the relevant date;” or
  3. working as a student journalist “participating in a journalistic publication at an institution of higher education.”

*Amendment to S. 987, 113th Cong. § 5(A)(i), § 5(B)(iii) (2013).

Per the advice of my attorney I provided all documents to the US Government.

Why I’m Writing This

I decided to write this as a last ditch effort to let everyone who may read this know what’s going on. To you all know how fucked up everything is. To let you know that these laws do matter, that the Government has too much power. I wish I could tell you what I saw on those documents. I wish I could tell the world, but I can’t. I just hope this article isn’t taken down too.


Fake Article, but Real Consequences

Nothing I wrote above was true. As in – it didn’t really happen. BUT I hope it proves a point. The laws are real. The situation could be real. And the Amendment above is real. I hope this brought it home for you and made you realize how dangerous an unconstitutional law like this really is.

The first amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Technology and Privacy Woes

Two weeks ago I deleted my Facebook account.  For two reasons, really.

One, I realized that Facebook made me shallow. It made me okay with not actually communicating. Photos of an old friend’s life served as a convenient substitute for making an effort to pick up the phone. There’s something subtly disgusting and ugly about the whole thing that eventually turned me off enough to close my account.

Secondly, there’s the privacy issues. Everywhere – every application storing some less-than-meaningful aspect of my social interactions with other human beings all eventually adding up to what is my life. All stored on some mega-data-center in Nevada. My data, my identity. Stored, manipulated, washed, dried, mixed, contorted, scanned, compacted, mined, and eventually archived – for purposes that can only be malicious – even if its down the road.

My Andriod smart-phone will not even allow me to permanently delete the Facebook application from my phone. It just stares at me constantly begging me to re-install it. To reinsert myself into the matrix. All in the name of a phony connection that ironically disconnects you.

Then today I started to install the linked-in application on my phone. For fun I decided to read the terms. These are a copy/paste from the terms (bold added by me):

This app has access to these permissions:

– Your accounts
– find accounts on the device
– create accounts and set passwords
– add or remove accounts
– Network communication
– receive data from Internet
– full network access
– view network connections
Your personal information
– read calendar events plus confidential information
– Phone calls
– read phone status and identity
– Storage
modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
– Your social information
– write call log
– read your contacts
– modify your contacts
– read call log
– System tools
– test access to protected storage
– send sticky broadcast
– Affects Battery
– control vibration
– prevent device from sleeping
– Sync Settings
– read sync statistics
– toggle sync on and off
– read sync settings

 

(To read these terms yourself go to the Android app website and click “install”. The terms will appear in a new window.)

These terms are no different than that of Facebook or almost any other application. We are one click away from giving away our privacy completely. I certainly wouldn’t agree to these terms to anyone in person, but we are all too willing to provide corporations these details for a mediocre “Free” application. Kind of crazy.

How Apathy Killed a Country: Security and Privacy

It might seem like the NSA Privacy topic is all anyone is talking about right now and that true, but I have been discussing these issues for three years now. Right here on this very blog. It’s frustrating.  Sometimes I feel like people, especially people in my generation (20 somethings) are blind. We are too addicted to the whims of main-stream-media talking points and our smart phones to know anything different. Perhaps the real question is: Why are we doing nothing? I have my theories.

Hierarchy of Needs and a Call to Action

My theory is we have become fat piggies. Too fat to do anything about our own circumstances.

We have all of our basic needs met. We have food, shelter, short term safety, and we are entertained. Distracted. That’s perhaps the most important thing. We are well fed and highly distracted.

People riot for two reasons:

1. Their immediate needs are not met. They are starving. They are approaching death. They are oppressed and “fight or flight” tells them to fight.

2. They are of higher conscious and demand social change. I think this is where the founding fathers were at. They saw the larger social injustice and understood their context in history. The opportunity came to form the United States and they did it.

Since our needs are being met and we are being kept relatively fat and stupid – subdued – those in the know are free to rule the slave masses. A more subtle and sinister form of slavery than before – slavery of thought and intention. Not a conspiracy, but a technique slowly developed over time by those in power – to stay in power. Unintentional at it’s core, effective, but on purpose.

Distractions and Illusion have made us blind to historical context

We have been to quick to forget history. We’ve been detracted. We have been fat pigs gobbling up free treats in our troughs – with our heads down – while our masters prepare to slaughter (or at least control) us. Big banks have gotten, their institutions have failed, and they’ve gotten richer. We’ve been swindled.

We do nothing because it all seems normal. We sit around the dinner table and complain about the NSA, Obamacare, homophobes – or whatever it is we want to be mad about, but we ultimately do nothing. I suggest reading the book “In the Garden of Beasts” for some historical context to how this is much like Nazi Germany under Hitler. (No I’m not saying we are Nazi Germany, I’m saying the social attitude to corruption is eerily similar.)

End Rant

Of course I’m ranting. It’s just frustration, I guess. I’ve seen first hand the changing perception of America around the world. I’ve heard and read first hand accounts about the military and economic tactics of business men and politicians around the world. A regime change here, a drone strike there, bankrupt a country – sell the spoils to the highest bidder. Greece, Turkey, Guatemala, Panamar, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, whoever. The people riot, the media ignores it, repeat.